Saturday, 30 November 2013

World from Berlin: 'Germany No Longer a Role Model for Europe'

SPIEGEL ONLINE INTERNATIONAL: Germany's next government is expected to shower the country with goodies including a minimum wage and an earlier retirement age. Editorialists warn the extra spending sends the wrong message and will be costly for the next generation.

Germany's conservatives and left-leaning Social Democrats reached an agreement this week to create the next federal government after weeks of negotiations following the Sept. 22 election. With Chancellor Angela Merkel of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) at its helm, the coalition government has agreed to a number of joint policy initiatives that will see the establishment of Germany's first-ever legally mandated minimum wage and generous changes to the country's pension system, including the option of retirement at 63. At the same time, the CDU, its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) are pledging to deliver these gifts without raising taxes. » | Spiegel Online Staff | Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing all my visitors Stateside, followers, and Twitter followers a VERY HAPPPY AND BLESSED THANKSGIVING

Experiencing American Thanksgiving » | Jelena | Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Swiss Voters Reject High-Pay Initiative

Referendum to Limit Executive Pay Overwhelmingly Rejected

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: ZURICH—Switzerland stepped back from a movement to control corporate pay levels, overwhelmingly rejecting an initiative that would have restricted executive salaries to 12 times that of the lowest paid employee.

Roughly 66% of Swiss voters Sunday opposed the 1:12 Initiative for Fair Pay, according to results from 25 of the country's 26 cantons reported by Swiss television. Another 34% supported the referendum item, which was named for the organizers' belief no one in a Swiss company should earn more in a month than someone else makes in a year.

The rejection of the 1:12 initiative marks a move away from Swiss efforts to more tightly govern how companies compensate their employees that has been driven by a growing wealth gap between the country's executive class and everyday workers. » | Neil MacLucas | Sunday, November 24, 2014

Related »

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Living Debt: Rising Costs in UK Force Millions to Borrow

In the UK new figures have revealed the country's total personal debt has reached an all-time high. The rising costs of energy and other household bills are pushing people over the edge, with many even facing the risk of losing their homes. RT's Laura Smith investigates.

Friday, 22 November 2013

'Fat Cat' Backlash: Swiss Executive Pay Debate Gets Ugly

SPIEGEL ONLINE INTERNATIONAL: Switzerland votes this weekend on whether to limit executives' pay at twelve times that of their lowest-paid worker. In the run up to the referendum, the issue has become a national talking point, with both sides stoking public resentments and fears.

In Switzerland's current, polarized debate about executive salaries, Bern businesswoman Pia Tschannen could be considered a defector -- a woman in cahoots with the Young Socialists, the Social Democrats and the trade unions -- because she is campaigning for the 1:12 initiative, which is being put to referendum on Sunday.

The initiative's aim is to ensure managers cannot earn more in a month than a normal employee earns in a year. It would mean that nobody would be able to earn much more than 500,000 Swiss francs (€400,000) annually. "Ever higher salaries for managers imply that a company's success depends solely on one person. I don't believe that," says Tschannen.

In comparison, board members at Commerzbank, Germany's second biggest bank, were outraged at the government's insistence their pay be limited to €500,000 when the bank was bailed out with government money. Given Switzerland's historical association with Calvinism -- which is supportive of economic success -- the campaign has gathered surprisingly widespread support beyond the traditional left-wing. For a while, polls suggested advocates of the initiative were in a dead heat with their rivals, though support has now dropped. War on the 'Fat Cats' » | Christian Teevs | Friday, November 22, 2013

Monday, 18 November 2013

Directors' Pay Jumps 14% in Year Thanks to Share Incentives

BBC: Total pay for the directors of the UK's top businesses rose 14% over the past year driven by a huge jump in share-based long term incentive payments, a pay research company has found.

Incomes Data Services ((IDS) said this took the average pay for a director of a FTSE 100 firm to £3.3m.

IDS said basic pay rises were "relatively restrained" at 4% higher, while annual bonuses fell 8.8%.

But total pay rose thanks to a 58% rise in share-based long-term incentives.

And over the past ten years, the median total earnings of a FTSE 100 chief executive has gone up by 243%, Steve Tatton, editor of IDS's directors' pay report, told the BBC.

Mr Tatton said the survey illustrated the "complex make-up of boardroom remuneration".

"With nearly two-thirds of FTSE directors benefiting from an LTIP [long-term incentive plan] award in the latest year, the higher share-based payouts clearly made up for any ground lost in lower annual bonuses," he added.

A director is typically awarded a proportion of their salary in shares, which pay out only if the director hits their performance targets. » | Monday, November 18, 2013

Get Adobe Flash player

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Un joueur remporte le «Super Jackpot»

TRIBUNE DE GENÈVE: Un joueur a trouvé la combinaison gagnante du tirage de vendredi soir de la loterie européenne Euro Millions, remportant l'équivalent de 123,6 millions de francs.

La grille gagnante a été validée en Espagne, selon le site «». Pour gagner, il fallait cocher le 3, 13, 15, 29 et 42, assortis des étoiles 1 et 4.

Le gagnant a été le seul, parmi une vingtaine de millions de joueurs des neuf pays d’Euro Millions (France, Royaume-Uni, Espagne, Luxembourg, Belgique, Suisse, Portugal, Irlande, Autriche) à cocher les sept bons numéros nécessaires pour décrocher le troisième et dernier «Super Jackpot exceptionnel» de l’année 2013. » | ats/afp/Newsnet | samedi 16 novembre 2013

Friday, 15 November 2013

Here's the Evidence That QE Has Harmed the UK Economy

TELEGRAPH BLOGS – JEREMY WARNER: Bit late on this, but a report this week by the management consultancy McKinsey has attempted to quantify the distributional consequences of central bank asset purchases (so-called quantitative easing) which I referred to in my column this morning. Pretty terrifying reading it makes too, hammering home the point that QE has been extremely beneficial to indebted governments and other borrowers, but on the whole very damaging to households, particularly elderly ones reliant on fixed income forms of saving. » | Jeremy Warner | Friday, November 15, 2013

My comment:

Cameron, Osborne, et al, and those at the Bank of England should be lynched for what they've done to savers. That's right! You've got it! Lynched! What these people have done is not only criminal, but it is very, very cruel too. Why we Brits put up with this is beyond me. We should turn on them. That's what we should do! These people are the scum of the earth. They may have fancy twangs, but they are low-life. Nothing more.

We, the savers, should sue the government for malpractice and irresponsible governance. We'd have power in numbers. – © Mark

This comment appears here too.

When Will Interest Rates Rise?

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: The 'experts', who predict 2015 for the first rise, have consistently called the market wrong. But history offers some important lessons.

Nothing has such a dramatic effect on your finances as the Bank Rate. A decision taken by a committee of nine men at the Bank of England once a month influences the cost of your mortgage, the pricing of savings rates and the interest you pay on your credit card.

But that's nothing to the headwinds or tailwinds that the rates policy applies to assets, such as property, shares and bond markets. Or the impact it has on Britain's currency – the fall in sterling has effectively left us all 20pc poorer relative to the rest of the world in the past five years, an effect you will have noticed on holiday.

Other tools have been used to amplify the effect of low rates, such as quantitative easing (QE), the Bank of England's money printing programme, and the Treasury's Funding for Lending Scheme. The QE programme is on hold, but not unwound, and Funding for Lending is still running, artificially pushing down mortgage and savings rates.

As for the Bank Rate, the Bank's Governor, Mark Carney, has updated his "guidance" that it won't rise until unemployment drops to 7pc, which it originally forecast to happen in 2016. The Bank's quarterly Inflation Report, published on Wednesday, suggested that that level of joblessness might be reached sooner, although it was stressed that this would be a point when a rate rise would just be considered. Read on and comment » | Andrew Oxlade | Friday, November 15, 2013

Mt comment:

Savers should mobilise and come together. We should start thinking about suing the government for total and utter irresponsibility. Savers have been robbed for long enough. Savers are being hanged, drawn, and quartered to pay for the fabulous bonuses which the bankers get for doing sod all except screwing others. As I said, it's time to mobilise. Individual savers have no power at all to change things; collectively we have a chance of effecting a real change. – © Mark

This comment appears here too.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Bank of England: Recovery Has Finally Taken Hold

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney says the UK economy is "growing at its fastest pace in six years", and that "the recovery has finally taken hold", as official figures show unemployment fell by 48,000 between July and September to 2.47 million

Watch Mark Carney talk about the recovery here | Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Monday, 11 November 2013

Increase Interest Rates to 5 Per Cent to Help Prudent Pensioners, Says Sir John Major

Sir John Major, the ex-Prime Minister
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Prudent pensioners who have saved carefully for their retirement all their lives are being punished by “cripplingly unfair” low interest rates, Sir John Major has said

The former Conservative Prime Minister urged the Government to do something “classically Conservative” and bring in measures to protect people’s savings.

Sir John urged the Bank of England to return interest rates - which banks say could be held at 0.5 per cent until 2017 - to “normal levels, say three to five per cent” to create a society that treats “the saver as fairly as it treats the debtor”.

Speaking to the annual dinner of the South Norfolk Conservative Association on Friday night, Sir John said: “For the moment, low interest rates are unavoidable to preserve companies and create jobs but there is another face to low interest rates.

“We should remember they are cripplingly unfair to people who have saved money for their retirement.

“A lifetime of prudence and now the money they invest earns them almost nothing at all and their quality of life is diminishing as a result of that. Read on and comment » | Christopher Hope, Senior Political Correspondent | Monday, November 11, 2013

Friday, 8 November 2013

'Web of Financial Secrecy': UK Wins Title of Biggest Tax Haven for Rich

Great Britain has won the none-too-flattering title of King - of the world's tax havens. A new report says the UK's overseas territories make up much of the world's secret, offshore banking industry. And aside from making promises, London hasn't done much about it.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Canadian Bee-keepers Face Bleak Future

Nicotine-based pesticides blamed for decline in honey bee numbers, although manufacturers say it is safe.

Cuba to Shut Down Trendy Private Theatres

Cinemas were not on the list of authorized businesses in the 2010 market reforms but until now they were not prohibited.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Venture Capital: Muslim Money & Extending Bitcoin Influence

Britain is seeking money from the Middle East in its ambition to become the first country outside of the Muslim world to offer an Islamic Bond - Katie Pilbeam asks London based Market Strategist Ishaq Siddiqi if this is the way forward for the finance hub. The first ever Bitcoin ATM went live this week in a café in Vancouver, Canada. Does this breakthrough mean that the controversial coin is finally fighting off its critics - Katie asks Moscow based economist Dr William Wilson and Buenos Aires based expert Daniel Bruno for their view on the virtual currency to get a global perspective. Plus the World Bank props up Russia in its annual 'Doing Business' report, but there's still a long way to go, corporate news and the loveable in-house investor Sean Thomas reveals the latest results of his rather unique style of trading on the ever volatile Russian stock market.

Greenland - The World's Newest Frontier

With huge reserves of minerals, oil and gas buried under their icebound nation, Greenland's tiny population may be about to become very rich.

Read the Sunday Telegraph article here | Colin Freeman, Nuuk | Sunday, November 03, 2013