Business

World trade is going through a seismic shift — and nobody knows how it will end up

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NAFTA, Brexit, countries around the world are redefining their trade relations, bringing uncertainty the global economy does not need Special to Financial Post Gordon Isfeld OTTAWA — In the gaps between NAFTA negotiations and U.S.-Canada interest-rate ponderings, Brexit remains a painfully present problem that could fill any economic void with even greater global uncertainty. At the same time, the slow slog of talks on the make-up of a new free-trade pact between North America’s three economies seems to have lost some of its direction ... Read More »

Government moves to curb modern slavery

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Slavery is the world’s second-biggest illicit market In the past, slaves were shackled in metal chains. Editorial Today, they are exploited in supply chains. The Sydney Morning Herald It might have been thought that slavery was a shameful but pretty much closed chapter of history. It’s not. It is the world’s second-biggest illicit market, behind drugs, with an estimated 45 million children, women and men treated as commodities (average price about $90). Forced labour generates an estimated $US150 billion  ($199b) ... Read More »

West Face files claim against mortgage lender Home Capital

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West Face claim says ‘investors who purchased common shares of Home Capital to close out a short position were excluded from compensation under settlement terms’ of a class action suit Barbara Shecter Financial Post Alternative asset manager West Face Capital Inc. has formally filed a lawsuit against Home Capital Group Inc. and three former executives, seeking $70 million in damages over claims the mortgage lender’s public disclosure was “inaccurate, incomplete and misleading.” In a 17-page statement of claim filed in ... Read More »

Greens single out 13 companies that paid no tax yet donated to major parties

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Richard Di Natale says Australian democracy ‘broken’ and system being propped up by Labor and Liberal parties Paul Karp The Guardian Thirteen companies that paid no tax in 2015-16 made $1.7m in political donations to the Liberal and Labor parties in that year, the Greens have complained. On Thursday the Australian tax office released fresh tax data that showed 36% of the 2,043 largest public companies and multinational entities in Australia paid no tax in 2015-16. An analysis by the Greens cross-referencing the ... Read More »

How Olive Oil Became Green Gold

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In the United States, profits from fraudulent oil can be more lucrative than dealing cocaine. Nicola Twilley and Cynthia Graber The Atlantic  Olive oil is not what you think it is. According to Tom Mueller, the author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, an olive is a stone fruit like a plum or cherry—meaning that the green-gold liquid we extract from it “is, quite literally, fruit juice.” And, while we’re blowing your minds, have you ... Read More »

‘Death spiral’: half of Europe’s coal plants are losing money

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Air pollution and climate change policies are pushing coal-fired electricity stations to the brink, says a new report. Closing them would avoid €22bn in losses by 2030 Damian Carrington The Guardian More than half of the European Union’s 619 coal-fired power stations are losing money, according to a new report. As a result, the industry’s slow plans for shutdowns will lead to €22bn in losses by 2030 if the EU fulfils its pledge to tackle climate change, the report warns. ... Read More »

Govt receives ExxonMobil funds to help fight Guyana-Venezuela border controversy; some contract details disclosed

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Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman on Friday confirmed that United States (US) oil giant, ExxonMobil, will help fund Guyana’s legal fees to settle the border controversy with Venezuela. Demerara Waves “Yes, Mr. Speaker, there is a sum and yes it is reserved to safeguard this country,” he said the same day that two local newspapers published a September 2016 letter by Finance Secretary, Dr. Hector Butts to the Governor of the Bank of Guyana, Dr. Gobind Ganga for the ... Read More »

China’s ‘Period of Strategic Opportunity’ in Mexico

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Beijing is looking to cash in on Trump’s rhetoric against Mexico and NAFTA As the Trump administration contemplates border wall prototypes and dissolving the decades-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), China is taking a decidedly different approach to relations with Mexico. Margaret Myers Ricardo Barrios In recent months, Beijing has launched an unprecedented charm offensive south of the Rio Grande. The National Interest In addition to a series of new investments, and renewed talk of a bilateral trade pact, ... Read More »

Modern slavery to be targeted in new laws recommended by Australian parliamentary committee

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Australia needs a comprehensive suite of new laws to stamp out modern slavery, a Federal committee’s report today tabled in Parliament has found. Sarina Locke  ABC The report by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade’s inquiry was tabled in Parliament on the final sitting day for the year. It adds details to its earlier recommendations released in August. The committee recommended provisions for a mandatory supply chain reporting requirement that requires large businesses to report on… ... Read More »

Bank Indonesia declares bitcoin payment illegal

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Cryptocurrency’s volatility poses ‘huge risk’ to economy, central bank says Erwida Maulia Nikkei Asia Review JAKARTA — Indonesia’s central bank on Thursday said it had issued a new regulation prohibiting the use of cryptocurrencies — including bitcoin — in the country, as their rising popularity has raised concerns over unwanted impacts on the economy. Bank Indonesia had for some time said that the use of cryptocurrencies ran contrary to Indonesia’s law mandating the use of rupiah in domestic transactions. The ... Read More »

Is Homo Economicus Dead?

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In Martin Scorsese’s film The Wolf of Wall Street the narcissistic, egotistical and money hungry investment banker Jordan Belford memorably summed up his attitude to life: Peter Fleming * Economic Sociology and Political Economy  “Let me tell you something. There’s no nobility in poverty. I’ve been a poor man, and I’ve been a rich man. And I choose rich every fucking time.” Belford is terrifying not simply because of his ruthless demeanour and unscrupulous greediness. He scares us because this persona was celebrated, ... Read More »

Brexit Creates a Game of Risk for European Banks

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A hard Brexit represents a potential shock to the international financial system and has both direct and indirect consequences for the United Kingdom’s economy Scott B. MacDonald The National Interest While the government of Theresa May seeks to restart negotiations with the European Union on December 5, time is marching on. This is important as risk managers are looking at their watches and are increasingly concerned about London’s inability to come forward with a credible Brexit bill in the eyes of Europeans. The result could be ... Read More »

Is China’s Economic Power a Paper Tiger?

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The People’s Republic of China has surely seen faster GDP growth than the United States for most of the past forty years Derek M. Scissors  The National Interest It’s the value of that growth that’s questionable. The people complaining about U.S. decline in the face of China’s rise under President Obama have been replaced by new people complaining about the same thing under President Trump. The debate over policy in the two administrations plainly matters, but it should not obscure basic facts. The ... Read More »

Create culture of inclusion if you want true workplace diversity

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All employers and employees must take responsibility for creating a safe and inclusive environment, instead of placing the task of calling out culturally destructive behavior on the shoulders of minorities. Hera McLeod The Seattle Times Shortly after I started working for a small, early-stage data science startup in Seattle, I was invited to a companywide happy hour. While chatting with my new co-workers, they began lamenting about how the company had just laid off two-thirds of its workforce. “You were ... Read More »

Blackmail — the business plan for cheaper wages

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Underpaying migrant workers has become a business practice for unscrupulous employers David Chau ABC For some employers, it is an easy way to boost the bottom line with a low risk of getting caught — hence there is little incentive to comply with industrial laws. It has even been described as a “business model” by worker advocates. “There are employers out there structuring the cost of doing business through stealing wages,” said Ged Kearney, president of the Australian Council of ... Read More »

Public jittery as Turkish lira slides rapidly over political, economic issues

A change office staff shows Turkish lira on his hand on December 2, 2016 in Istanbul.
Turks have over the past three months nervously watched the steady decline in value of the Turkish lira against the dollar, seeing it haemorrhage more than 10 percent in the past month alone. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

The lira was trading at around 3.95 to the US dollar on Tuesday In May 2013, it traded at approximately 1.92 to the US dollar Middle East Eye ISTANBUL, Turkey – The spectre of economic hardship – if not outright crisis – is looming large yet again as the Turkish lira continues its rapid slide against the US dollar and euro, with some people already displaying signs of panic by talking of withdrawing their savings from banks as politicians revert to ... Read More »