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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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Co-operative bank: how does it compare?

Category : Business

From customer service to current accounts, we compare the big six high street banks with the new player, the Co-operative

The sale by Lloyds of 4.8 million customers – as well as the 7,000 staff who work in 632 branches – turns the Co-operative bank into a high street giant at a stroke. It will control 10% of the UK’s entire banking branch network, and the deal turns the one-time ethical alternative into possibly the most powerful mutual in the land.

Michael Ossei, personal finance expert at uSwitch.com, called it a “massive deal that will well and truly put the Co-op on the banking map. This is really going to make the high street banks sit up and pay attention”.

Here we look at how the Co-op currently compares – from customer service to current accounts – with the major players.

Co-operative

Brands Includes Britannia, the former building society it took over in 2009, and internet bank Smile.

Who owns them? A mutual business, owned by its six million members.

Customer service Tends to score highly. Which? ranked Co-op bank second out of 28 banks with a score of 79%. JD Power gave Co-op bank a score of 734 out of 1,000, again putting it in second place.

Market share Now: just over 2% of the current account market. When the deal goes through, this will rise to more than 7%.

Complaints 21,000 banking and insurance (including PPI) complaints in the second half of 2011.

For current accounts 342 branches, the majority under the Britannia name, but increasing to almost 1,000 with the deal. Cash machine numbers will rise from 2,500 to 3,250.

For savers Its range of fixed-term deposit accounts paying up to 4% are rated best-buys by Moneyfacts. Popular with those looking for an ethical option.

For borrowers Offering some reasonable deals on mortgages, the Co-op has committed to lend up to £360m to first-time buyers in 2012.

Lloyds

Brands Lloyds TSB, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Cheltenham & Gloucester.

Who owns them? Currently 38% state, 62% shareholder-owned.

Customer service In September 2011 a Which? survey scored Lloyds TSB 50% and Halifax 47% (23rd and 25th out of 28 banks respectively). The JD Power survey in November 2011, scored Lloyds TSB 698 out of 1,000, and Halifax 690. The industry average was 698.

Market share 22 million current accounts with a 30% market share.

Complaints Lloyds TSB had 238,000 banking and insurance complaints in the second half of 2011, while Bank of Scotland (including Halifax) received 193,000, according to the FSA. The group set aside £3.2bn to cover PPI mis-selling in 2011.

For current accounts The group has 2,875 branches and 6,143 ATMs.

For savers It has more than 21 million savings customers, but doesn’t currently have many deals in the best-buy tables.

For borrowers Lloyds says it is the UK’s “number one mortgage lender”, providing home loans to one in five new borrowers.

RBS/NatWest

Brands Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and Ulster Bank.

Who owns them?83% state-owned, 17% shareholders.

Customer service Which? scored NatWest and RBS 55% and 52% respectively (19th and 20th out of 28 banks). JD Power scored NatWest 704 out of 1,000, and RBS 687. The industry average was 698. Its recent computer meltdown affected millions of people, with Ulster Bank worst hit.

Market share Roughly 20% share of the current account market.

Complaints NatWest was the subject of 183,000 banking and insurance (including PPI) complaints in the second half of 2011, while the figure for RBS was 100,000, according to the FSA.

For current accounts 2,129 branches and around 8,000 cash machines (this includes Tesco ones).

For savers Doesn’t tend to feature heavily in the best-buy tables.

For borrowers Not much of a name to conjure with on mortgages, but NatWest recently launched some competitive deals for people who want to buy a new-build home under the government’s NewBuy scheme.

HSBC

Brands HSBC and First Direct. The world’s second-largest banking and financial services group.

Who owns them? Shareholders – the group is a member of the FTSE 100.

Customer service Generally scores quite well. In the Which? survey, HSBC scored 58% (16th out of 28 banks), putting it ahead of its main rivals. JD Power scored HSBC 690 out of 1,000 – slightly below the industry average of 698. However, First Direct came top in both surveys, scoring 84% and 774 respectively.

Market share 12% share of the current account market.

Complaints 110,000 banking and insurance (including PPI) complaints in the second half of 2011, according to the FSA. Set aside £270m for PPI mis-selling claims in 2011.

For current accounts 1,250 branches and 3,300 cash machines. “Premier” is its upmarket deal for the better-off.

For savers The brand doesn’t tend to feature heavily in best-buy tables.

For borrowers HSBC is now one of the major mortgage lenders, with best-buy tracker and fixed deals, in particular its new five-year fix at 2.99%. But it has strict lending rules.

Barclays

Brands Based in London, it is one of Britain’s biggest banks. Owns the Woolwich mortgage brand.

Who owns them? Shareholders do – it is a member of the FTSE 100.

Customer service In the Which? survey, Barclays scored 52% (20th out of 28 banks). In the JD Power survey it scored 710 out of 1,000, putting it in fourth place out of 13 – the industry average was 698. But its reputation has taken a battering from the Libor scandal.

Market share Barclays doesn’t disclose its share of the current account market, but it has 11.9m current accounts.

Complaints 269,000 banking and insurance (includes PPI) complaints in the second half of 2011, according to the FSA. Set aside £1bn to cover PPI mis-selling in 2011.

For current accounts

1,625 branches and 3,629 cash machines. Branches generally look swish.

For savers Barclays has often had the market-leading cash Isa rate. Its Loyalty Rewards Isa currently pays 3.05%.

For borrowers Woolwich has been a relatively big lender through the financial crisis, with its deals on fixes and trackers often in the best buys.

Santander

Brands Has absorbed Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester, and Bradford & Bingley’s savings business and branches.

Who owns them? Santander UK has one shareholder: Banco Santander, which is listed on the Madrid stock exchange.

Customer service Santander’s biggest weakness. Which? scored it 41%, bottom out of 28 banks. JD Power scored it a scary 666 out of 1,000, putting it second from bottom – the industry average was 698.

Market share 8% share of the current account market.

Complaints 172,000 banking and insurance (including PPI) complaints in the second half of 2011, according to the FSA. Set aside £538m to cover PPI mis-selling in 2011.

For current accounts 1,378 branches and 4,200 cash machines. Launched 123 account targeting those looking to switch bank.

For savers It has offered some strong deals on products such as cash Isas. Its Direct Isa paying 3.3% currently tops the Moneyfacts table.

For borrowers A big player in mortgages – but it has been scaling back its lending in recent months.

Nationwide

Brands The largest building society, it took over the Cheshire, Derbyshire and Dunfermline societies.

Who owns them? The brand is a mutual owned by its 15 million members.

Customer service Which? scored Nationwide 64% (ninth out of 28 banks). JD Power scored it 723 out of 1,000 – putting the mutual in third place. The

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Ichiro gets 2,500th hit of stellar MLB career

Category : World News

Ichiro Suzuki wasted little time reaching another milestone after a rare day off.
Ichiro led off the game with his 2,500th career hit and finished 4-for-5 with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored and the Seattle Mariners outlasted the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-9 in 10 innings on Tuesday night.

More: Ichiro gets 2,500th hit of stellar MLB career

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Adelaide United eliminates Nagoya Grampus from Asian Champions League

Category : World News

Nagoya Grampus crashed out of the Asian Champions League after a 1-0 defeat away to Australia’s Adelaide United in the round of 16 on Tuesday.
Jonathan McKain scored the decider late in the first half and Adelaide goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic was in superb form, pulling off a string of saves to deny the 2010 J.League champions a place in the quarterfinals.

Read more here: Adelaide United eliminates Nagoya Grampus from Asian Champions League

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Japan shocks Dutch to stay alive in Toulon

Category : World News

Japan rebounded from a forgettable defeat to Turkey with authority as Takashi Sekizuka’s side came from behind to beat the Netherlands 3-2 at the Toulon Tournament on Friday.
Cerezo Osaka midfielder Takahiro Ogihara scored a late winner for Japan’s Olympic team, which has revived its semifinal hopes with a surprising yet equally impressive victory over the Group A favorites.

Originally posted here: Japan shocks Dutch to stay alive in Toulon

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Success for Chelsea and Manchester City comes at a high price | Dave Boyle

Category : Business

Football’s billionaire owners are part of the global elite only too keen to distract us from how they make their riches

After nine years and more than £1bn, Roman Abramovich finally got his prize on Saturday when Didier Drogba slotted home the winning penalty in the Champions League final. A week earlier, another mineral fortune propelled Manchester City to the Premier League title, spending just shy of £1bn in four years to achieve their goal.

Teams with more money to spend have always won more trophies because money buys the best talent, and clubs have always spent more than they could afford in buying that talent, underwritten by wealthy owners hungry for glory.

But something of an altogether different magnitude is going on with Manchester City and Chelsea, and it should be a cause for concern. Manchester City have at their disposal the profits from the oil wealth of a petro-state, a vast sum of money that utterly dwarves the resources available to anyone else. Estimates of Abramovich’s net worth vary, but put him comfortably in the front rank of Europe’s club owners.

Of course, Chelsea finished sixth in the league, while City won the competition with the last kick of the last game on goal difference; hardly evidence of a petrodollar jackboot stamping on the neck of competitive balance. That misses the critical point that sport – still – comes down to percentages. What great wealth gives is the opportunity to make those percentages come out in your favour more often.

The crucial goals for City were scored by strikers who cost more than the annual turnover of nearly half of the other clubs they play against. To paraphrase Arnold Palmer, the more you spend on the best players, the luckier you get.

The downside for everyone else is a trail of debt-ridden clubs, broken by trying to keep up. We know from “normal” economic life, debt is a consequence of rising inequality, and football simply doesn’t allow you to opt out of keeping up with the Joneses.

It’s this economic problem that leads to the moral one. The default position of most people in football has been to wonder why there’s any fuss; in the traditional worldview, all new money is to the good, regardless of provenance and impact. Who cares where the guy got the money from, as long as he’s got it?

And so Manchester City became owned by the deposed Thai prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra; a good guy to play golf with, said the club’s then-CEO Garry Cook. As Amnesty International pointed out, he was much less engaging when it came to summary executions of suspected criminals. His funds soon proved inadequate to City’s needs, and so they traded up to the ruling family of Abu Dhabi.

In a sense, all that’s happened is that a local wealthy class have been inadequate to the sums needed to subsidise a modern football club, and the task has fallen to a global elite who are attracted to the sport’s ability to render us blind to the provenance of their wealth.

As Aguero scored his goal, people were talking about the owners having fulfilled a dream, obscuring the grim nightmare of life in Abu Dhabi as an indentured labourer or political prisoner, unable to vote with either their hands or their feet. Drogba’s penalty too brought fawning comment about Abramovich finally having achieved his goal, as if failing to win the European Cup were an arduous labour on a par with that endured by the vast majority of Russians, denuded of their country’s wealth by the oligarchs in the 1990s.

Of course, football owners have rarely been card-carrying socialists, but it’s one thing to have reactionary views in the boardroom, quite another to be in a position to enforce them on a whole state. The league champions are autocratic rulers of a country whose wealth comes through the continued consumption of the fossil fuels dangerously heating our planet.

Most of the league’s owners are part of the 1% whose avarice is a defining issue of our time, spending money with impunity while national exchequers are emptied and the public realm gets degraded in an age of austerity.

Sport’s cheerleaders will urge us to ignore these mere trifles, and focus on the drama; escapism has always been part of its appeal. But English football, like the Olympics and the World Cup, is taking its place on the wrong side of the key dividing lines of our century, and we can’t– and shouldn’t – escape from that.

• Follow Comment is free on Twitter @commentisfree

Blues blow by Sharks late in series clincher

Category : World News

The St. Louis Blues were 6-7 when coach Ken Hitchcock came aboard. They’ve been among the NHL’s best ever since.
Jamie Langenbrunner and David Perron scored in a 45-second span in the third period, and the Blues woke up in time to put away the San Jose Sharks 3-1 and wrap up their first-round series Saturday night.

Excerpt from: Blues blow by Sharks late in series clincher

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Predators’ confidence grows with defeat of rival Red Wings

Category : World News

The Nashville Predators need measure themselves against the Detroit Red Wings no more.
David Legwand scored 13 seconds into the third period, and the Predators advanced to the Western Conference semifinals with a 2-1 victory over the Red Wings on Friday night.

See the rest here: Predators’ confidence grows with defeat of rival Red Wings

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Hat tricks give Flyers 2-0 lead

Category : World News

Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux each scored three goals and the Philadelphia Flyers rallied for a wild 8-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Giroux added three assists for Philadelphia, and former Penguins Max Talbot and Jaromir Jagr also scored to help the Flyers take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Read the original here: Hat tricks give Flyers 2-0 lead

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Aoki plays starring role in Evessa triumph over Grouses

Category : World News

The post-Lynn Washington era officially began on Saturday, and the Osaka Evessa defeated the Toyama Grouses 85-81 in the bj-leaue series opener.
Six-time All-Star Cohey Aoki scored a team-best 22 points on 7-for-11 shooting, including eight in the final 3:33, to lead the Evessa. He sank four free throws in the last 10 seconds to secure the win for Osaka (32-15 overall, 19-6 on the road). Aoki was 6-for-6 at the free-throw line. As a team, Osaka shot a dismal 18-for-29 at the line.

Original post: Aoki plays starring role in Evessa triumph over Grouses

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Canadiens end season by beating Maple Leafs

Category : World News

Tomas Plekanec scored a rare short-handed goal with his team down two players as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the rival Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 in the final NHL regular season game for two teams eliminated from post-season play.

More here: Canadiens end season by beating Maple Leafs

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