Featured Posts

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

Kent village paying for French calls

Category : Business, World News

Residents and visitors to a Kent village are racking up extra charges when their mobile phones connect to French networks.

Read the original post: Kent village paying for French calls

Post to Twitter

Sporting village plan for Belfast

Category : Business

Discussions are under way about transforming the Boucher Road area of south Belfast into a sporting village.

Read more here: Sporting village plan for Belfast

Post to Twitter

VIDEO: Church becomes home to new store

Category : Business, World News

A village shop that is run from the aisles of a working church has opened in Berkshire.

Read the rest here: VIDEO: Church becomes home to new store

Post to Twitter

VIDEO: Postmistress lends own money

Category : Business

A village post office could not pay pensions or benefits for 11 days over Christmas after its broadband connection was cut off.

Read more here: VIDEO: Postmistress lends own money

Post to Twitter

Harper Government Invests in Improvements to Community Infrastructure on Quadra Island

Category : World News

CAPE MUDGE VILLAGE, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – Nov. 10, 2012) - Today, the Honourable John Duncan, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and Member of Parliament for Vancouver Island North, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, announced federal funding for the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre under the Harper Government’s Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF).

See the original post here: Harper Government Invests in Improvements to Community Infrastructure on Quadra Island

Post to Twitter

‘Ghost village’ sold for £250,000

Category : Business, World News

An abandoned village in Argyll and Bute which remained unoccupied for 35 years is sold by administrators.

Continue reading here: ‘Ghost village’ sold for £250,000

Post to Twitter

Banking on change: giving financial power to the world’s poorest

Category : Business

A loans and savings initiative is transforming the lives of some of the poorest in 11 countries

On a table in the middle of the room sits a green metal box with three padlocks, to which three people each have a key. Everyone present chips in an agreed amount of money and gets their passbook stamped – though if you’re financially stretched that week, you can put in a little less. The money all goes into the box.

There is also an opportunity to borrow some cash at a reasonable rate of interest. However, if it is an emergency – for example, your son is ill and needs to get to hospital – there may well be a whip-round. Meanwhile, an announcement that someone is able to pay back what they owe is met with clapping and cheering.

Welcome to a typical village savings and loans association (VSLA) meeting in remote Kawete in Uganda, as witnessed by Alastair Stewart, the ITV newsreader, who is an ambassador for poverty charity, Care International UK.

Stewart was in Uganda to help raise awareness of a project called Banking on Change, run by Care International and fellow charity Plan UK, that aims to provide basic financial services to some of the poorest people in 11 countries. During his trip the veteran newsman met some of those helping villagers to manage their money more effectively, as well as several individuals who have defied the odds to set up their own small businesses. However, he says: “For me, the key thing was sitting in on two savings and loans association meetings.”

Stewart was impressed by what he saw. He was particularly struck by the way the association members – the majority of whom tend to be women – would rally round and offer financial help if their neighbour was in trouble.

At the end of each meeting, one of the members is entrusted with the job of travelling to the town a few miles away and paying the money in to the association’s bank account. However, a little cash is left in the box under lock and key, so that there is something in the kitty next week if someone needs some emergency funds.

This, Stewart told Guardian Money, is real back-to-basics retail banking that has “nothing to do with Libor, capital markets or investment banking”.

The reference to Libor is intriguing because the third member of the Banking on Change project partnership, along with the two charities, is Barclays, which invested £10m in the programme three years ago. The programme ran as planned in the 11 countries until October 2012, and Barclays has committed to extend the partnership for three more years, with discussions currently taking place as to what shape it will take in future.

The bank’s reputation took a severe battering because of the Libor rate-fixing scandal, and it was on the front pages again this week over allegations that it attempted to manipulate the US electricity market. But thousands of miles from the City of London Barclays is funding a programme that is helping to transform the fortunes of the financially excluded in the developing world and, arguably, doing what many people think the big banks should be doing: getting back to their core activities of collecting deposits and making loans.

Up and running since 2009, Banking on Change operates in Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mozambique, Peru, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia, and focuses on “savings-led microfinance”, in particular, helping to set up savings groups such as village savings and loans associations in poor communities. The programme aimed to reach around 400,000 people but has exceeded that target; so far, it has provided basic financial services to 490,000 people and facilitated the creation of more than 21,000 groups.

The charities say that saving regularly via local groups enables members to manage their limited funds better, making them more resilient to financial emergencies and giving some the opportunity to invest in small-scale enterprises. Those groups that operate successfully are able to access formal banking services, enabling them to be self-sufficient.

Some will be cynical about Barclays’ reasons for getting involved, and may wonder whether the real agenda is creating a new group of financially naive customers for its products.

Stewart, who met with a Barclays branch manager in a town called Iganga, as well as the head of the bank’s Ugandan division, says there are clearly business benefits for the bank, but adds: “I was quite surprised on this trip about how little Barclays did to promote their brand and their product range. The principal point of contact for the customers is the two charities in the field, and then there is a guide/mentor/adviser, predominantly from something like the local farming collective, or co-operative.

“The interface with the bank comes a bit later in the process. It has enabled this programme with its financial clout but the real leverage is vested in the two charities and the independent mentors.”

Besides which, he adds, “we couldn’t do it all ourselves – we need the assistance and skill sets we get from local Barclays people”.

While in Uganda, Stewart met association members who have now moved on to setting up their own businesses. Sarah Mutanda told Care International that she originally used to think banks “are not for people like me. They are for rich people and people with big businesses”. Now she is treasurer of her local village savings and loans association, and says she has become financially more stable as a result of the Banking on Change programme – and has also seen an improvement in her community.

Mutanda says the women in her association are no longer solely dependent on the men. “Even when there is family breakdown, for example divorce, women can support their families alone. Now it is very rare to see a child who doesn’t go to school if their father or mother is in the VSLA. The group has empowered us, especially the ladies, to do business. Saving has forced them to be enterprising and do business, to generate money to save at each meeting.”

For her part, Mutanda bought a motorbike, which she rents out to a local driver who uses it as a taxi, and now plans to buy a fridge after spotting an opportunity to sell cold drinks.

Stewart also met Hassan Kabi, who has a personal bank account as well as being part of his village’s association. Prior to the Banking on Change programme, he never really had savings. However, in 2010 he joined the association.

“He saved a bit, he borrowed a bit, and now he runs a mobile phone shop,” says Stewart. Back in 2010, Kabi’s family were living in a small hut of mud with a grass roof. Since then, as a result of his increased income, he has been able to build a bigger permanent house, and he says his family enjoy an improved standard of living.

“Hassan and Sarah are transformational,” says Stewart. “They have become fundamentally different people with their feet still firmly rooted in their communities. They personified everything we were trying to achieve.”

Self-help after Yorkshire’s deluge

Category : Business

The floods’ legacy will affect the Calder Valley for months. But recovery includes an interesting co-op – and revives Jill Robinson‘s campaign to recognise Ripponden rather than Rochdale as the birthplace of co-operation

The Olympics may be starting in London this weekend, but here in the Calder Valley the torch relay continues, in support of the appeal set up to assist people following the recent disastrous floods.

Our version will take place from Walsden to Mytholmroyd tomorrow, Saturday 28 July, using the torch belonging to local resident Chris Green of the White Ribbon campaign, who was an official Olympic torch-bearer in Halifax a few weeks ago.

The relay is just one of a host of events taking place to help flood victims in our battered towns. Already there has been a sell-out Cake Relief home-baking stall at Hope Baptist chapel, a flash concert in the Town Hall and a very successful fashion show at Todmorden Cricket Club. Now the new president of the local Rotary club has offered money raised from the annual Vintage Car weekend, to be held in Calder Holmes Park on 4-5 August, to the flood relief fund. Also in prospect is a Flood Light review in St. Michael’s church hall in the village of Mytholmroyd, on 18 August. Amongst a number of official measures promised, flood-affected Calder Valley businesses will be eligible for rate relief for three months or more, while work will be undertaken urgently to tackle issues of drainage, and sandbag distribution points will be created.

However, despite the valiant clear-up and tremendous fund-raising efforts, and insistence that the valley is ‘open for business’, there have been a number of casualties. The charity shops in lower Bridgegate are still closed, and it has been announced that the Railway pub in Hebden and the Dusty Miller in Mytholmroyd will not re-open, although petitions have been organised in an attempt to save both. Mytholmroyd is in fact currently almost a ‘dry’ village, with all three pubs shut; the Shoulder of Mutton is still clearing, and a blackboard outside states that it will not re-open until the end of August. The White Lion has been closed and up for sale for more than a year. Fortunately, the Working Men’s Club is still serving. There’s not a great range of places to eat out either, since the chip shop, and the Chinese and Asian takeaways have been shut since the flood. This outpost of the Northerner has been doing a lot of home cooking.

It may be that the pubs can be saved by following the co-operative ownership model which has recently been successfully used to take over the Fox and Goose in Hebden Bridge. In this, the residents are following in the footsteps of the pioneers who founded the Co-operative movement, in 1839, in the village of Ripponden in the neighbouring Ryburn valley. History books have the first co-op located in Toad Lane, Rochdale in 1844, but the credit should actually go to the good people of Ripponden. Their Co-operative Society was registered on 10th July 1839 and opened its store in Pleasant Row. The December ‘divi’ helped with Christmas expenses, while the summer share-out was helpful when people were about to set off on the annual Wakes holiday. There were also associated welfare, social and educational ventures. The motto came from Isaiah – Help every man his neighbour- which is also an appropriate slogan for the post-flood Calder Valley. It is one of history’s puzzles why Lancashire generally receives the credit for the inception of the Co-operative movement. We in Yorkshire need to put that right.

New Details of a Battle Challenge Reports of a Syrian Massacre – New York Times

Category : Stocks

New York Times
New Details of a Battle Challenge Reports of a Syrian Massacre
New York Times
BEIRUT, Lebanon — New details emerging Saturday about what local Syrian activists called a massacre of civilians near the central city of Hama indicated that it was more likely an uneven clash between the heavily armed Syrian military and local
Syria: Tremseh killings targeted rebels, UN saysBBC News
UN: Assault in Syria village hit opposition homes The Associated Press
UN team investigates reported Syria
The Guardian

Post to Twitter

UN blames regime forces for Syria massacre – The Associated Press

Category : Stocks

The Hindu
UN blames regime forces for Syria massacre
The Associated Press
By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY, AP – 1 minute ago BEIRUT (AP) — The UN singled out government forces Friday for blame in the latest massacre in Syria, a frenzy of killing that raises new questions about whether diplomacy has any chance to end the crisis more
Clinton condemns massacre in Syrian village, accuses government of murderWashington Post
Syria crisis: Tremseh 'massacre' – Friday 13 July 2012The Guardian
Syria massacre part of air force operation: UNReuters
Jerusalem Post

Post to Twitter