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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com 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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MPs call for sole pensions regulator

Category : World News

One regulator should be responsible for regulating the workplace pensions sector as millions more people are signed up to schemes, MPs say.

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Snowsports ‘boost’ to Scots economy

Category : Business

Snowsports have contributed millions of pounds to the Scottish economy since the start of the latest season, according to VisitScotland.

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FirstGroup and Morrisons have got problems, but Britain’s Got Talent

Category : Business

The rail company lost its star attraction – the west coast line – but at least the supermarket still has its celebrities onside

Is the rail industry’s silver fox set to fall victim to the City’s slavering hounds? Tim O’Toole, the charismatic but embattled chief executive of FirstGroup, will have to hope that Tuesday’s pre-close trading update assuages his shareholders’ anxiety.

This time last year, a profits warning saw FirstGroup’s share price tumble by a third, before slowly rising back up on the promise of winning the lucrative west coast rail franchise. The ensuing fiasco, in which the Department for Transport confessed to a botched job and decided First couldn’t have a new railway after all, sent the company’s value plunging again.

Despite the government’s attempt to get franchising back on track, including handing First extensions to its Great Western, Thameslink and TransPennine contracts, analysts believe this may be merely postponing First’s pain. The elusive west coast prize is now at least four years away, and O’Toole’s “winning” bid for it has now been widely judged as over-the-top. First will need to bank the merged Thameslink-Southern franchise, where Govia are favourites, before refinancing in 2015: the train cash makes its £2bn debt manageable.

A cut in dividend looks a foregone conclusion. O’Toole, very much a rail man, may need other ways to keep First on track. Selling Greyhound, the US coach service, may be an answer.

Supermarket sweep

Knife-throwing butchers and super-fast shelf stackers should start honing their skills now. Morrisons, Britain’s fourth-biggest supermarket, has splashed out millions to become the new sponsor of ITV1′s Britain’s Got Talent, which airs next Saturday.

In a clever bit of planning, BGT’s hosts, Ant and Dec, are also the stars of Morrisons’ new TV commercials and are even thought to be customers of the Bradford-based retailer. Perhaps chief executive Dalton Philips feels more comfortable in the company of celebrities, especially after spending last Tuesday showing George Osborne around one of his distribution centres.

Announcing the sponsorship of BGT and Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway last month, Philips said: “This deal puts us in the homes of millions of potential new Morrisons customers every Saturday night and gives us the opportunity to showcase the talent that shoppers won’t see in any other supermarket.”

Ironically for Morrisons, which is in desperate need of a groceries website, it is replacing Virgin Media in the sponsor’s slot. Perhaps the purveyor of superfast internet connections could advise Philips on his online strategy.

BP to join equality crusade … soon

“I believe board diversity – including the representation of women at the top – helps to make boards more effective,” BP’s Carl-Henric Svanberg wrote in his chairman’s letter last month.

The former Ericsson boss is a member of the 30% Club, a group committed to hiring more female directors, and he has voiced his support for Lord Davies’s Women on Boards report, which recommends that at least a quarter of those sitting around the top table should be female. Specifically, Svanberg committed to improving representation at BP.

The 2011 annual report states: “Our goal is to increase the number of women on the board to three by 2013 and to work towards 25% representation by 2015.” We are already well into 2013, but BP has just two female directors and there are no plans to elect a third at this Thursday’s annual meeting in London.

Cambridge University professor Dame Ann Dowling was brought in to help steer BP in February last year; Cynthia Carroll, the former Anglo American boss, has been a director since 2007. BP never clarified whether it would meet its quota by the beginning or the end of 2013, but a spokeswoman says the target remains. Fortunately, one of BP’s 13 male directors, Byron Grote, is stepping down, so there is a spare seat.

UK teen’s app bought for ‘millions’

Category : Business, World News

Yahoo has acquired an app created by a UK teenager for “dozens of millions” of pounds.

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Tax deal targets offshore evaders

Category : Business

A new agreement between the UK Treasury and the Isle of Man aims to clamp down on tax evaders and may net hundreds of millions of pounds.

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Sahara firms’ bank accounts frozen

Category : Business, World News

Bank accounts of two firms of Sahara, one of India’s biggest business houses, are frozen for failing to refund money to millions of investors.

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Obama state of the union details free trade deal between US and Europe

Category : Business

Move could forge closer ties between two trading powers as they face slower growth at home and competition from China

President Barack Obama unveiled plans for a new free trade agreement between and the US and Europe in his annual state of the union speech.

Announcing new talks on a “comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment partnership”, Obama told Congress: “Trade that is free and fair across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs.”

Obama gave no further details but the talks with the European Union, which follow a year of exploratory discussions, will center on phasing out tariffs and reduce regulatory barriers in a move that would create closer ties between the two trading powers at a time when they face slower growth at home and increasing competition from China.

The president concentrated most of his speech on domestic economy – concentrating on the overspill from the fiscal cliff budget crisis at the end of 2012. The argument left the US facing deep cuts to defense and social programmes next month – known as sequestration – as Washington tries to tackle its $16tn in debt.

Obama called for cross-party support to head off those cuts and find a compromise. “The greatest nation on Earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next,” he said.

“I realise that tax reform and entitlement reform won’t be easy. The politics will be hard for both sides. None of us will get 100% of what we want. But the alternative will cost us jobs, hurt our economy, and visit hardship on millions of hardworking Americans,” he said.

The president set out proposals he believes will help the US recovery and called on Congress to pass legislation he has already proposed to help homeowners and the job market.

Obama called for the federal minimum wage to be raised to $9 an hour, currently $7.25, and to tie it to the cost of living.

Obama announced the creation of three new innovation centres meant to encourage growth in manufacturing within the US. The first innovation institute opened in Youngstown, Ohio, last year.

He also unveiled a “Fix-It-First” programme to put people to work on urgent repairs, “like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country”.

The US economy is on the mend, Obama said. “We buy more American cars than we have in five years, and less foreign oil than we have in 20. Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before,” he said.

“But we gather here knowing that there are millions of Americans whose hard work and dedication have not yet been rewarded. Our economy is adding jobs – but too many people still can’t find full-time employment. Corporate profits have rocketed to all-time highs – but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged.

“It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class,” he said.

He said the looming sequester would jeopardise military readiness, devastate education, energy and medical research and “cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs”.

Republicans have suggested stopping the defence cuts and making bigger cuts to education and job training. “But we can’t ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and most powerful,” he said.

Obama said the US’s massive Medicare national insurance programme was in need of reform. The president said he would enact reforms to reduce spending to levels suggested by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission. Obama said he would cut taxpayer subsidies to drug companies and change the way government pays for Medicare “because our medical bills shouldn’t be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital – they should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive”.

He said he was open to suggestions for more reforms but added. “Our government shouldn’t make promises we cannot keep – but we must keep the promises we’ve already made.”

Aside from the European venture Obama’s speech contained no major new economic policies.

Richard Sotell, president of investment adviser Kraematon Group, said he was disappointed that a “grand bargain” to tackle US debts and spending now appeared to be off the table.

“The real issue is we are on a completely unsustainable course. Medicare and Medicaid will totally crowd out every aspect of the budget unless we deal with it. And yet the government continues to kick the can down the road.”

VIDEO: What is the future of television?

Category : Business, World News

With Netflix investing millions in creating its own TV shows, why Amazon and Microsoft are also joining the TV game.

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VIDEO: Traders enjoy India’s Kumbh Mela

Category : Business, World News

India’s Kumbh Mela religious festival attracts millions who want to cleanse their sins, but the crowds of pilgrims are also good business for traders.

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