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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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Deeper eurozone union ‘agreed’

Category : World News

EU leaders have agreed on a roadmap for eurozone integration beyond the deal on centralised banking supervision, Germany’s Chancellor Merkel says.

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David Cameron given reprieve in EU after Angela Merkel throws a lifeline

Category : Business

German chancellor rallied behind prime minister as she blocked an attempt to isolate the UK in budget negotiations

David Cameron arrived in Brussels on Thursday with criticism ringing in his ears that he was isolated in Europe after pledging to use the eurozone crisis to repatriate EU powers.

The prime minister left Brussels with a spring in his step on Friday evening after showing that – in the budget negotiations at least – he is absolutely not isolated.

A clear alliance of four rich nations – Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden – joined forces to make clear that Herman Van Rompuy’s plans for a €973bn (£786bn) EU budget were unacceptable.

Angela Merkel even signalled her dissatisfaction with what she saw as an attempt by Van Rompuy, the European council president, and José Manuel Barroso, the European commission president, to isolate Britain. Quentin Peel, the FT’s veteran Berlin correspondent, reported from Brussels on Friday that Merkel was “determined not to isolate David Cameron” at the summit.

The decision of Merkel shows she was making both a tactical and a strategic choice. On a tactical level, she agreed with the prime minister’s call for restraint, though she believes the prime minister’s call for an €50bn of cuts went too far. On a strategic level, she showed she is determined not to do anything that would strengthen the hand of those in Britain who would like to leave the EU.

Cameron will say that Merkel’s support vindicates the judgment he made when he faced her down and abandoned the main EPP centre right grouping in the European Parliament before the last general election. The German chancellor was furious with Cameron and indicated that relations would be strained. Cameron said in private that Merkel would take him seriously once he became prime minister.

But Merkel will never forget Cameron’s decision on the European parliament where the Tories now sit with the highly nationalist Polish Law and Justice party. Its leaders regularly rail against the Germans. Merkel’s continuing anger with Cameron means there are times when she will challenge him or indeed lay plans to thwart Britain.

One school of thought in Brussels suggests that Merkel was happy to support Cameron at this summit so that she can have a greater sway over him at the next EU summit on 13-14 December when an EU banking union will be on the agenda. Cameron will need Merkel’s support at the next budget summit, possibly in January or February, increasing the chances that he will agree to water down British concerns about the banking union, goes the new theory.

EU budget deal unlikely – Merkel

Category : Business

Angela Merkel says she doubts EU leaders will close a deal on their budget during the current summit in Brussels.

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Merkel lauds crisis-hit Portugal

Category : World News

German Chancellor Angela Merkel praises Portugal’s resolve in tackling its debt crisis, but faces angry anti-austerity protesters in Lisbon.

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France and Germany: best of enemies | Editorial

Category : Business

As François Hollande’s broadside on the eve of the EU summit suggests, Angela Merkel must shift her stance on the eurozone

Angela Merkel does not like to appear isolated on the eve of a European summit. And yet this is exactly what François Hollande set out to do in his interview to this newspaper and five others today. He suggested Ms Merkel was too preoccupied with domestic policies to give Europe the response it needed in a time of crisis. He demanded Berlin reverse its opposition to the decisions taken at the last summit, and gave short shrift to a German push for a federalised eurozone. To say the French socialist president lacks the bottle it takes to be a leader is to underestimate the determination he displays to put his case across.

It is one which an increasing number of eurozone countries and institutions are coming round to. Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank president, wants to buy Spanish sovereign bonds on condition that Spain activates one of two bailout funds. Most eurozone members want Germany to stick to the deal they thought Ms Merkel had signed up to in June, to use the European Stability Mechanism to break the cycle between weak banks and sovereign debt. And to do all of this by the end of the year whether or not there are elections coming up in Germany. Most, too, belatedly in our view, would agree with Mr Hollande’s central assertion that recession is a bigger threat than budget deficits.

And yet, for the moment, none of this is happening. The damage that Ms Merkel’s foot-dragging is causing is creeping ever closer to her country’s borders. Germany’s growth rate will be slightly higher than forecast in spring, but next year’s will be halved to 1%. If the strongest economy in the eurozone is grinding to a crawl, it should say something. Unfortunately, Ms Merkel could be tempted by the current fragile equilibrium in the money markets to play, again, for time. Already expectations at what will be achieved at this week’s summit have been downplayed. The big decisions will come in November instead. Which is perhaps why Mr Hollande launched the broadside he just has.

But just one indication of the trouble the eurozone as a whole is in, and the current risk of contagion if Greece goes belly up, is contained in a report which assesses the economic knock-on effect a Grexit would have on everyone else. According to Bertelsmann Stiftung, it would not only suck €674bn out of the world’s leading economies, but if it triggered a Portuguese exit as well, global losses would add up to €2.4tn, or €2,790 for every German over eight years. If Spain left, the accumulated per capita losses would soar. If Italy followed, France would lose €2.9tn, the US €2.8tn, China €1.9tn and Germany €1.7tn by 2020. A global international crisis. So for Mr Hollande to say that we are “near, very near” to the end of the crisis is perhaps the closest he came in this interview to being blithe.

Mr Hollande has got a limited number of cards to play to strengthen his position with Ms Merkel and he has used two of them already. When he first lined up his interests with Italy’s Mario Monti and Spain’s Mariano Rajoy, Germany was less than amused, but it has since accepted the need for collective leadership. The second card Mr Hollande played was to stick to the austere fiscal target he inherited from his predecessor. Although few think a French budget deficit of 3% of GDP is feasible next year, the target gives Hollande credibility. The third card – reforming his country’s structural deficit, a task that has eluded all of his recent predecessors – will take a lot longer, if it happens at all.

Other than waiting for disaster to strike, this means Ms Merkel has to move. She will not shift on eurobonds, or the speed with which she has to act, but she might move on the principle of bank recapitalisation. It will be at best an incremental step. The bigger question is the political cost of what is taking place. Bankruptcies, fire sales of state assets and soaring youth unemployment across the southern belt of Europe won’t lead to spontaneous outbreaks of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. More like drumming Wotan’s descent into Nibelheim.

Kipper Williams on Angela Merkel’s trip to Greece

Category : Business

Angela Merkel visit: ‘I thought we’d grab a spot of lunch’

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Eurozone crisis live: Anger over Athens security clampdown for Angela Merkel – as it happened

Category : Business

Greek police have banned protests on some Athens streets tomorrow, when thousands of police officers and snipers will protect Angela Merkel

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The Greek message for Angela Merkel | Alexis Tsipras

Category : Business

Europe can survive this austerity-induced crisis, but only if it is reshaped for and by the people

As Angela Merkel visits Athens on Tuesday, she will find a Greece in its fifth consecutive year of recession. In 2008 and 2009, the recession was a spillover from the global financial crisis. Since then it has been caused and deepened by the austerity policies imposed on Greece by the troika – of the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, the European Central Bank – and the Greek government.

These policies are devastating the Greek people, especially workers, pensioners, small businessmen and women, and of course young people. The Greek economy has contracted by more than 22%, workers and pensioners have lost 32% of their income, and unemployment has reached an unprecedented 24% with youth unemployment at 55%. Austerity policies have led to cuts in benefits, the deregulation of the labour market and the further deterioration of the limited welfare state that had survived a neoliberal onslaught.

The government argues that only the austerity agenda can make the Greek public debt viable again. But the opposite is true. Austerity policies prevent the economy from returning to growth. Austerity creates a vicious spiral of recession and an increase in debt that in turn leads both Greece and its lenders to calamity.

All this is known to the European and Greek policymakers and elites, including Merkel, who aim to implement similar programmes in all European countries facing debt problems, such as Spain, Portugal and Italy. Why do they insist so dogmatically on this disastrous political and economic path? We believe that their aim is not to solve the debt crisis but to create a new regulatory framework throughout Europe that is based on cheap labour, deregulation of the labour market, low public spending and tax exemptions for capital. To succeed, this strategy uses a form of political and financial blackmail that aims to convince or coerce Europeans to accept austerity packages without resistance. The politics of fear and blackmail used in Greece is the best illustration of this strategy.

My party, Syriza-United Social Front, respects the ordinary European taxpayer who is asked to shoulder loans to countries in distress, including Greece. The European citizens should know, however, that loans to Greece are paid into an “escrow” account and are used exclusively to repay past loans and to re-capitalise near bankrupt private banks. The money cannot be used to pay salaries and pensions, or to buy basic medicine for hospitals and milk for schools. The precondition for these loans is even more austerity, paralysing the Greek economy and increasing the possibility of default. If there is a risk of European taxpayers losing their money, it is created by austerity.

This has to stop now. Europe needs a new plan to deepen European integration. Such a plan must challenge neoliberalism and lead European economies back to recovery. It should prioritise the needs of workers, pensioners and the unemployed, not the interests of multinational companies and bankrupt bankers. Syriza-USF has committed itself to this road. We know it is a difficult one. But it is the only plan that can restore the European vision of social justice, peace and solidarity.

This plan will succeed only if popular struggles radically change the balance of forces. These struggles have started already and have led to the rise of left and resistance movements throughout Europe. They keep alive democracy, equality, freedom and solidarity, the most important values of the European political tradition. These values must prevail. Otherwise Europe will regress to a dark past we thought gone for ever.

Tight Athens security for Merkel

Category : Business, World News

Security levels are raised in the Greek capital ahead a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, her first since the eurozone crisis erupted.

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China in $3.5bn deal with Airbus

Category : World News

China agrees to buy 50 Airbus planes worth $3.5bn (£2.2bn), as part of a slew of trade deals signed by Angela Merkel at the start of a visit to China.

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