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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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Era Group Inc. Announces Q1 2013 Earnings Release Call

Category : World News

HOUSTON, TX–(Marketwired – May 10, 2013) – Era Group Inc. (“Era”), a leading helicopter transport operator based in the United States, today announced it will release financial results for its fiscal year 2013 first quarter after the market closes on Tuesday, May 14, 2013. In connection with the release, Era has scheduled a conference call for Wednesday, May 15, 2013 to begin at 10:00 a.m. ET (9:00 a.m. CT). 

Continued here: Era Group Inc. Announces Q1 2013 Earnings Release Call

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Global air travel ‘rises by 5.9%’

Category : Business, World News

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) says air passenger travel grew by 5.9% in March compared with a year earlier, boosted by emerging markets.

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VIDEO: Robot cars look to beat congestion

Category : World News

Research into robot cars in Singapore is being driven by a desire to get more people using public transport.

Continued here: VIDEO: Robot cars look to beat congestion

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Crackdown on rail metal theft starts to take effect as incidents drop two-thirds

Category : Business

Network Rail figures show delays down 50% from 2011 peak after concerted effort to stop thieves taking copper cables

The battle against the recent plague of metal theft may finally be being won by law enforcers – at least on the railways. Figures released by Network Rail show that incidents which affected rail services dropped by two-thirds over the last year.

Total delays caused by the problem fell by more than half in the year to March 2013 to around 2,700 hours – down from more than 6,000 hours of delays to trains at the peak in 2011.

While the cost to the industry was still put at almost £13m over the last year, it represents a significant decline in a crime that has caused widespread disruption and delays for rail passengers over the past few years.

Copper cable theft has been a particular problem, hitting telephone and broadband connections as well as causing rail delays. Despite an increasing police crackdown, thefts in recent weeks caused problems including an entire Lincolnshire village losing its communications and a new bridge in south Wales having to be closed after safety railings were stolen.

Network Rail said passengers were reaping the benefits of years of work to tackle the problem with partners in the railway and associated industries.

Neil Henry, the head of operations and performance at Network Rail, said the figures were a result of several factors, including the targeting of thieves and scrap dealers by the British transport police.

He said: “Our engineers are working with suppliers and other industries to make metal – particularly our cables – harder to steal and easier to identify and our teams around the network are introducing new ways of working to reduce delay and fix thefts more quickly. We believe the introduction of new laws following our work with other industries to explain the need for change to government will continue to help to stifle the market for stolen metal.”

The transport minister Norman Baker said: “The coalition government is strongly committed to tackling metal theft and it is heartening to see that the decisive action that has been taken is now paying off with major reductions in this kind of crime.”

A ban on paying cash for scrap metal came into force in December. Fines have been increased for dealers trading in stolen metal and police have been given new powers to close unlicensed scrap yards.

Detective Chief Inspector Gill Murray of the British transport police said the reduced figures were “encouraging” but added: “We cannot, however, take our eye off the ball and will continue to develop initiatives and tactics to make life even more challenging for thieves and unscrupulous metal recyclers.”

There were 285 thefts that caused delays to rail services last year, down from 845 in 2011-12. The bill for passenger compensation for delayed trains fell to £5.8m from £12m in 2010-11.

The Scrap Metal Dealers act which comes into force in the autumn gives police powers to close unlicensed scrapyards, creates a register of dealers, and requires dealers to record ID from all sellers of metal.

A spike in commodity prices since 2008 made stealing metal an increasingly lucrative business.

Copper prices hit record highs in 2011, having trebled in the previous two years, and remained high until this year.

But recent falls in the price may dampen the appetite for illegal trade, although a report in the Wall Street Journal last week said suppliers were having to pay hefty premiums to source metals at short notice, despite a glut stockpiled in warehouses in Belgium and Malaysia.

Virgin seeks east coast mainline rail deal that could cost public dear

Category : Business

The government-run route is to be auctioned and Richard Branson has his wallet ready. But the line needs major improvements – so taxpayers should expect a big bill

A City worker catching an early train on 14 September 2007 from Edinburgh to London via Newcastle, home of the head office of a certain bank, would have passed the three great sites of British financial mismanagement even before the era-defining run on Northern Rock began that day. It’s not purely coincidental that as the crisis grew and taxpayers’ billions rescued Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds, the banker’s route would also become a bailed-out railway line.

Just a month earlier, a new private operator, National Express, had won the right to operate the east coast mainline service with an eyebrow-raising bid, widely seen as the kind of overloaded punt businessmen and bankers were fond of taking at the time.

Anticipating demand that would never appear as a new economic reality bit, by 2009 National Express East Coast had collapsed under the weight of its £1.4bn offer – following in the footsteps of the previous incumbent, GNER, which had reneged on a £1.3bn contract. Like RBS, Lloyds and Northern Rock, the east coast line was nationalised.

Now the franchise, after its spell in the hands of East Coast, a subsidiary of the government’s holding company Directly Operated Railways (DOR), is to be returned to the private sector. Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin prioritised an auction of the line in the new franchising timetable drawn up after the west

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Privatisation: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Category : Business

Privatisation has been an area of contention since Thatcher, and its impact on many UK communities is still being felt today

The good

Although many of the now-privatised companies are part or fully owned by foreign companies, they have proved to be lucrative investments and were once the means by which Margaret Thatcher aimed to create a nation of shareholders.

In 1986, when British Gas was floated on the stock exchange, shares cost 135p each, or 334p in today’s terms. Since then, British Gas has undergone several organisational changes and the resulting organisation, BG Group plc, is worth £11.09 a share. A £100 investment in 1986 would have gone up by £821.

Some privatisations have brought improvements for consumers. According to the water and sewerage regulator Ofwat, since the privatisation of the 10 state-owned regional water authorities in 1989, the number of customers at risk of low water pressure has fallen by 99%.

Those critical of state-run services often cite the six-month wait for the installation of a new BT line that customers allegedly suffered before telecommunications were privatised. New BT lines are today installed within 15 days, according to BT’s website.

The bad

Many would say the standout failure of privatisation was that of British Rail. While the actual process did not take place until after Thatcher had left office, she was known to be discussing it with the then Department of Transport months before her resignation. At the 1990 Tory party conference, a month before she left office, her then transport secretary, Cecil Parkinson, said: “The question now is not about whether we should privatise it [British Rail], but how and when.”

Since the privatisation the amount of government subsidies to the rail industry has risen higher than it was in its state-run days. A yearly average of just over £1bn in the late 1980s rose to a high of more than £6bn in 2006-2007, according to a public spending report from the House of Commons.

In 2011, the then Conservative transport secretary, Philip Hammond, alluded to the sharp rise in ticket prices since privatisation when he described train travel in the UK as “a rich man’s toy”. Five years earlier, economists at UBS bank said train travel in the UK was the most expensive in the world.

… and the ugly

For opponents of privatisation, the most damaging legacy has been job losses. In the decade after the miners’ strike of 1985, more than 200,000 jobs were lost as a result of coal privatisation, as well as creating the largest British industrial conflict of modern times.

Since privatisation, more than 100,000 jobs have been lost at BT, while the restructuring of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) – the result of an industry being left increasingly to its own devices by the government – led to the loss of 15,000 jobs in Teesside.

The government’s laissez-faire approach to the changes, and the resultant sudden, mass unemployment led to the transformation of what was once a region booming from steel industry to one of the most impoverished in the country. By the time it was privatised in 1988, British Steel had shed 20,000 jobs.

Supporters of privatisation would reflect upon it as a move that was necessary in order to adapt to increasing international competition, yet its impact on many communities within the UK is still felt today.

Lydd airport given permission to increase capacity

Category : Business

Environmentalists disappointed by decision to approve plan to extend runway at Lydd, also known as London Ashford airport

Environmental groups including the RSPB and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) are considering legal action to challenge the government’s decision to allow the expansion of Lydd airport in Kent.

The minor airfield, wedged between Dungeness nuclear power station, Romney Marsh and a nature reserve, has been given permission to extend its runway and handle up to 500,000 passengers a year.

The plan was approved by Eric Pickles, the communities and local government secretary, and Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, following a protracted dispute over an application first submitted in 2006. The growth of London Ashford airport, as it is formally known, is designed to ease air congestion in the south-east and create local jobs.

But the decision is fiercely opposed by environmental activists, who fear it will destroy the tranquillity of the Kent coast and a nearby bird sanctuary. The RSPB and the CPRE are examining the 365-page report to see whether they can seek a judicial review in the high court.

The airfield has been owned by a Saudi businessman, Sheikh Fahad al-Athel, since 2001. As a director of the Al Bilad company, Athel came to attention for his role as a fixer for Saudi Arabia’s multibillion-pound Al Yamamah arms deal.

Lydd opened in 1956 and at the height of its success Silver City airways, Dan-Air and other firms were carrying 250,000 people a year. Business collapsed in the 1970s.

Shepway district council voted in favour of the expansion plan in 2010 but the scheme was called in by central government for assessment because of its national importance. Its approval allows the construction of a runway extension that can take Boeing 737 charter flights, and a new terminal building.

Opponents, who fear passenger numbers will eventually increase to two million a year, have six weeks to appeal against the decision.

The RSPB’s conservation director, Martin Harper, said: “This is the wrong decision as it opens the door to real damage to Dungeness, to its wildlife and the quality of life for many of its residents and risks destroying a unique asset that is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people.

“Dungeness is a special place for nature, which is recognised globally for the importance of its wildlife. This decision means nowhere is safe and signals that nature is in trouble in the face of unfettered growth – these are worrying times for all who care for Britain’s wildlife. We will be taking time to review the detail of the decision – and to plan our next steps.”

Neil Sinden, policy and campaigns director at the CPRE, said: “This is a terrible decision which threatens one of the few remaining areas of rural tranquillity in heavily pressured south-east, and in a county once proudly described as the Garden of England. And it will not just alarm environmentalists.

“There were many in the aviation sector who considered this scheme to be nonsensical and a non-starter. If there are any economic benefits, which is unlikely, they will be heavily outweighed by the environmental damage that it will cause on so many levels. Campaigners are bound to consider all legal options to have this disturbing decision overturned.”

Keith Taylor, the Green party MEP for the south-east, said: “The expansion also brings with it a serious nuclear safety issue that the government seems to have ignored. This government decision is bad for wildlife, potentially dangerous for local people and a step in the wrong direction in fighting climate change.”

Hani Mutlaq, Lydd airport’s executive manager, said he was delighted with the go-ahead. “I’m very pleased,” he told the Guardian. “I hope construction will start this year. At the moment we only have scheduled flights to Le Touquet in France but with a longer runway we will have the capacity for 737s that can reach destinations across Europe.”

Richard Griffiths, the planning lawyer who led the team advising the airport’s owner, said: “This is a significant decision from the government given the crossroads which aviation policy currently faces. [It] is perhaps an indication of the government’s support for aviation expansion where the environmental impacts are demonstrated to be acceptable.

“Clearly the government has accepted that there is a need to grow capacity in the country’s airports. However, whilst this is an important decision for both the aviation industry and also for infrastructure investment in Kent, questions should be asked why it has taken over six years to make a decision on these proposals.”

The decision states: “After careful consideration, [the secretaries of state] are satisfied that there would be no likely significant effects on any designated conversation sites and also that the proposals would not have a significant effect on nuclear safety, landscape or tranquillity.”

Environmental activists claimed the proximity of Dungeness nuclear power station posed a severe risk if there was an air accident. In a local referendum, residents rejected the expansion scheme by a ratio of two to one.

Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund-Wakefield Recreation Centre Receives Funding From Government of Canada

Category : World News

LA PÊCHE, QUEBEC–(Marketwired – April 6, 2013) - The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, today announced that the Wakefield Recreation Centre has been granted financial assistance to upgrade and expand the Wakefield outdoor skating rink in the municipality of La Pêche.

Continued here: Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund-Wakefield Recreation Centre Receives Funding From Government of Canada

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MPs to examine whiplash claim levels

Category : World News

The Commons Transport Committee is to examine the impact that claims for whiplash injuries are having on the cost of car insurance.

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London offers Rio top transport tips

Category : World News

Rio receives London’s top tips on how to run a smooth transport system for when it hosts the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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