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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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Dr. Doom: Buy stocks while you still can

Category : Business, Stocks

Economist Nouriel Roubini thinks there’s a big crash and depression coming, but investors can ride this bubble higher for the next two years.

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Twitter flash crash ‘is just noise’

Category : Business

Retail investors say they’re not worried about market structure issues following the so-called Twitter flash crash.

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Stocks: Earnings still pouring in

Category : Stocks

Investors might be hoping for a calm day of trading today after yesterday’s mini flash crash. But another big round of earnings reports are on tap.

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Infant delivered after fatal NY crash said to be in serious condition – CBS News

Category : Stocks

CBS News
Infant delivered after fatal NY crash said to be in serious condition
CBS News
NEW YORK New York City police are still looking for the driver of a BMW and a passenger who witnesses say slammed into a car carrying a young pregnant woman and her husband and then fled the scene. The couple, Nachman and Raizy Glauber, died in
Baby born alive after crash kills motherThe Guardian
After Parents Die in Crash, a BirthWall Street Journal
Expectant Parents Die in NY Crash; Infant SurvivesABC News
Los Angeles Times

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Egyptian hot-air balloonists mainly not well trained, expert claims

Category : Business

Luxor crash prompts warning from flying club chair Phil Dunnington on failure by authorities to assess pilot skills

Egyptian hot-air balloon pilots have “very weak” training that is “inappropriate to best practice”, a British balloon expert, who advises the country’s government on safety in the sector, has warned.

The warning comes a day after 19 tourists, including three British residents, died in a balloon crash in Luxor, in one of worst balloon accidents in living memory.

Phil Dunnington, chair of the British Balloon and Airship Club, has visited Egypt eight times in the past six years to assess Egyptian balloonists at the request of the government.

He said the Egyptian authorities did not regularly assess local pilots’ skills, and that examiners were often not balloon experts.

Tourists from at least five countries were killed early on Tuesday morning as a hot-air balloon carrying them on a dawn cruise near Luxor crashed in flames onto a sugarcane field.

One of the only survivors Michael Rennie, a Briton, was discharged from hospital on Wednesday.

The dead included Joe Bampton, 40, a British antiques dealer, and his Hungarian girlfriend, Suzanna Gyetvai, 34, and Yvonne Rennie, a receptionist from Perth. Rennie’s husband, Michael, who jumped from the burning balloon as it came into land, was one of only two people, along with the pilot, Momin Mourad Ali, to escape death.

Dunnington said of ballooning tuition in Egypt: “It’s a very weak system. It’s inappropriate to best practice.” He acknowledged that there were nevertheless balloon companies in Egypt that operated to very high standards.

He added: “One of the difficulties in Egypt is that there’s no independent and objective assessment of pilot’s ongoing skills. Their pilots have to do an annual test flight but they do it with someone from their own company, with someone from the Civil Aviation Authority present who has not necessarily got any expertise in balloon-specific flying. The CAA person is not there to judge the pilot. They just register that the test flight has taken place.”

Several of the crash victims were Thomas Cook customers. The travel company was criticised for not changing balloon operators after an earlier crash involving the same operator, in 2011.

Another balloon belonging to Sky Cruises, the operator used by Thomas Cook since 2004, crashed into the Nile in October 2011. No one was killed on that occasion, but the balloon hit a boat and was left floating on the river. Passengers suffered bruising.

While the pilot involved in the 2011 crash no longer works for Sky Cruises, the company remained the preferred carrier for Blue Sky travel agents, and by extension Thomas Cook, whom they represent in Egypt.

But Thomas Cook said it was up to the Egyptian civil aviation authority to judge the suitability of balloon operators.

“We, like all other major tour operators, rely upon this endorsement by the Egyptian civil aviation authority, and it is reasonable for us to do so as we rely on their expertise,” the company said in a statement.

Thomas Cook’s local representative, Blue Sky travel agents, denied it should have switched carriers after the 2011 incident.

“We [were] worried, of course,” said Kamal el-Kordy, Blue Sky’s upper Egypt area manager. “But we have to follow the rules. They [Sky Cruises] have all the documents from all the civil aviation control. What can we do? We are not engineers and they have all the paperwork according to the law.”

According to paperwork seen by the Guardian the crashed balloon was authorised for use by Egypt’s civil aviation authority until October 2013.

Sky Cruises is not the only company to have been involved in crashes in recent years.

In April 2009, 16 people were hurt, including two British women, when a balloon crashed during a tour of Luxor.

The balloon was believed to have hit a mobile phone transmission tower near the banks of the Nile. After the crash, early morning hot air balloon flights over the Valley of the Kings were suspended for six months while safety measures were tightened up.

There were at least four other non-fatal crashes that year involving tourists, including three on one day, and there were also crashes in 2007 and 2008.

As state investigators ruled out foul play as a cause for this week’s tragedy, local politicians and police officers visited the crash site to lay flowers in memory of those who died.

Across town tourists who witnessed the crash were still struggling to come to terms with what had happened.

“I spent the whole day in tears yesterday,” said Tristram Mitchell, a 40-year-old tourist from Devon, who witnessed what happened from a balloon flying 100 metres from the crash, and who has decided to extend his stay in Luxor to show solidarity with his hosts. “It was horrific.”

James Massie, a 37-year-old anthropologist from Connecticut, in the US, was standing next to Mitchell as they saw the balloon catch fire. “There was initial disbelief,” he said. “The flames seemed larger than expected.”

As they saw passengers jumping from the balloon, people started to fear for their own safety. “I imagined myself in that balloon,” said Massie. “I started worrying about how we were going to get down.”

Mohamed Youssef, who was flying the balloon near the one that crashed, said: “The people in my balloon started to cry. They started to shout. I said, don’t worry, we will land soon, it will be OK. They were very worried.”

Representatives of Sky Cruises would not speculate on the causes of the crash. “The [state investigation] committee is the one that’s going to decide on what happened. They’ve taken the witness statements and they will decide. The fate is with god,” said Captain Hany Salah, Sky Cruise’s operations manager.

But the company’s general manager, Khalid Khatifah, said it was painful to watch footage of the crash obtained on Wednesday by the Guardian. “It was painful. I can’t describe my feelings. The spirit comes out of my body at this sight.”

Meanwhile, other balloon operators in Luxor were left fearing for their industry. Aviation authorities suspended all balloon activities following the crash, prompting fears that more permanent measures might follow, crippling an industry upon which, residents say, about 1,000 residents relied on for their livelihoods.

“We’re worried about our business,” said Alaa Mahmoud, sales manager for Magic Horizon, a balloon line, which once attracted the custom of Melvyn Bragg, whose photograph is framed in Mahmoud’s office.

“We follow the rules and regulations, but over 1,000 people will starve if the balloon business in Egypt is stopped. If they stop the balloons, what are they going to do?”

Tourism in Egypt is already floundering in the country following two years of political unrest; it has fallen 22% since 2010.

4 ways the market could really surprise you

Category : Business, Stocks

It’s impossible to time a stock market crash, but the chances that ‘something’ bad will happen should always be on investors’ minds. Here are four wild, yet plausible, blowup scenarios.

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Toyota settles fatal crash case

Category : World News

Toyota settles a wrongful death lawsuit following a fatal crash involving sudden acceleration, in what could be the first of hundreds of such cases.

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Bubbles, tulips, booms and busts: same story, different dates

Category : Business

Salutary lessons can be learned from past financial crises

Perhaps one of the most cheering moments of 2012 was when Sir Mervyn King summoned Barclays chairman Marcus Agius and told him that after the appalling revelations about Libor-fixing, the bank’s chief executive Bob Diamond would have to go – or, as the Sun headline had it: “Sign on, You Crazy Diamond.”

Both King’s high moral tone and the headline-writers’ cheek seemed refreshingly modern – but for anyone wandering the damp streets of London with half an hour or so to kill during this festive season, a corner of the British Museum offers a healthy dose of historical perspective on these and many other events over the past torrid five years.

Tucked away in Room 69a, just around the corner from a display of Roman pottery, is a small temporary exhibition dedicated to “Bubbles and Bankruptcy: Financial Crises in Britain Since 1700″.

One exhibit is a cartoon from Punch, published after the Bank of England bailed out Barings (yes, that Barings) in 1890. A stiff-looking woman with an apron made of banknotes – the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street – crossly hands out cash to a queue of cowed financiers, saying: “You’ve Got Yourself into a Nice Mess With Your ‘Speculation’!” It must be reassuring for King to regard himself as today’s incarnation of that starchy matron.

It’s also salutary – and somehow comforting – to see artefacts from the events of the recent crash boxed up in glass cases as historical exhibits: an empty champagne bottle from the flotation of the ill-fated Northern Rock; a Steve Bell cartoon of ravenous fat cats having their toenails gingerly clipped by George Osborne; and a handful of credit cards from the bailed-out banks.

These now-poignant objects sit alongside exhibits illustrating a bevy of other investment frenzies and financial crises: the South Sea bubble, tulip mania and the railway investment boom – and bust – of the mid-19th century.

Apart from the facile (but nonetheless true) insight that there’s nothing new under the sun, the exhibition holds one or two other lessons for today’s policymakers.

The first is that these boom-bust events tend to follow a classic arc: a tale with a grain of truth in it is seized on and peddled to credulous investors by an unholy alliance of greedy optimists and downright swindlers.

An engraving in one case shows a certain Gregor MacGregor, a dashing-looking Scottish general who went off to Latin America and came back claiming to have discovered a lush territory called Poyais. He raised an extraordinary £200,000 – detailed in minute letters on a loan document on display – from investors convinced by the tale of vast, untapped riches in a faraway colony.

Unfortunately for MacGregor and the hundreds of would-be settlers who believed his tale and boldly set out across the Atlantic from Leith, Poyais turned out to be largely uninhabitable, and his backers lost their money.

Anyone reading the wild predictions about the potential riches to be made from exploiting shale gas deposits in the US should recognise the ring of a story so compelling that, given enough time, it could easily become a vast investment bubble. Fortunes will be made, but also lost.

A share certificate from the Sheffield and Retford Bank is a reminder that when Britain’s railways arrived, they certainly transformed the economy and created millionaires; but many of the early firms set up to drive brand-new lines across great tracts of the country went bust. The Sheffield and Retford made many loans to these companies. When they defaulted, the bank failed.

Some of the items on display also highlight the way that Britain’s political and social elites have always been prone to being seduced by smooth-talking investors. An 18th-century ballad, the Bubblers Medley, printed at the time of the South Sea crash, talks of the “Stars and Garters” tempted into the scheme alongside “harlots” from Drury Lane.

However, Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling should note that while the then chancellor of the exchequer, John Aislabie, did buy shares in the South Sea company, he shrewdly sold them before the crash – as visitors can see from the bill with his signature – making them over to some more gullible citizen.

When veteran bank-watcher Sir Donald Cruickshank appeared before the parliamentary commission on banking standards recently, he also called for some historical perspective, urging its members to immerse themselves in a copy of Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now.

Reading the rip-roaring adventures of shady financier Augustus Melmotte, who takes London by storm with his eye-watering wealth, drawing politicians and aristocrats into his net, it’s hard not to think of the charming chancers in charge of Britain’s banks, who convinced us (and themselves) they were financial geniuses before the crisis – and were revealed to be self-deluded at best.

True, Melmotte certainly wouldn’t resort to the vulgar “done … for you big boy” tone of the emails that surfaced in the Barclays Libor settlement, but the sentiment is similar. Or, as Cruickshank put it: “I don’t think bankers are any worse than they have been before: they always calibrate off society … We have been here before.”

VIDEO: Dubai’s return to ‘mega-projects’

Category : Business, World News

Dubai has announced plans for a number of new large-scale projects, following the country’s property crash in 2008.

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Many questions to answer after train strikes wounded veterans’ float in Midland – Dallas Morning News

Category : Stocks

Dallas Morning News
Many questions to answer after train strikes wounded veterans' float in Midland
Dallas Morning News
Emergency responders work the scene of an accident that left four people dead and 16 injured Thursday during a parade honoring wounded veterans. The trailer, carrying wounded veterans and their families, was struck by a speeding train.
Veterans' biographies reveal courage, hopeMidland Reporter-Telegram
Fateful Timing in Veterans' Tragic CrashWall Street Journal
Grief and Questions Abound After Fatal Parade CollisionNew York Times
Washington Post

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