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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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VIDEO: Parliament protest amid Portuguese cuts

Category : World News

Portugal is planning to cut 30,000 civil service jobs and to raise the retirement age by one year to 66 as it tries to meet the terms of a bailout.

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Portugal to cut civil service jobs

Category : Business

Portugal plans to cut 30,000 civil service jobs and raise the retirement age to 66 as it tries to meet bailout conditions, the prime minister says.

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Bank levy a failure, says Labour party

Category : Business

Labour says bank levy has raised £2bn less than planned and should be supplemented with tax on fat cat bankers

The Labour party has branded the government’s bank levy a failure after releasing figures showing that over the past two years it has raised almost £2bn less than planned.

Chris Leslie, Labour Treasury spokesman, said this amounted to a “tax cut of nearly £2bn for the banks” and reinforced the case for the tax on bank bonuses that Labour proposes.

The Treasury did not contest the figures, but stressed that the rate at which the levy was charged was reviewed regularly.

Alastair Darling, the Labour chancellor, introduced a one-off tax on bank bonuses when he was in power that raised £3.5bn in 2010-11. The coalition government chose not to repeat it, but instead said it would raise about £2.5bn every year by introducing a permanent bank levy, a tax based on the annual value of debts held by the banks.

But, according to figures published by the Office for Budget Responsibility and HM Revenue and Customs, the levy has failed to raise this amount in both years it has been in force.

In 2011-12 the Treasury raised £1.8bn from the levy. But the banks also gained £100m from the cut in corporation tax that was implemented that year, leaving a net gain of £1.7bn.

And, according to the Labour analysis, the levy raised just £1.6bn in 2012-13. This was offset by a £200m gain to the banking sector from another cut in the rate of corporation tax, leaving the exchequer with a net gain of £1.4bn. Labour says this means the levy has raised £3.1bn over two years, instead of £5bn as promised.

Leslie, who is going to raise the figures when the Commons resume the debate on the finance bill this week, said: “On top of last week’s tax cut for millionaires, this is effectively a tax cut of nearly £2bn for the banks at a time when millions of working people are being forced to pay the price for this government’s economic failure.

“Whether it’s on tax or watering down reforms to separate retail and investment banks, David Cameron and George Osborne have repeatedly failed to stand up to the vested interests of the banks.”

Labour wants the bank levy to be supplemented with a tax on bank bonuses, which it believes could raise £2.5bn. It would use the money to fund its youth jobs guarantee.

The Treasury said it had raised the bank levy to compensate for the fact that banks would gain from the chancellor’s decision to cut corporation tax. A spokesperson said: “It is inevitable that the fragility of global financial markets will have had an effect on banks’ balance sheets. This is why the government increased the bank levy both in December last year and at budget this year.

“These increases offset the benefit to banks of the government’s latest corporation tax cuts. We have said that we will review the bank levy this year to ensure it is operating efficiently.”

JCPenney fighting for survival

Category : Business, Stocks

The troubled retailer hired the Blackstone Group to help it raise $1 billion in equity. Several private equity groups are looking at JCPenney’s books.

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Google offers concessions to European commission

Category : Business

Search engine understood to be offering to label search results which point to one of its own properties

After nearly a year of negotiation, Google has submitted a package of concessions to the European commission to head off an antitrust investigation that has ground on for two and a half years.

The search company is understood to be offering to label results where its own properties, such as YouTube or Google Shopping, appear in listings when people perform searches, in a response to the principal complaint from the EC’s antitrust division.

But the move is unlikely to pacify companies that originally complained to the EC. They have complained that Google artificially boosts its own properties and penalises rivals.

The proposals from Google will now undergo “market testing” with complainants, including the British “vertical search” company Foundem, which was one of the first companies in Europe to raise concerns .

Last month a coalition of 11 European companies, including Foundem, wrote to Joaquin Almunia, the EC competition commissioner, urging him to raise a formal “statement of objections” to Google’s behaviour. “Google’s search manipulation practices lay waste to entire classes of competitors in every sector where Google chooses to deploy them,” the companies said in the letter.

Almunia has always said he would prefer a negotiated settlement with Google rather than a long court case.

The EC wrote to Google in May 2012 saying it had concerns about the way that Google displayed its own “vertical search” services; its “scraping” of content from third-party sites to display in search results; exclusivity agreements for search adverts on third-party sites; and lack of portability of ad campaigns.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt subsequently denied that the company was violating European antitrust laws. But Google made changes to its scraping of content in what was seen as the first move to mollify the EC, which could impose fines of up to 10% of the company’s global turnover.

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.

AIG: Too big to ignore? – opinion

Category : Business

AIG has made a big comeback by shedding assets to raise capital and focusing on the boring insurance business.

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Banks told to raise more capital

Category : Business

The Bank of England is expected to tell the UK’s banks on Wednesday they must raise more capital to absorb potential future losses.

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Cyprus MPs due to vote on new plan

Category : Business

Cypriot MPs are to vote on new measures to raise the funds the country needs to secure vital bailout before Monday’s deadline.

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Mortgage finance pioneer’s fund settles with SEC

Category : Stocks

The private equity fund run by Lewis Ranieri, the “godfather of mortgage finance,” agreed to pay $375,000 to settle SEC charges that it used an unregistered broker to raise more than $500 million.

Continued here: Mortgage finance pioneer’s fund settles with SEC

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