Google will delete or pass along your data after you die
A new Google tool gives users the power to decide what happens to their digital assets, including email, photos and data, should they pass away. (Source: MGN Online). (RNN) – In the digital age, settling your estate is not the only thing many need to think …
Google releases tool to deal with your data after death
Google Lets Users Plan 'Digital Afterlife' By Naming Heirs
Google launches tool to help users plan for digital afterlife
Federal Reserve officials dinged JPMorgan and Goldman for being off on their stress test results. Wells Fargo, however, got a pass.
US banks have enough capital to withstand a severe economic downturn, the Federal Reserve says, as 17 out of 18 banks pass its annual stress tests.
Follow this link: US banks ‘could survive a downturn’
President Barack Obama urges US governors to lobby their congressional delegation to pass legislation averting deep budget cuts set to hit on Friday.
See the original post here: Obama urges budget cuts ‘compromise’
President Obama urges Congress to pass short-term spending cuts and tax reforms to delay larger cuts next month, a plan rejected by Republicans.
Read this article: Obama offers spending-cuts deal
The US says “dangerous practices” at HSBC allowed the bank to pass money to “drug kingpins and rogue nations”, as it fines it $1.9bn (£1.2bn).
Continued here: HSBC guilty of ‘stunning failure’
Democratic Left party, a partner in conservative-led alliance, pledged it would not support the austerity bill
Furious Greek unions have vowed to stage “the mother of all strikes” as the country’s parliament prepares to vote on new austerity measures, the condition for further rescue funds that will keep bankruptcy at bay and, in so doing, secure continued membership of the euro.
The fresh round of cutbacks and tax increases – the fourth such package since the outbreak of Europe’s debt crisis in Athens three years ago – is likely to be passed, but not without a fight, as public and private sector employees walk off the job on Tuesday in a 48-hour showdown with prime minister Antonis Samaras’s fragile coalition.
“These measures may be voted through, but they cannot be enforced because the tolerance levels of Greeks have really passed their limits,” said Panos Skourletis, spokesman of the main opposition Syriza party.
“The government does not have the political legitimacy to pass policies which it promised it would renegotiate during the election campaign [in June] and which it knows will lead to the annihilation of our nation. The only way out is fresh elections here and now.”
With cuts amounting to more than 5% of GDP, the €13.5bn package has stirred ferocious passions, both in the governing coalition where politicians have spent almost five months negotiating the reforms with international creditors at the EU and IMF, and on the street where anti-bailout forces have pledged to do “whatever it takes” to stop the implementation of measures that will undoubtedly exacerbate the debt-choked country’s economic freefall.
Indicative of the heightened political tensions, the small Democratic Left party, a junior partner in Athens’ conservative-led alliance, pledged it would not support the austerity bill, which foresees the retirement age being increased from 65 to 67, controversial wage and pension cuts and a radical overhaul of the labour market – all in return for a crucial €31.5bn cash injection to keep the moribund Greek economy afloat.
“We will abstain from voting in favour of the austerity programme because we disagree fully with the labour reforms that are also included in the package,” said Dimitris Hadzisokratis, the party’s economics chief.
With Greece mired in its worst recession since the second world war amid record levels of poverty and unemployment, the party has argued that further cuts to wages and severance payments will devastate a workforce that has already borne the brunt of the crisis. But Hadzisokratis rejected mounting rumours that the leftist party was considering quitting the coalition, predicting that far from being explosive the social backlash to the measures would be limited. “My own personal feeling is that social reaction will not correspond to the weight of the measures and will be much less than anticipated because people can see there is no alternative,” he said.
Addressing his own wavering MPs, Samaras insisted that the choice was stark. Either the measures were passed, or bankruptcy and euro exit beckoned. “The problem is not whether this measure or the other is adopted … [but] what would happen if the measures did not pass, if the loan agreement was not finalised,” he said conceding that ordinary wage earners had already lost 35% of their income over the past two years. “If we were forced to leave the euro now, we would lose at least twice that amount within a few weeks. Our standard of living would fall by about 80%,” added the leader, emphasing that the spending cuts would be the “very last” to be imposed on a nation that has come ever closer to breaking point.
But unions beg to differ. With over a quarter of the country’s entire workforce out of work and extremism rising on left and right, many fear the package will prove to be the tipping point for Greeks.
Increasingly MPs in the government’s other party, the once mighty socialist Pasok, have also revolted with as many as seven deputies refusing to back the measures. Politicians have argued that further belt-tightening will be counter-productive when, far from being tamed, Greece’s monumental debt load is projected to hit a record 192% of GDP in 2014 – despite private creditors accepting a write-down in the value of Greek bonds in March.
The country’s economy is expected to contract for a sixth straight year in 2013 with national outlay estimated to drop by 4.2% – bringing total losses since the crisis erupted to a whopping 25% of GDP.
“Everyone knows that our debt is totally unsustainable and with that in mind it has made voting for these measures seem even more pointless,” confided one socialist deputy.
Dissent in Pasok means that the government is unlikely to pass the measures with anything more than a slim majority which will add to the turmoil in Greece as the coalition’s viability comes under ever greater question.
“Elections are inevitable,” said Nikos Filis, editor of the Avgi, the paper widely aligned with the views of the main opposition Syriza party. “It is one thing to hear about measures, another to have them applied. The more these are enforced, the greater the reaction will be and the greater the loss to the government’s authority.”
If a Tory prime minister can ‘pass a law’ on utility bills, then he can make a decision on where our power should come from
David Cameron’s way of running the country becomes ever more eccentric. This week he was like a dyspeptic columnist. On Wednesday he raged about soaring energy prices, leapt up in the House of Commons and said he would “pass a law” against them. That is the joy of being a Blairite prime minister. Margaret Thatcher would have spent hours fussing over how to do what she said. Cameron just blurts it out and leaves others to cope with the mess.
All hell broke loose. The prime minister told the Commons he would legislate “so that energy companies have to give the lowest tariff to their customers”, not just the 25% who now opt for it. There were gasps all round. Whitehall officials had to burn the midnight oil “clarifying” what on earth the prime minister meant by thus denying choice. By morning a lexicographical genius decided that “have to” did not imply compulsion. A junior minister, John Hayes, said merely that “a number of options are under consideration”, though by the day’s end this was re-clarified as meaning a big stick.
That is what happened a year ago, when Cameron did the same thing, summoning the energy bosses and telling them he was frightfully cross. They smiled, shook him by the hand and increased prices 13%, with a further 6-9% this year. Most of them are foreign-owned and really do not mind what a British prime minister says.
Some might see this as rather humiliating, but Cameron is cut from original cloth. He does not rule but muses, suggests, stirs the pot; free of interfering staff work or research. Like Carroll’s Queen of Hearts he reverses causality, with decision first, consultation afterwards. We have seen it over planning, health, airports, family taxes, forests, high-speed trains, Europe, everything. Each is followed by a review, a U-turn, a committee, perhaps a postponement until the next election. Hence his enthusiasm for that jewel of dilatory government, the independent inquiry.
Cameron is right that months of hollering about utility prices and confused charging systems have yielded nothing but higher charges. Falling world gas and coal prices are not being reflected in falling domestic costs, but the reverse. Regulated privatisation has not worked. As far back as 1987 Thatcher’s aide Ferdinand Mount remarked that “the regulators have no teeth and the operators no conscience”. Eight years later, the then Ofgas regulator, Clare Spottiswoode, was accused of producer capture. She told parliament she was “wholly unaccountable” and her reports “not worth the paper they are printed on”.
Not much has changed, except that producer capture has got worse. Massive profits have brought foreign owners running. Coherent planning of long-term capacity has collapsed, victim of a not-so-civil war between government and the industry. On the one side are greedy but confused power companies, on the other ministers in thrall to lobbyists created by their own subsidies. The energy minister, Ed Davey, like his predecessor, Chris Huhne, seems at times to be reading out press releases from wind farm lobbyists, as do his colleagues on nuclear.
There is no way privatisation can determine where energy should come from after most coal and nuclear power stations close over the next decade. Britain, unable to take important decisions because they require courage, is starting to resemble a third-world country, and facing eventual power cuts. Cameron’s exasperation is understandable. Perhaps he should pass a law banning exasperation.
This week, the Oxford professor of energy policy, Dieter Helm, publishes an attack on the whole vexed realm of carbon policy. In The Carbon Crunch he does not quarrel with the statistical basis of climate change, only with its policy consequences. These he regards as driven by green faddishness into barking lunacy.
Speaking at the Royal Society last week, Helm addressed two contrasting scenarios. If climate change is not urgent, then we can go on arguing, researching and building North Sea windmills and Saharan mirrors until the sacred cows come home. But if warming really is accelerating, and Helm accepts that it is, then there is no time to lose. There is certainly no time to mess about with footprints, windmills and air miles. A crisis is what it says.
At present, rising world demand for energy is being met by coal. China, India, Germany, even Britain, are consuming ever more coal. China is building a coal power station every week. The one country not “dashing for coal” is the US, because it is dashing for gas, whose emissions per unit of energy are half those of coal. As a result, America’s emissions and energy prices are falling compared with the rest of the world. It is the one virtuous player.
To Helm, the answer is simple. The only short-term substitute for coal is not nuclear, which takes too long and is too expensive, but gas. Of course, gas is carbon, and we are still far from “capturing” its emissions. Of course, building gas stations may prejudice long-term investment in zero-carbon sources of power. Helm is messianic on researching such sources, be they sun, Earth, tide, even nuclear. But all that is over the horizon. Gas is in “near limitless supply” and for the world to turn against it merely prolongs dependence on coal and expedites climate change.
Helm’s other cause is not to attack production but to tax carbon consumption through a straight carbon tax. The money should go into research and carbon capture. It is also wrong to deny poorer consumers the benefit of cheap gas, as now, when we tax every energy bill to cross-subsidise the idling turbine parks of rich landowners. The green lobby “has a lot to answer for”. At the Royal Society Helm came close to accusing it of driving forward climate change by ignoring gas.
I am not qualified to know if Helm is right, but he writes with a convincing passion. He is also rumoured to have the ear of the Treasury, determined to press ahead with a new generation of gas power stations. Certainly Cameron on Wednesday sold an ideological pass. A Tory prime minister was meddling in the market for power to deny choice and fix prices. Will he extend this to petrol, air fares and bank charges? He also as good as admitted that the private sector can never sort out the energy mess. Having “decided” what to do on Wednesday, perhaps he can now decide what to do next.
Older people in England with a free bus pass are more likely to be physically active – whether they are wealthy or poor, UK researchers claim.
Continue reading here: Free bus passes ‘benefit health’
Category : Stocks