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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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US tidal firm to invest in Scotland

Category : Business, World News

An American tidal power company has announced plans to establish a base in Scotland, supported by Scottish Enterprise cash.

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Horwath Bastow Charleton Chooses Advent Software

Category : Stocks

Dublin-Based Wealth Manager Selects Advent’s Wealth Management Solutions to Support Growth and Deliver World-Class Service to an Expanding Client Base

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Bank of Japan shocks markets

Category : Business, Stocks

Japan’s Nikkei reversed early losses and closed 2.2% higher Thursday after the country’s central bank pledged to double its monetary base over the next two years.

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Rainmaker Entertainment Announces Fiscal 2012 and 4th Quarter 2012 Results

Category : Stocks, World News

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – March 28, 2013) – Rainmaker Entertainment Inc. (TSX:RNK) announces that it has filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) its audited consolidated financial statements and related Management’s Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2012 as well as its 2012 Annual Information Form.

$thousands, except per share amounts Q4 2012 Q4 2011 2012 2011
Revenue 3,178 5,124 14,205 18,827
Loss from operations (611 ) (2,689 ) (3,698 ) (2,845 )
Gain on sale and equity income from Base 10 - 4,468 - 5,719
Earnings (loss) from continuing operations (611 ) 1,779 (3,698 ) 2,874
Gain on sale of discontinued operations 84 379 124 473
Earnings (loss) and total comprehensive income (527 ) 2,158 (3,574 ) 3,347
Earnings from continuing operations per share
- basic and diluted $ (0.03 ) $ 0.10 $ (0.21 ) $ 0.16
Earnings (loss) per share
- basic and diluted $ (0.03 ) $ 0.12 $ (0.20 ) $ 0.19

Rainmaker reported a loss of $3.6 million ($0.20 per share) for the year ended December 31, 2012 compared with earnings of $3.3 million ($0.19 per share) for 2011. For the fourth quarter ending December 31, 2012 the Company reported a loss of $0.5 million ($0.03 per share) compared with income of $2.1 million ($0.10 per share) for the fourth quarter of 2011. The fiscal 2011 earnings include a gain on sale and equity income from the Company’s investment in Base 10 Group Inc. (“Base 10″) totaling $5.7 million and the fourth quarter of 2011 results include $4.5 million related to Base 10.

Continued here: Rainmaker Entertainment Announces Fiscal 2012 and 4th Quarter 2012 Results

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Seven strange ideas the Bank of England could try to boost growth

Category : Business

The MPC held the base rate and refused to expand QE this month. But a more radical approach to stimulating the economy is still on the cards. Here’s how it might be done

The Bank of England resisted pressure to inject billions of pounds into the economy on Thursday, amid mounting speculation that its remit could be changed to encourage policymakers to focus on growth rather than inflation.

The monetary policy committee (MPC) voted against expanding its £375bn quantitative easing (QE) programme and kept interest rates at their historic four-year low of 0.5%.

The MPC announcement suggests outgoing bank governor Sir Mervyn King has been outvoted two months running for the first time in his 10 years at the helm of the Bank. At the February MPC meeting, King and two others voted to increase QE by £25bn to £400bn.

Speculation that the arrival of Mark Carneyin the summer to replace King will be accompanied by a broader remit for the MPC has gathered pace since the Canadian central bank chief made it clear he favours adopting unorthodox measures to stimulate growth.

The MPC is currently required to keep inflation at 2% over the “medium term”. This phrase has been interpreted as meaning between two and three years. The committee must also pay regard to employment and growth.

The Treasury is currently conducting its annual review of the remit, and it is possible that inflation, which is expected to remain above 2% for the next couple of years, will be de-emphasised in favour of a growth target, in a victory for the “market monetarists” – successors to Milton Friedman who believe that anchoring the market’s expectations of long-term interest rates should be the MPC’s main aim.

For now the committee’s main tool is QE and the decision over whether to increase the money-printing has probably been delayed rather than abandoned completely; many predict an expansion of the programme in the next two or three months.

Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight said: “The Bank of England’s decision to hold off from stimulative action was highly likely the result of a tightly split vote and we strongly suspect that the MPC will act in the second quarter and very possibly as soon as April.”

Other commentators were wary of any increase. David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “We believe this would be misguided, as more QE would provide only marginal benefits for the real economy, while heightening risks of financial distortions, bubbles and higher inflation.”

But last month the MPC discussed embracing a broader set of policy tools, seven of which are discussed below:

Riskier QE

The Bank of England has “printed” £375bn of extra money since March 2009 and spent all of it on buying government bonds from banks and insurers in the hope they will lend the proceeds to other private sector companies.

The Bank could follow the example of the US Federal Reserve and buy other, more risky, assets, such as home loans. There are commercially traded bundles of mortgages, known as mortgage-backed securities, sitting in bank reserves; the central bank could relieve lenders of these mortgages, allowing them to lend more to ordinary customers. Capital Economics believes that under the current remit QE could rise to £500bn by the end of next year. A growth target, or a target to achieve a set level of GDP, could accelerate that process.

Funding for Lending

The Treasury has backed an £80bn scheme that offers high street banks and building societies access to money at 0.5% as long as they lend it to customers at a discounted rate. Some banks, like Barclays, have lent money, while others have stashed the cash – Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Santander being the largest. Funding for Lending could be expanded and made even cheaper. Non-deposit-taking lenders could be included. But when only a quarter of the £80bn has so far found its way into the system, it still has some way to go before a top-up is needed.

A cut in interest rates

A move from 0.5% to 0.25% would mimic the Federal Reserve. Or a 0% rate would create a clear gap between the UK and continental Europe, where base rates are 0.75%. Base rate tracker mortgages would come down in price. However, the suspicion is that most mortgage products would stay the same and the only beneficiary would be the profit margins of high street lenders.

Negative interest rates

Both Funding for Lending and QE are carrots. A negative interest rate is a big stick. Deputy governor Paul Tucker is tempted to make banks pay to deposit money at the central bank because too many of them are adopting a safety-first policy rather than lending to businesses.

Unfortunately, lots of mortgage products track the 0.5% base rate, so if the base rate became -0.5%, banks would be forced to cut the mortgage rate and lose money. Tucker believes it may be possible to apply the -0.5% to some high street bank reserves and set aside the cash that supports existing mortgage lending. Complex and tricky.

Working capital instruments

Tucker also says that big corporations, which are sitting on piles of unspent profits, could make loans to their suppliers. The loans, which he calls “working capital instruments”, would support investment by small and medium-sized firms and be underwritten in some form by the central bank. Tucker is looking around for money that businesses can access, which is logical, but maybe small businesses would benefit more from big firms simply paying them on time.

Helicopter money

Lord Turner, the outgoing chairman of the Financial Services Authority who lost out to Carney in the governor race, has floated the idea of the Bank directly funding the government. The plan would allow chancellor George Osborne to announce multibillion-pound spending on infrastructure projects. Like a helicopter dropping cash from the sky, the central bank would supply the funds rather than the Treasury running up bigger current accounts deficits – an off-balance-sheet exercise that could keep the ratings agencies at bay.

Commercial bills

Once there was a thriving commercial bill market, but it died out. It could be revived to provide an avenue for the private sector to access loans. It works like this: two businesses are trading; one owes the other money. The debtor might give the other a bill saying they will pay in three months. This bill can then be traded.

Media Advisory: Minister MacKay to Make Announcement at Canadian Forces Base Halifax

Category : World News

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Dec. 29, 2012) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, will make an announcement to improve the quality of life of serving personnel at Canadian Forces Base Halifax.

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Sullivan Awarded Radon Mitigation Work in Japan

Category : Stocks

SAN DIEGO, CA–(Marketwire – Dec 3, 2012) – Sullivan International Group, Inc. (Sullivan) announced today the award by US Air Force of a contract at the Yokota Air Force Base in Japan. Sullivan is the managing partner of the Sullivan-Weston Services JVA, LLC, a Joint Venture between Sullivan International Group and Weston Solutions. This contract is awarded to mitigate radon in military family housing at the Yokota Japan Air Force Base. Yokota Air Base is a United States Air Force Base located on the island of Honshu, Japan, on the Kanto Plain 28 miles northwest of Tokyo at the foothills of the Okutama Mountains. “Our recent win with Yokota Air Base outside of Tokyo, Japan is an important win for Sullivan that allows us to enter the DoD market in Japan and supports our international expansion. This project expands the scope of services that we offer to AFCEE and the geographic footprint within which we offer those services to AFCEE and other clients,” said Rik Lantz, Sullivan International Client Services Manager.

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Is this the start of a new coalition against the corporate scorpions? | Will hutton

Category : Business

A broader view of what is wrong with business in this country is emerging – triggered by business itself

It’s a well-known fable. The scorpion wants to cross a river and pleads with the reluctant frog to carry him on his back; it would be pointless to sting the frog because that way both would drown. Halfway across the river the scorpion stings, dooming both. Why? asks the dying frog. Because it is in my nature, replies the scorpion.

Too many owners and managers of British companies, along with the Big Four accountancy firms that provide them advice on how to structure their affairs to evade and avoid taxation, are like the scorpion. They just can’t help themselves from behaving badly, even if it brings everyone down. It is in their nature.

As it becomes clear that we are living through the most protracted period of economic depression for more than 100 years, the result of not just policy mistakes but the way Britain has done capitalism, business itself is beginning to ask the first tough questions about what is wrong. There always was a distinction between good and bad capitalism, but so far the critics of bad capitalism have not strayed far beyond the leader of the Labour party, some trade unionists, business secretary Vince Cable, the odd business maverick and one or two liberal commentators. But last week some serious companies weighed in, plainly worried about the corporate scorpions riding on their backs.

Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, broke cover to say that multinational companies trading in the UK but deploying overseas tax havens necessarily must “out-invest and ultimately out-trade” businesses paying full taxes in the UK, who now risk being driven out of business. “Ultimately there will not be a tax base in the UK.”

Mothercare chairman Alan Parker joined in. “Unfair pricing from international UK tax dodgers puts our long-term ability to survive and grow under threat,” he said. Sebastian James, chief executive of Dixons, tweeted that he agreed with Andy Street: “Retailers making profits in the UK should pay tax in the UK.”

Unlike in manufacturing, retailing still has a critical mass of British-owned and British-based companies that have collective heft. With Comet recently joining a lengthening list of retailers going into receivership, Street, Parker and James are breaking ranks from the default position of British business that whatever leaves the mouth of a Tory politician must be good and the words of a Labour politician must be bad.

The ritual ideological incantations of, say, the Free Enterprise Group in the Conservative party – that all British business needs is yet more labour market deregulation, further dismantling of welfarism and striking a detached bargain with the EU – have hitherto gone unchallenged by business. Now a broader view of what is wrong is emerging, triggered by business itself.

What prompted Street’s intervention was the disastrous performance by Amazon’s public policy director, Andrew Cecil, before the House of Commons public accounts committee, aided and abetted by two flanking cameos from Starbucks and Google. The three scorpions were being quizzed about their tax dodging, but the comptroller of the National Audit Office, Amyas Morse, felt that the lack of evidence brought to the committee by Amazon was ” insulting”. Meanwhile, Starbucks’ claim that it made no money in the UK was palpably disingenuous and persuaded none of the MPs. And Google admitted in effect that it does what it does because it can. It is just in a scorpion’s nature.

Senior Treasury officials have worried for many years about the precariousness of the UK’s corporate tax base and the ease with which companies could use a combination of transfer pricing and offshore tax havens to avoid UK tax. Mortal threats come from the rise of private equity – for example, private equity-owned Boots is now domiciled in Zug in Switzerland – and the emerging dominance of foreign multinationals in the UK because of our careless indifference both to who owns our companies and how they organise their operations. They need addressing.

For a long time, the arguments about the British economy have been defined by exchanges between opposing poles of the Free Enterprise Group and advocates of a bastard Keynesianism. Director generals of the CBI may have privately conceded that the argument needs to be broader and more sophisticated; that an overvalued exchange rate, the shortcomings of the financial system, the bias against innovation or the abuse of tax havens were all chronic problems. But persuading the powerful CEOs within the CBI to back them has been impossible.

Importers want a high pound. Banks allowed no criticism. Nobody wants to be on the side of high taxation by inveighing against tax havens or to give Labour any succour if it can be helped. A candidate for CBI director general who withdrew from the final shortlist to succeed the outgoing Richard Lambert in late 2010 told me that the job allowed little scope beyond urging more and better training, on which everybody could agree. On many big issues, the CBI was mute or followed the Tory line. Indeed, Lambert, ready to attack wildly overpaid CEOs as risking being aliens in their own country, was felt to have overstepped the line.

At last there is a breaking of ranks. Desperate economic circumstances and a chancellor more anxious to score political points than develop an imaginative economic policy are forcing a transformation in established positions. John Cridland, the current director general, has used the space to develop a more sophisticated policy agenda than his predecessors were allowed. And now British-based retailers are speaking out.

But any effective move against the scorpions requires the state to act and the more it can act with others the more effective it will be. Tax havens were a barely mentioned part of Britain’s most effective postwar industrial policy: the swath of concessions used to support the growth of the City. We sponsor more of them than any other advanced country. That has to be reversed. There are many possibilities, ranging from taxing companies on their turnover in the UK to outlawing the use of tax havens, action that is best delivered if the EU can move together, but this is always opposed by the British.

Our fifth-columnist Eurosceptics, allies of the scorpions, are happier that the UK corporate tax base is destroyed and the British economy is owned by foreigners indifferent to their public obligations than to act together with Europeans to further joint British and European interests. Mr Miliband and the Labour party say they are for a better capitalism, against tax havens and are pro-Europeans. Now there is an opportunity to say it and to build a new coalition. Let’s hear them.

International Airlines Group bids to take over Vueling

Category : Business

British airways parent group already owns 46% of Vueling and has offered to buy the rest

British Airways parent International Airlines Group has made a takeover bid for the Spanish low-cost carrier Vueling.

IAG already controls almost 46% of Veuling’s shares via its Spanish subsidiary Iberia, and has offered to purchase the rest on the Spanish stock markets for €113m.

IAG chief executive, Willie Walsh, said: “With its leading position in Barcelona, European growth strategy and low cost base, Vueling has much to offer IAG. It has significantly increased capacity while remaining profitable, despite the Spanish economic slowdown, and already has extensive commercial arrangements with Iberia. We would plan to retain the current Vueling management team.

“This would be good news for Vueling as there are many advantages for the airline in this deal. It will benefit from the financial strength of a larger airline group, making it better able to compete with other airlines and invest in new customer products and services. The airline will also be able to generate some cost and revenue synergies as part of IAG mainly through joint financing and procurement.

IAG said that if the offer to shareholders is accepted, the deal could go through in spring 2013. Vueling would be managed as a separate operating company with its chief executive reporting directly to Walsh.

Walsh’s attempts to force through cost-cutting measures at the heavily loss-making Iberia, including the creation of a low-cost, short-haul subsidiary in Iberia Express, have struggled in the face of industrial disputes. Analysts said that Vueling would give IAG options while it battles to impose new conditions on its Spanish pilots.

Gerald Khoo of Espirito Santo said: “Management has been working on contingency plans, based on restructuring options previously considered but discarded in favour of Iberia Express. One such alternative would have involved the use of Vueling to provide short haul feeder traffic for Iberia’s long haul network, taking advantage of its much more competitive cost base. [A takeover] would seem to offer a way of continuing the restructuring of Iberia’s short haul operations while sidestepping the question of how the arbitration process relating to Iberia Express will move forward.”

But he warned: “The track record of the strategy of creating in-house low cost airlines within legacy or network carrier groups is mixed at best.”

Others were sceptical of the benefits. One industry source said: “Vueling is an attractive asset – but how does this deal make things better for Vueling? BA has the reverse Midas touch in taking over airlines. This is diverting attention from the real issue – the problems IAG is having with the fundamental restructuring of Iberia.”

Twoco Petroleums Ltd. Reserves Update

Category : World News

CALGARY, ALBERTA–(Marketwire – Nov. 8, 2012) - Twoco Petroleums Ltd. (“Twoco” or the “Company“) (TSX VENTURE:TWO) announces an update of its overall oil and natural gas reserve base from December 31, 2011 to September 30, 2012, as evaluated by Sproule Associates Limited (“Sproule“) in accordance with National Instrument 51-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Oil and Gas Activities. The reserves and cash flow runs represent a computer recalculation to September 30, 2012 of the evaluation of the natural gas reserve base of the Company as of December 31, 2011 for all properties with the exception of the Warspite oil property. The Warspite oil property was updated by Sproule as of July 31, 2012 with cash flows recalculated to September 30, 2012.

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