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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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US tax chief resigns amid scandal

Category : World News

President Barack Obama announces the head of the US tax agency has quit, after it emerged his staff singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

Originally posted here: US tax chief resigns amid scandal

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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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VIDEO: AP news agency’s Twitter feed hacked

Category : World News

Dr Herb Lin, a cyber security expert, explains how media agencies are likely to make security changes to their Twitter accounts after a fake tweet claiming President Barack Obama had been injured was sent from the Twitter account of the Associated Press news agency.

More here: VIDEO: AP news agency’s Twitter feed hacked

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US immigration reform could improve economy, says conservative thinktank

Category : Business

Analysis ahead of new legislation cites greater birth rate and labour force participation to upend anti-immigration arguments

An overhaul of immigration laws could boost economic growth and cut the federal budget deficit, according to new analysis by a conservative thinktank.

The report by the American Action Forum, published on Tuesday, is part of growing strategy by high-profile conservative groups to deploy economic arguments in the battle for immigration reform.

It challenges the view put forward by some conservatives that immigrants would take jobs from US citizens, drive down wages and would add to the deficit by the need for government assistance.

Legislation on comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship, by the bipartisan “gang of eight” senators could be available as early as this week, according to senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York.

Research published on Tuesday by the AAF, cites the greater birth rate, labour force participation and entrepreneurial bent among immigrants compared to native-born Americans as key factors that could raise gross domestic product growth by a percentage point every year over the next decade. In what it acknowledges are “ballpark” estimates, it said: “A benchmark immigration reform would raise the pace of economic growth by nearly a percentage point over the near term, raise GDP per capita by over $1,500 and reduce the cumulative federal deficit by over $2.5tn.”

The analysis, by Douglas Holtz Eakin, an economist and president of the AAF, argues that in the absence of immigration, the population and overall economy would decline as a result of low US birth rates. It argues that immigration reform should be evaluated in economic terms and compares the US unfavourably with the UK, Canada and Australia, countries which focused their immigration reforms on economic growth.

Groups such as Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and the Hispanic Leadership Forum, which aired ads in March promoting an immigration overhaul, have been gearing up for the next critical phase of the immigration debate, and some are using similar messages to that of the AAF.

Norquist, in an interview with Politico last week, said: “We’re doing it to make sure … that Republican congressman and senators feel comfortable.”

“They look out and hear the guys on talk radio, and they go: ‘Oh my goodness, everybody out there thinks this. That’s not necessarily where I was, but I guess if everybody thinks that way, I’ll either be quiet or go along, or I’ll listen to them so they can convince me.’ They’re now hearing the other side of the issue.”

In addition to the proposals for immigration reform to be put forward by the “gang of eight” senators, a bipartisan group from the House is working on its own version.

If the Senate and House bills pass their respective chambers, they would have to be reconciled and a final version voted on, before being sent to President Barack Obama for signing into law.

An airline fat tax? It’s the thin edge of a nasty wedge | Barbara Ellen

Category : Business

First class, business class, fat class. Is this another step closer to weight-apartheid?

At first I thought it was a late April fool. Samoa Air has become the first airline where people pay not by the seat but by what they weigh. The airlines say this is the “future of aviation”, that airlines run on weight rather than seats, that families will find their children cost less, and thin people won’t have to pay for fat people.

When booking, customers estimate their weight, and are then weighed again at the airport. If they weigh more than they’d suggested, then presumably they’ll be charged more, or perhaps flogged and dragged to Fat Jail? Alternatively, they could save money by chopping off an arm or a leg. Not their heads though – that would be inhumane.

It serves them right, doesn’t it? The super-fatties, taking up too much space, oozing into the neighbouring seat, like an impertinent flesh-blancmange. When are they going to bring in legislation that prohibits the obese from travel altogether? When can we start throwing nets over them at check-in? Perhaps I should stop there, before someone mistakes me for somebody being serious. As I said, initially, I presumed this was an April fool. I’m still half-hoping it might be.

First class, business class, fat class. Is this another step closer to weight-apartheid? In fairness, Samoa Air deals in small planes that are affected by weight. I’ve been on such a plane, where people were asked to move seats for balance. However, safety isn’t the driving force here. (Big people can move too.) It’s money. Nor is “pay only for what you weigh” presented as peculiar to small-plane airlines; rather, as the future of the aviation industry, an idea that swiftly seems to be gaining credibility. The implication being that this could lead to an across the board air travel fat tax, even though that’s absurd. An individual’s weight does not have the same relevance for larger, sturdier, commercial passenger aircraft.

If a weight tax were rolled out throughout the aviation industry, it wouldn’t just affect overweight people. It would affect tall people, muscled people, pregnant women, and men generally, as they tend to weigh more then women. However, no prizes for guessing the group it would really be aimed at, and no weighing scales required for how much public sympathy they could expect. ‘Tis the most disturbing feature about this development – that it’s a symptom, indeed a rubberstamping, of an ever-creeping culture of intolerance.

It’s as if an airplane door suddenly flew open, revealing previously unscaled heights of pan-global intolerance and commercially sanctioned bigotry. First, it’s overweight people on planes, then who? How about kids on planes? Some people find them annoying. The elderly and disabled? Why should they be allowed on first, and get priority seating?

It’s easy to see how intolerance towards large people on planes could be viewed as a microcosm for intolerance in society generally. How intolerance could start with the overweight, and end up just about everywhere. Human nature is such that people have a tendency to go along with things (even things that make them feel uneasy), so long as they, personally, are not directly affected. Hence the flourishing attacks on “benefit culture”.

Which is all very well, so long as these people can be sure they’ll remain gloriously unaffected, unmarked by life. That they won’t become old, poor, unemployed, disabled, or indeed overweight to the point where people think they should be institutionally penalised at every commercial opportunity. If their circumstances do change for the worse, they could only expect the kicking they were once casually doling out themselves.

Alternatively, if and when the time comes, we could all loudly object to such ugly divisive notions as a fat tax for huge commercial airlines that don’t need it. Otherwise, never mind the future of aviation, this could be the future, full stop.

If you call me a goth, I will hate you for ever

Greater Manchester Police has decreed that being attacked for being a goth, punk or similar is a hate crime, on a par with race or religion (coming off the murder of 20-year-old Sophie Lancaster, in 2007).

If the message is: “Don’t pick on people for looking different”, that seems fair enough. On a lighter note, there will be “trained officers”. Officers trained in goth? Amazing.

Most ex-goths furiously deny dabbling in gothdom. Others, like myself, were never goths, despite what my colleagues say. Dark-haired, pale, perhaps a tad sullen, we were the first WAGs (wrongly accused goths).

I preferred the term “positive punk”. I’m not saying it was pretty – I

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Obama ‘offering to cut US pensions’

Category : Business

US President Barack Obama is prepared to offer cuts to Americans’ pensions to strike a deficit deal with Republicans, a White House official says.

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Obama pitches clean-fuel car plan in Chicago but signals retreat on Keystone

Category : Business

President unveils $200m-a-year plan to fund research into clean fuels but advisers suggest Keystone pipeline will be approved

Barack Obama’s grand vision of action on climate change shrank to $200m a year to fund research into clean fuel cars, with signs of retreat on the big environmental issues of the day.

Friday’s initiative – hyped in advance by the White House – marked the first move by Obama to make good on the stirring promises of climate action offered in his inaugural speech and state of the union address.

But on the most immediate environmental decision in his in-tray — the future of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project – White House officials indicated on Friday that Obama’s green and liberal supporters would be in for a disappointment. Officials signalled that the president was inclined to approve the project.

Meanwhile, there were signs that the Environmental Protection Agency was retreating on a move to curb carbon emissions from new coal-fired power plants.

Like other climate actions now in the works, Friday’s announcement of a $2bn research fund was small-bore, or intended to fly beneath the radar of a Congress still dominated by Republicans hostile to environmental protections.

Earlier on Friday, the president’s economic council, in a report to Congress, called for a switch to cleaner fuels to prevent the worst effects of climate change. Meanwhile, the president’s team of scientific advisers are expected to release a finding on the urgency of acting on climate change.

In a visit to Argonne research labs, outside Chicago, the president called on Congress to support his plan to use revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling to fund research into advanced vehicle technologies.

Obama, in describing the Energy Security Trust, put it squarely in the context of his “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, noting that oil and natural gas drilling had risen during his presidency. He said the development of alternative fuels would help America’s energy security and would protect consumers from gas price spikes.

“Let’s take some of our oil and gas revenues from public lands and put it towards research that will benefit the public so we can support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit,” Obama said. “Let’s set up an Energy Security Trust that helps us free our families and our businesses from painful spikes in gas once and for all.”

The Energy Security Trust, as envisaged by the White House, would raise $2bn over the next decade, or $200m a year, for cutting edge research, which Obama said was under-funded by the private sector.

The White House said the money would help fund research into “breakthrough” technologies, such as advanced batteries for electric cars, or biofuels made from switch grass rather than corn ethanol.

Officials chose Argonne Labs because the facility led research into electric car batteries.

As Obama noted, the fund was first proposed by a non-partisan group of former generals and military executives, called Securing America’s Future Energy. However, the original proposal called for a much larger fund, with some $500m in annual investment.

Obama incorporated the idea into his state of the union address, pitching the trust as part of his plan for job creation, arguing that America needed to retain its technological edge to remain competitive in the global economy. White House officials said the fund would free research labs from Congress, and the uncertainties of appropriation cycles.

Even so, the initiative is on a much more modest scale than campaigners had hoped for during Obama’s second term. The White House has all but conceded that there is no chance of moving a climate law through Congress. Officials have also ruled out the idea of a carbon tax, leaving Obama to focus on relatively small-scale projects like the Energy Security Trust.

Obama’s proposal to use oil and gas revenues to fund research that would get cars off gas was also problematic for environmental groups.

The White House said Obama’s proposal would not open up areas where drilling is currently banned. But they are counting on increased production to spin off additional revenues that could be used to fund research. The government currently collects more than $6bn in oil and gas royalties.

There was virtually no reaction from environmental groups to Obama’s announcement.

Meanwhile, White House officials briefing reporters on the plane gave strong indications that the president is inclined to approve the Keystone XL pipeline – which activists have cast as a test of Obama’s commitment to the environment.

A few dozen protesters from the group, which has led opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, held a demonstration outside Argonne labs on Friday afternoon.

The official dismissed environmental groups’ contention that building the pipeline would open up vast deposits of the Alberta tar sands, and so increase the emissions that cause climate change. “There have been thousands of miles of pipelines that have been built while President Obama has been in office, and I think the point is, is that it hasn’t necessarily had a significant impact one way or the other on addressing climate change,” the official said.

He added that Obama’s environmental policies would more than make up for any negative impacts from the Keystone XL project. “There’s no question of that.”

Environmental groups were also dismayed by a report in the Washington Post on Friday suggesting that the administration may be backing off from its move to curb emissions from new coal plants.

“We’re now in the fifth year of the Obama administration and industrial carbon pollution remains unregulated,” said Larry Schweiger, president of the National Wildlife Federation.

Obama pitches $2bn clean energy fund

Category : Business, World News

US President Barack Obama calls for pumping $2bn (£1.3bn) from gas and oil royalties over a decade into clean energy research.

View original post here: Obama pitches $2bn clean energy fund

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Third day of Obama’s budget outreach

Category : Business, World News

President Obama makes his third and final trip to Capitol Hill this week, in a rare outreach that aims to end the budget battles crippling Washington.

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Romney: ‘It kills me’ not to be in the White House – Boston Herald

Category : Stocks

San Francisco Chronicle
Romney: 'It kills me' not to be in the White House
Boston Herald
Faded GOP star Mitt Romney emerged from post-election seclusion in his first major TV appearance yesterday, holding the door open to a role in public life but denying a third run for the White House will be part of that. Romney admitted on Fox News that his
Mitt Romney criticizes Obama, admits campaign mistakesLos Angeles Times
Quoted: Ann Romney on turning down 'Dancing With the Stars'Washington Post (blog)
Romney Offers Explanation for LossWall Street Journal
Politico (blog)

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