Thursday, 30 August 2012

Australia's Qantas Posts Huge Loss

Australian carrier, Qantas, has posted its first annual loss since privatisation in 1995 and cancelled orders for 35 Boeing jets as high fuel costs and industrial action hammered its bottom line. The airline announced a net loss of $256m (244 million Australian dollar), a half-billion-dollar reverse from a net profit of AU$250m in the previous 12 months. Andrew Thomas reports from Sydney.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Coalition 'Most Unlikely' to Meet Key Economic Goals by Next Election

THE GUARDIAN: Conservative thinktank says government has no hope of eliminating deficit and only slim chance of cutting debt by 2015

The coalition is "most unlikely" to meet its two key economic goals before the general election, a conservative thinktank says.

In a report published on Monday, the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) said the coalition had already given up hope of getting rid of the structural deficit by 2015 and that the chance of ensuring that public-sector debt is falling by the time of the next election is now slim.

The CPS, whose claims are rejected by the Treasury, also said the government's problems were exacerbated by the fact that many people do not understand the difference between debt and deficit and that they will be shocked to learn that debt (the historic total owed by the nation) will be around £600bn higher in 2015 than it was in 2010 even though the deficit (annual borrowing) will be lower.

The coalition "will be vulnerable at the next general election when opposition parties could argue that the huge increase in debt is primarily the result of economic incompetence", the CPS report said. » | Andrew Sparrow, political correspondent | Monday, August 27, 2012

Friday, 24 August 2012

Germany and France Turn Screw on Greece over Austerity Plans

THE GUARDIAN: Greek PM Antonis Samaras to be told to stick to hardline reforms to stay in eurozone as Berlin rejects plea for more time

Germany and France have ratcheted up the pressure on the Greek government by insisting that Athens stick to its hardline austerity plans in order to remain a member of the eurozone.

Before meetings with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Berlin on Friday and the French president, François Hollande, in Paris on Saturday, the Greek prime minister, Antonis Samaras, was given little hope that the two biggest EU economies were prepared to soften their approach.

Hollande, speaking at a meeting with Merkel in Berlin on Thursday night, said he wanted Greece to remain in the single currency but that the recession-stricken country had to carry out the reforms it had promised.

Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany's finance minister, flatly rejected Samaras's plea that Greece be given two extra years to put its finances back on track.

A decision on whether Athens should be allowed more time will be taken next month by the "troika" – the European Central Bank, the EU and the International Monetary Fund – but Schäuble said it was only six months ago that a second package of help had been provided.

"You cannot just say after half a year, all of that is not enough, because then you will never win the confidence of financial markets," he said on Germany's SWR radio. » | Larry Elliott, economics editor | Thursday, August 23, 2012

Monday, 20 August 2012

Apple Worth More Than Any Company in History

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Apple was worth more this afternoon than any company had ever been, as its share price inflated on rumours of new products and took its total value to a record high.

Apple's share price hit $664.74 at its peak today, giving it a market capitalisation - the total value of all its tradeable shares - of $622.5bn.

The previous record for market capitalisation was set by technology giant Microsoft in December 1999, just before the dot-com bubble burst, when it reached $616.3bn.

Apple usurped oil producer Exxon as the world's most valuable company in January after announcing record quarterly results on strong iPhone sales. The two businesses had previously leap-frogged each other to the distinction as their shares fluctuated, but Apple now stands clear as the most valuable company in the world, both currently and historically. » | Matthew Sparkes | Monday, August 20, 2012
Facebook Share Price Halves Since IPO

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: Facebook's beleaguered stock has lost more than half of its value since its initial public offering three months ago.

Facebook Inc hit a new low of $US18.75 before bouncing back to $US19.01 - down 4 cents - in morning trading on Monday.

The social networking icon's much-anticipated IPO turned sour amid technical problems on the Nasdaq stock market and high expectations.

The stock has not surpassed its $US38 IPO price since its first trading day. » | AP | Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Saturday, 11 August 2012

UK Ticket Wins £148m Euromillions Lottery Jackpot

BBC: One UK ticket-holder has won Friday's £148m Euromillions jackpot, lottery organiser Camelot has confirmed.

The winning numbers were 11, 17, 21, 48 and 50. The lucky stars were 9 and 10.

The ticket is the second biggest National Lottery win, behind Colin and Chris Weir from Largs, Ayrshire, who scooped £161m in July 2011.

A National Lottery spokeswoman said: "Lady Luck is clearly shining down on the UK once again with another big Euromillions win this year."

It is the seventh Euromillions jackpot to be won in the UK so far in 2012.

Camelot said it "looked forward to welcoming the lucky ticket-holder into the National Lottery's millionaires' club". » | Friday, August 10, 2012

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Rekordsumme von 190 Mio. € wartet bei EuroMillionen

KRONE.AT: Bei der EuroMillionen-Ziehung am kommenden Dienstag winkt ein Rekordgewinn von 190 Millionen Euro. Bei der Ziehung am Freitag hat es nämlich wieder keinen Hauptgewinn (5 + 2 Richtige) gegeben. Wie die Österreichischen Lotterien in einer Aussendung mitteilten, werden somit voraussichtlich 190 Millionen Euro im Europot liegen. Gezogen wurden am Freitag folgende Zahlen: 24, 34, 35, 42, 46 Sternenkreis: 1, 5 (Angaben ohne Gewähr). » | AG/red | Freitag, 03. August 2012
High-End London Property Prices Falter on Budget Worries

CNBC: Prime Central London property had looked almost immune to economic problems in the rest of the U.K and the euro zone in the past couple of years.

This could be changing.

In July, prices for properties over 2 million pounds ($3 million) in areas like Chelsea and Mayfair grew by 0.5 percent — the lowest rate of growth in almost two years — according to estate agents Knight Frank.

This came despite plenty of interest from buyers elsewhere in the euro zone looking for safe havens. Interest from prospective buyers rose by 23 percent in the three months to July compared to the previous quarter, according to Knight Frank.

And internet searches for London property rose by 9 percent from Italy, 10 percent from Spain and 50 percent from Greece in May, according to Savills. » | Catherine Boyle, Staff Writer | Thursday, August 02, 2012

Friday, 3 August 2012

Paris Ritz Regulars Bid au revoir to 'Old Lady'

AFP: PARIS — Well-heeled regulars at the Paris Ritz bid au revoir to a dear "Old Lady" on Wednesday as the historic luxury hotel shut for a two-year facelift aimed at matching tough new competition from Asia.

"It's so sad. We've been coming for 20 years," said a bleary-eyed tourist from Hong Kong who gave only her first name, Ray-Heather.

Dressed in an Asian-inspired suit of yellow silk, the elegant blonde in her sixties lingered on in the lobby, embracing the hotel staff, before heading out on to the Place Vendome, beating heart of the Paris luxury quarter.

"The plumbing, electricity -- there's things like that that had to be done," she told AFP. "But as far as the rest of it is concerned, that's the Ritz. It's historical and it's home."

The hotel of choice of Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway, the Ritz is also infamous as the place where Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed dined before their fatal car crash in 1997.

But Paris' best-known luxury hotel has not had a refit since 1979, when it was revamped by its new owner, Al Fayed's tycoon father Mohamed, and even its biggest fans admit it was starting to show its age. » | Karine Albertazzi | Thursday, August 02, 2012