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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to 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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VIDEO: ‘Foundations for eurozone growth’

Category : Business, World News

The foundations have been laid for “sustained growth” in the eurozone, the EU economics commissioner has said.

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EnerCare Comments on Competition Bureau Applications Against Direct Energy and Reliance Comfort LP

Category : World News

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Dec. 21, 2012) - EnerCare Inc. (TSX:ECI) and EnerCare Solutions Inc. (collectively, “EnerCare“) today announced that they have learned that the Interim Commissioner of Competition (the “Commissioner“) has filed applications with the Competition Tribunal against both Direct Energy Marketing Limited (“Direct Energy“) and Reliance Comfort Limited Partnership under the Competition Act (Canada) alleging that they each hold dominant positions in the supply of certain types of water heaters in certain areas of Ontario and that they have each engaged in a practice of anti-competitive acts through their respective water heater return policies and procedures.

Read the original here: EnerCare Comments on Competition Bureau Applications Against Direct Energy and Reliance Comfort LP

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Firms named over ‘nuisance calls’

Category : Business

The Information Commissioner’s Office names some of the companies it has contacted following concerns over unsolicited marketing calls.

Continued here: Firms named over ‘nuisance calls’

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Draghi backs super-commissioner

Category : Business

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi backs calls for a eurozone super-commissioner with the power to veto government budgets.

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Plan for female quotas on EU company boards dealt blow

Category : Business

UK and others derail proposal as row breaks out over posting that would ensure all-male European Central Bank executive

EU plans to enforce a much higher profile for women in the European business elite have been thrown into disarray, with a Brussels commissioner being told to try again on legislation to compel female quotas on company boards.

The defeat for Viviane Reding, the commissioner for fundamental rights, came amid another row over sexism at the apex of the EU. Herman Van Rompuy, the European council president, pleaded with the parliament in Strasbourg to endorse the appointment of Yves Mersch (a man), from Luxembourg, to the executive board of the European Central Bank (ECB).

Mersch’s appointment, which looks inevitable despite being delayed by parliamentary opposition on grounds of gender, would make the six-strong ECB executive all male, and its governing council of 23 also exclusively male.

Reding has been pushing though new draft EU legislation insisting on 40%-female quotas for company boards across Europe, with stiff penalties for noncompliance. The proposals fell foul of British-led opposition among the EU member states, with at least 10 governments reluctant to impose quotas.

Those countries argued that the issue should not be legislated at EU level but rather left to national policy-making, and that policies already being pursued in member states to redress the gender imbalance should be given time to work.

But Reding’s biggest immediate problem was a lack of consensus within the European commission on the contentious draft legislation. This split caused some to question why she was trying to force the issue, if she was unable to get it past this first hurdle. It is highly unusual for the commission to draft a law that will not pass muster among the 27 commissioners.

The dispute was not split along gender lines. Quite the contrary: on Monday, Reding said she had constructed a formidable coalition, with the support of five prominent male commissioners. But four leading female commissioners – from Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark – opposed the proposals.

Reding said she refused to give up on the issue, and the topic would be returned to the commission next month.

The European parliament is to vote on Thursday on Mensch’s appointment to the ECB, after the chamber’s influential economic and monetary affairs committee rejected the German-style inflation hawk on Monday on gender grounds.

Van Rompuy told the parliament on Tuesday that female under-representation in top posts was “blatant”, and that he was working to remedy it, but still believed Mersch should get the job.

Mersch’s appointment would delay any real chance of redressing the total imbalance in the ECB executive until 2018.

Sharon Bowles, the Lib Dem MEP and economic committee chair who is running for governor of the Bank of England, said: “What we heard today is no different to all the promises on equality that have universally failed: we need more than just talk and promises. We are objecting to the EU’s most powerful institution being run by only men for the next six years.”

Existing examples

France, Spain, Belgium, Denmark and Italy have introduced quota laws, as have non-EU nations Iceland and Norway, which has had a quota system since 2006 that requires at least 40% of either sex on all listed company boards. Firms were given only two years to comply. The Spanish law, passed in 2007, obliges quoted firms with more than 250 employees to aim for a 40%-female minimum on their boards by 2015. France passed its law in 2011, forcing large companies to reserve at least 40 % of boardroom positions for women by 2017. It applies to 2,000 companies in France that are either listed, have more than 500 employees or revenues over €50m.

Media Advisory/REMINDER: Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser to Present his 2011-2012 Annual Report

Category : Stocks, World News

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Oct. 16, 2012) - Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser will release findings from his 2011-2012 annual report on Tuesday, October 16, 2012, at 10:15 a.m. at the National Press Theatre, 150 Wellington Street, in Ottawa. A technical briefing on the report will be held at the same location at 9:15 a.m.

Read more: Media Advisory/REMINDER: Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser to Present his 2011-2012 Annual Report

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Hugh Muir’s diary

Category : Business

With Mates like this, who needs enemies?

• The on-off summer leaves people tetchy. And as a consequence, perhaps, many unkind things are being said in Hampshire about the Conservative nominee for police commissioner, the former minister Michael Mates. A man of his experience might hope to be a shoo-in. And yet the question persists: how can he hope to escape the shadow of Asil Nadir? Bad enough, mutter critics, that Mates had to resign his ministerial post amid the furore over Nadir’s flit to Northern Cyprus in 1993. Few forget how he sent Nadir that watch with the message “Don’t Let The Buggers Get You Down”. But there was Mates again, during the recent trial, putting in that good word for the man now shamed as a crook who stole millions and got 10 years. As a result, there are many worried about the official candidate’s prospects. A squeeze seems likely, for those who would vote Tory can affirm their support for Simon Hayes, an independent candidate but a former Conservative councillor and chair of Hampshire Crimestoppers. Those who can’t vote Tory can smile upon Jacqui Rayment, a local Labour councillor who has chaired Hampshire Police Authority with distinction. And enter stage right Ukip – which may well compound Mates’s worries with its own spoiler candidate. Should Nadir decide to send his friend a watch with the message “Don’t Let The Buggers Get You Down”, a good time would be now.

• Everywhere, great men struggle to receive the respect they deserve. Witness the newish Met commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe. Yesterday we told how the very mention of his name at events attended by the rank and file is sufficient to trigger waves of panto-style booing. Still, he will derive comfort from the fact that when the late Sir Robert Mark took over the same job in 1972, also in the wake of scandals at the Yard, he was even more unpopular. “I felt rather like the representative of a leper colony attending the annual garden party of a colonial governor,” was how he summed up his reception. But he persisted, and is now regarded as one of the greatest of commissioners. He also said: “A good police force is one that catches more criminals than it employs.” No commissioner has cracked a worthwhile gag since.

• Suddenly, there is no more Murray Morse at the helm of the Irish Post. It did seem a strange move, from the Daily Sport to the Irish Post, but it was a lively time. Some were perturbed when, in his first week, he managed to upset the Irish embassy, much of the Irish community in Britain and the president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, to the extent that an apology was required. Others suffered motion sickness as the organ lurched rightwards. No word on the circumstances of his departure, but apparently no tears either. The only way seems up for the Post.

• Tension, meanwhile, at the Ecuadorean embassy as the author Dominic Shelmerdine arrives with letters of support for the ambassador Ana Alban and Julian Assange. On his first visit, police tell him to “keep away”. On his second, he brushes past a big security officer, is surrounded by six burly police officers and moves towards the door, only to have an embassy official decline to accept his letter. On the third attempt, protesters outside accuse him of being an undercover policeman. Little Assange is short of friends.

• Finally, when awards are doled out to celebs for just doing their jobs, it’s refreshing to see recognition for others performing public service. Congrats to Tom Grundy, who will receive £2,400 for his attempt to make a citizen’s arrest of Tony Blair at an event in Hong Kong. The money comes from a bounty fund created by the Arrest Blair Campaign, brainchild of Guardian columnist George Monbiot. Grundy, who will give the money to charity, is the fourth recipient to have met the Arrest Blair rules, which don’t actually require the former PM to be apprehended. The criteria reward endeavour and intent. The area is contentious, for some see Blair as a war criminal, and some don’t. Still, watching the former PM pursued by bounty-hunters does add an agreeable something to the gaiety of the nation. On that basis alone, this is money well spent.

Twitter: @hugh_muir

A Tory at the BBC? It wouldn’t be the first time

Category : Business

Boris Johnson was as outspoken as ever about political placement at the BBC. But rare is the chairman of board or trust who has not been affiliated to one of the main parties

Boris, in full blond bulldozer mode, tells the BBC where to find its next director general: “We need a Tory, and no mucking around.” Watch lips purse, hear sharp intakes of breath. The people appointed to run British broadcasting must surely be “independent” – not party nominees. The gabby mayor has boobed again.

But (just to remind) let’s not get too sanctimonious about perfect Portland Place propriety. The BBC already has a former Conservative party chairman as its supreme trustee-cum-governor. He succeeded a former Labour councillor, who (after a spasm of trust transition) succeeded a former Tory chief whip, who succeeded the banker husband of the human dynamo who ran Gordon Brown’s office. The chairmen of the governors before that were an active Conservative local politician (and Bow Group chairman), the retired MD of the Times and the brother of a Conservative cabinet minister.

And remember who appoints DGs. The chair of the trust takes the lead. Chris Patten is doing it again right now (as gossip about Ed Richards, ex-aide to Blair in No 10, moving over from Ofcom accelerates). And the thought that whoever emerges from the process will somehow be free of party connection is plain illusion, not born out by even the most cursory glance at history.

Is the BBC itself actually independent? For the most part, yes: because its staff in their thousands hang on to such freedom. Those are the people who safeguard its reputation. But politicians and sundry advisers? They’ve been poking their fingers in the pie through the decades: and we ought grimly to acknowledge as much.

Over at Leveson you could sense the same sands shifting as the lord justice and Gus O’Donnell, the last cabinet secretary, played a cosy little game. Gus wanted regulation made “independent and compulsory” under a “truly independent chairman” appointed by “fair and open competition” with “a panel that would have credibility”.

It would need “to be quite a strong body”, he added. And “not in any sense government-led or government-controlled,” chimed in LJL – “either expressly or implicitly, so that it is seen to be independent in the true sense, not merely in its appointment but its operation.”

They went on to discuss Gus’s idea, based on his fleeting experience of American newspapers, of “segregating fact and comment” so that – “as with the code that civil servants operate to” – there could be strong belief in “honesty, objectivity, integrity and impartiality” imposed as a “kind of rule of thumb”. Maybe someone like the information commissioner could have a role here, he suggested. At which point, listen for a scream of brakes.

Before he was cabinet secretary, Gus ran No 10 press relations for John Major. So, after him, did another career civil servant, Sir Christopher Meyer, who went on to be our ambassador in Washington before becoming chairman of the Press Complaints Commission. Saintly O’Donnell, soiled Meyer? It’s a ridiculous distinction – as ridiculous as saying that Charles Anson (once press secretary to the Queen), Judge Jeremy Roberts, Michael Grade (once chairman at the BBC) and Julie Spence (former chief constable of Cambridgeshire) are also unfitted for the duty they exercise at the PCC.

What did Christopher Graham, the present information commissioner, do before he arrived at the ICO? He was director general at the Advertising Standards Authority – just like Mark Bolland, the first director of the PCC.

Independence isn’t some adjective-rich device that pops down the Whitehall slipway on demand. Look at “fair and open competition” when it comes to choosing who’ll run the BBC and hoot with laughter. Look at the tradition of British newspaper life over three centuries and laugh again. Think of a retired judge or a retired permanent secretary deciding what’s fact, what’s opinion and what pages they shall go on.

It would all be in the cause of press freedom, of course. No participant in the present debate would dream of saying otherwise. But even Boris would know what to call it: just mucking around.

On message? Who knows?

How shall we know when Delivering Quality First at the BBC has been, well, delivered? The idea – now fully endorsed by the trust – is to pare away here and there so that only the most attentive viewer and listener can spot that the money has gone. Blue Peter banished to CBBC? One presenter at a time on the BBC news channel? Fewer Radio Three3 concerts? Eight hundred newshounds out to grass? Somehow you feel a shrunken service may survive, though – if it can get over the stringent upheaval about to be wreaked on BBC4′s service contract in the following, cherishable trustspeak: “Wording changed from ‘it should record and broadcast performance from the nations and regions’ to ‘it should provide a platform for local celebrations in the nations and regions and should also create occasions that bring people together.’” Delivering incomprehensibility later, perhaps?

VIDEO: EU ‘taking all neccessary action’

Category : World News

EU Economic Commissioner Olli Rehn has said the eurozone is taking “all neccessary action in order to overcome” the debt crisis.

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EU ‘plans for Greek exit option’

Category : Business, World News

The EU Commission and European Central Bank are making contingency plans for a possible Greek exit from the euro, an EU commissioner says.

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