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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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Post Office warned on account fees

Category : Business

Consumer group Which? warns that a monthly charge could discourage people from opening bank accounts at the Post Office.

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Several Russian Speakers on New Executive Committee of World Jewish Congress; Ronald S. Lauder Confirmed as President of the Leading International Jewish Organization

Category : Stocks

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY and MOSCOW–(Marketwired – May 13, 2013) – The 14th Plenary Assembly of the World Jewish Congress in Budapest re-elected Ronald S. Lauder as president of the WJC for another four-year term. He has held the position since 2007. “I see this as the top assignment for the Jewish people and I am excited to serve as president of the World Jewish Congress for another four years,” said Lauder.

Read the original here: Several Russian Speakers on New Executive Committee of World Jewish Congress; Ronald S. Lauder Confirmed as President of the Leading International Jewish Organization

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Watch out, George Osborne: Smith, Marx and even the IMF are after you | Ha-Joon Chang

Category : Business

When even the IMF’s free market ideologues recoil from the UK chancellor’s austerity politics, democracy itself is at stake

George Osborne and his Treasury officials are gearing up for a fight. They’ve promised to make life difficult for the other side for the next two weeks. The unlikely opponents are the team of economists visiting from the IMF for a regular policy review.

Why has this routine meeting, which would hardly be noticed outside professional circles, become a confrontation? Because the IMF has recently dropped its support for the chancellor’s austerity policy and repeatedly urged him to rethink it. It even said he was “playing with fire” in refusing to change course.

This is an astonishing development. For in the past three decades the IMF has been the standard-bearer for austerity. Back in 1997 it even forced South Korea – with an existing budget surplus and one of the smallest public debts in the world (as a proportion of GDP) – to cut government spending. Only when the policy turned what was already the biggest recession in the country’s history into a catastrophe, with more than 100 firms going bankrupt every day for five months, did it do an embarrassing U-turn and allow a budget deficit to develop.

Given this history, being told by the IMF to go easy on austerity is like being told by the Spanish Inquisition to be more tolerant of heretics. The chancellor and his team should be worried.

If even the IMF doesn’t approve, why is the UK government persisting with a policy that is clearly not working? Or, for that matter, why is the same policy pushed through across Europe? A certain dead economist would have said it is because the government is “in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor“. Dead right.

Current policies in the UK and other European countries are really about making poor people pay for the mistakes of the rich. Millions of poor people have lost their jobs and the support they received through welfare, but how many of those top bankers who caused the crisis have suffered – except for a cancelled knighthood here and a partially returned pension pot there? If anyone has suffered in the financial industry, it is its poorer members – junior analysts who lost their jobs and tellers who are working longer hours for shrinking real wages.

In case you were wondering, it wasn’t Karl Marx who wrote the words that I quoted above. He would have never put it so crudely. His version, delivered with typical panache, was that the “executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie”. No, those damning words came from Adam Smith, the supposed patron saint of free-market economics.

To Smith and Marx, the class bias of the state was plain to see. They lived at a time when only the rich had votes (if there were elections at all) and so there were few checks on the extent to which they could dictate government policy.

With the subsequent broadening of suffrage, ultimately to every adult, the class nature of the state has been significantly diluted. The welfare state, regulations on monopoly, consumer protection, and protection of worker rights are all things that have been established only because of this political change. Democracy, despite its limitations, is in the end the only way to ensure that policies do not simply benefit the privileged few.

This is, of course, exactly why free-market economists and others who are on the side of the rich have been so negative about democracy. In the old days, free-market economists strongly opposed universal suffrage on the grounds that it would destroy capitalism: poor people would elect politicians who would appropriate the means of the rich and give handouts to the poor, they argued, completely destroying incentives for wealth creation.

Once universal suffrage was introduced, they could not openly oppose democracy. So they started criticising “politics” in general. Politicians, it was argued, would adopt policies that maximised their chances of re-election but damaged the economy – printing money, handing out favours to powerful monopolies, and increasing social welfare spending for the poor. Politicians needed to be prevented from making important policy decisions, the argument went.

On this advice, since the 1980s, many countries have ring-fenced the most important policy areas to keep politicians out. Independent central banks (such as the European Central Bank), independent regulatory agencies (such as Ofcom and Ofgem) and strict rules on government spending and deficits (such as the “balanced budget” rule) have been introduced.

In particularly difficult economic times, it was even argued, we need to insulate economic policies from politics altogether. Latin American military dictatorships were justified in such terms. The recent imposition of “technocratic” governments, made up of economists and bankers who have not been “tainted” by politics, on Greece and Italy comes from the same intellectual stable.

What free-market economists are not telling us is that the politics they want to get rid of are none other than those of democracy itself. When they say we need to insulate economic policies from politics, they are in effect advocating the castration of democracy.

The conflict surrounding austerity policies in Europe is, then, not just about figures on budget, unemployment and growth rate. It is also about the meaning of democracy.

As José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European commission, has recently recognised, the policy of austerity has “reached its limits” in terms of “political and social support”. If European leaders, including the British chancellor, keep pushing these policies against those limits, people will inevitably start asking: what is the point of democracy, when policies serve only the interest of the tiny minority at the top? This is nothing less than crunch time for democracy in Europe.

Debt worries ‘feature payday loans’

Category : World News

Twice as many people who sought help with debts in 2012 had payday loans compared with a year earlier, a charity says.

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Queen’s speech: consumer bill of rights to cover faulty apps or downloads

Category : Business

Business ministers want to consolidate consumer rights and extend them to non-traditional internet or online purchases

Consumer rights covering products such as cars and white goods are to be extended to apps and music downloads in a consumer bill of rights to be unveiled in the Queen’s speech on Wednesday.

Jo Swinson, the consumer minister, said the government would update the law to make it “fit for the 21st century” by ensuring consumers can secure refunds or replacements if web-based products fail.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills estimates that the changes could save up to £4bn over 10 years by consolidating consumer rights in one place. These are currently split between eight pieces of legislation while powers giving trading standards officers the ability to investigate breaches of consumer law are spread across 60 pieces of legislation.

The changes will lead to:

• An updating of the law to give greater protection to consumers who download films, music and games – a £1bn industry. The bill will make clear that a consumer must receive a refund if an online game freezes or if a film stream is unwatchable even if the broadband connection is fine.

• New protections for consumers making it easier to apply for compensation for breaches of competition law and new powers for trading standards officers to seek court orders requiring compensation to be paid.

Swinson said: “Stronger consumer protection and clearer consumer rights will help create a fairer and stronger marketplace. We are fully aware that this area of law over the years has become unnecessarily complicated and too confusing, with many people not sure where to turn if they have a problem. We are hoping to bring in a number of changes to improve consumer confidence and make sure the law is fit for the 21st century.”

Richard Lloyd, executive director of the consumer rights organisation Which?, said: “A consumer bill of rights is a welcome step towards ensuring that we have consumer laws fit for the 21st century. This bill is about making it easier for people to understand their rights and giving consumers power to challenge bad practice. It should also mean that both consumers and regulators have the tools they need to challenge unscrupulous businesses that breach the law.

“There are many welcome proposals in this bill, including extending the power of collective redress in competition cases and reforming the law on unfair terms and conditions. We urge the government to go further and to extend civil remedy powers to allow private enforcement bodies, like Which?, to take action against rogue companies and force them to put things right for consumers.”

Skincare With SkinCeuticals: Amplify Your Daily Regimen With Science — Presented by Skincare-News.com

Category : World News

SACRAMENTO, CA–(Marketwired – May 6, 2013) – With the plethora of skincare products available on the market, how can people know what makes one product better than others? It all comes down to ingredients. SkinCeuticals offers science-based products made with ingredients that effectively manage a variety of skin types and conditions. The latest article by Skincare-News.com How to Build a Daily Regimen with SkinCeuticals discusses how to create a new skincare routine or supplement an existing one with SkinCeuticals products.

Originally posted here: Skincare With SkinCeuticals: Amplify Your Daily Regimen With Science — Presented by Skincare-News.com

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VIDEO: Hobbies turned into businesses

Category : World News

BBC News went to a craft event to meet three people who have turned their hobbies into profitable businesses.

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UK block on overseas spouse pensions

Category : Business

People who live abroad will no longer be entitled to a British state pension based solely on the employment record of their spouse, under government plans.

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Deadly blast hits government convoy in Mogadishu – BBC News

Category : Stocks


AFP
Deadly blast hits government convoy in Mogadishu
BBC News
A car bomb has exploded near a government convoy in the Somali capital Mogadishu, killing at least eight people, officials say. A police spokesman told AFP news agency a suicide attacker had driven a car laden with explosives at an armoured government
At least 10 killed in Mogadishu suicide bomb blastAFP
Car bomber kills 5 after ramming into military convey in SomaliaFox News
Somali Car Bombing Kills Several People – VOAVoice of America
Reuters Africa
all 34 news articles

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.