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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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Several Russian Speakers on New Executive Committee of World Jewish Congress; Ronald S. Lauder Confirmed as President of the Leading International Jewish Organization

Category : Stocks

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY and MOSCOW–(Marketwired – May 13, 2013) – The 14th Plenary Assembly of the World Jewish Congress in Budapest re-elected Ronald S. Lauder as president of the WJC for another four-year term. He has held the position since 2007. “I see this as the top assignment for the Jewish people and I am excited to serve as president of the World Jewish Congress for another four years,” said Lauder.

Read the original here: Several Russian Speakers on New Executive Committee of World Jewish Congress; Ronald S. Lauder Confirmed as President of the Leading International Jewish Organization

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Sainsbury’s profits rise again

Category : Business

Sainsbury’s said it had outperformed competitors and celebrated the ‘milestone’ of non-food sales reaching £1bn for the first time

Profits at Sainsbury’s have risen again as the supermarket maintained its run of success under chief executive Justin King.

It came as the retailer also announced it was taking full control of Sainsbury’s Bank in a £248m deal to buy the 50% stake held by taxpayer-backed Lloyds Banking Group.

Full-year results to 16 March showed underlying profits up 6.2% to £756m, though the bottom-line pre-tax figure fell 1.4% to £788m when property disposals were included.

King, who took over at the supermarket amid sliding sales nearly a decade ago, remained bullish about its prospects despite the economic downturn.

He said: “Whilst we see no near-term change in the current economic situation, we remain confident that by continuing to invest in our long-standing strategy and by understanding and helping our customers, we are well positioned for future growth.”

Total sales rose by 4.6% to £25.6bn, driven by 33 consecutive quarters of like-for-like sales growth.

Sainsbury’s said it had outperformed competitors, citing figures from earlier this year which showed it had achieved 16.8% market share, its highest for a decade.

The results were boosted by what it called the “milestone” of non-food sales reaching £1bn for the first time.

Grocery online sales were nearing the £1bn mark, while Sainsbury’s convenience stores took £1.5bn, the company announced. During the year, it opened 14 new supermarkets, eight extensions and 87 convenience stores.

The supermarket, which sponsored the Paralympic Games and was also involved in the events to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, said: “It has been a year like no other.”

David Tyler, chairman of Sainsbury’s, said the decision to take full ownership of Sainsbury’s Bank would “benefit both customers and shareholders and allow its full potential to be realised”.

The bank, launched in 1997, has delivered five successive years of profit growth, the company said. Profit before tax in 2012/13 was £59m.

King said: “We see a great opportunity to increase the number of bank customers by offering accessible, high- quality financial service products which reward customers who bank and shop with us.

“We expect the bank to become an important source of profit diversification and growth, building on the strengths of our core business.”

‘University of John Lewis’ to offer staff work-based degree scheme

Category : Business

Staff-owned retailer announces plan to offer senior managers a level-6 vocational qualification equivalent to an honours degree

John Lewis is planning to offer its staff the chance to study for “degrees” under a work-based scheme dubbed the “University of John Lewis”.

The staff-owned retailer said it would offer senior managers a level 6 vocational qualification, said to be equivalent to an honours degree, by the end of the year. The department store chain already offers a range of existing programmes leading to qualifications. Last year 1,330 John Lewis partners gained a retail diploma, with a third picking up a level

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Nudged out: this is mutualisation, but not as we know it | Ed Mayo

Category : Business

The privatisation of No 10′s nudge unit, meant as a model for public services, is no John Lewis utopia for employees

It makes for a lovely headline. The much-trumpeted “nudge unit” in government is being nudged out and will be run as a private, mutual business. As one

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Bank of Canada names new governor

Category : Business

The Bank of Canada names long-term bureaucrat Stephen Poloz as its new head, replacing Mark Carney who is going to run the Bank of England.

See the original post: Bank of Canada names new governor

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Homebuyers turn to five-year fixed-rate mortgages

Category : Business

The number of five-year fixes has increased 73% in the past year as two-year deals lose popularity with mortgage borrowers

Would you fix your mortgage for five years, seven or even 10? A few years ago the vast majority of people would have said no, opting instead for a cheaper, shorter-term two-year deal. But the tide has turned and increasing numbers of borrowers want the certainty of a longer-term commitment, say brokers – and lenders are offering more, and better, deals.

Tomorrow HSBC is launching the lowest ever five-year fixed rate at 2.49% for those with a 40% deposit or the equivalent equity (be warned; the fee is a whopping £2,000).

This is the first time a five-year fix has dropped below 2.5% – but it’s not just HSBC getting in on the act. In the last year, the number of five-year fixed-rate deals has increased by 73%, says data provider Moneyfacts. By comparison, the traditionally popular two-year fixes have only increased by 33%.

Sylvia Waycot, editor at moneyfacts.co.uk said: “Five-year fixed-rate mortgages have traditionally been a bit too expensive to be the first choice for most of us. However, thanks to lenders enjoying cheap loans from the government this is changing.”

The government announced last week that it is extending its Funding for Lending scheme, which has been widely credited with bringing mortgage rates down for borrowers.

Experts believe rates on all mortgage terms could become more competitive in the year ahead. So, with all these cheap deals around, should you look to fix at all and if so, for how long?

Consider the base rate

Borrowers deciding whether to fix will undoubtedly want to take into account the widespread speculation that interest rates are unlikely to rise any time soon. “Our view is that we won’t see a rise in the 0.5% base rate until 2016,” says Rob Harbron, economist from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). “Expectations for continued low rates are a result of our outlook for the economy – weak growth conditions are expected to remain the ‘new normal’ for the next few years.”

Economist Ian Kernohan from Royal London Asset Management adds that as the UK is still in post-crisis recovery mode, this means disappointing growth and low interest rates for at least a few years. “We have pencilled in the first rate rise for late 2015 at the very earliest,” he says.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at the Halifax, adds that as interest rates look set to remain at the same level for the rest of the year, this offers a compelling reason for some borrowers to stay on tracker rates.

“However, a fix provides absolute certainty about the cost of monthly repayments,” he says.

Robin Barter, 44, and his wife, Tracey, 46, are among those who have just remortgaged on to a five-year fix for the first time. The couple live in a four-bedroom house in Oxfordshire with their three children: Scott, nine, Luke, seven, and Hugh, four.

Prior to remortgaging, the Barters had held tracker mortgages with Halifax for 14 years but have now switched to NatWest. “Initially, I thought we’d go for another tracker, as I’m familiar with this kind of deal,” says Robin, an account director. “But when we contacted broker London & Country, they came back with the same conclusion that I was starting to reach, that in the current economic climate we’d be better on a fix.

“Given that the base rate is only going to go up at some point, we decided to go for a five-year fix with NatWest.”

This was priced at 2.99% and came with a £995 fee; the deal also offered both free valuation and legal work. “Locking into a low five-year fix now gives us peace of mind that our payments are protected for longer,” says Robin.

“It also means we won’t have to pay fees to remortgage again in a few years, as we would with a shorter deal.”

Beware sky-high fees

For some borrowers, choosing a rock-bottom mortgage rate may be a false economy, according to Andrew Montlake from broker Coreco.

“Having to remortgage and pay high arrangement fees every two years may not be the best way to go,” he says.

“For example, while borrowers may like the sound of HSBC’s two-year fix at 1.89%, at up to 60% loan-to-value (LTV), the fee of £1,999 adds roughly 0.5% to the rate spread over the two years. As a result, Norwich & Peterborough’s fix with a slightly higher rate of 1.99% at up to 60% LTV and a fee of £995 could be a better option over two years.” The key is to factor in the product fee as well as the headline rate. “This will determine whether you are better off paying a higher fee and taking the very lowest rate, or opting for a slightly higher rate with a lower arrangement fee,” says Montlake.

Is two years long enough?

With little expectation of the base rate climbing in the near term, brokers say borrowers are increasingly turning to deals that protect their payments for longer than two years.

After the new HSBC five-year fix, the lowest on rate alone is Yorkshire building society at 2.59% at 60% LTV. Again, this comes with a £1,475 fee. Norwich & Peterborough building society has a five-year fix at 2.74% at 60% LTV with a much lower fee of

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Homebuyers turn to five-year fixed-rate mortgages

Category : Business

The number of five-year fixes has increased 73% in the past year as two-year deals lose popularity with mortgage borrowers

Would you fix your mortgage for five years, seven or even 10? A few years ago the vast majority of people would have said no, opting instead for a cheaper, shorter-term two-year deal. But the tide has turned and increasing numbers of borrowers want the certainty of a longer-term commitment, say brokers – and lenders are offering more, and better, deals.

Tomorrow HSBC is launching the lowest ever five-year fixed rate at 2.49% for those with a 40% deposit or the equivalent equity (be warned; the fee is a whopping £2,000).

This is the first time a five-year fix has dropped below 2.5% – but it’s not just HSBC getting in on the act. In the last year, the number of five-year fixed-rate deals has increased by 73%, says data provider Moneyfacts. By comparison, the traditionally popular two-year fixes have only increased by 33%.

Sylvia Waycot, editor at moneyfacts.co.uk said: “Five-year fixed-rate mortgages have traditionally been a bit too expensive to be the first choice for most of us. However, thanks to lenders enjoying cheap loans from the government this is changing.”

The government announced last week that it is extending its Funding for Lending scheme, which has been widely credited with bringing mortgage rates down for borrowers.

Experts believe rates on all mortgage terms could become more competitive in the year ahead. So, with all these cheap deals around, should you look to fix at all and if so, for how long?

Consider the base rate

Borrowers deciding whether to fix will undoubtedly want to take into account the widespread speculation that interest rates are unlikely to rise any time soon. “Our view is that we won’t see a rise in the 0.5% base rate until 2016,” says Rob Harbron, economist from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). “Expectations for continued low rates are a result of our outlook for the economy – weak growth conditions are expected to remain the ‘new normal’ for the next few years.”

Economist Ian Kernohan from Royal London Asset Management adds that as the UK is still in post-crisis recovery mode, this means disappointing growth and low interest rates for at least a few years. “We have pencilled in the first rate rise for late 2015 at the very earliest,” he says.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at the Halifax, adds that as interest rates look set to remain at the same level for the rest of the year, this offers a compelling reason for some borrowers to stay on tracker rates.

“However, a fix provides absolute certainty about the cost of monthly repayments,” he says.

Robin Barter, 44, and his wife, Tracey, 46, are among those who have just remortgaged on to a five-year fix for the first time. The couple live in a four-bedroom house in Oxfordshire with their three children: Scott, nine, Luke, seven, and Hugh, four.

Prior to remortgaging, the Barters had held tracker mortgages with Halifax for 14 years but have now switched to NatWest. “Initially, I thought we’d go for another tracker, as I’m familiar with this kind of deal,” says Robin, an account director. “But when we contacted broker London & Country, they came back with the same conclusion that I was starting to reach, that in the current economic climate we’d be better on a fix.

“Given that the base rate is only going to go up at some point, we decided to go for a five-year fix with NatWest.”

This was priced at 2.99% and came with a £995 fee; the deal also offered both free valuation and legal work. “Locking into a low five-year fix now gives us peace of mind that our payments are protected for longer,” says Robin.

“It also means we won’t have to pay fees to remortgage again in a few years, as we would with a shorter deal.”

Beware sky-high fees

For some borrowers, choosing a rock-bottom mortgage rate may be a false economy, according to Andrew Montlake from broker Coreco.

“Having to remortgage and pay high arrangement fees every two years may not be the best way to go,” he says.

“For example, while borrowers may like the sound of HSBC’s two-year fix at 1.89%, at up to 60% loan-to-value (LTV), the fee of £1,999 adds roughly 0.5% to the rate spread over the two years. As a result, Norwich & Peterborough’s fix with a slightly higher rate of 1.99% at up to 60% LTV and a fee of £995 could be a better option over two years.” The key is to factor in the product fee as well as the headline rate. “This will determine whether you are better off paying a higher fee and taking the very lowest rate, or opting for a slightly higher rate with a lower arrangement fee,” says Montlake.

Is two years long enough?

With little expectation of the base rate climbing in the near term, brokers say borrowers are increasingly turning to deals that protect their payments for longer than two years.

After the new HSBC five-year fix, the lowest on rate alone is Yorkshire building society at 2.59% at 60% LTV. Again, this comes with a £1,475 fee. Norwich & Peterborough building society has a five-year fix at 2.74% at 60% LTV with a much lower fee of

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HSBC launches first sub-2.5% five-year fixed mortgage

Category : Business

Loan follows Yorkshire’s 10-year mortgage and comes as part of wider push by lenders towards lower-rate, longer-term deals

A five-year fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of under 2.5% is available for the first time ever as rates on new home loans continue to tumble.

HSBC has launched a five-year home loan with an interest rate of 2.49% for homeowners with a 40% deposit or for those with the equivalent equity in their property for a remortgage. The loan comes with a £1,999 fee and can only be taken out directly from the bank, not through brokers. Early repayment charges start at 5% in the first year and fall by one percentage point each year. The deal will be available from Monday.

It is part of a wider push by lenders towards lower-rate, longer-term mortgage deals. On Friday, the Yorkshire building society launched a 10-year fixed-rate loan at 3.99% with just a £130 fee to pay. Earlier in the week data provider Moneyfacts said the number of five-year fixed-rate mortgages launched in the past year has increased by 73%. By comparison, the traditionally popular two-year fix has only increased by 33%.

Interest rates on the five-year loans have also tumbled, so that the rate difference between the average two-year and five-year fixed rates, on a 75% loan to value mortgage, is just 0.04%.

“Borrowers have become far more interested in five-year fixes this year as they really seem to be the value buy in the market at present,” said Andrew Montlake of mortgage brokers Coreco. “This reduction by HSBC below 2.5% creates another milestone – and although I believed we would see rates this low some time this year, it has occurred a lot quicker than many envisioned.”

The HSBC deal may not be the best bet for everybody looking for a five-year fixed rate. Although it comes with a low rate, some borrowers with small mortgages may be better off over the term of the mortgage with a higher rate and lower fee. After HSBC, the lowest five-year fix on rate is Yorkshire building society at 2.59% at 60% LTV. This comes with a £1,475 fee. Norwich & Peterborough building society has a five-year fix at 2.74% at 60% LTV with a much lower fee of

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Margaret Thatcher taught Britain to love business, poll finds

Category : Business

Majority of Britons endorse free-market values, but most also say government is responsible for tackling social problems

Margaret Thatcher taught Britain to love business, but not to hate government, according to a YouGov poll on the day of the former prime minister’s funeral.

A clear majority of Britons endorse the free-market virtues that Thatcher championed, the poll – presented at a conference at the Guardian’s headquarters – shows.

For example, 52% agree that “companies and industries that are not competitive … should be allowed to close”, even if this means job losses. That compares with 27% who believe subsidies should be deployed to protect jobs, a practice that Thatcherites dismiss as propping up lame ducks.

Five years into the financial crisis, the country retains a strikingly Thatcherite distaste for regulation – 45% say “businesses work best when they have the freedom to grow their business without government interference”, compared with 40% who say businesses work better when regulated to protect the consumer and the worker.

The woman who insisted that the good Samaritan would have been forgotten if he did not have money would be delighted to learn that profits are still popular today: 52% say that when “a British company reports growing profits, it usually a sign that it is doing well by its customers and employees as well as its shareholders”, 20 points more than the 32% who believe high profits are usually a sign of a company “exploiting its workers and/or its customers”.

And just as business is revealed as popular, its old adversary – the trade union – receive a public thumbs-down. By 45% to 34%, the public tends to say a stronger union movement would be bad as opposed to good for Britain.

But while Thatcher may have succeeded in changing Britons’ long-term attitudes to capitalism, her views on the scope of government’s role in national life have not been so eagerly embraced. Nearly three decades after Thatcher famously said there was “no such thing” as society, 59% of respondents said national and local governments should be most responsible for tackling social problems in Britain today – overwhelmingly more than the 29% who said this should be left to individuals, families and voluntary organisations.

The Thatcherite policy of privatisation also fails to chime with the British public today – 61% agreed that more public utilities, including energy and water, are “best run by the public sector”, versus just 26% who said private companies answerable to shareholders were the best suited.

The YouGov research – contrary to other polls – also suggested Brits have cooled off on the idea of Thatcher’s flagship “right to buy” policy, with 42% supporting it, versus 49% who agreed with a statement saying social housing should be kept in public hands “for future generations in need”.

There was a narrow rejection of the monetarist idea that it is more important to target inflation, and keep it low, than to try to achieve full employment.

Asked what the government should do to secure prosperity in the long term, 49% said “protect jobs, ensure full employment and maintain spending power in the economy” versus 41% who preferred “keep[ing] down prices, inflation and government borrowing”.

YouGov interviewed 1,952 UK adults for its poll on 15-16 of April

McCluskey re-elected as Unite leader

Category : World News

The general secretary of the UK’s biggest trade union is re-elected for another five-year term of office.

Read more: McCluskey re-elected as Unite leader

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