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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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New Greece poll due as talks fail

Category : Business, World News

Debt-stricken Greece is set to go to the polls again after parties failed to agree on a new government, says Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos.

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Sarkozy v Hollande on the economy

Category : World News

Who says what on the economy as France goes to the polls

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Francois Hollande Wins French Presidency (Update1)

Category : Stocks

Updated from 1:54 p.m. EDT with confirmation of Hollande’s victory in French presidential election.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Socialist Francois Hollande defeated incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in the French presidential election Sunday.

Sarkozy conceded defeat just minutes after polls closed and said he had called Hollande to wish him “good luck,” the Associated Press reported.

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German Center-Right Coalition Poised to Lose State

Category : Business

By Juergen Baetz

BERLIN — Voters in Germany’s northernmost state ousted a governing center-right government made up of the same parties as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s federal coalition, according to exit polls based on partial results.

For Merkel, the defeat of her local allies in Schleswig-Holstein state could be an omen of worse to come. Elections are due in North-Rhine Westphalia state — the country’s most populous with 18 million inhabitants — where her party also risks losing power, according to recent polls.

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Greece elections: In an exclusive interview, socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos issues election rallying call

Category : Business

Polls show more than 75% of Greeks remain supporters of the euro despite enduring the steep pay and pension cuts

Evangelos Venizelos thinks twice before saying more or less anything. The man who helped pull off the biggest debt restructuring in world history in the continuing attempt to keep a Greek bankruptcy at bay speaks with all the caution of the constitutional law professor he was before he went into politics.

But only days before Greeks go to the polls, the bullish former finance minister is in no doubt that Sunday’s election is the “most critical” the ailing country has faced since it returned to democracy in 1974.

“The battle will be decided in the last few days,” he said in his first major interview with a foreign newspaper since assuming the helm of the socialist Pasok party in March. “The Greek people will have to give a clear answer as to whether it wants [to follow] a pro-European course, which is safe and responsible, or something else.”

If it elects “something else”, the country that sparked Europe’s escalating debt crisis will not only be turning its back on the “progressive reforms” to modernise its moribund economy, it will be choosing to throw the eurozone into deeper turmoil.

Venizelos admits he is worried. Although surveys show that more than 75% of Greeks remain ardent supporters of the euro – despite the steep pay and pension cuts many have endured in more than two years of grinding austerity – a great number, he says, also appear to be labouring under “certain misconceptions”.

“There are certain misconceptions that worry me: for instance, the misconception that whatever happens we are not going to leave the euro,” he said, adding that with so much at stake it was crucial Greece’s “political stability” was ensured at the ballot box.

“Europe and the eurozone have no reason, rationally, to push Greece out of the euro. But this is a system in which many parties, many countries, many governments, many electorates participate and we could have events which, rationally, are not controllable,” he said.

With Athens’ near-empty coffers blamed squarely on a corrupt and discredited political elite, polls have revealed a dramatic drop in support for mainstream parties that back the stringent terms of EU-IMF rescue loans keeping the economy afloat and in the eurozone.

Trapped in a fifth year of recession, the worst since the second world war, and with little light at the end of the tunnel, Greeks appear ready to throw their weight behind “anti-bailout” extremists, including the far-right Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) which is poised to clinch 5% of the popular vote.

“We mustn’t allow Greek society to become fascist and nor can parliament host followers of neo-nazism,” said Venizelos. “It’s absurd and a pity that people who are despairing and bitter, who are unemployed and have lost their businesses, should be persuaded by such policies.”

It is not lost on Venizelos that bitterness and despair are the byproducts of austerity measures that he was forced to adopt when he was appointed finance minister following widespread criticism of Athens reform efforts last year.

Draconian cuts, new taxes and record levels of unemployment have taken a toll on support for the country’s entire political establishment, but none have been hit harder than Pasok.

The party, which vaulted into office with a landslide victory in 2009, has seen big defections of supporters amid successive rounds of belt-tightening forced on public sector employees, its traditional power base.

Surveys show four out of 10 Pasok supporters are among an unprecedented number of undecided voters. “There are over a million without work … no family does not have someone who is unemployed,” said Venizelos, conceding that he, too, had relatives “with many qualifications” who could not find work.

The prospect of yet more spending cuts in June, when the new government will be called to announce an extra €11.5bn (£9.3bn) in savings in line with its latest €130bn loan agreement, has stoked further anger and added to the sense of suspense the election has engendered.

“To a great degree the battle will be decided within Pasok,” said Venizelos, whose elevation to the post of party president was another episode in the unfolding crisis that cost the job of his predecessor – the former prime minister George Papandreou.

“We want to convince these people that despite their bitterness and dashed hopes … they should again support Pasok,” said the 55-year-old, whose leadership has helped revive the party’s fortunes, even if it is still trailing the conservative New Democrats in the polls.

Up until 20 April when polling data was banned in line with Greek election law, surveys indicated the country’s two mainstream forces combined could win less than 50% of the vote – compared to the near 80% they captured in the last election in 2009. Instead, Greeks appear more likely to cast ballots in favour of a range of extremist fringe parties on the left and right with hardline communists and other radical leftists set to gather as much as 30% of the vote.

Greeks had shown “great courage” in the sacrifices they had made and they were beginning to pay off. “I would say we are more than two-thirds through the crisis,” Venizelos said. “We started with a primary deficit of €24.5bn and are now at €2bn … but we have to be helped to break the vicious circle and support for Greece in terms of development [from the EU] is, in this respect, is very important.”

Neither New Democracy nor Pasok, locked in a fractious power-sharing arrangement since last November, have much room for the pre-election promises of old. To date, the socialist leader’s biggest pledge is that he will ask the EU and IMF to allow Athens to prolong adoption of the latest cuts through to the end of 2015, rather than 2014. For Venizelos the country is still “at war”. For the man most associated with the tortuous negotiations that have seen €108bn of Greek debt written off in a massive bond exchange, it is a war that could have been avoided if Europe had sounded the alarm earlier.

Instead, he says, little Greece was left to act as a “laboratory of history”, just as it was in the 1940s when the Greek civil war between communist and anti-communist forces put it on the frontline of the cold war. “The alarm bell should have rung earlier. We should have done things that we didn’t understand [we had to do] because we weren’t forewarned and, in this, institutions in the European Union and the eurozone bear some responsibility.”

Because the financial failings were discussed only at a prime ministerial level, or among finance ministers and central bankers, the magnitude of the crisis was misunderstood when it eventually erupted beneath the Acropolis in late 2009. “We had the feeling it was a conventional crisis, like a flood or an earthquake,” he said. “We didn’t understand it was like a nuclear disaster for the economy and that basic elements of financial policy had radically derailed.” An economy in freefall, political instability and the prospect of fascism rearing its ugly head were not what the constitutional law professor had in mind when he went into politics.

Nearly four decades after the collapse of military rule, 31 years after Athens’ accession to the-then EEC and 11 years since its adoption of the euro, Greece’s chaotic state was “a reversal of the rules of history”, he said.

For those, like him, raised with dreams and visions of the politics of anti-junta opposition, the crisis came as a huge shock. More than once he had felt “as a refugee” in his own land, with the spectre of living standards dropping to those not seen since the 1950s and 60s a chilling reminder of what economic mismanagement could bring.

Navigating the country through the turmoil had involved sleepless nights and, says the self-declared Churchill fan, learning the art of self-control.

“I never thought I would see this happen. My generation grew up thinking that every year things would be better,” he said. “And now there have been several years where things have got worse and the distance between [us] and other European countries is growing … It’s been a very difficult experience. The responsibility and the anguish have been huge.”

Hollande to Beat Sarkozy in Second Vote: Polls – BusinessWeek

Category : Stocks

BBC News
Hollande to Beat Sarkozy in Second Vote: Polls
By Heather Smith and Mark Deen on April 22, 2012 Socialist Francois Hollande is set to beat President Nicolas Sarkozy in the second round of France's presidential election, four polls showed. Hollande's support ranges from 53 percent to 56 percent,
Hollande to Beat Sarkozy in Second French Vote, Polls ShowBloomberg
Newspaper review: French election results analysed in papersBBC News
French Socialist Hollande will face Sarkozy in runoffLos Angeles Times

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Myanmar at the crossroads of global politics

Category : World News

Prodemocracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) recently won a landslide victory in the by-elections, taking at least 40 of the 45 seats being contested.
Though the parliament still remains dominated by the military and its allies, who hold the vast majority of the 664 seats, these elections mark the start of a new era in Myanmar. The NLD was competing in its first elections since 1990, after boycotting the 2010 polls, and was one of 17 opposition parties that took part.

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Republican Voters Don’t Agree With Fed on Economy

Category : Business

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Republicans can’t seem to agree with the Federal Reserve, even when the Fed states a fact.

Though central bank governors agree that, while mixed, the economy has been positive, exit polls show most Republicans think the national economy is getting worse.

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Suu Kyi claims victory in Myanmar elections

Category : World News

Opposition party led by her says it is on course to win 44 of the 45 contested seats in Sunday’s parliamentary by-polls.

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Mitt Romney’s Southern Woes Should Vanish in November

Category : Stocks

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Mitt Romney has nothing to worry about in the South.

Polls show the former Massachusetts governor trailing Rick Santorum by double digits in Louisiana ahead of the state’s Saturday primary, but the ever-growing likelihood that he’ll claim the GOP nomination may quickly erase the memory of his poor performances in the region.

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