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Asian markets down on European discord

 Asian markets down on European discord

HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly fell on Friday as a meeting between the eurozone’s three biggest economies highlighted their differences on finding a solution to the region’s debt crisis.

Traders remained nervous at the end of a week that saw fears over Europe deepen as the yields on Italian and Spanish bonds sat dangerously high and even Germany — the bloc’s pillar — failed to sell all its bonds at auction.

Tokyo was flat, edging down 5.17 points to end at 8,160.01, while Sydney shed 1.48 percent, or 59.90 points, to end at 3,984.3 and Seoul closed 1.04 percent, or 18.66 points, lower at 1,776.40.

Shanghai was 0.60 percent off and Hong Kong fell 1.21 percent in the afternoon.

The leaders of Germany, France and Italy on Thursday met to discuss plans to address the two-year-old debt crisis in a bid to sooth markets, which have been hammered over fears of a collapse of the eurozone and another global downturn. (AFP)

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Iowa caucuses: Romney pips Santorum

 He finished just eight votes ahead of former senator Rick Santorum in the Midwest state of Iowa.
Ron Paul came third, while Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann settled into a second tier of candidates.
Rick Perry indicated he was suspending his campaign after finishing fifth.
The caucus meetings were the first time voters had a say in the race to face Democratic President Barack Obama in November’s presidential election.

Tuesday’s contest launched months of caucuses and primary elections in 50 states, Washington DC and other territories, culminating in the Republican National Convention in August where the party nominee will be formally anointed.
Iowa was not expected to settle the contest – John McCain, the eventual Republican nominee in 2008, came fourth in the state’s caucuses that year – but it will help shape the race for the White House.

The BBC’s Mark Mardell says that in the end, this result has to be good for Mitt Romney, achieving it in a state he hadn’t bothered to fight until the last few weeks.
‘Game on!’
Hours after caucuses closed, Iowa party chairman Matt Strawn announced that Mr Romney had won by just eight of the 122,255 votes cast.
“Governor Mitt Romney received 30,015 votes and senator Rick Santorum received 30,007 votes. Congratulations to governor Mitt Romney, winner of the 2012 caucuses. Congratulations to senator Rick Santorum for a very close second-place finish,” Mr Strawn said.
Earlier in the evening, Mr Romney kept his sights firmly trained on Mr Obama rather than engaging his Republican rivals or claiming victory.
“The gap between his promises four years ago and his performance is as great as anything I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said, before crying: “On to New Hampshire!”
As early results came out pointing to a close race, Mr Santorum declared “Game on!” He praised his faith and his family in a speech which marked his own entry to the national spotlight.

Mr Paul, a Texas congressman, finished third and vowed to continue onto New Hampshire, which holds a primary election next week.
“This momentum is going to continue,” he told a jubilant crowd of supporters. “We will go on, we will raise the money.”

Negative advertising
Finishing fifth, Texas Governor Rick Perry said he was returning to his home state in order to “determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race”.Former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, who saw a brief lead evaporate under a barrage of negative advertising last month, pledged to remain in the race and challenge Mr Romney, “a Massachusetts moderate”.
“We are not going to go out and run nasty ads,” said Mr Gingrich, who finished fourth.
“But I do reserve the right to tell the truth. And if the truth seems negative that may be more of a comment on his record than it is about politics.”
Mrs Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman who won the Iowa straw poll last summer, finished sixth, and urged voters not to let the media anoint a Republican nominee based solely on the Iowa results.
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman was on the ballot, but did not campaign in Iowa.

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Taylor Swift wins big at American Music Awards

LOS ANGELES: Country music songstress Taylor Swift was the big winner Sunday at the American Music Awards, walking away with three prizes including Artist of the Year.

British soul diva Adele also won three gongs, while Canadian teen sensation left empty handed at the awards, voted for by fans and announced at a star-studded show in Los Angeles.
Bieber, who was last year’s big winner at the AMAs, sang a tune from his Christmas-themed album “Under the Mistletoe,” but failed to win in the only category in which he was shortlisted, for best pop/rock male artist.

Other winners included Katy Perry, Beyonce and Nicki Minaj, who won both rap/hip-hop gongs up for grabs.Adele won in three of the four categories in which she was nominated — but did not attend the show, in Los Angeles Nokia Theatre, as she is out of action after undergoing throat surgery.

But the big news of the night was Swift, who took all three prizes for which she was nominated — artist of the year, as well as best female artist and best album for “Speak Now” in the country music category.

Swift — who was named entertainer of the year at the Country Music Awards a few weeks ago, called her AMA triumph “one of the most amazing things that have ever happened to me.”

The 21-year-old from Pennsylvania is no stranger to music industry glory: she has son four Grammys, including album of the year last year for her second record “Fearless.”

Here are winners in key categories:
Artist of the Year: Taylor Swift.
Best pop/rock female artist: Adele.
Best pop/rock male artist: Bruno Mars.
Best rap/hip-hop artist: Nicki Minaj.
Best soul/R&B male artist: Usher.
Best soul/R&B female artist: Beyonce.
Best country female artist: Taylor Swift.
Best country male artist: Blake Shelton.
Best Latin artist: Jennifer Lopez.
Best new artist: Hot Chelle Rae.

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