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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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Rics calls for estate agent tests

Category : Business

Estate agents who are not members of a professional body currently do not have to meet minimum competency standards

First-time buyers would feel more confident when buying a home if estate agents had to pass compulsory tests to show they are up to scratch.

That was one of the findings of a study by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), which wants to see greater regulation of estate agents to make sure first-time buyers are not, in its words, “flying blind” through the “biggest purchase of their lives”.

At present, agents who are not members of a professional body do not have to meet minimum competency standards.

There have been signs recently that more first-time buyers are entering the market following government efforts to improve conditions and help people with smaller deposits get on to the property ladder. First-time buyers have consistently been making up around two-fifths of house purchases in recent months.

However, Rics said its research found that three in 10 (29%) first-time buyers said they did not have a good understanding of the sales process when buying a home. More than three-quarters (77%) believe consumers’ understanding would improve if compulsory regulation of estate agents was introduced, and 89% think buyers would be better protected.

Rics said that with the market showing signs of a pick-up and “seemingly over the very worst”, more must be done to ensure that agents are suitably qualified to advise their clients through the sales process.

Peter Bolton King, a Rics director, said: “I would recommend that anyone who is buying or selling a house checks that their agent is a regulated member of a professional body such as Rics, and has met minimum standards of competency and understanding.

“By using an unregulated estate agent, people are potentially dealing with someone who doesn’t understand the technicalities involved in buying a home, or their obligations to consumers.”

More than 1,000 people who had either bought a property or obtained a valuation in the past five years took part in the survey.

Minimum drink price challenge fails

Category : World News

A legal challenge to the Scottish government’s plans to introduce minimum pricing per unit of alcohol has failed.

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Minimum wage to increase to £6.31

Category : Business, World News

The national minimum wage will rise by 12p an hour to £6.31 for adults and by 5p to £5.03 for 18-to-20-year-olds from October.

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BCGold Corp. Signs Agreement With Solid Holdings Ltd. to Develop and Operate Engineer Mine

Category : World News

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – March 3, 2013) - BCGold Corp. (TSX VENTURE:BCG)(PINKSHEETS:BCGOF)(“BCGold” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce it has signed a Letter of Intent (“LOI”) with Solid Holdings Ltd. (“Solid”) whereby Solid will finance and construct a minimum 30 tonne per day turn-key mine, mill and gold refining operation (the “Engineer Mine”) at BCGold Corp.’s historic Engineer Mine property, situated 32 km west of Atlin, British Columbia. Within a 3 year time-frame Solid is required to produce a minimum of 10,000 ounces of gold, with 1,500 ounces to BCGold’s credit, on a gross-sale basis from the Engineer Vein on 6 and 7 Levels of the underground mine workings. Upon completion of these provisions, Solid may elect to acquire a 50% interest in the Engineer Mine by way of a joint venture agreement (“JV”) with BCGold Corp. (see Proposed JV Terms below).

View original post here: BCGold Corp. Signs Agreement With Solid Holdings Ltd. to Develop and Operate Engineer Mine

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Doctors: urgent action on alcohol needed

Category : Business

Coalition of health organisations outline series of radical measures to reduce £55bn annual cost of alcohol misuse

Doctors’ leaders want tough action to limit the sale and promotion of alcohol, including cigarette-style graphic warnings and an end to drinks firms sponsoring sport, to tackle the growing toll of drink-related problems.

A coalition of medical organisations, including those representing GPs, A&E doctors and surgeons, urges ministers in a new report to implement an array of radical measures to reduce the £55bn annual cost of alcohol misuse.

But the draconian proposals did not find much favour with either the drinks industry or the Department of Health, which immediately said that it did not support the introduction of graphic health warnings on bottles and tins.

The Alcohol Health Alliance claims efforts to educate people about the risks of excess alcohol and voluntary deals with the drinks industry have not reversed the trend of increasingly problematic drinking. It wants ministers to set the planned minimum price for alcohol that David Cameron has decided should be introduced in England to be set at 50p a unit, higher than the coalition’s preferred option of 45p.

The alliance of 70 medical bodies and health charities is demanding that:

• A third of the label on all cans and bottles of alcohol should be given over to a hard-hitting warning about the health dangers of over-consumption

• A ban on all alcohol advertising and sponsorship. That would stop alcohol manufacturers paying millions to have their name on teams’ shirts or in the title of a competition – such as Budweiser, which sponsors the FA Cup in England

• Drink sales in shops and supermarkets should be restricted to certain times, and alcohol products sold only in designated areas, to reduce “pre-loading” – in which people drinking cheaper shop-bought alcohol before going out

• A hike in the price of high-strength products, such as certain wines, to discourage consumption

• Local councils do more to stop the proliferation of premises selling alcohol in certain areas

• The drink-drive limit should fall to 50mg per 100ml of blood – amounting to no more than a single pint of beer

The alliance welcomed what it called the limited progress achieved through the coalition’s controversial “responsibility deal” with alcohol producers, such as their pledge to put information about the number of units involved and a warning about not drinking in pregnancy on 80% of products by the end of 2014.

Sir Ian Gilmore, the AHA’s chair, said action was especially urgent given that UK teenagers drink much more than the European average.

Sir Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians, which represents hospital doctors, said the report, Health First, “demonstrates the clear evidence that the government must push on with its commitment to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol.” A 50p minimum unit price could prevent over 3,000 drink-related deaths a year and 40,000 crimes annually in England, he added.

But the Department of Health said: “Cigarette-style health warnings are not applicable to alcohol. All levels of smoking are bad for your health, but the same cannot be said for alcohol consumption.”

The department argues that action is already underway to improve the detection and treatment of alcohol problems. Officials agree that information on labels could help consumers make healthier choices, but the industry’s labelling policy is considered to be sufficient.

The British Beer and Pub Association rejected the plan. “Alcohol consumption has fallen by 3% in the past year, and is down 16% since 2004. Drinking among young people is also falling”, said a spokesman. “The sale of alcohol in the UK is already among the most heavily regulated in the world.”

China uses wage to narrow wealth gap

Category : Business

China approves a plan to tackle the widening income gap between rich and poor, which includes raising its minimum wage.

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VIDEO: Flexible Basel rules ‘very good news’

Category : Business

The move by regulators to ease the minimum quantities of cash and assets all banks must hold is “very good news”, says Arjuna Mahendran of HSBC Private Bank.

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Regulators ease bank asset rules

Category : World News

International financial regulators ease the first-ever rules on minimum quantities of cash and assets all banks must hold, set to take effect in 2015.

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Alcohol minimum price details due

Category : World News

Ministers are due to unveil plans for a minimum price for alcohol in England and Wales as part of a drive to tackle problem drinking.

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India’s clothing workers: ‘They slap us and call us dogs and monkeys’

Category : Business

Human rights tribunal hears allegations of abuse and low pay against clothing companies that supply high street stores

Workers making clothes that end up in the stores of the biggest names on the British high street have testified to a shocking regime of abuse, threats and poverty pay. Many workers in Indian factories earn so little that an entire month’s wages would not buy a single item they produce.

Physical and verbal abuse is rife, while female workers who fail to meet impossible targets say they are berated, called “dogs and donkeys”, and told to “go and die”. Many workers who toil long hours in an attempt to support their families on poverty wages claim they are cheated out of their dues by their employers.

The allegations, which will be of concern to household names including Gap, H&M, Next and Walmart, were made at a human rights tribunal in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru. The “national people’s tribunal for living wages and decent working conditions for garment workers” was convened to investigate widespread human rights abuses in the garment industry.

Sakamma, a 42-year-old mother-of-two working for Gap supplier Texport in Bengaluru, told the tribunal she earned just 22p an hour and that when she finished at the factory she had to work as a domestic help to top up her wages.

“It hurts us to be paid so little. I have to do this and they sell one piece of clothing for more than I get paid in a month,” she said. “We cannot eat nutritious food. We don’t have a good life, we live in pain for the rest of our life and die in pain.

“Low wages is the main reason. How much burden can a woman take? Husband, children, house and factory work – can we manage all these with such a meagre salary? So we are caught up in the debt trap. Is there no solution for our problem?”

Like many of the women giving evidence, she said workers faced abuse if they failed to meet quotas. “The targets are too high. They want 150 pieces an hour. When we can’t meet the targets, the abuse starts. There is too much pressure; it is like torture. We can’t take breaks or drink water or go to the toilet. The supervisors are on our backs all the time,” she said. “They call us donkey, owl [a creature associated with evil], dog and insult us … make us stand in front of everyone, tell us to go and die.”

According to Indian government figures, the national textile industry is worth £35bn a year and employs 35 million people. Garment exports are worth £21bn. But human rights campaigners accuse international brands of subcontracting to firms paying poverty wages to the people who make their clothes.

A spokesperson for Texport denied setting unachievable targets and said abuse of workers was not tolerated. Gap said: “These allegations describe conduct that violates our Code of Vendor Conduct. We are looking into this matter and will take appropriate action with our vendors, depending on our findings.”

The Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA), which organised the tribunal, wants companies to pay a minimum living wage of 12,096 rupees (£138) a month, equivalent to 58p an hour. But the tribunal heard that a factory supplying Gap and Next paid as little as 26p an hour. The supplier – Pearl Global, based in Gurgaon, in Haryana state – admits it has underpaid workers for overtime and has required them to work illegally long hours, but said it had now repaid them. It insists it complies with the legal minimum wage, though evidence submitted to the tribunal by one worker indicated that he was paid below the legal rate.

Pearl Global was first exposed by the Observer for rights abuses in 2010 when it traded as House of Pearl, but it has continued to operate and supply the brands under its new name.

Many workers at the tribunal claimed that long hours and poor health and safety conditions made them ill. One worker said that a colleague was electrocuted by a bare wire last year in a factory supplying Gap. Ashok Kumar Singh, 29, who works for Gap supplier Modelama Exports in Gurgaon, gave evidence that he was paid just 5,097 rupees a month (24.6p an hour), although the legal minimum rate for his job was 5,300 rupees.

He said workers were taught to lie to auditors sent to check up on working conditions. “Before a visit they gather all the workers around and tell them what to say. If we don’t say what we are told, we are fired,” he said, adding that some workers had been dismissed after complaining to auditors about conditions.

Workers who failed to meet targets were verbally and physically abused, he said. “They call us motherfuckers and push us around and some people get slapped by supervisors and managers,” he said. “I feel the companies look at the workers like enemies.”

The tribunal, in front of an international jury, took evidence in person from workers and will consider written evidence compiled at regional hearings.

Gap and Next were accused of using suppliers that paid below the minimum legal wage, paid below the legal rate for overtime, and required workers to work excessive and illegal overtime. They also faced allegations, along with H&M and Walmart, of using suppliers that verbally abused staff, while there were allegations of physical abuse against a supplier for Gap, H&M and Walmart.

H&M sent representatives to the tribunal and insisted it was committed to improving working conditions. “The social and environmental responsibility that we take puts H&M’s sustainability work ahead of the field in the fashion industry worldwide,” said a spokeswoman. “We clearly see these issues as industry problems that need to be addressed at industry level by government, suppliers, trade unions, workers, buyers, etc.”

A spokesman for Next said: “Next identified that Pearl Global was falling well short of the group’s standard codes of practice in 2010. As a result, Next ceased using this supplier in 2011, after making a determined effort to bring about major change at Pearl Global. Next last reviewed the supplier in July, when the decision to remain disengaged from it was maintained. Next has no plans to recommence manufacturing at Pearl Global.” Anannya Bhattacharjee, international co-ordinator for the AFWA, told the tribunal that despite the recession the garment industry continued to bring in profits. She said workers continued to suffer “shocking, inhuman conditions” and were being paid poverty wages. “Nothing can be more important than a decent living wage for workers working day and night to clothe the world.”.