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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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Rich Chinese look abroad to secure wealth

Category : Business, Stocks

China’s wealthiest citizens are looking to secure their riches and improve the quality of their lives. And many of them are looking to do it overseas.

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VIDEO: India rejects Novartis patent

Category : Business

In a landmark ruling India has rejected a patent bid by Novartis that activists say will protect access to cheap generic drugs and save lives in developing nations.

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VIDEO: Life for Indian workers in the Gulf

Category : Business, World News

The BBC’s Middle East Business Report programme met two of the 1.75 million Indians living in the United Arab Emirates to ask about their lives, and visited their families back home in India to find out how their money is being spent.

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SA tycoon donates half his wealth

Category : World News

South Africa’s richest black man, mining magnate Patrice Motsepe, announces he is giving away half his wealth to improve the lives of the poor.

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British innovation is not dead. But it needs public investment to flourish | Stian Westlake

Category : Business

The potential of innovation to transform lives is as great as ever. Politicians should see that economic recovery depends on it

Some of Britain’s sharpest journalists seem to be getting fed up with innovation.

This week, Martin Wolf, the godfather of British economic journalists, claimed that the economy is stagnating because modern innovations don’t measure up to the breakthroughs of the 20th century. Cars and flushing toilets, he says, are a bigger deal than Facebook and Twitter. The Guardian’s Aditya Chakrabortty went a step further, arguing that today’s innovations are unusually shallow and silly (do we need bigger plasma TVs when Africans are dying of malaria?) and that the spectacle of politicians traipsing round Shoreditch startups and talking about innovation is embarrassing.

As someone who traipses around startups from time to time and who researches innovation the rest of the time, I’m not convinced. The potential of innovation to transform our lives is as great as it has ever been, and government has an important role to play in creating the conditions for it.

Let’s look first of all at the question of whether innovation can still deliver the goods. This matters a lot for the economy, since in rich countries most growth is the result of innovation (our Innovation Index showed it was responsible for two-thirds of the UK’s growth since 1990). Wolf and Chakrabortty both reference an influential new paper by economist Robert Gordon, who suggests that the past 40 years of new technologies aren’t a patch on the great innovations of the past. But all this assumes that the IT revolution we’ve seen over the last 30 years is fully played out. This would come as a surprise to pioneers of personal manufacturing or self-driving cars, or to patients using technology to revolutionise healthcare. Perhaps the lesson is that if you want to know about the future benefits of technology, ask an engineer, not an economist. It’s no surprise that Brian Arthur, for 30 years one of the world’s most thoughtful commentators on technology and economics, is an engineer – and for what it’s worth, he thinks we’re only halfway through the IT revolution.

But does all this innovation really improve our lives? Isn’t modern innovation about creating useless trash and trinkets, like the self-sorting socks and giant televisions that Chakrabortty describes? Yes and no. Like making sausages, innovation is not always an edifying thing to watch. It’s inherently uncertain, and that means that most innovations will be useless, or tawdry, or even downright harmful. But it was ever thus. The golden age of Thomas Edison and Henry Bessemer also gave rise to wonders like the Revigator, which would enrich drinking water with radioactive radon gas, or the hosts of quack remedies that filled the pages of Victorian newspapers. Looking at the worst innovations of a given age tells us little about whether innovation is in a healthy state.

So we shouldn’t be pessimistic about innovation. But neither can we take it for granted. Governments can make it easier or harder for innovation to flourish. Countries like Finland, South Korea, Israel and Taiwan have made innovation a priority – making it easier for new businesses to start up, investing in education and research, and helping bridge the “valley of death” between invention and commercialisation. The United States, which we like to think of as a bastion of market liberalism, invests tens of billions of taxpayer dollars each year in technologies through institutions ranging from the vast National Institutes of Health to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which gave rise to the internet, the graphical user interface, the global positioning system and the self-driving car. Innovation doesn’t come from the government. But without good public policy, it won’t thrive.

So politicians should talk more about innovation, not less. Politicians from Finland or Korea would find it astounding that a senior politician could propose taking the proceeds of the 4G spectrum auction, the fruits of decades of technological innovation, and investing it not in the next generation of technology but into stamp duty tax breaks. Investment in innovation has fallen by £24bn since 2008. If we want economic recovery, our leaders should be spending less time debating Plan A and Plan B, and more on innovation.

AUDIO: ‘Ridiculous’ that UK will not sign fishing treaty

Category : World News

A treaty aiming to save lives in the fishing industry, supported by countries including Syria, hasn’t been signed by Britain.

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The Wall Street machine is broken – Opinion

Category : Business

Technology is supposed to help improve our daily lives and make things more efficient. But it’s become Frankenstein’s monster for many investors.

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Harper, Ford trade ‘suggestions’ on tackling gun crime

Category : World News

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford have exchanged views on how to prevent the kind of gun violence that has been claiming lives on the streets of Canada’s most populous city in recent weeks.

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Church report on riots warns about effects of cuts

Category : Business

Riots of summer 2011 were ‘evil’, says bishop, but austerity measures are causing ‘increasing pressure and despair’

A Church of England report into last year’s riots wanted to “sound a clear warning note” about the “social consequences” of austerity measures, a senior cleric said on Sunday , as he presented research highlighting the effect of government cuts on people in areas where violence broke out.

The Rt Rev Peter Price, bishop of Bath and Wells, said he had no intention of being sentimental about the rioters, who, he said, had ruined other people’s lives. But he said such disturbances could also be “a kind of spiritual escape” for people who have little else in their lives.

Price said that, while the report’s authors recognised the “immense pressure” on the coalition, they felt entitled to speak out about the impact of its policies on the most vulnerable in society.

He told the General Synod meeting in York: “It is perfectly possible to empathise with the chancellor of the exchequer and those responsible for policy, recognising the immense pressure they are under from the financial markets and credit rating agencies, and at the same time, sound a clear warning note about the social consequences of austerity measures which hit the most vulnerable hardest and leave the very rich unscathed.”

The kind of rioting seen last summer, Price added, embodied “appalling evil and criminality”.

But he cited Austin Smith, a Passionist Catholic priest from Liverpool who died in 2011, who said such rioting could be “literally an ecstatic experience” after the Toxteth trouble in the 1980s.

“Something is released in the participants which takes them out of themselves as a kind of spiritual escape,” Price said. “The tragedy of our times is that, once again, we have a large population of young people who are desperate to escape from the constrained lives to which they seem to be condemned.

“Where hope has been killed off, is it surprising that their energies erupt in antisocial and violent actions?”

Written by the church’s mission and public affairs (MPA) council, the Testing the Bridges report is made up of interviews with clergy around the country who witnessed riots breaking out in August 2011.

While acknowledging that the causes of the disorder are “complex and disputed”, it explores the impact of cuts on some of the hard-hit areas and says residents there spoke of “increasing pressure and despair” as services such as youth centres and legal advice centres disappear.Criticising some parts of the media for denigrating the affected areas and describing rioters as “feral”, the report says such terms should be “strongly resisted”. It adds: “No one explanation [for the riots] is likely to be adequate. It remains that the impact of current economic problems on already vulnerable people contributes to a feeling of hopelessness which may sometimes emerge in destructive and antisocial actions.

“The fact that the current pressures on the vulnerable are taking place against a background of very wide and growing inequality of wealth, adds a further dimension to the problems of building social cohesion.”

Faced with speculation that the riots could recur, the MPA says that life in communities affected by the disturbances can feel “near the edge”.

At best, clergy working there see no sign that “helpful structures and initiatives” are going to improve, it writes. “At worst they see whole swaths of good work disappearing under the impact of austerity and financial pressure. The implications for the future of vulnerable communities are easily imagined. Nothing is inevitable – but the auguries are not reassuring.”

Speaking on the third day of Synod, Price said: “Pray God that there will be no such repeated trouble. But make no mistake, social tensions will not go away and hopelessness in our communities … is something we are all called upon to address, preferably before the cauldron bubbles over.”Follow the Guardian’s extensive report into the riots here.

Afghan civilian toll rises amid new attack

Category : World News

Attack on NATO convoy in Khost leaves 17 dead, as violence continues to claim lives of both civilians and soldiers.

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