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Slack Technologies Inc is planning to go public through a direct listing, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Slack, which operates a popular workplace instant-messaging and collaboration app, is likely to debut in the second quarter and currently expects to do so via a direct listing, according to the report.

The plan for direct listing will potentially make Slack the second big technology company after Spotify Technology SA to bypass a traditional IPO, WSJ reported.

Slack had hired investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc to lead its initial public offering as an underwriter, Reuters had reported in December.

Slack did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours.

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Scholz says rules must be followed as Italy’s rising debt frustrates EU

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Germany’s finance minister has hinted heavily that Italy will be punished if it continues to break EU rules over budget deficits.

A monthly meeting between euro zone finance ministers is taking place over Thursday and Friday in Luxembourg and, wgil enot on the official agenda, discussions have returned to Italy’s ongoing conflict with the EU over their budget plans and economic reform.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, announced last week that disciplinary proceedings, known as an  “Excessive Deficit Procedure” against Italy are warranted because it’s breaking fiscal rules over its rising public debt.

If an EDP went ahead, Italy could face a fine of around 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion), according to some reports.

On his way into the Eurogroup meeting on Thursday afternoon, Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Sholz told CNBC’s Silvia Amaro that Italy cannot continue to flout EU regulations as if they didnt matter. 

“In the end the rules are not just something that are written on paper, they have reasons,” said Sholz.

The European Commission has estimated that Italy’s spending to service its debts in 2018 turned out to be 2.2 billion euros higher than expected in its 2018 spring forecast.

As he arrived in Luxembourg, the French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, told CNBC that Brussels had been working hard to resolve Italy’s budget blowout and it would be wise for the Italian government to fix their finances and “seize the hand given by the European Commission.”

Le Maire added that it was in the interest of all euro zone members to abide by budget rules.

Pierre Moscovici, who acts as the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, told CNBC that he wanted to avoid an excessive deficit prodecure for debt against italy.

Moscovici said his “door was open” but Italy needed to show its plan or a financial punishment was possible.

“To avoid it, we need to have fact, figures , data that show clearly that Italy is on track for 2019 ansd 2020 and is compliant with the rules,” he said.

On his entrance to the meeting, the Finance Minister for Ireland, Paschal Donohoe, said he and his fellow ministers should allow Italy to complete its work with the European Commission on restructuring its borrowing plans before any talk of EDP’s.

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Merkel would be ‘dream’ EU Commission president, Luxembourg’s PM says

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel on the second day of an EU summit on March 22, 2019 in Brussels, Belgium.

Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has received another glowing endorsement to be a future president of the European Commission — this time from Luxembourg.

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel told CNBC that Merkel would be a “dream candidate” for the presidency of Europe’s executive body.

“I love that idea, I’ve asked Angela Merkel several times. She would be a perfect candidate for the (European) Council, for the Commission,” Bettel told CNBC’s Silvia Amaro in Luxembourg Thursday.

“She’s got a global view, she’s a great leader and a strong personality. I really, really appreciate Angela Merkel …. I really, really think she would be a great leader for Europe. We have some different candidates who are able but Angela for me would be a dream candidate.”

Bettel’s comments come after French President Emmanuel Macron said that he would support Merkel as the next president of the European Commission once Jean-Claude Juncker leaves the post on November 1.

On Tuesday, Macron told Swiss broadcaster RTS that “If she were to want it (the post), I would support her.”

Top jobs

Merkel has reportedly said that she does not want the position and wants to quit politics when she steps down as German chancellor in 2021 after four terms in office. Nonetheless, she is viewed as a strong and stable leader in Europe despite growing political turbulence in Germany and is something of a figurehead for the European Union (EU).

Other European officials are keen to encourage Merkel to consider the Commission presidency role, praising her as a unifying figure in the bloc and a steady force that region needs when its political environment looks polarized and fractured.

The next president of the Commission has to be approved by a majority of the 28 member states, but also by a majority of lawmakers at the European Parliament, the EU’s legislative arm.

There will also be a vote to replace the current President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, when his term also in November, as well as new leaders of the EU Parliament, the EU’s foreign policy chief and the next president of the European Central Bank.

Battle lines are already drawn between member states over the top jobs up for grabs. Donald Tusk has been consulting member states and the European Parliament about the positions. He has also said the EU should aim to have “at least two women” in the senior posts.

Tusk has said that he hoped the appointments would be agreed at an EU summit on June 20-21 when the bloc’s 28 leaders next meet.

– CNBC’s Silvia Amaro contributed reporting to this story.

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Pentagon emits more greenhouse gases than Portugal or Sweden: study

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Aerial of the Pentagon, the Department of Defense headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, near Washington DC, with I-395 freeway on the left, and the Air Force Memorial up middle.

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The U.S. Department of Defense is the largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels in the world, new research shows, creating more planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions than industrialized countries such as Portugal or Sweden

The Pentagon, which oversees the U.S. military, released around 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases between 2001 and 2017, according to research by Brown University. The study, published Wednesday, is the first of its kind to compile such comprehensive data.

The Pentagon’s emissions were “in any one year… greater than many smaller countries total greenhouse gas emissions,” researchers of the study said.

The findings showed that if the Pentagon was listed as a country, its emissions would make it the world’s 55th largest contributor of greenhouse gases.

The Pentagon was not immediately available to comment when contacted by CNBC on Thursday.

‘Room for much steeper cuts’

“Although the Pentagon has, in recent years, increasingly emphasized what it calls energy security — energy resilience and conservation — it is still a significant consumer of fossil fuel energy,” Neta Crawford, the study’s author and a political scientist at Boston University, said in a statement.

“Indeed, the DOD (Department of Defense) is the world’s largest institutional user of petroleum and correspondingly, the single largest producer of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world,” Crawford said.

Using and moving troops and weapons accounted for approximately 70% of the DOD’s energy consumption, largely due to the burning of jet and diesel fuel, the study said.

A couple look at Alfama, one of the city’s historic neighborhoods, from the Miradouro de Santa Luzia in Lisbon, Portugal.

Horacio Villalobos | Getty Images

In 2017, the study estimated the Pentagon had released about 59 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

That dwarfed annual emissions by Portugal and Sweden, according to the Global Carbon Atlas. The international research project ranks Portugal and Sweden as 57th and 65th respectively for its carbon dioxide emissions.

“The U.S. military has begun greenhouse gas emissions reductions, but there is room for much steeper cuts,” Crawford said.

Climate crisis

China is the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, the main gas responsible for climate change, followed by America.

The world’s top climate scientists say countries all over the world must take “unprecedented” and immediate action to prevent the catastrophic impact of an escalating climate crisis.

Late last year, the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization said global temperatures are on track to rise between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius this century, far exceeding a global target of limiting the increase to 2 degrees Celsius or less.

President Donald Trump, who questions climate science and downplays its impacts, has withdrawn the U.S. from the global framework for reducing emissions.

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