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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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Supreme court blocks Nigerian activists from suing Shell over alleged torture

Category : Business

Nigerians had hoped to use US Alien Tort Statute to sue Royal Dutch Petroleum over the deaths of nine protesters in the 1990s

The supreme court has blocked a group of Nigerians from suing the oil giant Shell in US court for allegedly aiding in torture and murder in a ruling that human rights experts warned could limit the ability to bring such cases in the US.

In a unanimous ruling, the justices stopped a case filed by Nigerian activists now living in the US who allege that in the 1990s Royal Dutch Petroleum was complicit in the the torture and murder of protesters at the company’s Shell Oil operations in the Ogoni region.

The unanimous decision affirmed a lower court ruling that the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), written in 1789, cannot be used to sue foreign entities for alleged violations of international law on foreign soil. “Nothing in the ATS’s text evinces a clear indication of extraterritorial reach,” the court found.

Esther Kiobel, the lead plaintiff in the case, is the wife of the late Dr Barinem Kiobel, one of a group of Nigerian environmental activists known as the Ogoni Nine, who protested against the devastating impact of Shell’s operations in the Niger Delta. In 1995 the Ogoni Nine were tortured and hanged by the Nigerian military junta.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) said it was “deeply troubled by the supreme court’s decision to undercut 30 years of jurisprudence to limit US courts’ ability to hear cases on human rights violations committed outside the United States”.

“The US with this case is withdrawing from the world from the path that international law has taken,” said Peter Weiss, vice-president of the CCR, said. He said it was “in the national interest” for the US to promote human rights around the world.

Peter Rees, Shell’s legal director, said: “In our view, the court has reached the right decision. Shell remains firmly committed to supporting fundamental human rights in line with the legitimate role of business, and I want to make clear that we deny, in the strongest possible terms, the allegations made by the plaintiffs in this tragic case. Today’s decision doesn’t weaken the human rights of people around the world; it makes it clear that the Alien Tort Statute does not provide a means for claims to be brought in the US which have nothing to do with the US.

“But we’ve always maintained this case has nothing to do with the United States. The Alien Tort Statute is an 18th Century law designed for an entirely different purpose and certainly not for application where there is no connection with the United States. We appreciate the opportunity to have been heard in this case, and we are pleased that the court has now clarified this area of the law.”

The US Chamber of Commerce praised the decision. “The US supreme court’s decision today ensures that trial lawyers cannot continue to use the American judicial system to expose global businesses to frivolous and costly lawsuits,” said president Thomas Donohue. “Today’s decision helps to ensure that America will continue to be an attractive place to do business and removes barriers for companies looking to do business throughout the world.”

The ATS has been a popular vehicle for human rights cases since 1980 when Joelito Filártiga, son of a Paraguayan opposition figure who was tortured and killed by Paraguayan police, sued his father’s torturer in the US courts. Filártiga was denied justice at home but sued in the US when he learned his father’s torturer was living in New York. A US court held that torturers, like pirates, had become “hostis humani generis” – enemies of all mankind.

Marco Simons, legal director of EarthRights, a human rights nonprofit, said the ruling left many questions unanswered. EarthRights is currently leading a case against banana giant Chiquita Brands for allegedly funding terrorists in Columbia. As a US company Simons said the new ruling would not affect the case Chiquita.

“It’s clear in other areas of the law that any foreign company doing business in the US has to abide by US standards. For the ATS there is now a two tier system,” he said. Simons said he expected Congress would have to address the imbalance and that the ruling was likely to lead to more not less litigation.

Rexam PLC (REXMY: OTCQX International Premier) | Interim Management Statement

Category : Stocks

Rexam, the global consumer packaging company,
today issues its interim management statement for the period from
1 January 2013.

Overall results for the Group are in
line with our expectations.

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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.

MEDIA ADVISORY: Ontario ACORN Works to Stop Predatory Gouging by Western Union, Moneygram etc.

Category : Stocks, World News

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – April 8, 2013) - Ontario NDP MPP and critic for Consumer Affairs Jagmeet Singh, with the support of Ontario ACORN, will re-introduce a Private Member Bill to regulate Foreign Money Transfer fees. The Province of Ontario has jurisdiction over money transfer organizations like Western Union and Money Gram.

Go here to read the rest: MEDIA ADVISORY: Ontario ACORN Works to Stop Predatory Gouging by Western Union, Moneygram etc.

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Miliband quits after Di Canio hired

Category : World News

Ex-foreign secretary David Miliband resigns from the board of Sunderland FC because of new head coach Paolo Di Canio’s “past political statements”.

Follow this link: Miliband quits after Di Canio hired

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VIDEO: ‘Hardly anyone’ in Cyprus village

Category : Business, World News

Cypriot villages, whose economies are dependent on visitors and foreign tourists, have been hit hard by the country’s ongoing financial crisis.

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Cyprus cash curbs ‘may last a month’

Category : World News

Tight capital controls in Cyprus could last for up to a month, the country’s foreign minister says, on the day crisis-hit banks re-opened to customers.

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Opinion: Strong dollar may hit profits, kill stock rally

Category : Business, Stocks

Sales from overseas wind up being reduced once they are translated from weaker foreign currencies back into dollars. Exports also get pricier.

Read the original post: Opinion: Strong dollar may hit profits, kill stock rally

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Greenland government falls as voters send warning to mining companies

Category : Business

Siumut party, led by Aleqa Hammond, to form coalition government in place of Kuupik Kleist’s administration

The race for resources in the frozen wastes of the Arctic has brought down its first national government, leaving foreign oil and mining companies shivering about the future. Voters in Greenland feared that ministers were surrendering their country’s interests to China and foreign multinationals and called an end this week to the government of prime minister Kuupik Kleist.

London Mining, which has a former British foreign minister, Sir Nicholas Bonsor, on the board, has been at the centre of a row in the country after speculation it could bring in 2,000 Chinese workers to build one of the world’s biggest iron ore mines expressly to serve steel mills in Beijing.

The activities of Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy, which drilled for oil off Greenland’s south-west coast in 2011, had also polarised opinion between those who welcomed the potential for a hydrocarbon strike bringing huge economic wealth and those worried about spills.

The Siumut party in Greenland, led by Aleqa Hammond, has just won 42% of the vote, allowing it to form a coalition government in place of the current ruling party led by Kleist.

The election campaign was dominated by a debate over the activities of foreign investors and concerns among the 57,000 population that Greenland’s future could be dictated by the demands of potentially polluting new industries such as mining and oil rather than traditional Inuit trades of fishing and hunting.

Hammond, 47, who was educated in Canada and brought up with traditional skills such as curing seal skins, said she would take a more critical look at Chinese mining investments in Greenland. She also pledged to increase royalties on miners and ensure they talked through staffing plans with trade unions.

“We are welcoming companies and countries that are interested in investing in Greenland,” she said in her first interview since the election. “At the same time we have to be aware of the consequences as a people. Greenland should work with countries that have the same values as we have, on how human rights should be respected. We are not giving up our values for investors’ sake.”

Global warming has caused thawing of sea ice that has made drilling for offshore oil easier and opened up huge amounts of land which are believed to be stuffed with iron ore, copper and rare earth minerals used in tablets and mobile phones.

There is still an acceptance in Greenland that foreign investment is needed to bring in revenues and allow the mainly self-governing country to escape economic dependence on an annual grant from its former colonial power Denmark.

Although a rush by the main oil companies into the Arctic has led to some embarrassing setbacks – Cairn has found nothing off Greenland and Shell has just abandoned drilling plans for this summer off Alaska – there is still keen interest in the region, most notably off Russia.

However, Shell was banned from work off Alaska by the US government this week until it came up with a more robust safety programme. Late last year, a UK House of Commons committee called for a halt to all drilling in the far north until a pan-Arctic response plan was in place. Joan Walley, chair of the environmental audit committee, said: “The infrastructure to mount a big clean-up operation is simply not in place and conventional oil spill response techniques have not been proven to work in such severe conditions.”

Recently plans for onshore mining have triggered concern in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland. London Mining wants to spend more than £1.5bn on constructing a mine, pipeline and deep sea port in the south-west of the country.

The company said it “does not want to talk” about the impact of the latest political upheaval on its plans but denied it had hired workers from China or anywhere else and said it would not do so until it had permission to proceed with its mine at Isua, 95 miles (150km) east of Nuuk, which could eventually produce 15m tonnes of iron ore a year.

Others with plans are Greenland Minerals and Energy, an Australian-listed company, which wants to mine rare earth minerals at Kvanefjeld and – even more controversially – uranium to fuel nuclear power.

A spokeswoman for the foreign office in Beijing said on Friday: “To my knowledge, no Chinese enterprises have been granted oil, gas or mining licences. There are no Chinese workers entering Greenland.” She said a single Chinese company is in the early stages of joining an investment project in Greenland.

A report on the website of China’s Ministry of Land and Resources said mining company Sichuan Xinye had held preliminary discussions with London Mining about eventually taking over the Isua scheme. Other Chinese companies digging for business in Greenland were said to include Jiangxi Zhongrun Mining and Jiangxi Union Mining.

Beijing is more openly expansive about its hopes that the thawing ice in the Arctic Ocean will open a new, more direct, shipping route linking east and west.

A Chinese shipping firm is planning the country’s first commercial voyage across the Arctic Ocean to the United States and Europe in 2013, a leading Chinese scientist said earlier this week at a conference organised by the Economist magazine in Oslo.

Huigen Yang, director general of the Polar Research Institute of China, said the experimental trip he led last year on the icebreaker Xuelong, or Snowdragon, to explore the route had “greatly encouraged” Chinese shipping companies. Russian and Norwegian shipowners have already started and “one commercial voyage by a Chinese shipping company may take place this summer,” said the scientist.

Yang showed delegates at a conference about the Arctic in Oslo longer-term scenarios under which between five and 15% of China’s international trade, mostly container traffic, could use the route by 2020. Whether that will include the 250,000 tonne iron ore bulk carriers that London Mining wants to use from Isua, will depend on Hammond.

Heavy Central Bank Messages and Chinese Releases Feature This Week: Mario Sant Singh

Category : Stocks, World News

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE–(Marketwire – March 5, 2013) - In his Market Brief of The Week for 4 March, leading global foreign exchange trader, educator and author Mario Sant Singh – whose views are widely sought after in the Forex industry – focuses on messaging from the Central Banks and on China economic announcements:

Read more here: Heavy Central Bank Messages and Chinese Releases Feature This Week: Mario Sant Singh

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