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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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Media Talk podcast: let’s rock – a new station is born

Category : Business

Joining presenter John Plunkett to discuss the week’s media news are John Myers, former chief executive of GMG Radio and now of Team Rock, plus Media Guardian reporter Josh Halliday.

Aside from Team Rock’s launch, there’s talk of BBC director general Tony Hall’s performance on the Today programme and the news that online music licensing revenues have trumped radio for the first time. Is this the beginning of the end for radio’s influence over music companies?

Jemima Kiss drops by to share some more titbits from the online media landscape and Rebecca Nicholson reviews the new episode of Game of Thrones, now officially the most illegally downloaded programme of all time.

What did you think of the Game of Thrones series opener? Can Team Rock succeed where other digital stations have failed? Please join the discussion below …

See more here: Media Talk podcast: let’s rock – a new station is born

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Obama uses Organizing for America database to drive second-term agenda

Category : Business

Network that boosted re-election bid re-tooled to generate support for action on guns, immigration, climate and economy

Barack Obama has launched a new digital campaign that aims to harness the massive database of supporters’ emails he amassed over two presidential elections and use it to propel the ambitious agenda for his second term in office.

Organizing for America, the digitally-savvy re-election campaign that saw Obama returned to the White House in November, has been recast as Organizing for Action and redirected to generate popular backing for the president’s substantial legislative programme. Announcing the re-branding of the network, Obama predicted that it would become “an unparalleled force in American politics – it will work to turn our shared values into legislative action”.

Whether or not such grandiose aspirations can be realised in practice will become clear over the next four years. The network was boosted by a digital tool kit called Dashboard which does seem to have been a significant factor behind Obama’s comfortable victory over Mitt Romney on 6 November.

The tool kit was custom-built for the 2012 Obama re-election campaign. It digitally linked data on millions of American voters, including their email addresses, through Dashboard as well as through social-media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, to an army of staff and volunteers knocking on doors in the key swing states.

That ability to connect supporters with political organisers online will now be used to underpin the president’s ambitions in the White House. He will use it to try to undercut opposition from Republicans in Congress and from hostile lobby groups as he tries to drive through a packed legislative programme that includes gun control, comprehensive immigration reform, measures to combat climate change and negotiations over the fiscal cliff.

In a video accompanying the launch, Michelle Obama said that Organizing for Action represented “the next phase of our movement for change. We got millions of Americans out to vote in this last election but all that hard work was about more than one election – we want to finish what we started.”

Organizing for Action will be headed by Jon Carson, a former White House environmental adviser who was national field director of Obama’s first presidential election campaign, in 2008. Carson said the new-look OFA would be “volunteer-led” and guided by core principles of “respect, empower, include”.

As Carson’s statement attests, there is no shortage of jargon and rhetoric in the new digital push. But at its heart is a revolutionary concept: that campaigning is not confined to the presidential race every four years, but is a permanent state of being that is sustained throughout the four years of a president’s term.

Obama is clearly hoping that the power of the network might help to overcome some of the gridlock in a deeply divided Washington. The first test of that will be the bruising fight ahead with the powerful gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, that has sworn to oppose Obama’s efforts to curb gun violence through a smorgasbord of executive orders and legislative reforms.

In his speech announcing his proposals on Wednesday, Obama was explicit about his intentions to mobilise outside popular support as a means of buffering him for the battle ahead.

“I will put everything I’ve got into this, but I tell you the only way we can change is if the American people demand it,” he said.

Britons find love – and sex – online in booming £170m dating market

Category : Business

More than 9 million woo on 1,500 websites from Match to Uniform Dating – but 25% are in a relationship

It may not be quite what George Osborne had in mind to boost the economy, but the UK is leading the way in the “march of the daters” as more than 9 million Britons log on to find love and sex.

The value of the UK online dating market jumped 6% to almost £170m last year as a growing number of singletons turned to the internet rather than speed dating nights or their local pub to meet Mr or Miss Right. “In the UK there is a longer tradition of using online dating and people are willing to spend more,” said Metaflake’s chief executive, Henning Wiechers, who said the trend towards meeting partners online was most successful in secular, well-to-do countries. The big increase was attributed to aggressive advertising by rival dating sites.

The internet dating boom began in 2000, when around 100,000 early adopters braved a dial-up internet connection to find a partner.

Now that figure is 9.1 million, according to the Metaflake study, with two-thirds using mainstream dating sites such as Match and eHarmony, while 2.8 million pursue “erotic encounters” on websites such as Shagaholic and Sexintheuk.

Not only did the UK have the highest concentration of single people in the pan-European study, according to Metaflake, but it was also judged to have the “most colourful dating landscape” due to the volume of themed singles dating sites, ranging from Cougar Dating to Uniform Dating, to those catering for religious groups or body-type preferences. Of Europe’s 5,000 dating portals, roughly 1,500 emanate from the UK. The five biggest players in Europe are Friendfinder, Match owner Meetic, Badoo, C-Date and eDarling. Match is the UK market leader.

“The British are very open-minded,” said Wiechers, who said the country was also the market leader for “webcam” dating. “Germans [the second largest market] are much shyer.”

He believes the UK online dating market will have expanded by another 5% in 2012 but said it was tough for companies to make money due to the crowded marketplace: “The UK is a very competitive market and companies have to reinvest all their earnings into advertising to fight for their market position.”

While Google and Facebook dominate search and social networking respectively, Metaflake estimates there are 50 online dating sites with more than 100,000 members operating in the UK, suggesting the prospect of further consolidation. Scottish firm Cupid, which is listed on the junior market, has made a series of acquisitions in recent years, including Uniform Dating and French and German websites Amour and OnlineLiebe, respectively, and generated annual sales of £53m in 2011.

The growing use of smartphones is also changing the market as “somewhat more superficial” – and cheaper – sites aimed at 18- to 30-year-olds take off. Apps include features such as a location-based search function for spontaneous encounters.

The Metaflake study estimates that today around 30% of new relationships arise from the internet, but also adds a hefty health warning for romantics. It estimates that 25% of those combing the web for a new partner, “particularly men”, are already in a relationship.

Facebook agrees to tighten its privacy policies

Category : Business

Social network settles dispute with FTC over ‘deceptive act’ of making confidential information public without consent

Facebook has agreed to tighten its privacy policies after it settled a long-running dispute with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The social network was accused by the regulator last year of introducing “unfair and deceptive” changes to its privacy policies in 2009, including settings that made users’ confidential profile information public without their consent.

Facebook also shared personal information including status updates, geographic location and marital status with advertisers and third-party applications without telling users, the FTC said.

News of the settlement, which ties Facebook to biannual privacy inspections by an independent watchdog for the next 20 years, came just a day after Google was fined a record $22.5m (£14.4m) by the FTC for circumventing privacy protections on Apple’s Safari web browser.

The allegations laid bare by the FTC about the two internet giants will heighten concern about the security of peoples’ private data in some of the most popular digital destinations. Facebook boasts more than 955 million active monthly users, according to its latest figures. Google controlled two-thirds of the US search market in June and its share is even greater in most European countries, said the metrics firm ComScore.

The FTC said Facebook was liable for “a broad range of deceptive conduct” relating to what it tells users about their private profile information.

The bulk of the charges against Facebook relate to its overhaul of users’ privacy settings in November 2010. The FTC said that Facebook failed to tell users that it changed the settings so they could no longer restrict access to their name, profile, picture, gender, friend list, pages, or networks.

“Facebook’s failure to adequately disclose these facts, in light of the representation made, constitutes a deceptive act or practice,” the FTC said.

The social network also made public users’ photos and videos even after their accounts had been deactivated.

The five , commissioners were split over whether to settle the dispute, with three voting in favour, one abstaining, and Commissioner J Thomas Rosch dissenting on the basis that Facebook had denied liability for its actions. He argued that it should at least be required to take the position that it neither confirmed nor denied liability – a position he also argued in dissenting from the 4-1 verdict over Google’s fine. Google denied liability to the FTC; it was fined because it was already the subject of a consent order similar to that now tying Facebook.

Starbucks Cuts Fourth-Quarter Profit Forecast: Hot Trends

Category : Business, Stocks

A look at the day’s most searched trends on the Web, including Starbucks after the coffee chain cut its fourth-quarter profit forecast below estimates.

Link: Starbucks Cuts Fourth-Quarter Profit Forecast: Hot Trends

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3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: July 27

Category : Stocks

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — What’s happening in small business today?

1. Famed bookstore crowd sources moving costs. The St. Mark’s Bookshop, a famous New York City bookstore which was known as a hangout for literary figures such as Susan Sontag and William S. Burroughs, is turning to crowdsourcing to raise money for moving costs. The 35 year-old bookstore is looking to downsize to a smaller, more affordable rent space as the economic downturn, rise of online book buying and e-readers — as well as spikes in its rent — are making it difficult for the store to stay open in its current location, according to Crain’s New York Business.

St. Mark’s Bookshop launched a campaign on Wednesday night using It has put a goal of raising $23,000 in 25 days from supporters, but hopes to raise more than that. The goal was deliberately low because the startup crowdfunding site calls off campaigns that don’t reach their goal. Supporters in return will receive gift cards and discounts at the store, the article says. …

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See more here: 3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: July 27

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5 Apps for the 2012 Olympics

Category : Business, Stocks

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — The biggest social media platforms have been around for previous Olympics, including the Beijing Summer Games of 2008 and the Vancouver Winter Games of 2010. However, some are calling the London Summer Games of 2012 the “Socialympics.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) even launched the Olympic Athletes’ Hub, a site to connect fans with Olympic athletes, past and present, through Twitter and Facebook streams, for the coming Games.

“We are at a dawn of a new age of sharing and connecting, and London 2012 will ignite the first conversational Olympic Games (between athletes and fans) thanks to social media platforms and technology,” said Alex Huot, head of social media for the IOC, in an email interview with ESPN Playbook. …

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Read the rest here: 5 Apps for the 2012 Olympics

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No Friend of Facebook

Category : Business, Stocks

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Facebook has so many red flags waving I feel like I am at the opening of the Beijing Olympics.

The first issue is the administration of a $100 billion public company by a 28-year-old void of previous public executive experience. Are you nuts? I don’t care how smart he is, Wall Street is paved with unequivocally ingenious people who founder as CEO. There is a good reason why the first question asked in a job interview is, “What experience do you have?”

Usually a reply of “None” results in learning how the fryer gets cleaned, not an offering of regional manager. The first red flag is inexperience; when someone is new, wait until after the first major blunder to scrutinize his or her efficacy before investing. …

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Facebook: No Guidance, No Problem, Analysts Say

Category : Business, Stocks

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Facebook shares tanked today after the world’s largest social-networking company said revenue growth slowed in the second quarter and didn’t give much of an outlook for the rest of the year.

Plenty of analysts, though, remain bullish on the company.

“Lack of forward guidance put pressure on shares,” Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia said in a note. “However, we think Facebook’s market opportunity remains large and the stock should be a core holding in tech portfolios with a long-term horizon.” …

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More: Facebook: No Guidance, No Problem, Analysts Say

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Apple’s Earnings Bite: Tech Weekly Recap

Category : Stocks

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — After last week’s earnings bonanza in technology, you might have expected a break this past week. It didn’t happen — by a long shot.

Results from Apple were the major event this week, but Facebook’s first quarterly earnings report as a public company were another key event.

Other stalwarts such as Amazon, Netflix, AT&T, Texas Instruments, and others were some of the more important technology tidbits this week. …

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