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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com 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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Consumer Advisory: Certain Almond Butter, Peanut Butter and Tahini Sold in Bulk or Repackaged at Various Retailers May Contain Salmonella or Other Harmful Bacteria

Category : Stocks, World News

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – May 11, 2013) - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to consume certain almond butter, peanut butter and tahini sold in bulk or repackaged at the various locations described below because the products may be contaminated with Salmonella or other harmful bacteria.

Visit link: Consumer Advisory: Certain Almond Butter, Peanut Butter and Tahini Sold in Bulk or Repackaged at Various Retailers May Contain Salmonella or Other Harmful Bacteria

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Delhaize Group : Disclosure of major shareholding

Category : World News

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM–(Marketwired – May 3, 2013) – Pursuant to the Belgian Law of May 2,
2007
relating to the publication of major shareholdings in listed companies,
Delhaize
Group (Euronext Brussels: DELB – NYSE: DEG), the Belgian international
food
retailer, has received a notification of the threshold of 3% being
crossed
downwards by Rebelco SA, subsidiary of Sofina SA, which owns 2.90% of
Delhaize
Group’s voting rights.

Read the original here: Delhaize Group : Disclosure of major shareholding

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Latteno Food Corp. (LATF: OTC Pink Current) | Latteno Food Issues Update Report on Current Operations

Category : World News

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Latteno Food Issues Update Report on Current Operations

Acquisitions and Growth Signal Significant Increase in Asset Value and Income

PR Newswire

SANTA ANA, Calif., May 1, 2013

SANTA ANA, Calif., May 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –

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Hardship and poverty are different. Our welfare system should recognise this | Andrew Brown

Category : Business

The rightwing instinct is that all poverty is hardship – anyone can fight their way out. But some forms of poverty can’t be dodged

The Duke of Wellington once made me cry. I was sitting in a prep school dining hall, where we also sometimes studied, and I read in our textbook a passage where he had reacted to the horrible distress among workers and peasants in Britain after the Napoleonic wars – starvation and repression that led to the Peterloo massacre. His advice was that the poor should put curry powder in their drinking water. His troops, he said, had found this a useful substitute for food when on their campaigns in India.

When I read this I was at once seized by the most choking, terrible sadness. First my throat and then the whole building smelled thick with snot in a most disgusting way. I had to rush to the lavatories and rub my face with cold water before I could breathe and stop weeping.

Life at boarding school is full of such moments, but what made this one remarkable was not just its quality of physical horror: the emotion I felt was overwhelmingly pity for the Duke because everyone would see him as heartless whereas in fact he was trying to be practical. Sometimes there is nothing to eat. Sometimes curry powder in water is the best you can do. Of course, this was also bound up in my mind with the fact that you couldn’t, in those days, get curry powder in the English provinces. I hated England.

In those days, at the Dragon school, the food could be so awful that curry powder in water would have been better. We were given milk in bottles that held a third of a pint, and were stored, in crates, without refrigeration. This meant in summer that the good milk was tinged with sourness; the bad milk was practically acid, and the worst milk had entirely separated into curds and whey. It all got drunk.

Yet this kind of physical hardship had nothing much to do with poverty. Our parents were paying good money to have us educated there and the school was not particularly heartless. It just had an ethos that paid little account to physical pleasure. There was an expectation that we should learn to endure discomfort. It was absolutely not the same as a belief that discomfort was all life would hold.

The distinction between hardship and poverty makes sense of much discussion about austerity. Hardship is an exceptional state, but poverty is a life sentence from which you can only be released on license, and can never know when. It’s very clearly illustrated by the life of Jocasta Innes, who died last week. Her Pauper’s cookbook was a bestseller in the 70s. It wasn’t in the least bit glamorous – this was before celebrity cooks – and much of the food in it was unpleasant. But it was larky, practical and full of encouragement.

She wrote it in conditions of considerable hardship: she had left one husband and two children to live with a penniless novelist and have two more children, whom she fed on a very small budget. But she had a degree from Cambridge, she had been privately educated. She knew things might get better, and they did.

The rightwing instinct is that all poverty can be reinterpreted as hardship: with sufficient energy and determination, anyone can fight their way out of it. This isn’t entirely false. In fact it’s obviously half true, and a great deal of the emotional energy of rightwing rhetoric is generated by outrage when people seem to be denying this obvious truth.

Looking back, a lot of my training in school could be understood as learning to see the world in terms of hardships that could be overcome, rather than deprivations that must be stoically endured. And this was good and useful.

None the less, there are some deprivations that simply have to be endured, some forms of poverty that can’t be dodged. Talent and luck are unequally distributed among determined strivers. Few single mothers can write bestselling books, or start a decorating business on the back of them.

So a proper welfare system would need to distinguish between poverty and hardship and apply different remedies. Water and curry powder for some: real food for others. This is certainly how welfare is supposed to function in Sweden. I suspect it is what Iain Duncan Smith is trying to do right now, with such resounding inadequacy. And perhaps it can’t be done in any really satisfying way. Perhaps the people who thought the Duke of Wellington a heartless bastard were quite right.

VIDEO: ‘Price rises with strange promotions’

Category : World News

Consumers must have more rights and better information about food and other products before they decide what to buy, an MP claims.

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Triodos gives green light to two new ethical funds

Category : Business

But choosing ‘ethical’ firms to invest in is not always as simple as ‘good’ or ‘bad’

Ethical bank Triodos is branching out into green investment with the launch of two funds. People can choose between supporting companies doing innovative work in the field of sustainability – combating climate change, encouraging healthy living and so on – or household-name brands delivering “superior social and environmental performance”.

Both funds can be held within a stocks and shares Isa, and mean more choice for those looking to invest their cash in a socially responsible way. However, Triodos looks set to spark a debate over just how “ethical” some of these companies are after it emerged that one of the funds invests in several major names that have been sharply criticised for alleged tax avoidance, including Google and Starbucks.

Netherlands-based Triodos Bank has been operating in the UK for 18 years and describes itself as “a world leader in ethical and sustainable banking”. However, this is the first time it has offered stock market-linked investments to UK small investors.

Of Triodos’s two new funds, Sustainable Pioneer is the greenest – it is a global fund investing in smaller and medium-sized companies involved in sectors such as sustainable energy and medical technology. Only those companies deriving more than 50% of their revenue from climate protection, healthy people or clean earth themes are eligible. Firms that are way ahead of the pack on corporate social responsibility will also make it in. Companies in its portfolio include beauty products firm L’Occitane, US-based natural and organic food company Annie’s and Smith & Nephew – Europe’s leading maker of artificial hips and knees.

Triodos Sustainable Equity is arguably a more “mainstream” fund, investing in companies “that combine a strong financial position with solid social and environmental performance”.

It includes plenty of the sorts of companies you might expect – natural and organic food retailer Whole Foods Market, Japan-based bicycle parts manufacturer Shimano, Canadian National Railway and several solar firms – but also some that might raise eyebrows, such as sportswear brands Adidas and Nike, car manufacturers BMW and Volkswagen, drinks giant Diageo, and a couple of banks, including Dutch group ING and National Bank of Canada.

The fund’s biggest holding is Google, whose chairman Eric Schmidt was this week defending the search engine’s tax avoidance policies after it paid just £6m in corporation tax in the UK in 2011. The second and ninth largest holdings are telecoms giant Vodafone and coffee chain Starbucks, two of the most high-profile companies caught up in the tax avoidance accusations.

But Triodos says both funds operate strict minimum standards on a variety of issues, with zero tolerance on arms, nuclear power, hazardous materials and “unconventional” oil and gas.

The funds have been available in Europe for several years and, performance-wise, the Sustainable Equity fund has done well of late, delivering a return of 14.3% over the past year. It has outperformed its benchmark over one and three years. Sustainable Pioneer delivered a return of 9.2% over the past year, but has underperformed over one, three and five years (these figures relate to a euro share class that won’t be available to UK small investors).

Until 28 June, Triodos is offering a 1% discount on the funds’ initial fee, taking it down to 3%, after which it will revert to 4%. The annual management charge is estimated as 1.25% for Sustainable Pioneer and 1% for Sustainable Equity, and the minimum investment is £1,000 per fund (there is no monthly savings option).

However, some may be disappointed to learn that Triodos has decided to launch its funds on a “direct only” basis which means that, for the time being at least, they won’t be available via online fund supermarkets and platforms operated by companies such as Hargreaves Lansdown, where you can buy and manage funds at low cost. You can go on to the bank’s website and request an application pack.

The good news, though, is that you can invest tax-free in a Triodos ethical stocks and shares Isa. If you haven’t used your Isa allowance for this year, you can invest up to £11,520 in 2013/14.

There are dozens of ethical funds to choose from. If you are thinking of taking the plunge you need to decide on your personal priorities. Secondly, do you want to pay a financial adviser to help, or do you feel confident enough to do it yourself? The Ethical Investment Association website (ethicalinvestment.org.uk) allows you to find specialist advisers in your region.

Traditional ethical funds typically use a combination of negative screens (to eliminate arms manufacturers etc) and positive screens to favour businesses with a good record on corporate social responsibility or that are involved in environmentally friendly or low-carbon industries. But, as the ongoing tax avoidance debate has shown, some would say it is not always possible to put a company into a simple “good” or “bad” box.

Licht + Design Chooses Bridgelux as Premier Lighting Supplier

Category : World News

European Lighting Designer Upgrades All Retail Food and Product LED Fixtures With Bridgelux VERO Arrays

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Latteno Food Corp. (LATF: OTC Pink Current) | Latteno Food Strengthens Resources & Increases Revenue Projections to Meet Demand Momentum

Category : Stocks

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Latteno Food Strengthens Resources & Increases Revenue Projections to Meet Demand Momentum

States Continue to Enact Favourable Legislation: USA Today Reports “Market Could Quadruple by 2018″

PR Newswire

SANTA ANA, Calif., April 16, 2013

SANTA ANA, Calif., April 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –

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Jamaica’s decades of debt are damaging its future | Nick Dearden

Category : Business

The latest IMF loan does not ‘rescue’ Jamaica, whose debt must be written off if its people are to take control of their economy

Many people in Jamaica would have trembled as they read the financial press last week, telling them that their country is, again, due to be “rescued” by a loan package put together by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Over 40 years, Jamaica has been “rescued” on countless occasions. In the 1980s, the island became almost a byword for “structural adjustment”. Jamaica is one of the most indebted countries, spends twice as much on debt repayments as it does on education and health combined, and looks set to miss several millennium development goals. After four decades of austerity, the country has a few lessons for the likes of Greece, Portugal and Ireland.

The IMF has announced a $1bn (£650m) loan to “help” Jamaica meet huge debt payments due in coming years. As usual, the loan is to be accompanied by four years of austerity – precise details still pending, though a pay freeze, amounting to a 20% real-terms cut in wages, has been agreed.

This austerity will be applied to an economy that has effectively not grown since 1990. Huge debt has been a constant burden, with foreign debt payments of more than 20% of government revenue every year. When the financial crisis hit, the island was pushed into full-scale recession, before being pounded by Hurricane Sandy last year.

But Jamaica’s problems go back much further. The island’s economy has been shaped by centuries of violence, plunder and slavery. Hundreds of thousands of lives were wasted on sugar plantations, which “kept the wheels of metropolitan industry turning” in Britain.

Jamaica never recovered from slavery; former slaves remained deeply impoverished, and the economy almost totally dependent on foreign capital, mining and raw materials, while importing food and other essentials.

Jamaica became independent from Britain in 1962, but it was only in the 1970s that the government of Michael Manley initiated policies to reduce dependency on foreign capital, improve living standards and fight inequality. He supported health and education, nationalised industries, increased taxation on foreign investment and encouraged agricultural self-sufficiency.

Manley became a major figure on the global stage, joining leaders of the non-aligned movement to support the New International Economic Order – a radical set of economic policies to give developing countries genuine economic independence and reduce global inequality. In 1975, Manley told Americans: “Gross maldistribution of the world’s wealth and food is no longer a moral offence only. It now represents the greatest practical threat to peace and to any desirable development of mankind.”

But his project ran up against the oil crisis of the 1970s. As the price of imports rocketed and exports fell, Jamaica was forced to run up debts. When interest rates rose at the start of the 1980s, debt payments shot up: from 16% of exports in 1977 to a gigantic 35% by 1986.

This gave the IMF and World Bank the leverage to impose large-scale structural adjustment policies. The impact was devastating. During the 1980s, the number of registered nurses fell by 60%. Abolition of food subsidies and currency devaluation made the cost of food rocket, while the IMF held down wages. Health, education and housing were run into the ground. Many suffered what Oxfam called “a grim daily struggle to pay for food, clothing and transportation – even on the part of people who 10 years ago would have been considered middle-class”.

Ten years later, Manley returned to office, accepting the impossibility of creating an independent economy, and embracing neo-liberal policies as the only solution, much to the delight of the US and IMF.

There has been no progress in cutting hunger, or increasing basic water and sanitation provision. In 1990, 97% of children completed primary school. Now only 73% do. In 1990, 59 mothers died in childbirth for every 100,000 children born. Now it is 110.

Jamaica has repaid more money ($19.8bn) than it has been lent ($18.5bn), yet the government still “owes” $7.8bn, as a result of huge interest payments. Government foreign debt payments ($1.2bn) are double the amount spent on education and health combined ($600m).

Jamaica is classified as upper middle income. It was never eligible for debt relief. It has gone through deals with domestic private lenders to reduce interest rates, with little impact on government debt. As always, foreign creditors are fully protected.

Jamaica is not alone. Several Caribbean countries are also dangerously indebted. The IMF itself says: “Since growth in the current environment is virtually non-existent, significant fiscal consolidation is inevitable, but may not be enough to bring down such high debt levels.” Translation: countries like Jamaica need to make deep cuts, but because there is and will be no growth, the debt will remain.

The IMF “rescue” is a rescue for Jamaica’s creditors. It spells more suffering for its people. As Europe enters a fourth year of debt and austerity, Jamaica enters a fourth decade. The island’s debt needs to be written off, to open up the possibility for a better future and allow the people to take control of their economy.

Work doesn’t pay for multi-part-time employees

Category : Business

On paper the number of people in work has risen. But many of these jobs are part time, poorly paid and insecure

They’re the forgotten victims of Britain’s long recession. The individuals and families who have lost well-paid work, but figure only briefly in the unemployment figures as they patch together poorly paid part-time work while struggling to cope with a collapse in their living standards.

Sophie Gaskin worked for 13 years as a forensic scientist then, as a trainer, she taught government agencies and police forces how to gather valuable evidence. She was made redundant in October 2010, shortly before the government closed the Forensic Science Service after it ran up losses of £2m a month – a decision later condemned by the House of Commons science and technology committee for the impact it may have on the criminal justice system.

But for Sophie, it has been personally devastating. After specialising in a niche area, she has found it impossible to find work elsewhere using her scientific skills.

Her savings were initially too high to qualify for welfare benefits. “I couldn’t claim until I was down to the minimum £5,000. Then it took six months to get any money, by which time I was down to my last few pounds,” she says. She has, though, qualified for housing benefit on the flat she rents in Surrey.

This single, fortysomething, has only been able to find part-time admin work paying £8 an hour, and is desperately struggling to make ends meet. “There’s no possibility of going full time and, even if I could, I’d lose my housing benefit. On such a low wage I wouldn’t be able to pay the rent,” she says.

Gaskin has been helped by her union, Prospect, which has provided training and advice, as well as four days of paid work as a trainer.

However, that income resulted in the loss of jobseeker’s allowance.

She goes to the supermarket in the evenings, looking for sell-by date reductions. “I buy value brands and shop late to pick up cut-price food. I get fruit and vegetables from my mother and bake my own bread,” she says.

She’s resilient but is clearly saddened by the loss of her job: “I am upset that forensic evidence is being overlooked. That could lead to miscarriages of justice.”

Low-paid part-time work and self-employment have mushroomed in Britain since 2007 as laid-off workers battle to maintain their living standards. Many economists have been puzzled at the lower-than-expected levels of unemployment, given the scale of the fall in GDP since 2008.

The jobless total jumped from 1.6m in early 2008 to a peak of 2.7m in 2011, but has since dropped to 2.5m. Meanwhile, those in work has risen to a record high of 29.73m, a result of population growth and what the government hails as a dramatic increase in private-sector employment.

But the majority of the newly-created jobs are in the service sector, many part-time, poorly paid and insecure. Even for these, critics say, there is competition from an army of underemployed workers seeking longer hours. A recent poll conducted by IPSOS Mori found that 40% of people in work (and 65% of 18 to 24-year-olds) said they would take on more hours if they could.

A report from the Resolution Foundation on the “squeezed middle” found that low-to-middle-income workers account for 70% of the overall growth in self-employment. Increasing food inflation means families within this group have to pay a £280 cost of living “premium” as they spend a greater share of their budget on essentials (which have risen faster than other goods) compared with higher-income households.

Lower income households are also bearing the brunt of unavoidable increases in the cost of food and utilities, such as gas, electricity and water.

Andrea Kennedy, 48, a divorced mother of two in Liverpool, is typical of those surviving on casual contracts with no job security and sometimes weeks or even months without work.

Until two-and-a-half years ago she was just about managing to cope taking short-term, six-month and 12-month contracts as a full-time administrator. “It was financially hard work, as I was often out of work for up to a month between contracts,” she says.

After yet another contract ended prematurely, she has turned to cleaning to earn a full-time income. “Until recently I’ve been doing three or four part-time cleaning jobs on the minimum wage of £6.19 an hour in order to make ends meet. However, eight weeks ago my hours were cut as one company lost a contract. Now I only have 21 hours.”

Although she owns her two-bed house, she made the mistake of taking out a £15,000 secured loan on her home in 2006 and is still struggling to pay the debt, which has grown to £24,000. “My mortgage is £251 a month and £223 on the loan. At best, I’m only earning £775 a month and, because my working hours fluctuate, I can’t claim tax credits when they drop below 30 hours a week.”

She admits her standard of living has been hit hard. “I’ve had to sell my car, cut back on food and can’t afford a computer or phone. There are no nights out and a cup of coffee is the only treat I can afford.”

She is now considering moving out of Liverpool and gets by with the help of friends and Citizens Advice.

The Trussell Trust, a charity that operates food banks in the UK, says it is not just the homeless, or those living entirely on benefits, who are using its services, but also the working poor, whose incomes have plummeted.

“We’re opening three new foodbanks every week to try and help local communities meet the growing need for emergency food,” says its executive chairman Chris Mould. “People are often surprised that less than 5% of foodbank clients are homeless but many of the 300,000 people we’re helping are low-income working families.”

Moreover, many workers are also getting into debt. National Debtline is a free national telephone helpline for people with debt problems in England, Scotland and Wales. Its spokesperson, Paul Crayston, says: “Almost half of the 234,000 calls in 2012 were from people in employment.”

But there are some who, having gone through the trauma of losing their job and taking a cut from a relatively high income, are now happier.

Maisie Collin, 36, lives in London with her 18-month-old son and her fiancé. Before the recession she worked on a freelance basis in the youth and family care sector, with an income of around £55,000.

After the downturn she took a job as a director of a charity, earning £40,000. In 2011 it was dissolved and she was made redundant while pregnant.

Maisie was unemployed for 18 months, not claiming benefits. She re-mortgaged her flat and used the money to retrain as an Ofsted-registered childcare provider and turn her flat into a nursery. She now runs a daycare centre from home part time, paying two apprentices from a local college to help. She also does part-time life coaching and massage therapy, as well as voluntary work with young people and families. She estimates her new income at between £33,000 and £35,000.

“I’ve got no security, and I have to work really hard. But I love the variety. My lifestyle had to change: everything stopped – I’d eat out quite a lot before, but we couldn’t do that, so I ate differently. I reduced going out.

“It can really affect everything, from your lifestyle to your friendships and relationships with your family. I had to create my own work, and I do earn a lot less than I used to and have a child to support, but I am happier now.”