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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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MasterChef’s winning recipe loses something in translation

Category : Business

Transported to Spain, BBC’s MasterChef looks rather less fine. Plus where BBC ‘talent’ learned their bullying tactics

The formats BBC Worldwide sells around the globe don’t always seem quite the same in foreign parts. While MasterChef UK was reaching its fine-dining apogee of lobster tails and fennel last week, I was watching MC in Spain: red versus blue teams sticking large white, vaguely phallic asparagus spears in tomato mush and cooking up a storm of Spanish omelette. Now Greg, we’ve done beans on toast. On to the fish and chips…

British bullying isn’t confined to the BBC

The BBC’s latest hair shirt of a report into bullying and sexual harassment makes pretty glum reading, especially if you visualise sundry old “talent” stars doing their grubby work in the background. Time to get a grip, but also, perhaps, to add a dab of context. “It isn’t physical intimidation. It is people who lose their temper, are shouting; the impact on people can be intimidating and humiliating.”

That’s Bectu general secretary Gerry Morrissey on Dinah Rose’s findings. But it could be almost anyone watching prime minister’s questions. Yah! Boo! Watch Dave or Ed left red-faced while the groundlings cheer. Then wonder who’s setting the bad example.

Spain’s economy continues to shrink

Category : World News

Spain’s economy shrank for a seventh consecutive quarter between January and March as domestic demand slumped.

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VIDEO: Protests over Spain unemployment figures

Category : Business

Spain’s unemployment rate soared to a new record of 27.2% of the workforce, prompting demonstrations.

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Spain in fresh bid to revive economy

Category : World News

Spain is set to unveil new measures aimed at reviving the economy, a day after unemployment hit another record and with violent protests erupting in Madrid.

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Spain unemployment hits record high

Category : Business

Unemployment has risen once again in Spain to another new record of more than six million, 27.2% of the workforce.

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Brussels warns on Spain and Slovenia

Category : Business, World News

The European Commission has warned that Spain and Slovenia must quickly address the “imbalances” in their economies.

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Spain and Slovenia told to reform economies now or risk financial crisis

Category : Business

Brussels identifies 13 countries, including France, in need of urgent action, underlying growing scale of eurozone crisis

Spain and Slovenia have been given a stark warning by their eurozone partners to reform their economies rapidly or risk financial crisis.

In a hard-hitting report on the countries facing macroeconomic imbalances, such as overvalued housing markets or hefty government debts, the European commission identified a total of 13 member states – including France, the Netherlands and Belgium – which it said should take urgent action to restore the health of their economies.

The large number of countries involved underlined the growing scale of the eurozone crisis, which has been exacerbated by a deep recession in many of the single currency’s 17 member states. Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, warned on Wednesday of the emergence of a “three-speed” global economy, lumping the eurozone and Japan in the slowest lane among countries that “still have some distance to travel”.

The European commission’s harshest criticism was reserved for Spain and Slovenia, which were warned to agree reform proposals with Brussels next month or face potential sanctions under the EU’s new “excessive imbalance procedure”.

Slovenia, which has been forced to bail out its banking sector, has repeatedly been identified as the next domino to fall in the ongoing eurozone debt crisis, since Cyprus received a controversial bailout.

The commission warned that the close connection between Slovenia’s partly state-owned banks, which made reckless loans during the boom years, and the country’s public finances could jeopardise financial stability. “These challenges require urgent action in the areas of the financial sector, state-owned enterprises and microeconomic reforms in order to prevent a situation in which severe imbalances would steeply increase towards unsustainable levels,” it said.

Madrid also came under the spotlight. The commission warned that while the immediate threat of a full-blown international bailout had receded, the heavy debt hangover from Spain’s pre-crisis boom continued to present a serious threat.

The report formed part of the commission’s new Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure, put in place in the wake of the financial crisis to identify problems within individual countries that could put the financial stability of the eurozone at risk.

Brussels stepped up the pressure on France over declining exports and rising public debt, saying the country’s “public sector indebtedness represents a vulnerability, not only for the country itself, but also for the euro area as a whole”.

The IMF recently warned that France could slip behind Italy and Spain if it failed to reform its struggling economy.

The UK also came in for criticism from the commission, which warned that the hoped-for recovery in the housing market could halt a necessary “correction” in prices, and prevent a reduction in household borrowing levels. That could leave homeowners dangerously exposed in future if interest rates go up, it warned.

“As a consequence of a combination of high house prices and the widespread and growing use of variable-rate mortgages, households are particularly exposed to interest rate changes,” it said, adding that the size of the UK economy meant future instability could, “generate spillovers to the other European economies”.

The Commission’s verdict came as details began to leak of the conditions Cyprus could face in exchange for its €10bn bailout. Nicosia is expected to be forced to sell €400m-worth of gold reserves as part of the deal.

Eurozone crisis live: Spanish industrial slump deepens

Category : Business

Industrial output in Spain tumbled by 6.5% on an annual basis in February, as its prime minister appeals for more help from Europe

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Spain to sink further, warns central bank

Category : Business

Bank of Spain sees country’s economy shrinking by 1.5% in 2013 following a 1.4% contraction last year

Spain’s economy will sink deeper into recession this year, the Bank of Spain has predicted, sending a stark message to the Spanish government as it prepares to revise its own growth forecast. In its annual update of economic forecasts, the central bank said it saw the economy shrinking by 1.5% in 2013 following a 1.4% contraction last year as austerity measures continue to exacerbate the effects of a burst property bubble.

The bank’s estimate is well below the official forecast for a 0.5% contraction in GDP, although the government is widely expected to revise the 2013 figure downwards in April. The prediction is broadly in line with consensus, with most economists expecting the economy to struggle to return to growth this year on the back of dire domestic demand and a weakening external sector.

The eurozone’s fourth largest economy sank into its second recession since 2009 at the end of 2011, as the fallout from a property bust five years ago continued to weigh on every aspect of economic activity, from its beleaguered banks to high street sales. Unemployment is likely to hit another record high of 27.1% in the course of the year, the central bank said, up from a current 26%, one of the highest rates in the eurozone.

Cyprus bailout: Europe’s love just got even tougher

Category : Business

Getting tough on Cyprus was sensible. Elsewhere in the eurozone, a much softer touch is needed

Once again the euro has been saved, but the eurozone continues to stumble towards disaster. The distinction matters, even if European finance ministers emerged from their late-night negotiations talking proudly of having kept Cyprus inside the euro and – though they didn’t say this explicitly of course – of having stiffed Russian fatcats. For while southern European debtors are the problem for the euro, it is northern European creditors who are the problem for the eurozone.

In technical terms, the ministers have reason to be pleased. With the Cyprus deal, they have achieved two things. They have proved that member countries will do almost anything to stay inside the single currency, rather than suffer the ignominy and economic cardiac arrest that an exit would bring. If neither Greece nor Cyprus will leave, then no one will, short of revolution.

Second, they showed that the German-led emphasis on running the euro through tough love still works. And toughness is right when faced with banking crises, which is what Cyprus’s troubles amounted to: ever since the great Walter Bagehot coined the phrase “lender of last resort” in the 1860s, it has been evident that financial rescues must be mixed with punishment.

In 2008-09, amid panic after the Lehman collapse, there was too little punishment of bankers, shareholders and creditors who had let their institutions take reckless risks. Rescuing the financial system took priority. The same was true during the European bailouts for Ireland and Spain. The Cyprus deal improves on that, and sets a helpful new precedent.

Those who deposited large sums in Cypriot banks were not just tax-evaders in their home countries, though often they were that; they were also lenders to these banks who enabled them to act recklessly in Greece and elsewhere. A bank deposit is the same as a loan. So making depositors of €100,000 or more pay for part of the rescue is just the same as defaulting on debt.

Nevertheless, the Cypriot deal is a sensible reinforcement of tough love. The real problem with it at least as a focus of eurozone policy and politics, or as a cause of back-slapping satisfaction, is that it misses the bigger point. It is all about tough, and not at all about love. For the love part is what the eurozone now needs to focus on. Not for Cyprus, specifically, but across the whole single-currency area.

A currency can be saved, rather as in the 1920s the gold standard was preserved, but it is the countries that really matter. If the eurozone economies spiral further into in recession, their politics are going to turn nastier and nastier. The 25% vote in Italy’s election for the anti-establishment Five Star Movement led by the former comedian, Beppe Grillo, is a foretaste. And Italy may well have a second election in the next few months, in which the rebellion against austerity, the euro and above all Germany is likely to intensify.

Banking crises in countries such as Greece, Cyprus and Spain do pose genuine dangers. But a never-ending recession, with youth unemployment at 36% in Italy and over 50% in Spain, is a much greater hazard. And the tragedy is that it is avoidable – if only Germany and the other northern Europeans would drop their insistence on fiscal austerity for all and in every circumstance.

This week the International Monetary Fund advised the Netherlands that it really did not need to keep on cutting its budget deficit. It was good advice, and the same applies to Germany. They should be stimulating demand, not repressing it in a fit of sado-masochism.

The hope has to be that German policy will change once the federal elections are safely out of the way in September. Yet by then, Italy, the zone’s biggest sovereign debtor and its third-largest economy, might have elected a vehemently anti-German government, led either by Grillo or by the man he calls “the psycho dwarf”, Silvio Berlusconi. If the prospect of that doesn’t make the northern Europeans see sense, then nothing will.