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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 secures huge UAE gas deal

Category : Business

Royal Dutch Shell beats France’s Total to a multi-billion-pound deal to develop a gas field with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

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VIDEO: Investment boost for UK oil field

Category : World News

A consortium of oil companies is to invest more than $500m (£330m) in an appraisal drilling programme which could lead to further development of a giant North Sea field.

More here: VIDEO: Investment boost for UK oil field

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Linc Energy, Ltd. (LNCGY: OTCQX International) | Home Country News Release – LNC Umiat OIl Field – Drilling Update Number 2

Category : Stocks

Linc Energy, Ltd. has filed a Home Country News Release – LNC Umiat OIl Field – Drilling Update Number 2 To view the full release click here (link to PDF).

Continued here: Linc Energy, Ltd. (LNCGY: OTCQX International) | Home Country News Release – LNC Umiat OIl Field – Drilling Update Number 2

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VIDEO: How a liquor brought down EU barriers

Category : Business

The EU seeks to protect one of its core principles – the single market – which aims to offer a level playing field for businesses across the continent.

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Letters:Tax-break treatment for health firms

Category : Business

You quote David Cameron as saying he wanted to “turn the NHS into a fantastic business” (Private NHS providers in line for tax cut, 14 January). The NHS was not conceived as “a business” but as a service for everyone in the UK, free at the point of delivery. A business will, rightly as a business, seek to provide a good profit and return on investments.

Yes, the NHS faces difficult decisions – such as where should be the boundary between free treatment and conditions that should be paid for (eg some cosmetic procedures). But improvement to the operation and efficiency of an organisation is likely to be best achieved using knowledge and resources already within that organisation – not by turning part or all of it into private business activities.

If companies want to offer health treatment facilities, fine, and there is a need for that. But that is done on a business model, within a business environment – and that includes paying VAT and corporation tax. It is not a “level playing field” to compare an organisation, such as the NHS or a charity, with a business.
John Chubb
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

• Your article inaccurately states that Monitor has written a draft of the Fair Playing Review report “sympathetic to the private sector demands” for exemption from corporation tax on profits made from NHS services. The article quotes a source claiming to have seen a draft of the final review, when in fact no such draft has been written.

Monitor has received representations concerning tax from providers from the charitable sector as well as the private sector. In addition we have received representations that other factors disadvantage the public sector, such as complying with FOI requirements or employee benefits. We have had responses and held detailed conversations with providers from all sectors and we are taking time to analyse the evidence before drawing our final conclusions.

The secretary of state asked Monitor to undertake the Fair Playing Field review as an independent report. It will report at the end of March. Monitor has a statutory duty to promote and protect the interests of patients and any suggestion that we are working on behalf of the private sector misrepresents our core duty.
Dr David Bennett
Chief executive, Monitor

• Social enterprises are not to be conflated with private firms that distribute profits to shareholders. While some employee-owned businesses are social enterprises, many, including Circle Healthcare, are not. Social enterprises exist for the people – they reinvest their profits to improve patient care, have strong track records of delivering health services and are accountable to the taxpayer. As health markets are opened up to competition, it’s crucial that the distinction is clear in the minds of the public and commissioners.
Peter Holbrook
Chief executive, Social Enterprise UK

• Paying corporation tax seems to be a more than fair exchange for the opportunity to make a profit off the back of medical staff whose degrees were funded by the taxpayer. There is no shortage of private companies bidding for NHS contracts under the current terms, so no “incentive” is required; tax breaks would be a cynical misuse of public money earmarked for the NHS.
Clare Brown
Bridford, Nottingham

• The NHS has professional and educational development responsibilities for doctors, nurses and all healthcare staff, all of which is a hidden cost. If there were a professional education and development tax on all former NHS staff working in the private sector, related to their years of pre- and post-qualifying training, this would be a fairer playing field.
Professor Colin Pritchard

• Reports that the government wants to give tax breaks for private companies in the NHS come as no surprise to those like UCU fighting similar plans in higher education. Private companies have been lobbying hard for the VAT exemption granted to charitable universities and colleges. We must stop the government indulging in yet more corporate welfare at the expense of public services.
Sally Hunt
General secretary, University and College Union

Major jobs boost in UK North Sea

Category : World News

Statoil is to invest £4.3bn in a North Sea oil field, bringing hundreds of jobs to the north east of Scotland.

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Linc Energy, Ltd. (LNCGY: OTC Link) | Home Country News Release – Linc Energy’s Umiat Oil Field Update

Category : World News

Linc Energy, Ltd. has filed a Home Country News Release – Linc Energy’s Umiat Oil Field Update To view the full release click here (link to PDF).

Visit link: Linc Energy, Ltd. (LNCGY: OTC Link) | Home Country News Release – Linc Energy’s Umiat Oil Field Update

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Italy looks to boost crude oil production by 150% in energy policy shakeup

Category : Business

Controversy over onshore wells in beautiful Basilicata region symbolic of difficult drive for greater energy self-sufficiency

The view from the terrace behind the town hall in Corleto Perticara is as grand as any in Tuscany, taking in the majestic Sauro river valley and a line of towering hills that shepherd the river out to sea. But where a visitor might dream of building an idyllic second home, Rosaria Vicino, the town’s mayor, is picturing the line of well-head pumpjacks that will soon pepper the undulating slopes beyond the Sauro.

In May, Mario Monti’s non-party government in Rome gave the go-ahead for the development of the so-called Tempa Rossa field, whose 200m barrels of heavy, sulphurous petroleum lie within Vicino’s comune (borough). The French company Total has a 75% stake in Tempa Rossa. Shell has the remaining 25% interest in a field whose production capacity is expected to reach 50,000 barrels a day (b/d).

“Oil is central to our development plans,” said Vicino fervently. “It is the element around which all our hopes revolve.”

Onshore oil and gas production is similarly central to the Italian government’s ambitious plan to lop €14bn (£11.2bn) off the nation’s annual €62bn bill for energy imports by 2020. The target is set in a proposed national energy plan that would be the first to be adopted in Italy for more than 20 years.

A draft, put out for consultation last month, sees some of the savings coming from increases in “green” (renewable) sources and “white” (efficiency) economies. But it also envisages a doubling of domestic oil and gas production. The government estimates the increase in output could provide Italy with 7% of its total energy requirements and create 25,000 new jobs.

Crude oil production in Italy peaked in 2005 at 115,000 b/d, and has since slumped below 100,000 b/d – not due to a lack of reserves (Italy’s proven onshore deposits are the biggest in Europe), but because of a drastic fall in exploration and development, which the government is keen to reverse.

It aims to boost crude oil production by almost 150%, and bringing the Tempa Rossa field on stream will take it about a third of the way to that goal. Even considering the beauty of the countryside around Corleto Perticara, Tempa Rossa is unlikely to stir much opposition locally.

Mention of royalties brings an ear-to-ear smile to the face of mayor Vicino, who readily agrees that the 30 or 40 years of income will transform the fortunes of little Corleto Perticara and its 2,700 inhabitants. The cash should be ample recompense for the pumpjacks – often known as “nodding donkeys” – and a large, smelly oil-processing centre that Total plans to build beyond the hills, out of sight of the town.

The scenic but remote region of Basilicata in which Corleto Perticara is situated, is often called Italy’s Texas. It holds about three quarters of the country’s total reserves. But not everyone is as enthusiastic about pumping them out as Mayor Vicino. Many in Basilicata resent the fact that the royalties from oil production go largely to the local authorities directly affected and make little impact on a region that, despite its black gold, is still Italy’s fifth poorest.

Basilicata’s communications are dire. Unemployment is high and rising. In January, Monti’s government slipped a clause into a bill ostensibly about liberalisation that allows future oil royalties to be used for regional infrastructure projects. A senior government official acknowledged it was designed specifically to assuage criticism in Basilicata. So far, it has not worked.

In August, the regional assembly declared a moratorium on all further exploration and production in Basilicata. The next day, the governor, Vito De Filippo of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), declared that the petroleum concessions that had already been granted were “at the limits of sustainability”. His opinion matters because, as the law in Italy stands, approval from his government is essential for future projects to go ahead.

It has not helped that Tempa Rossa is mired in a scandal that is set to unfold as the field is developed. On 26 September, four former executives of Total’s Italian subsidiary, including its former managing director, went on trial in the regional capital of Potenza accused of rigging the tender for the oil treatment centre so that the contract went to a consortium headed by a local builder. The builder was in turn accused of paying a €200,000 bribe to a PD deputy in the national parliament.

Total’s former employees are also charged with using a local official to get landowners in the area to take lower-than-market offers for land needed to develop the oil field. All the accused deny wrongdoing.

Nautilus Minerals Inc. (NUSMF: OTC Link) | Nautilus Minerals Discovers More High Grade Systems in Tonga

Category : World News

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Nov. 1, 2012) - Nautilus Minerals Inc. (TSX:NUS)(OTXQC:NUSMF)(AIM:NUS) (the “Company” or “Nautilus Minerals”) is pleased to announce the discovery of two (2), high grade, Seafloor Massive Sulfide (“SMS”) systems on its wholly owned exploration tenements in the territorial waters of the Kingdom of Tonga (“Tonga”).

Grab samples from these discoveries assayed up to 11.9% copper, 59.8% zinc, 28.6 g/t gold and 673 g/t silver.

Mike Johnston, Nautilus Minerals’ CEO commented, “These discoveries further highlight the prospectivity of our Tongan exploration tenements, particularly the high precious metal grades we continue to encounter in the NE Lau Basin. They will be added to the 17 SMS systems, as previously reported on our Tongan prospecting licenses*, which are being considered for further evaluation.”

The SMS systems were sampled during an 18 day marine scientific research cruise between the 9th and 26th of September 2012. The samples were collected as a part of a broader research effort in the NE Lau Basin.


Figure 1:

Figure 2:

Figure 3:

* Jankowski 2012: “Nautilus Minerals Incorporated, NI43-101 Technical Report 2011, PNG, Tonga, Fiji, Solomon Islands, New Zealand, Vanuatu and the ISA”

Summary of sampling program in NE Lau Basin, Tonga.

1. Fonualei South – Two separate chimney fields, containing high grade sulfide chimney structures were observed and sampled on a large volcanic edifice which consisted of a mixture of some active but mostly inactive chimneys generally up to ~4m high.

The water depth of Fonualei South 1 (Figure 2) is ~965 m. The upper limit of mineralised outcrop appears to follow the bathymetry contour; however the lower boundary remains unmapped. Chimneys are densely packed into clusters with dominant sulfide talus surrounding their bases.

At Fonualei South 2 (Figure 2) ROV observations confirm the presence of chimneys at a water depth of ~1550 m, interpreted from high resolution AUV bathymetry data collected in 2011. This system lies on relatively flat terrain at the base of the Fonualei South volcanic edifice. Two tall black smoker chimneys were measured at this site (25 – 30 m in height). A single sample of chimney talus with exceptional zinc and gold values was collected at the base of a tall chimney (Sample 25113). The outcropping mineralisation was not mapped to its full extent in any direction.

Table 1. Final assay results of sulfide bearing samples for Fonualei South1

Sample No Sample Type Weight (g) Cu

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Gazprom plans Vladivostok pipeline amid falling demand from Europe

Category : Business

Russian gas monopoly Gazprom invests £24bn to develop East Siberian gas field and build pipeline to Vladivostok

Russia’s Gazprom has pledged more than $38bn (£23.7bn) to develop an East Siberian gas field and build a pipeline to the Pacific port of Vladivostok to lessen its reliance on exports to Europe and develop Asian markets.

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has ordered Gazprom, the country’s pipeline gas export monopoly, to forge close ties with fast-growing Asia Pacific consumers, such as China and Japan, to offset sagging demand in Europe.

Gazprom’s chief executive, Alexei Miller, told Putin on Monday the company would invest 770bn roubles (£15bn) to build the 2,000-mile pipeline from the Chayanda deposit to Vladivostok. He said 430bn roubles would be invested in development of the field.

“We can create another exporting centre oriented to the Asia-Pacific region,” Putin said, adding that the East Siberian region had huge gas resources.

Gazprom, in partnership with Japanese companies, plans to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Vladivostok, which could come on stream by 2020, with production of between 10m and 20m tonnes.

Miller said the pipeline was expected to connect Vladivostok in 2017 with the field, which had estimated resources of 1.3tn cubic metres of gas. “In the nearest future we are able to create gas-exporting capacity comparable to that of European gas exports,” he added.

Gazprom’s gas exports to Europe, where it covers a quarter of gas needs, are expected to fall this year from the 150bn cubic metres it shipped in 2011.