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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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An economist’s view of The Low Road

Category : Business

Bruce Norris’s play skewers the failings of capitalism, but ignores some sensitive and nuanced debates

In broad terms, I’m sympathetic to the central theme of this play by Bruce Norris. From 18th-century America to today, he examines the idea that capitalism has failed as a model of human advancement – that it’s just led to a “greed is good” culture. If we look at the last 20 years, I can’t disagree – something has gone badly wrong, not least with the role of banking and the City. But Norris’s position is too black and white: the reality is a lot more complex.

Churchill famously said that “democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other forms that have been tried”. It’s the same with capitalism: yes, something has gone wrong, but it has still led to huge leaps of prosperity. Look at the Soviet Union: not only did it collapse in chaos, it revealed huge levels of poverty and disparity. If you took a straw poll, I don’t think anyone watching this play would want to return to 18th-century standards of living.

The play is also a bit too hard on its narrator, Adam Smith: we see Jim Trumpett, a passionate advocate of the free market, inspired by Smith’s writings about the “invisible hand”, and the way that market interference can be bad for society. Smith did write about this in Wealth of Nations; but he also wrote The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which is much more about cooperation – the need for a “helping hand”, as Gordon Brown put it in 2010.

Norris tries to marry Trumpett’s rise and fall with what’s going on today in the eurozone. To me, this felt glib and clunky, and I was frustrated by the fact the play didn’t really consider how we can get out of today’s crisis. There’s a line about handing the keys back to the driver after the car has crashed. That’s a bit trite – and it ignores the sensitive, nuanced debate that’s going on between today’s economists about the negative effects of capitalism, and of excessive austerity.

I did enjoy the play, though – and I appreciate that many of these flaws are down to the necessary constructions of theatre. You wouldn’t want to go out on a Friday night to watch a lecture about how we can get out of this economic mess. That would make for dull theatre.

• Neil Shearing is the chief emerging markets economist at Capital Economics Ltd. The Low Road is at the Royal Court, London SW1 (royalcourt.org) until 11 May.

The week ahead: Europe and jobs

Category : Business

Week will feature potentially important developments in two of the global economy’s most sensitive pressure points.

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NHS private patients at risk of being overcharged, OFT warns

Category : Business

Evidence suggests eight NHS trusts exchanged ‘commercially sensitive information’ about treatment charges

Private patients on the NHS could be at risk of being overcharged after the Office of Fair Trading warned of price fixing.

The OFT said a whistleblower had disclosed evidence that suggested that eight NHS trusts had exchanged “commercially sensitive information” about treatment charges.

It said it had seen email exchanges between the trusts.

The consumer protection watchdog said the trusts, which are part of the Southern Region Private Healthcare Association, avoided a formal investigation after voluntarily agreeing not to share pricing information.

The OFT said it would be writing to all NHS hospitals which operate private health units to warn them that they could be in breach of competition law if they share such information.

Deborah Jones, director in the OFT’s services, infrastructure and public markets group, said the organisation would step in if it received further evidence of non-compliance.

“We welcome the assurances given by these Trusts which have enabled us to bring our preliminary investigation to a close,” she said. “However, this does not preclude the OFT from investigating any aspect of hospital trusts’ economic activities if it receives further evidence of potential infringements of the law. We urge all trusts to take steps to ensure they are compliant with competition law when engaging in commercial activity.

She added: “Where public sector providers compete with the private and voluntary sectors, the OFT is committed to ensuring that there is a level playing field for all so that effective competition encourages suppliers to offer lower prices, better quality and an improved range of goods or services.”

Trusts can earn a sizeable amount for the private work after the government raised the cap of the amount they can derive from private work to 49%.

Charges for private patients can relate to a full range of general and specialist medical services on site, the OFT said, and treatment is covered by most heath insurance schemes.

But trusts can find themselves in trouble over price fixing as comparing costs could mean uncompetitive prices for patients.

“The exchange of commercially sensitive pricing information can result in higher prices for customers, as it can diminish incentives on organisations to compete on price and has the potential to facilitate collusion,” the OFT said. “Where this behaviour is caught by the Competition Act 1998, it can constitute a breach of the law, and consequently may result in financial penalties of up to 10% of worldwide turnover.”

Japan to keep U.S. thinking about IMF reforms: Azumi

Category : World News

Japan will continue to press the U.S. to accept a 2010 agreement for the International Monetary Fund to implement governance reforms, a deal that will help enhance the voices of emerging economies within the multilateral lender, Finance Minister Jun Azumi said Tuesday.
But Azumi also told reporters that he realizes it is difficult for the U.S. government, the biggest stakeholder in the IMF, followed by Japan, to make any politically sensitive decision ahead of the U.S. presidential election later this year.

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enaltus Introduces CapriClear an All-Natural Hypoallergenic Spray-On Moisturizer – Made from Fractionated Coconut Oil

Category : World News

Perfect for all family members with sensitive skin – even babies.

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With the BlackBerry’s North American position in tatters, Research In Motion ([[RIMM]] -1.6%) is increasingly looking to emerging markets to stabilize sales. A week after announcing plans to open Middle Eastern stores, RIM is launching the BlackBerry…

Category : World News

With the BlackBerry’s North American position in tatters, Research In Motion (RIMM -1.6%) is increasingly looking to emerging markets to stabilize sales. A week after announcing plans to open Middle Eastern stores, RIM is launching the BlackBerry Curve 9220 for the Indian market. RIM is bundling ~$50 worth of free apps to stoke demand in a cost-sensitive market where the iPhone (AAPL) has limited share, but Android (GOOG) has been surging. 2 comments!

Excerpt from: With the BlackBerry’s North American position in tatters, Research In Motion ([[RIMM]] -1.6%) is increasingly looking to emerging markets to stabilize sales. A week after announcing plans to open Middle Eastern stores, RIM is launching the BlackBerry…

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Oracle-Google trial under way

Category : Business, World News

Google and Oracle are told that their sensitive financial information will be revealed as the companies begin legal proceedings on a patent and copyrights dispute.

Excerpt from: Oracle-Google trial under way

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Data Security: Most Finders of Lost Smartphones Are Snoops

Category : World News

A Symantec operation shows that many finders tap sensitive data—though half eventually return lost phones

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