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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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Land acquired over past decade could have produced food for a billion people

Category : Business

Oxfam calls on World Bank to stop backing foreign investors who acquire land for biofuels that could produce food

International land investors and biofuel producers have taken over land around the world that could feed nearly 1bn people.

Analysis by Oxfam of several thousand land deals completed in the last decade shows that an area eight times the size of the UK has been left idle by speculators or is being used largely to grow biofuels for US or European vehicles.

In a report, published on Thursday, Oxfam says the global land rush is out of control and urges the World Bank to freeze its investments in large-scale land acquisitions to send a strong signal to global investors to stop “land grabs”.

“More than 60% of investments in agricultural land by foreign investors between 2000 and 2010 were in developing countries with serious hunger problems. But two-thirds of those investors plan to export everything they produce on the land. Nearly 60% of the deals have been to grow crops that can be used for biofuels,” says the report.

Very few, if any, of these land investments benefit local people or help to fight hunger, says Oxfam. “Instead, the land is either being left idle, as speculators wait for its value to increase … or it is predominantly used to grow crops for export, often for use as biofuels.”

The bank has tripled its support for land projects to 8bn (£3.7bn-£5bn) a year in the last decade, but no data is available on how much goes to acquisitions, or any links between its lending and conflict.

Since 2008, says Oxfam, 21 formal complaints have been brought by communities affected by World Bank investments, in which they claim that these have violated their land rights.

Oxfam’s chief executive, Barbara Stocking, said: “The rush for land is out of control and some of the world’s poorest people are suffering hunger, violence and greater poverty as a result. The World Bank is in a unique position to help stop land grabs becoming one of the biggest scandals of the century.”

She added: “Investment should be good news for developing countries – not lead to greater poverty, hunger and hardship.”

According to the International Land Coalition, 106m hectares (261m acres) of land in developing countries were acquired by foreign investors between 2000 and 2010, sometimes with disastrous results.

Nearly 30% of Liberia has been handed out in large-scale concessions in the past five years, and up to 63% of all arable land in Cambodia has been passed over to private companies.

Oxfam dismisses the claim made by the World Bank and others that lots of available land is unused and waiting for development. “It is simply a myth. Most agricultural land deals target quality farmland, particularly land that is irrigated and offers good access to markets.

“It is clear that much of this land was already being used for small-scale farming, pastoralism and other types of natural resource use.”

A 2010 study by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) – the World Bank’s official monitoring and evaluation body – stated that about 30% of bank projects involved involuntary resettlement. The IEG estimated that at any one time, more than 1 million people are affected by involuntary resettlement in active World Bank-financed projects.

Oxfam urged the UK government, one of the bank’s largest shareholders, to use its influence to persuade it to implement the freeze. “It can also play a crucial role as president of the G8 next year by putting food and hunger at the heart of the agenda, and addressing land grabs as part of this. Critically, it can also press the EU to reverse biofuels targets – a key driver of land grabs.”

Stocking said: “The UK should also show leadership in reversing flawed biofuels targets, which are a main driver for land and are diverting food into fuel.”

In a statement to the Guardian, the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private lending arm, said: “IFC does not finance land acquisitions for speculative purposes. We invest in productive agricultural and forestry enterprises that can be land intensive to help provide the food and fibre the world needs. IFC has roughly a $4.85bn portfolio of agri-related investments. Of that, roughly $600m has a land component. Total land holding related to those investments total 0.7m hectares.

“Competition for scarce land resources has spurred rising investment in land. This competition can fuel conflict with existing users. Inevitably, bank group involvement in forestry and agriculture is not without risk, particularly given the fact we are operating in imperfect governance environments. But the total number of complaints received gives no explanation as to their validity.”

Business Hotels Kuala Lumpur Shows Their Spirit to Serve

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Renaissance Renews Commitment to Support World Hunger Campaign

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Make Poverty History 2 to launch in 2013

Category : Business

Charities to launch new Make Poverty History campaign on hunger to coincide with David Cameron taking G8 chair

Britain’s leading aid groups will seek to recreate the high point of the international development movement when they launch a second Make Poverty History campaign to coincide with David Cameron taking the chair of the G8 group of rich nations next year.

Talks between charities are at an advanced stage for action in 2013, designed to match the propaganda offensive in the runup to the 2005 Gleneagles summit that successfully put pressure on the richest countries of the west to help poor nations.

Make Poverty History 2 will concentrate on hunger, which has become a key issue in recent years as rising commodity prices have pushed up the cost of food for the world’s poorest people.

The government has been made aware of the plans and is supportive of a campaign that would dovetail with its own food-dominated agenda for the G8. World Bank figures show that the spike in commodity prices in 2007-08 kept or pushed an additional 105 million people below the poverty line, and prices returned to those high levels in 2011.

A communique released at the end of the World Bank’s spring meeting said higher and more volatile food prices threatened attempts to meet the 2015 millennium development goals for poverty reduction. “Food insecurity and malnutrition have devastating effects, especially on women and children,” it added.

Sources in the development community said that while the details had yet to be finalised, it was extremely likely that the different groups could agree a joint strategy. The effort will come to a climax either at the G8 or at a special summit in Britain that would involve a broader group of countries.

Charities think the prospect of the UK government throwing its weight behind the campaign – as it did in 2005 – have been enhanced by the coalition’s decision to ringfence the aid budget and by the decision of the UN secretary general Ban-Ki moon to ask the prime minister to take charge of a UN committee defining future development goals.

The Gleneagles summit announced plans to double aid, eradicate debt and free up trade, and is widely seen as the zenith of the anti-poverty movement. Privately, charities admit some of the energy has gone out of the campaign during a period when the financial crisis has made rich countries less inclined to be generous.

Sources said Make Poverty History 2 would be on a scale similar to the original and would be the first time the development community had come together since 2005. The campaign is also likely to focus on making rich countries hit the United Nations target of 0.7% of national output, and on tax transparency, including a crackdown on offshore tax havens.

Talks have included all the leading UK aid charities, including Save the Children, Oxfam, Christian Aid, and One, the campaign group set up by rock star activists Bono and Bob Geldof. Environmental group such as Friends of the Earth and the RSPB have also been involved in the preliminary planning for the campaign.

Early discussions have taken place about an event to match the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park that took place just before the Gleneagles meeting, but sources said nothing had been decided.

Brendan Cox, of Save the Children, said: “The giants are starting to stir and they are thinking about something significant and big.”

Adrian Lovett, Europe Executive director at One, said: “We’re excited about working together to capture the imagination of the British public and challenge David Cameron to seize this unique opportunity for global leadership in the fight against hunger and poverty. Africa’s future lies in Africa’s hands – but all of us, including ONE’s 3 million members, have a part to play.”

The development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, said next year’s G8 would focus on food, hunger, agriculture and nutrition. “I am pleased the NGOs have identified these issues because they are the right ones,

“We haven’t yet decided what to do with the G8 but given Britain’s development leadership we will try to crowd in others to have a real impact.” he said.

The United States, which hosts this year’s G8 meeting next month, has picked food security as the theme, and Mitchell said the UK would pursue a similar agenda in 2013. One possible goal would be to remove a certain number of people from food insecurity.

“The government and the NGOs are on the same page,” the development secretary added.

Max Lawson, senior policy adviser at Oxfam, said: “If it goes ahead, a campaign like this would be fantastic – millions united in challenging governments to fix the broken food system and meet their promises to the poorest.”

Hunger Games continues chart run

Category : Business

The Hunger Games tops the North American box office for the fourth week in a row.

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‘Hunger Games’ Tops Weekend Box Office

Category : Business, Stocks

By David Germain

LOS ANGELES — The Hunger Games is still the first item on the menu for movie fans, taking in $61.1 million to remain the No. 1 film in its second weekend.

Studio estimates Sunday put Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games well ahead of Sam Worthington’s action sequel Wrath of the Titans, which opened in second-place with $34.2 million.

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‘Hunger Games’ stocks gain after record weekend

Category : Business

A record box office opening for “The Hunger Games” has investors buying shares of the movie’s studio, the publisher of the books on which the film is based, and various theater chains.

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The Hunger Games Is Just Lions Gate’s Latest Hit

Category : Business

Lions Gate is poised to become a major studio, especially with The Hunger Games franchise

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Action film The Hunger Games (LGF) gathers $68.25M in domestic box office, the fifth-best single-day gross ever – and may get into Harry Potter finale territory before the weekend is out. (earlier: I, II)

Category : Stocks

Action film The Hunger Games (LGF) gathers $68.25M in domestic box office, the fifth-best single-day gross ever – and may get into Harry Potter finale territory before the weekend is out. (earlier: I, II) Post your comment!

Go here to read the rest: Action film The Hunger Games (LGF) gathers $68.25M in domestic box office, the fifth-best single-day gross ever – and may get into Harry Potter finale territory before the weekend is out. (earlier: I, II)

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Debut of ‘The Hunger Games’ caps a stellar quarter for Hollywood – Los Angeles Times

Category : Stocks
Debut of 'The Hunger Games' caps a stellar quarter for Hollywood
Los Angeles Times
Movie theater attendance has already grown 19% this year compared with the first quarter of 2011. If 'The Hunger Games' lives up to industry expectations, that figure could jump to 22%. Jennifer Lawrence, left, and Josh Hutcherson star in “The Hunger
'Hunger Games' will satisfy book fans' appetitesUSA TODAY
Box office preview: 'The Hunger Games' is ready to fight its way into the Entertainment Weekly
'Hunger Games' Box Office: How Hot Will It Blaze?
DVD Talk

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‘Hunger Games’ Feeds Scholastic — Stock at a 9-Year High

Category : Business

By Julia Boorstin , CNBC Correspondent

NEW YORK (CNBC) — Children’s Book Publisher Scholastic raised its profit forecast for the year on sales of ‘The Hunger Games’ which have spiked ahead of the first ‘Hunger Games’ movie, which opens a week from Friday. The stock soared as much as 25% higher this morning to a nine-year high, though they’ve pulled back since then.

The coming ‘Hunger Games’ movie from Lionsgate has been driving interest in the book trilogy by Suzanne Collins, brining it from ‘young adult’ into the mainstream. Sales of the book peaked in the quarter, and could continue to benefit from attention to the film, which is getting good buzz.

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