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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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Shell barred from returning to drill for oil in Arctic without overhaul

Category : Business

Review finds company had failed to plan for short drilling season and its equipment did not stand up to harsh conditions

Shell “screwed up” drilling for oil in Arctic waters and will not be allowed back without a comprehensive overhaul of its plans, the Obama administration said on Thursday.

A government review found the oil company was not prepared for the extreme conditions in the Arctic, which resulted in a series of blunders and accidents culminating in the New Year’s Eve grounding of its drill rig.

Shell announced a “pause” in Arctic drilling last month. But Ken Salazar, the interior secretary, told a reporters’ conference call that the company will not be allowed to return without producing a much more detailed plan, one tailored specifically to the harsh Arctic conditions.

“Shell will not be able to move forward into the Arctic to do any kind of exploration unless they have this integrated management plan put in place,” said Salazar, in one of his last acts before standing down as interior secretary. “It’s that plain and simple.”

The findings of the review could mean further costs and delays for Shell, which has spent years and $4.5bn securing permits to drill in Arctic waters.

But it did not satisfy some environmental groups which said the review demonstrated the government should never have allowed drilling in the first place.

Salazar and other officials said Shell had not been prepared to drill last year, when a season of blunders and accidents was capped with the New Year’s Eve grounding of one of its drilling rigs.

“Shell screwed up in 2012 and we are not going to let them screw up after their pause is removed,” Salazar said.

The review said Shell had failed to plan for the short drilling season in the Arctic, and the extreme weather conditions. Its equipment, in particular, did not stand up to the harsh environment.

The review did not focus on the government’s failings to anticipate last summer’s near-disasters in the Arctic, and administration officials admitted in the call: “The government has a lot to learn.”

Instead the review reserved its harshest criticism for Shell’s management of its contractors. The review said the company failed to make sure its contractors were up to operating in Arctic conditions. The makers of Shell’s oil spill containment device – which failed on an early test in relatively calm waters off Seattle – only had experience in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a further attempt for a more stringent oversight regime, the review also recommended that any future Arctic plans put forward by Shell be subjected to third-party audit.

The review won cautious praise from some environmental groups as a “first step” towards improving safety in Arctic drilling.

“We are pleased the interior department has conducted this public review, it’s an important first step towards preventing future drilling accidents in the Arctic Ocean,” said Marilyn Heiman, director of the US Arctic programme for Pew Charitable Trusts.

However, Greenpeace said Shell had got off too lightly. “The government should be embarrassed for granting Shell the permits it did this year,” the campaign group said. “This report merely gives big oil a slap on the wrist.”

Conservation group Oceana said that the review had dodged a key question of the administration’s failure to anticipate that Shell would not be prepared to drill in the Arctic.

“The department of the interior must accept responsibility for the failures that resulted in approvals and permits being granted to a company that was obviously not ready,” Oceana said in a statement.

“The government should suspend activities on leases in the Arctic Ocean until and unless companies prove they can operate safely and without harm to the environment and without harm to opportunities for the subsistence way of life.”

Salazar ordered the review of Arctic offshore drilling after a Shell drilling vessel ran aground off the coast of Alaska on New Year’s Eve.

After ordering the review, Salazar told reporters he had doubts about whether drilling could ever be done safely in a region as harsh and remote as the Arctic Sea.

On Thursday, however, Salazar and other officials told reporters that the Obama administration remained committed to drilling for oil in the Arctic.

Catholic cardinals start search for pope to clean up Benedict’s messy legacy – The Guardian

Category : Stocks

The Guardian
Catholic cardinals start search for pope to clean up Benedict's messy legacy
The Guardian
Italians fatigued by politics may have switched on the television on Sunday night for a spot of escapism. Showing in all its licentious glory was the first episode of historical drama The Borgias, in which Jeremy Irons stars as dastardly Pope Alexander VI and the
Discord in Rome greets cardinals on eve of conclaveBoston Globe
Cardinals meet Monday; could set date to elect new PopeCNN
Even without a pope, the Vatican is not so quietCBS News
BBC News

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What Happens in Vegas on New Year’s Stays… So Party All Night With International Model and Multi-Media Sensation Jordan Carver as She Puts Her Assets on Display and Rings in 2013 as Host of PBR Rock Bar’s New Year’s Eve

Category : Stocks

LAS VEGAS, NV–(Marketwire – Dec 29, 2012) – When it comes to the clock ticking towards
midnight, Times Square‘s got nothing on the Las Vegas Strip
– especially this year with Jordan Carver (
hosting PBR Rock Bar’s New Year’s Eve 2013 Celebration.

Excerpt from: What Happens in Vegas on New Year’s Stays… So Party All Night With International Model and Multi-Media Sensation Jordan Carver as She Puts Her Assets on Display and Rings in 2013 as Host of PBR Rock Bar’s New Year’s Eve

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Retailers kickstart Boxing Day sales … on Christmas Eve

Category : Business

Sales shoppers meet last-minute panic buyers as UK shops kick-off traditional discounts two days earlier

Forget Boxing Day, the sales are on now. Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Currys/PC World have forgone tradition and will start their sales on Monday.

M&S began its online sale at noon on Christmas Eve, John Lewis kicked off its sale at 5pm and Currys/PC World at 7pm. M&S has even bought the “Christmas Eve sales” search terms on Google in an attempt to attract shoppers.

The dash for bargains will continue on Christmas Day, with online retailers predicting a record 82m visits, a 32% increase on last year, according to Experian. Amazon will begin its sale a day earlier than normal on Christmas Day at 9am.

The last-minute dash to the high street is also expected to be much busier than in previous years. Many consumers were unable to finish all their shopping on 23 December – normally the busiest Christmas shopping day – because of Sunday trading laws limiting shops to just six hours trading.

To get round the ban M&S reopened more than 60 of its stores to allow customers to buy up essentials before Monday’s crush of last-minute panic buyers.

The high street will be at the busiest it has been all year at around lunchtime and early afternoon on Monday, according to experts at Ipsos Retail Performance (IPR), which measures shoppers footfall.

“This December we have seen unusual patterns of shopping activity and buyer behaviour which is now culminating in a mad dash to the shops by many consumers – and very possibly men – who have left some if not all of their gift buying for family and friends until the last minute,” said Peter Luff, president of IPR.

“Over the past week, shoppers were out in their numbers across the UK, but the extra day ahead of Christmas will mean that many consumers will be out shopping for last-minute gifts and other items associated with the holiday season, such as food and drink.”

Luff said high street shopping activity for the past week is up 17% on the previous week, but is still 2.2% down on 2011.

The British Retail Consortium said spending in the run-up to Christmas had been “acceptable but not exceptional”. The retail industry trade association said spending over the final weekend before Christmas is expected to ring in at £5bn.

Waitrose said on Sunday it was its busiest ever Sunday shop, with twice as many customers flocking through the aisles as the previous Sunday. “But [there's] still more shopping to do [on Monday], with many people unable to make it to the supermarket during shorter Sunday trading period – Waitrose expects Monday’s sales to beat those of last Christmas Eve, despite last year’s Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday.”

The supermarket said Waitrose lorries have delivered 1.4m cases of stock each day on the last weekend.

Sainsbury’s reported its busiest-ever hour in terms of customers served from midday to 1pm on Sunday, while 35 branches opened at midnight and will trade until 6pm on Monday.

A million visitors were expected in London’s West End during the three-day period from Saturday to Monday, during which more than £100m was expected to be spent.

The Bluewater shopping centre in Kent was also anticipating a surge in sales on Monday as Saturday’s footfall was up 14% from the previous week.

However, almost 140 firms are facing the threat of closure, according to restructuring firm Begbies Traynor.

Richard Dodd, of the BRC, said there would “undoubtedly” be more high street chains that fail to cling on after Christmas.

The creeping forward of Christmas sales to Christmas Day and before has alarmed Church leaders. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey said: “Christmas Day is a time to be together with the family, to focus on the children and to have a great time together. This day is precious. We are now in danger of the gadgets taking over our lives and we are not in control of them.”

Steve Jenkins, a spokesman for the Church of England, urged people to make time to go to church and have a family lunch on Christmas Day.

“What really matters is that people make time to go to church, to have a family Christmas lunch, to open presents with their families – and maybe spend a bit of time online spending their new Christmas vouchers,” he said.

Pope ahead of Christmas: Find room for God – Jerusalem Post

Category : Stocks

New York Daily News
Pope ahead of Christmas: Find room for God
Jerusalem Post
Pope Benedict leads world's Roman Catholics into Christmas, urges people to find room for God in their fast-paced lives, asks for prayers for those who “live and suffer” in the Holy Land. Pope Benedict XVI waves as he gives Urbi et Orbi
Pope Benedict prays for Middle East peace at Christmas MassBBC News
Pope says denying God no path to peace in Christmas Eve massHindustan Times
Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainmentNECN
Voice of America

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Stocks tumble as fiscal cliff deadline nears

Category : Business

There won’t be much for investors to cheer on Christmas eve, with little in the way of news to halt the recent slide for U.S. stocks.

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Christmas rail strikes called off

Category : Business, World News

ScotRail confirms that strike action due to take place on 22 December and Christmas Eve has been called off.

Continue reading here: Christmas rail strikes called off

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VIDEO: Burma ‘determined’ to attract investors

Category : Business, World News

On eve of the historic visit by US President Barack Obama, Burma is determined to show it is open for business, says an analyst.

Continue reading here: VIDEO: Burma ‘determined’ to attract investors

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Intertainment Media, Inc. (ITMTF: OTC Link) | Home Country News Release – Intertainment’s Ortsbo Reaches Over 200 Million Unique Monthly Users on Eve of Second Anniversary

Category : Stocks, World News

Intertainment Media, Inc. has filed a Home Country News Release – Intertainment?s Ortsbo Reaches Over 200 Million Unique Monthly Users on Eve of Second Anniversary To view the full release click here (link to PDF).

Excerpt from: Intertainment Media, Inc. (ITMTF: OTC Link) | Home Country News Release – Intertainment’s Ortsbo Reaches Over 200 Million Unique Monthly Users on Eve of Second Anniversary

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Nintendo Wii U has social network

Category : Business

Nintendo reveals plans for the Miiverse on the eve of announcements about the Playstation and Xbox at the E3 games show.

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