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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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The problem with Obama’s retirement plan

Category : Business

If it’s fair to limit taxpayers’ expense for retirement money being set aside by “the rich,” it’s vastly more fair to limit taxpayers’ expense for Obama’s own package.

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Refund problems for debit cards

Category : Business

Some customers claiming refunds on their debit cards have been disappointed because of time limit problems

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Benefit payments cap rollout begins

Category : World News

A government-imposed limit on benefit payments begins in four London boroughs ahead of its introduction across England, Scotland and Wales.

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Cyprus Q&A: what capital controls mean in practice

Category : Business

Large firms will have to get clearance to pay their workers and ATM withdrawal limits will remain in place

What are the capital controls being introduced in Cyprus?

• All savings accounts must run until their expiry date – no early withdrawals allowed.

• No cheques will be cashed, although cheque deposits will be allowed.

• Payments out of the country are suspended. Individuals will only be allowed to take €3,000 (£2,500) in cash on each trip out of the country.

• Unlimited use of credit cards is allowed within Cyprus, but there’s a spending limit of €5,000 a month abroad.

• Import payments will be allowed when ‘the relevant documents’ are provided to the authorities and Cypriots can only transfer up to €10,000 a quarter for fellow citizens who are studying abroad.

• The measures will apply to all accounts, regardless of the currency used.

Why are controls necessary?

Without restrictions on the movement of money the Cypriot authorities believe the frightening scale of capital flight would destroy its banks. Deposit accounts are loaded with foreign money, which in the case of some banks will be taxed at 40%. British and Russian residents are among the most vulnerable and will be looking to squirrel their money out of the country where possible.

Could such tough measures be adopted in other eurozone countries?

There is concern in Spain and Italy that should they need bailout funds Brussels will demand a Cyprus-style upfront payment from bank depositors. There are reports of banks in both countries suffering a flight of funds to safer havens in the eurozone. But the situations are very different. Italy’s banks had a clean bill of health from the IMF this week. Spain’s banks remain in difficulties, but bondholders that have lent banks money will suffer ahead of depositors.

Will tourists face spending limits?

Cyprus desperately needs tourists (though German visitors may get a hard time following Berlin’s refusal to ease the Mediterranean island’s bailout terms). To help tourists and citizens short of cash, the authorities are looking to increase the daily ATM withdrawal limit from €100 to €300.

Are businesses affected?

Large firms must get clearance to pay their workers and must apply for a licence from the central bank to import goods and services. If they have cash in Bank of Cyprus they will lose 40% of their funds over €100,000, while deposits in Laiki Bank will be taxed at 80%. Deposits of more than €100,000 at both banks would be frozen. How the purchase of overseas services will be policed – to prevent phantom transactions siphoning money out of the country – is not known.

How long will capital controls be in place?

The government says they will run for four days. It sounds overly optimistic. There appears to be little reason bank or government finances will be in good enough shape to survive an avalanche of money escaping to other jurisdictions.

Has it happened before?

Iceland is the nearest example. After 2008 it imposed strict controls on the movement of money out of the country. In some ways it was in a worse situation than Cyprus. Its banking sector amounted to 10 times GDP compared with eight times in Cyprus (and five times in the UK).

The same controls are still in place five years later. Last year the government passed a bill tightening them. Businesses are furious because few foreign firms will invest in the country. If they make any profit they cannot get their money out. Also, foreign workers are discouraged for the same reason should they decide to go back home and Icelanders who want to work abroad must get clearance from the government.

Is Iceland in a better state now?

In many ways yes. The reconstruction of the banking sector, now just twice the size of GDP, has created more well-capitalised and profitable lenders. The cleanup of the financial services sector has allowed the creation of new banks from the ashes of the old. The economy is growing and resolving other debts related to the banking crash. However, much of the gains followed a depreciation of the currency, which is not something Cyprus can follow while it remains inside the euro.

VIDEO: Swiss to vote on ‘fat cat’ pay

Category : Business

Swiss voters are going to the polls this weekend to decide on measures which would strictly limit salaries for top managers, and ban golden handshakes.

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Congress extends US debt limit

Category : Business

The US Congress extends the nation’s borrowing limit until the middle of May, setting the stage for yet another fiscal fight in the spring.

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US House passes debt-ceiling rise

Category : Business, World News

The US House passes a bill to extend the country’s debt limit until May, deferring a budget debate with the White House.

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Republicans agree three-month debt ceiling increase in surprise boost for Obama

Category : Business

In surprise move, GOP lawmakers show first signs of backing down over debt crisis by giving Congress time to pass a budget

Republicans showed the first sign of backing down over the looming debt ceiling crisis on Friday, in the face of relentless pressure from President Barack Obama.

Congressional Republicans, who only last week had been threatening to close down the federal government, emerged from closed-door negotiations at a party retreat to announce they will present a bill next week to increase the debt limit by a further three months.

The White House gave the move a cautious welcome to the news.

It is an unexpected bonus for Obama just days before the start of his second presidential term, and gives him breathing space so that instead of another showdown between White House and Republicans in Congress at the end of next month or in March, the issue could be pushed back until summer.

Eric Cantor, the Republican majority leader in the House, said: “Next week, we will authorise a three-month temporary debt limit increase to give the Senate and House time to pass a budget.”

The GOP came close to closing down the federal government in 2011 when they initially refused to raise the debt ceiling.

A messy compromise was eventually worked out. But Obama said earlier this month, after yet another economic showdown, he would not negotiate with the Republicans over the debt limit.

Obama, ramping up pressure on opponents in Congress, held a press conference at the White House on Monday, warning them that if they were not prepared to raise the ceiling, then they would have to take the blame for government closing down.

Obama’s strategy appears to have worked, with the Republicans worried about the electoral consequences of government grinding to a halt, which would mean hundreds of thousands of people – from welfare recipients to veterans – no longer receiving their cheques, federal staff going on forced leave and agency after agency being shut down.

The Republican cave-in was announced from their retreat near Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, where they have been discussing overall strategy in the wake of the November elections.

In what appears to be a political gimmick, the Republicans are to attach to the bill extending the debt limit for three months clauses that would see members of Congress have their pay withheld unless they can reach agreement on a separate issue: a budget that cuts spending.

The Republicans had been using the debt ceiling crisis as leverage to try to force Obama into accepting deep spending cuts, particularly in welfare.

Cantor, in a statement, said of the proviso in next week’s bill about the three-month extension: “If the Senate or House fails to pass a budget in that time, members of Congress will not be paid by the American people for failing to do their job. No budget, no pay.”

The Republicans are banking on the idea of members’ losing their pay being popular with voters.

But both the White House and the Democratic leadership in the Senate dismissed the idea, saying they wanted a “clean bill”, focused solely on raising the debt ceiling.

The White House, in a statement, said: “The president has made clear that Congress has only two options: pay the bills they have racked up, or fail to do so and put our nation into default.

“We are encouraged that there are signs that congressional Republicans may back off their insistence on holding our economy hostage to extract drastic cuts in Medicare, education and programs middle class families depend on. Congress must pay its bills and pass a clean debt limit increase without further delay. And as he has said, the president remains committed to further reducing the deficit in a balanced way.”

The Democratic leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, said if the House passes a clean bill raising the debt ceiling, even temporarily, the Senate would be happy to consider it.

A spokesman said Reid saw the move as the Republicans beginning to back off from their threat to “hold our economy hostage”.

Separate from the debt ceiling, a deal on spending is within reach. Obama has already agreed to consider changes to the index that determines welfare benefits, something the Republicans have been pushing for but Democrats have resisted, and to raise the age at which Medicare kicks in, another Republican proposal.

He and the Republican House speaker, John Boehner, are not too far apart either over a global figure for spending cuts.

Banks call for PPI time limits

Category : Business

The UK’s banks have asked the Financial Services Authority to set a time limit for all further claims for compensation for mis-sold payment protection insurance policies.

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Obama takes stand on debt fight

Category : Business, World News

President Obama says the US is not “a deadbeat nation”, as he warns Republicans not to play politics over the soon-to-expire federal borrowing limit.

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