Friday, February 17, 2006

MPs at the British Parliament have voted by large majority of 200 to bring in legislation banning smoking in all pubs, clubs and workplaces in a landmark free vote. The ban is expected to come into force from summer 2007.

The originally proposed fine of £200 was raised to £2500 for failing to stop people smoking in banned areas in the late stages of the parliamentary process. Other fines include a fixed penalty notice of £50 for lighting up in banned areas and spot fines of £200 for failing to display no smoking signs in banned areas.

Smoking may also be banned in “substantially enclosed” venues such as railway stations and football stadiums; this may also include cars carrying passengers but no decision has been taken on this as yet. Ministers will finalise precise regulations after a three month consultation.

The vote was politically fraught, as the Labour Party in government had proposed a ‘compromise’ bill, in line with their election manifesto, which would allow pubs not serving food to be exempt from the ban. With many Labour MPs threatening to rebel against this compromise however, in favour of a full ban, Labour granted its members a free vote. MPs then voted for the full ban by a margin of 453 votes to 125,­ a majority of 328.

MPs then debated a last-minute amendment to exempt private members clubs, which was also rejected, by 384 votes to 184,­ a majority of 200. The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, voted for a complete ban along with his health secretary, Patricia Hewitt.

The ban will bring England in line with Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, which will all be introducing a full smoking ban for pubs and clubs. The bill also gives ministers powers to increase the age for purchasing cigarettes from 16 to 18 which ministers will begin the consultation process upon shortly.

Friday, April 13, 2007

After Green Party leader Elizabeth May announced her plans for running against Conservative MP Peter MacKay in his riding of Central Nova in the next federal election, the Liberal Party of Canada have decided to not have a candidate in the riding. In return, the Greens have agreed not run a candidate against Liberal leader Stéphane Dion in his riding of Saint-Laurent—Cartierville in Quebec.

Both Stéphane Dion and Elizabeth May held a joint news conference today in Central Nova to talk about their plans.

The riding has a long history of Conservative MPs which finds it a tough race to fight for May with the Liberals backing her.

The decision earned some criticism from NDP leader Jack Layton. “It’s incredible that this matter of such importance is being decided by two leaders in secret,” Layton told reporters. “That’s not what democracy is about. It is the citizens that ought to make choices about who is going to be representing them…”I’m surprised to see Ms. May support the member of Parliament [Stéphane Dion] who was at the Liberal cabinet table during the decade that greenhouse gases went up by more than 30 per cent.”

Stéphane Dion held the Minister of Environment portfolio under former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin. At the end of his Liberal leadership campaign he changed his campaign colour to green to represent his interest for environmental issues in Canada. May is an environmentalist and is largely noted as founder of the Sierra Club of Canada.

The Green Party of Canada has run a full slate of candidates in the last two elections, but has yet to win a seat in Parliament. If May wins the riding in the next federal election, she would be the first one ever.

More On This Topic:

By Larry Donaldson

There is little in life that is less convenient than being in need of a set of your own wheels but not being able to afford a car. These days, owning a car is pretty much a necessity if you want to be able to hold down a steady job, buy food, or visit friends.

It is true that we live in a consumer society centered around making and spending money. Everything is set up this way. Unless you live in the middle of the downtown district of a good-size city, you basically need a car to do either one.

If you cannot afford a car due to lack of cash, you are probably considering taking out an auto loan. But, whether you choose to go with an auto dealer or buy from a private seller, you are going to need to convince the lender that you are credit-worthy. This is tough to do if you have a poor credit score.

The Relationship Between Your Credit Score and Qualifying for a Loan

YouTube Preview Image

Everyone has a lens through which they view the world and other people. This is especially true of auto loan lenders. To 99% of the lenders out there, you are a walking credit score. Meaning: when they see you and run your credit report, those 3 little numbers basically color their whole view of you.

This state of affairs is all fine and dandy if you have a good credit score. But, if your score less than perfect or even “bad,” (say, under 600), you face a real challenge. The bottom line is that it is very difficult to qualify for an auto loan if you have bad credit (FICO) score.

Banks that Accept Bad Credit for Auto Loans – 3 Tips

Fortunately, there are some banks that accept bad credit scores when considering auto loan applications. Here are 3 tips for how to get approved:

1. Look for “bad credit auto loan” banks: As any good fisherman will tell you, you have to fish where the fish are. This is just as true when searching for a bad credit auto loan lender. Start your search by looking for banks that advertise that they specialize in people with poor or bad credit scores. This is only about 1% of banks, but they are out there and they want your business.

2. Find banks that advertise that they consider more than just your credit score: Some banks will not outright say they are looking for bad credit individuals, instead opting for a more subtle approach. These banks will tell you that they don’t just consider your credit score as the only criterion for granting a loan. That’s your clue that they are open for business.

3. Prepare your employment history and other important documents: One thing that banks appreciate, in lieu of a strong credit score, is having other information that testifies to your character. This could be, for example, having a history of home ownership, living in the same place for a long time, and having a job. Bring in any documentation you have that can bolster your case.

Follow these 3 tips for finding banks that accept bad credit for auto loans.

About the Author: Get a list of bad credit lenders in your area at:

Find Bad Credit Auto Loans

.

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=590169&ca=Finances

Dutch financial institution ING takes impairment charge

Posted October 18th, 2019 by e76yKR

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dutch financial institution ING Group reported today in its quarterly results an impairment charge of 194 million euros (approximately US$285.6 million). However, as a result of selling an equity stake in rival ABN AMRO, the net profit of €2.48 billion, was 18% higher than last year.

The impairment charge is a result of risky investments, including RBMS (mortgage) investments backed by subprime loans and Alt-A loans, which are made to borrowers with a slightly better credit profile than those in the subprime category, as well as from collateral debt obligations (CDOs).

CEO Michel Tilmant said that “solid risk management” shields ING from the worst effects of the financial crisis. “ING’s exposure to the riskiest assets is limited, and the RMBS investments we selected have a high level of structural credit protection to absorb significant losses as the U.S. housing crisis deepens,” added Tilmant.

Apple to lower UK iTunes prices

Posted October 13th, 2019 by e76yKR

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The European Commission has forced Apple Inc. to lower its prices for media in its United Kingdom iTunes store, Apple’s online media shop. The change in policy will occur within the next six months, Apple announced this morning.

Apple is the producer of the world’s most-sold MP3 Player, the iPod and launched the iTunes Music Store, a online music store, on April 28, 2003. The store was renamed to iTunes Store in 2006, as Apple began selling other media apart from music, such as feature-length movies. Since its launch the store has sold more than 3 billion songs. At the moment songs are sold for £0.79 per song and £7.99 per album which after the price cut will on average be reduced to £0.74 and £7.48 to match the EU prices of 0.99 and €9.99, according to Times Online.

The price decrease follows an investigation by the European Commission due to Apple charging customers in the UK up to 10% more than in other EU countries. According to The Register, Apple will be demanding that the record labels lower their prices in the UK in respect to this forced price cut.

The European Commission welcomed Apple’s announcement and in a reaction to the news European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes said “the Commission is very much in favour of solutions which allow consumers to benefit from a truly Single Market for music downloads.”

Wikinews interviews Australian Statistician Brian Pink

Posted October 4th, 2019 by e76yKR

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is responsible for some of Australia’s largest surveys, including the Census of Population and Housing, held every five years. At its head is the Australian Statistician. The current Statistician, Brian Pink, started in his position on March 5, 2007, following the retirement of predecessor Dennis Trewin. Wikinews recently caught up with Brian Pink to talk with him about his first year in the position, as well as his previous tenure as Government Statistician at Statistics New Zealand, and the state of mathematical education in Australia.

((WikiNews)) : Good afternoon.

Brian Pink: Good afternoon.

((WN)) : And congratulations on spending a year as Australian Statistician.

BP: Yes, it’s gone very quickly. (laughs)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Every September, the Apple iPod is redesigned. Last year saw the release of the iPod Nano 5th generation, bringing a video camera and a large range of colours to the Nano for the first time. But as Apple again prepares to unveil a redesigned product, the company has released their quarterly sales figures—and revealed that they have sold only 9m iPods for the quarter to June—the lowest number of sales since 2006, leading industry anylists to ponder whether the world’s most successful music device is in decline.

Such a drop in sales is not a problem for Apple, since the iPhone 4 and the iPad are selling in high numbers. But the number of people buying digital music players are concerning the music industry. Charles Arthur, technology editor of The Guardian, wrote that the decline in sales of MP3 players was a “problem” for record companies, saying that “digital music sales are only growing as fast as those of Apple’s devices – and as the stand-alone digital music player starts to die off, people may lose interest in buying songs from digital stores. The music industry had looked to the iPod to drive people to buy music in download form, whether from Apple’s iTunes music store, eMusic, Napster or from newer competitors such as Amazon.”

Mark Mulligan, a music and digital media analyst at Forrester Research, said in an interview that “at a time where we’re asking if digital is a replacement for the CD, as the CD was for vinyl, we should be starting to see a hockey-stick growth in download sales. Instead, we’re seeing a curve resembling that of a niche technology.” Alex Jacob, a spokesperson for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which represents the worldwide music industry, agreed that there had been a fall in digital sales of music. “The digital download market is still growing,” they said. “But the percentage is less than a few years ago, though it’s now coming from a higher base.” Figures released earlier this year, Arthur wrote, “show that while CD sales fell by 12.7%, losing $1.6bn (£1bn)in value, digital downloads only grew by 9.2%, gaining less than $400m in value.”

Expectations that CDs would, in time, become extinct, replaced by digital downloads, have not come to light, Jacob confirmed. “Across the board, in terms of growth, digital isn’t making up for the fall in CD sales, though it is in certain countries, including the UK,” he said. Anylising the situation, Arthur suggested that “as iPod sales slow, digital music sales, which have been yoked to the device, are likely to slow too. The iPod has been the key driver: the IFPI’s figures show no appreciable digital download sales until 2004, the year Apple launched its iTunes music store internationally (it launched it in the US in April 2003). Since then, international digital music sales have climbed steadily, exactly in line with the total sales of iPods and iPhones.”

Nick Farrell, a TechEYE journalist, stated that the reason for the decline in music sales could be attributed to record companies’ continued reliance on Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, saying that they had considered him the “industry’s saviour”, and by having this mindset had forgotten “that the iPod is only for those who want their music on the run. What they should have been doing is working out how to get high quality music onto other formats, perhaps even HiFi before the iPlod fad died out.”

HAVE YOUR SAY
Have you found that you are spending less on music and more on apps, e-books, or television shows?
Add or view comments

When Jobs negotiated a deal with record labels to ensure every track was sold for 99 cents, they considered this unimportant—the iPod was not a major source of revenue for the company. However, near the end of 2004, there was a boom in sales of the iPod, and the iTunes store suddenly began raking in more and more money. The record companies were irritated, now wanting to charge different amounts for old and new songs, and popular and less popular songs. “But there was no alternative outlet with which to threaten Apple, which gained an effective monopoly over the digital music player market, achieving a share of more than 70%” wrote Arthur. Some did attempt to challenge the iTunes store, but still none have succeeded. “Apple is now the largest single retailer of music in the US by volume, with a 25% share.”

The iTunes store now sells television shows and films, and the company has recently launced iBooks, a new e-book store. The App Store is hugely successful, with Apple earning $410m in two years soley from Apps, sales of which they get 30%. In two years, 5bn apps have been downloaded—while in seven years, 10bn songs have been purchased. Mulligan thinks that there is a reason for this—the quality of apps simply does not match up to a piece of music. “You can download a song from iTunes to your iPhone or iPad, but at the moment music in that form doesn’t play to the strengths of the device. Just playing a track isn’t enough.”

Adam Liversage, a spokesperson of the British Phonographic Industry, which represents the major UK record labels, notes that the rise of streaming services such as Spotify may be a culprit in the fall in music sales. Revenues from such companies added up to $800m in 2009. Arthur feels that “again, it doesn’t make up for the fall in CD sales, but increasingly it looks like nothing ever will; that the record business’s richest years are behind it. Yet there are still rays of hope. If Apple – and every other mobile phone maker – are moving to an app-based economy, where you pay to download games or timetables, why shouldn’t recording artists do the same?”

Well, apparently they are. British singer Peter Gabriel has released a ‘Full Moon Club’ app, which is updated every month with a new song. Arthur also notes that “the Canadian rock band Rush has an app, and the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, led by Trent Reznor – who has been critical of the music industry for bureaucracy and inertia – released the band’s first app in April 2009.” It is thought that such a system will be an effective method to reduce online piracy—”apps tend to be tied to a particular handset or buyer, making them more difficult to pirate than a CD”, he says—and in the music industry, piracy is a very big problem. In 2008, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry estimated that 95% of downloads were illegitimate. If musicians can increase sales and decrease piracy, Robert says, it can only be a good thing.

“It’s early days for apps in the music business, but we are seeing labels and artists experimenting with it,” Jacob said. “You could see that apps could have a premium offering, or behind-the-scenes footage, or special offers on tickets. But I think it’s a bit premature to predict the death of the album.” Robert concluded by saying that it could be “premature to predict the death of the iPod just yet too – but it’s unlikely that even Steve Jobs will be able to produce anything that will revive it. And that means that little more than five years after the music industry thought it had found a saviour in the little device, it is having to look around again for a new stepping stone to growth – if, that is, one exists.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A recent study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) shows that the oil and gas industry are creating earthquakes. New information from the Midwest region of the United States points out that these man-made earthquakes are happening more frequently than expected. While more frequent earthquakes are less of a problem for regions like the Midwest, a geology professor from the University of Southern Indiana, Dr. Paul K. Doss, believes the disposal of wastewater from the hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) process used in extracting oil and gas has the possibility to pose potential problems for groundwater.

“We are taking this fluid that has a whole host of chemicals in it that are useful for fracking and putting it back into the Earth,” Doss said. “From a purely seismic perspective these are not big earthquakes that are going to cause damage or initiate, as far as we know, any larger kinds of earthquakes activity for Midwest. [The issue] is a water quality issue in terms of the ground water resources that we use.”

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a technique used by the oil and gas industries which inject highly pressurized water down into the Earth’s crust to break rock and extract natural gas. Most of the fluids used for fracking are proprietary, so information about what chemicals are used in the various fluids are unknown to the public and to create a competitive edge.

Last Monday four researchers from the University of New Brunswick released an editorial that sheds light on the potential risks that the current wastewater disposal system could have on the province’s water resources. The researchers share the concern that Dr. Doss has and have come out to say that they believe fracking should be stopped in the province until there is an environ­mentally safe way to dispose the waste wastewater.

“If groundwater becomes contamin­ated, it takes years to decades to try to clean up an aquifer system,” University of New Brunswick professor Tom Al said.

While the USGS group which conducted the study says it is unclear how the earthquake rates may be related to oil and gas production, they’ve made the correlation between the disposal of wastewater used in fracking and the recent upsurge in earthquakes. Because of the recent information surfacing that shows this connection between the disposal process and earthquakes, individual states in the United States are now passing laws regarding disposal wells.

The problem is that we have never, as a human society, engineered a hole to go four miles down in the Earth’s crust that we have complete confidence that it won’t leak.

“The problem is that we have never, as a human society, engineered a hole to go four miles down in the Earth’s crust that we have complete confidence that it won’t leak,” Doss said. “A perfect case-in-point is the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, that oil was being drilled at 18,000 feet but leaked at the surface. And that’s the concern because there’s no assurance that some of these unknown chemical cocktails won’t escape before it gets down to where they are trying to get rid of them.”

It was said in the study released by the New Brunswick University professors that if fracking wastewater would contaminate groundwater, that current conventional water treatment would not be sufficient enough to remove the high concentration of chemicals used in fracking. The researchers did find that the wastewater could be recycled, can also be disposed of at proper sites or even pumped further underground into saline aquifers.

The New Brunswick professors have come to the conclusion that current fracking methods used by companies, which use the water, should be replaced with carbon diox­ide or liquefied propane gas.

“You eliminate all the water-related issues that we’re raising, and that peo­ple have raised in general across North America,” Al said.

In New Brunswick liquefied propane gas has been used successfully in fracking some wells, but according to water specialist with the province’s Natural Resources De­partment Annie Daigle, it may not be the go-to solution for New Brunswick due its geological makeup.

“It has been used successfully by Corridor Resources here in New Bruns­wick for lower volume hydraulic frac­turing operations, but it is still a fairly new technology,” Daigle said.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working with U.S. states to come up with guidelines to manage seismic risks due to wastewater. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA is the organization that also deals with the policies for wells.

Oil wells, which are under regulation, pump out salt water known as brine, and after brine is pumped out of the ground it’s disposed of by being pumped back into the ground. The difference between pumping brine and the high pressurized fracking fluid back in the ground is the volume that it is disposed of.

“Brine has never caused this kind of earthquake activity,” Doss said. “[The whole oil and gas industry] has developed around the removal of natural gas by fracking techniques and has outpaced regulatory development. The regulation is tied to the ‘the run-of-the-mill’ disposal of waste, in other words the rush to produce this gas has occurred before regulatory agencies have had the opportunity to respond.”

According to the USGS study, the increase in injecting wastewater into the ground may explain the sixfold increase of earthquakes in the central part of the United States from 2000 – 2011. USGS researchers also found that in decades prior to 2000 seismic events that happened in the midsection of the U.S. averaged 21 annually, in 2009 it spiked to 50 and in 2011 seismic events hit 134.

“The incredible volumes and intense disposal of fracking fluids in concentrated areas is what’s new,” Doss said. “There is not a body of regulation in place to manage the how these fluids are disposed of.”

The study by the USGS was presented at the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America on April 18, 2012.

Thaksin ordered back to Thailand on stock-sale charges

Posted September 3rd, 2019 by e76yKR

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ousted and living in exile, with assets frozen in Thailand, former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ordered today by the Royal Thai Police to appear on charges related to the sale of some of his family’s stock holdings.

The order adds to mounting, increasingly complex legal troubles for Thaksin, the telecommunications billionaire who led Thailand until he was unseated in a coup last year.

Thaksin and his wife, Potjaman Shinawatra, who are both outside of Thailand, were both ordered to present themselves to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) by June 29 at the latest. A relative of Potjaman’s, Busaba Damapong, was also ordered to appear.

“If they intentionally fail to appear, we must issue an arrest warrant,” DSI chief Sunai Manomai-udom was quoted as saying by Agence France Presse.

Noppadol Pattama, Thaksin’s lawyer and spokesman in Thailand, could not say when his client would return.

“We will have to seek legal consultations among the lawyers. His security is only one factor. We will have to see what our options are and consult with him as well,” Noppadol was quoted as saying by Associated Press.

Last week, interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont and the junta’s leader, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, both said Thaksin could return to Thailand of his own free will, in order to appeal the seizure of his assets. But later, Sonthi said Thaksin might face harm if he returned too soon.

The latest charges relate to the transfer of shares in 2000 in a real-estate company called SC Asset to a British Virgin Islands-owned company called Win Mark. Police say the Shinwatras’ controlling ownership of SC Asset was illegally concealed through nominees. Potjaman’s relative, Busaba Damapong, served as executive director of SC Asset.

Through nominee companies and disclosed shares, Sunai said, the Shinawatra family owned 79.87 percent of SC Asset. “Not only did they have control of a majority stake but also control over board decisions,” Sunai told Associated Press.

They broke the law in failing to report their ownership in SC Asset and failing to report the transfer of the shares, Sunai said. They could face five years in prison and fined at least 500,000 baht (about US$15,000), Sunai added.

Thaksin is also supected of violating the prohibition on Cabinet members holding shares in publicly traded companies, and could face up to ten years in prison and a 1 million baht fine for that.

Potjaman and Thaksin were also charged yesterday over the purchase of a 13-acre tract of land along Ratchadaphisek Road near the Thailand Cultural Centre in Bangkok.

The Office of the Attorney General says Potjaman purchased the land in an auction that was possibly rigged. Valued at 2.1 billion baht before the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and 870 million baht after, Potjaman purchased the land in 2003 for 772 million baht.

The Attorney General’s office is recommending to the Supreme Court that the land be confiscated by the government.

Potjaman is also sought in Thailand to testify before the Assets Examination Committee (AEC) on the sales of her family’s Shin Corporation stock to Singapore-owned Temasek Holdings.

She sent word today that she is seeking medical treatment for headache and irregular heartbeat in Raffles Hospital in Singapore, and that she asked the AEC to delay the hearing.

Potjaman appeared in court last month to plead not guilty to charges of tax evasion in the sale of Shin Corp. stock to Temasek.

The AEC yesterday ordered an additional seven bank accounts seized after it was discovered that the accounts are controlled by the Shinawatra and Damapong families. The accounts contain 8 million baht that was feared missing last week after the AEC ordered 21 of Thaksin’s bank accounts frozen. The 8 million baht had been transferred just before the AEC’s order, to the other seven accounts.

Authorities have frozen a total of 52 billion baht, or about US$1.6 billion, frozen, money they say came from the Shinawatra family’s sale of Shin Corp. stock to Temasek. The stock sale prompted mass protests against Thaksin last year and was one of the factors in the coup that overthrew his government. The authorities also believe that the Shinawatras and the Damapongs have 73 billion baht from the stock sale remaining in Thailand, and officials are still hunting for another 21 billion baht to seize.

Monday, November 21, 2016

UK Prime Minister Theresa May and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn both spoke at the annual Confederation of British Industry conference today, talking about Britain after its planned ‘Brexit’ from the European Union, and future plans for business.

May formally announced plans to cut corporation tax from 20%, without giving details, in order to discourage businesses from leaving the UK post-Brexit. Corbyn said in his speech he believes investment by the government on things such as infrastructure improvements is shared ground between Labour and businesses but “businesses will need to contribute” meaning “some increase in corporation tax” under his administration.

Theresa May also toned down plans to put ordinary workers on corporate boards, a campaign promise from running to become leader of the ruling Conservative Party. She said she is working to create a “model that works for everyone” after consulting firms and the general public, with possible plans including panels or advisory committees. The General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress responded by saying “Theresa May made a clear promise to have workers represented on company boards […] This is not the way to show that you want to govern for ordinary working people.” Jeremy Corbyn also criticised this announcement saying “we need to see genuine employee representation at board level, which the prime minister promised, but I see is already backing away from.”

Theresa May also announced she wishes to spend £2Bn annually in research and development, as well as plans to start a small business research initiative to look into helping innovators get ahead. Jeremy Corbyn however said he plans to spend 3% of the UK’s GDP on R&D, significantly more than specified by May.

Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for the UK’s economy focussed on investment. Speaking at the conference he said “First and foremost, a Labour government will prioritise investing in our economy.” As well as the investment in research, Corbyn also promised funds for areas including house building and infrastructure. This would be controlled by the proposed “National Investment Bank”. Corbyn said “Our National Investment Bank will deliver long term strategic investment in our under-powered infrastructure and provide the patient finance that our businesses need across the country.”

May told the conference she would not give “a running commentary on every twist and turn” of the Brexit negotiations. This comes after allegation in the press that she she has no plan to keep under wraps, a claim that has been backed up by an alleged leaked internal government memo that talks about a “lack of overall negotiation strategy” within government.