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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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Mexico Congress passes telecoms bill

Category : World News

Mexico’s Congress passes a bill aimed at making the telecoms industry more competitive, in a move that could challenge the world’s richest man.

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Tirex Resources Announces Involvement in 7th Congress of the Balkan Geophysical Society (BGS)

Category : World News

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – March 28, 2013) - Tirex Resources Ltd. (“Tirex”) (TSX VENTURE:TXX) is pleased to announce that Tirana, Albania has been chosen to host the 7th Congress of the Balkan Geophysical Society and that Prof. Dr. Perparim Alikaj, Tirex Country Manager has been appointed as a member of the organizing committee of this Congress.

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No deal in sight on US budget cuts

Category : World News

The US is braced for steep budget cuts after Republicans and Democrats in Congress adjourn for the weekend despite a Friday deadline for a deal.

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Workers at naval shipyard visited by Obama fear sequester will cost jobs

Category : Business

Crowd’s concerns contradict polls that suggest little public interest in across-the-board cuts due to be imposed on Friday

Workers and management at one of the biggest naval shipyards in the US joined Tuesday to express concern over the potential damage from the latest budget standoff in Washington.

As Barack Obama used the Newport News yard in Virginia as a backdrop for his latest attempt to bounce Republicans in Congress into a deal over the sequester, employees said they were concerned that the failure to reach a deal would lead to layoffs.

The personal stories, detailing the consequences for families of unemployment or even a cut in hours, suggest the confrontation over the sequester – $86bn of budget cuts that kick in Friday if there is no deal in Congress – is already having an impact, creating fear among workers and uncertainty among businesses.

Obama, in his speech in front of thousands of shipyard workers, said the consequences of failing to agree a deal could be devastating. Republicans argue that Obama is exaggerating and is guilty of scare-mongering. 

Workers in the crowd contradicted polls that suggest there is little public interest in the sequester row or that the Republicans are in line for the blame. 

For these workers, the sequester is not academic. Christina Licano, a welder who came to Virgina from New Mexico two-and-a-half years ago for the work, said: “I am worried that if it does come to cuts, it will affect the navy. Our lives depend on these jobs.”

Mike Petters, chief executive officer of Huntington Ingalls Industries, which owns the Newport News yard, said the budget row has already had an effect. Speaking after Obama’s speech, he told the Guardian: “We are ready to make investments in our business and we are holding just now to see how this will play out.”

Newport News Shipbuilding employs about 22,000, mainly building nuclear submarines and carriers. The yard provided a striking backdrop for Obama’s speech, delivered to thousands of workers crowded onto the floor of a giant hangar usually reserved for submarine construction. Hundreds more lined the gangways above, many still wearing their hardhats.

The president warned that their jobs, and many others across the country, “are currently in jeopardy because of politics in Washington”. The impact of the sequester would not be felt overnight, he said, but it would be real. “You know that if Congress can’t get together and plan our nation’s finances for the long term, that over time some of your jobs and businesses could be at risk,” he said.

Obama said that at nearby Norfolk naval station: “the threat of these cuts has already forced the navy to cancel the deployment, or delay the repair of certain aircraft carriers. One that’s currently being built might not get finished. Another carrier might not get started at all. And that hurts your bottom line. That hurts this community”.

But workers in the audience refused to single out the Republicans for blame. Licano, the welder, was scathing of all politicians. “Why can’t they get together and sort it out? We have to work together [in the yard], different trades coming together. Why can’t they?”

As well as the 22,000 at the yard, there are another 70,000 in this corner of Virginia who are dependent on Defense Department contracts. The sequester puts them at risk from cuts in their hours, through to lay-off.

Beth Tilton, who instals insulation in submarines at the yard, said the economy is in the worst shape she has seen since childhood. “I am 46 years old and never seen it this bad,” she said.

Tilton, a single mother originally from Miami, said: “The work puts food on the table.” If there are layoffs, she said:”I would just have to survive on unemployment [benefit].”

Ricky Jordan, 54, a ship-fitter at the yard for 36 years, said there had been no layoffs in the time had been there, but he is worried now. “I am worried about layoffs. I have got a wife and four kids. One in college. I have got to see her through college,” Jordan said. 

Leslie Smith, 38, a submarine designer, was more sanguine. “The effect of the sequester is not official yet.” But he acknowledged there is concern. “People are worried. Everyone is worried about jobs these days. On Friday, things will change, one way or another. I hope it does not effect me or the people here. No one wants layoffs.”

Obama was accompanied on the trip by a Republican congressman for the area, Scott Rigell. Asked by reporters aboard Air Force One what he would say to his Republican counterparts, Rigell said: “For those who believe that the sequester ought to be fully implemented, my response is this: even if you hold the view that defence spending should come down, this is not the right way to do it. There are better alternatives to this.”

Asked if he was worried about participating in what Republicans see as a campaign roadshow, Rigell said: “I boarded the plane knowing that some would potentially misinterpret this.” But he said the risk was worth it in order to be allowed to put his views directly to the president.

Obama pledges to reignite economy

Category : World News

President Obama urges Congress to back his plans for government action to revive the sluggish US economy in his annual State of the Union speech.

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Obama offers spending-cuts deal

Category : Business

President Obama urges Congress to pass short-term spending cuts and tax reforms to delay larger cuts next month, a plan rejected by Republicans.

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Congress extends US debt limit

Category : Business

The US Congress extends the nation’s borrowing limit until the middle of May, setting the stage for yet another fiscal fight in the spring.

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Republicans agree three-month debt ceiling increase in surprise boost for Obama

Category : Business

In surprise move, GOP lawmakers show first signs of backing down over debt crisis by giving Congress time to pass a budget

Republicans showed the first sign of backing down over the looming debt ceiling crisis on Friday, in the face of relentless pressure from President Barack Obama.

Congressional Republicans, who only last week had been threatening to close down the federal government, emerged from closed-door negotiations at a party retreat to announce they will present a bill next week to increase the debt limit by a further three months.

The White House gave the move a cautious welcome to the news.

It is an unexpected bonus for Obama just days before the start of his second presidential term, and gives him breathing space so that instead of another showdown between White House and Republicans in Congress at the end of next month or in March, the issue could be pushed back until summer.

Eric Cantor, the Republican majority leader in the House, said: “Next week, we will authorise a three-month temporary debt limit increase to give the Senate and House time to pass a budget.”

The GOP came close to closing down the federal government in 2011 when they initially refused to raise the debt ceiling.

A messy compromise was eventually worked out. But Obama said earlier this month, after yet another economic showdown, he would not negotiate with the Republicans over the debt limit.

Obama, ramping up pressure on opponents in Congress, held a press conference at the White House on Monday, warning them that if they were not prepared to raise the ceiling, then they would have to take the blame for government closing down.

Obama’s strategy appears to have worked, with the Republicans worried about the electoral consequences of government grinding to a halt, which would mean hundreds of thousands of people – from welfare recipients to veterans – no longer receiving their cheques, federal staff going on forced leave and agency after agency being shut down.

The Republican cave-in was announced from their retreat near Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, where they have been discussing overall strategy in the wake of the November elections.

In what appears to be a political gimmick, the Republicans are to attach to the bill extending the debt limit for three months clauses that would see members of Congress have their pay withheld unless they can reach agreement on a separate issue: a budget that cuts spending.

The Republicans had been using the debt ceiling crisis as leverage to try to force Obama into accepting deep spending cuts, particularly in welfare.

Cantor, in a statement, said of the proviso in next week’s bill about the three-month extension: “If the Senate or House fails to pass a budget in that time, members of Congress will not be paid by the American people for failing to do their job. No budget, no pay.”

The Republicans are banking on the idea of members’ losing their pay being popular with voters.

But both the White House and the Democratic leadership in the Senate dismissed the idea, saying they wanted a “clean bill”, focused solely on raising the debt ceiling.

The White House, in a statement, said: “The president has made clear that Congress has only two options: pay the bills they have racked up, or fail to do so and put our nation into default.

“We are encouraged that there are signs that congressional Republicans may back off their insistence on holding our economy hostage to extract drastic cuts in Medicare, education and programs middle class families depend on. Congress must pay its bills and pass a clean debt limit increase without further delay. And as he has said, the president remains committed to further reducing the deficit in a balanced way.”

The Democratic leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, said if the House passes a clean bill raising the debt ceiling, even temporarily, the Senate would be happy to consider it.

A spokesman said Reid saw the move as the Republicans beginning to back off from their threat to “hold our economy hostage”.

Separate from the debt ceiling, a deal on spending is within reach. Obama has already agreed to consider changes to the index that determines welfare benefits, something the Republicans have been pushing for but Democrats have resisted, and to raise the age at which Medicare kicks in, another Republican proposal.

He and the Republican House speaker, John Boehner, are not too far apart either over a global figure for spending cuts.

Do you support a bailout for the US Postal Service?

Category : Business

A top watchdog warns that the USPS, loaded with debt, will ‘cease to exist’ this year, unless Congress rescues it. Do you support a bailout?

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Mitch McConnell draws Republican line in the sand on tax increases

Category : Business

Senate minority leader says debt ceiling talks must focus on spending cuts, a day after Obama targets further tax reform

The Republican co-architect of the deal which meant America avoided the fiscal cliff has ruled out any further tax hikes on the rich, stating that spending cuts must be the focus of looming talks over the debt ceiling.

Speaking on ABC’s This Week, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said the issue of tax revenues was “finished, over, completed”, and added that negotiations must now be centered solely on the White House’s “spending addiction”.

The comments, coming from a man who last week worked with the vice-president, Joe Biden, to broker a last-minute agreement to stave off a punitive austerity package that could have plunged America back into recession, will be taken as a drawing of a line in the sand by Republican negotiators. McConnell’s words came a day after President Barack Obama signalled that he would be pursuing a hard line in future talks with the Republicans.

Despite having only narrowly avoided the so-called fiscal cliff of across-the-board tax increases and swingeing spending cuts, Washington is bracing itself for another round of brinkmanship over the debt ceiling. The administration needs Congress to increase the US’s borrowing limit, to ensure the smooth running of government. Without an agreement to do so, America could default on its debt, potentially triggering a panic on the markets.

Last year, uncertainty over whether lawmakers would increases the debt limit contributed to America’s credit rating being downgraded, despite politicians agreeing to an eleventh-hour deal to raise the ceiling.

In his weekly radio address on Saturday, Obama outlined the consequences of failing to do so again.

“If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic,” he said. “The last time Congress threatened this course of action, our entire economy suffered for it. Our families and our businesses cannot afford that dangerous game again.”

Obama said he accepted that spending cuts would form part of the solution, but that they “must be balanced with more reforms to our tax code”.

In the fiscal cliff deal, Democrats secured a hike in tax rates for families making more than $450,000 a year and saw significant spending cuts postponed. The deal passed through Congress, despite coming under heavy attack from Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Mindful, perhaps, of an apparent schism in GOP ranks over the fiscal cliff deal, McConnell has set out his stall well in advance of the next round of negotiations.

“The tax issue is finished, over, completed,” said the senator from Kentucky. “That’s behind us. Now the question is what are we going to do about the biggest problem confronting our country and our future, and that’s our spending addiction.”

Asked whether Republicans would threaten a default on the US’s obligations if spending-cut concessions were not forthcoming, McConnell said: “It’s not even necessary to get to that point. Why aren’t we trying to settle the problem? Why aren’t we trying to do something about reducing spending?”

Democrats on Sunday warned that any deal over the debt ceiling would have to form a mix of increased revenue and spending cuts. Representative Chris Van Hollen told Fox News Sunday that McConnell’s comments represented “a recipe for more gridlock” in Washington.