Australia’s central bank lowers its benchmark interest rate to 2.75% from 3%, in an attempt to counter slowing growth in the country’s mining sector.
Birmingham City football club owner Carson Yeung fails in his final attempt to have a Hong Kong trial accusing him of money-laundering thrown out.
See the article here: Yeung loses bid to stop HK trial
India has cut interest rates for the third time this year in an attempt to revive growth in its sluggish economy.
See the original post: India cuts rates to stimulate growth
Government of Cyprus takes action in attempt to stop a bank run when branches reopen at 10am GMT Thursday
Companies in the UK are to get up to £2,000 off their National Insurance Contributions (NIC) in an attempt to boost job creation, the chancellor announces.
More here: National Insurance cut to boost jobs
India cuts its main interest rate for the first time in nine months in an attempt to revive economic growth.
Read more: India rates cut after nine months
So Cameron’s going to give us a referendum on our membership of the EU “to let the people decide” (Cameron to pledge in-out vote on EU, 23 January). A pity this great democrat didn’t give the people the opportunity to decide whether they wanted this unelected coalition with its brutal attacks on the sick and disabled, the unemployed and the old, the NHS and public services, and all the other measures they have taken to make the poor pay to preserve the privileges of the wealthy who were responsible for the state we’re in. The truth is his stance on the EU is designed, first, as an attempt to plaster over the divisions within the Tory party and stave off Ukip; but second and more importantly, to turn people’s minds away from the disastrous consequences of his government’s punitive welfare cuts and its incompetence in dealing with the country’s economic difficulties.
Our democracy would be far better served by a general election this year to give the people the right to decide now on whether or not to legitimise the coalition and its policies, not by Cameron’s attempts to create a smokescreen to conceal the government’s failures.
• What we now have, during the worst economic recession in postwar history, is a destabilising four years of uncertainty that will make overseas companies look twice at the UK as somewhere to invest, with particular impact on Scotland’s open, export-oriented economy. Over half of UK trade is with the EU and 3.5m British jobs are linked, directly or indirectly, to our trade with other member states.
Mr Cameron is seeking to repatriate powers on issues such as social and employment laws, policing and crime measures, but renegotiating on these issues and holding a referendum by his pledged deadline of 2017 is impossible, as he well knows. The chance of any meaningful renegotiation being agreed by the other 26 member states is even less likely. As a Brussels regular, it’s clear to me that the French and Germans and most other member states have no desire to reopen treaties which have been years in the making, to allow for British demands.
Mr Cameron is taking a dangerous gamble by holding a gun to the head of Brussels bureaucrats and to national governments to get what he wants under threat of the UK leaving. But for many in the EU the loss of Britain would not be a negative, but a benefit, the loss of an obstructive lodger who brings more trouble than she is worth.
• David Cameron’s speech was full of ideas for improving the European Union. But towards the middle of it, there was a key sentence: “If there is no appetite for a new treaty for us all, then of course Britain should be ready to address the changes we need in a negotiation with our European partners.” At that point the want-to-stay-in Cameron puts himself in the hands of those Conservatives who want a set of unnegotiable British opt-outs. There is a world of difference between Britain joining in a constructive debate about the way the EU as a whole should develop and trying to persuade the other 26 member states that Britain alone should have a privileged position, and one which might give us a competitive advantage. That way lies failure and possible exit.
• What a wonderful contrast. Here in the UK we have a prime minister being led by the nose by his unruly backbenchers and fear of Ukip to offer a referendum on leaving the EU, while the French president is addressing a joint session of the German Bundestag and the French National assembly in Berlin (Paris and Berlin feeling the 50-year itch, 23 January). Europe has its problems – no political system can ever be perfect – but co-operation as epitomised by the event in Berlin is surely the better way. Standing on the sidelines and griping, as Britain seems constantly to do – under both Tory and Labour governments – does nothing for our interests. There is no viable future for Britain outside of the EU. If only we would recognise that and embrace our fellow European countries as our friends and neighbours. The alternative is to be an irrelevant small island off of the coast of the continent.
Japanese government approves a fresh 10.3 trillion yen ($116bn; £72bn) stimulus package in an attempt to spur a revival in its economy.
Read the rest here: Japan gets $116bn stimulus boost
South Korea’s LG Group announces plans to increase investment, in an attempt to boost its market share amid increased competition from rivals.
More here: LG plans to increase investment