Business

Vietnam, Yielding to Beijing, Backs Off South China Sea Drilling

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HONG KONG — Vietnam appears to have retreated in a high-stakes maritime gambit against China, suspending a gas-drilling project that it had approved in the South China Sea but that was said to have irritated Beijing. Mike Ives The New York Times The drilling, by a subsidiary of the Spanish energy company Repsol, had started in June off the southern Vietnamese coast, analysts said. The offshore block where the drilling was occurring straddles the border of Vietnam’s 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic ... Read More »

Unemployment in Europe has fallen to its lowest level since 2009

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Unemployment in the Eurozone has now fallen to its lowest level since early 2009, as the single-currency area continues along a road of economic recovery one year after the Brexit vote rattled confidence in the bloc’s future. Robin Bowman World Economic Forum In June this year, euro-area unemployment dropped to 9.1%, down from 9.2% the previous month, and from 10.1% in the same month in 2016. This pattern reflects a trend seen across the EU as a whole, where the ... Read More »

Treaty to enable high seas marine protected areas takes step forward

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The NZ deep sea trawler West Bay does a fast turn after hauling its catch from international waters in the Tasman Sea. Greenpeace  along with more than a thousand scientists are supporting the call for a moratorium  on high seas bottom trawling, because of the vast amount of marine life that is destroyed by this fishing method.
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The United Nations has advanced a step closer to an international treaty to protect marine life on the high seas, with an aim of setting up a mechanism for creating marine protected areas in areas beyond national jurisdictions. Aaron Orlowski SeafoodSource International waters outside countries’ exclusive economic zones make up 60 percent of the ocean and cover almost half of the surface of the earth. The waters are rife with marine life, including many threatened species, but are subject to ... Read More »

Sing dollar too strong: DBS currency strategist

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THE Singapore dollar (SGD) is too strong as the greenback continues to struggle and is becoming oversold, said Philip Wee, DBS Bank senior currency strategist. Year to date, the SGD has gained over 6 per cent against the US dollar (USD), and with the Thai baht are the two strongest South-east Asian currencies. SIOW LI SEN The Business Times The SGD stood at 1.3597 on Wednesday, slightly off its year high of 1.3553 on July 31. USD/SGD came under heavy ... Read More »

Brexit: Race to host EU agencies relocated from London

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EU countries have until midnight to submit bids to provide a new home for two agencies that will be relocated from the UK after Brexit. BBC The European Banking Authority (EBA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA), based in Canary Wharf in London, employ just over 1,000 staff between them. The banking and medicines agencies are seen as the first spoils of Brexit by the 27 remaining members of the EU. About 20 countries are expected to enter the bidding process. ... Read More »

Australians waste $70m a year on unused gift cards

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When I was a teenager, I loved getting gift vouchers and using them in the sales. I usually spent them in either the winter sales soon after my birthday or the summer sales after Christmas. Caitlin Fitzsimmons Brisbane Times I didn’t have much money so each voucher was carefully stored in my wallet and avidly spent. There was no way I’d let a single dollar go to waste. I would’ve been astonished to hear that Australians in 2017 waste $70 ... Read More »

Analysis: Time to ditch your interest only loan as big banks continue rate hikes

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With banks increasing rates for interest-only (IO) loans, it’s definitely a good idea to consider switching to principal and interest (P&I) loans. Vanessa De Groot Domain When you took out your IO loan it probably made financial sense because of affordability. It likely enabled you to manage the mortgage repayments and your other living costs, and perhaps you could even afford to borrow more to buy a more expensive property. That’s because the regular repayments for IO loans are significantly ... Read More »

Government adviser urges review of farmers’ tax-breaks

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Tax breaks for UK farmers should be reviewed, the head of a group advising the environment secretary has said. BBC Economist Dieter Helm said the current system of taxpayer-funded support was extremely wasteful and the industry suffered from “subsidy addiction”. Prof Helm said the exemption of farmland and buildings was used to avoid inheritance tax. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said his ideas were not under Government adviser urges… Read More »

Migrant farm workers take on one of Australia’s richest families, the Smorgons

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Migrant farm workers are taking on one of Australia’s richest families, the Smorgons, in what could be the first major strike in the farm sector for many decades. Ben Schneiders The Age The workers and a union are seeking better pay and conditions at giant glasshouses north of Adelaide at a company majority owned by a Smorgon-family investment company. Strikes are almost non-existent in the farm sector, which is overwhelmingly non-union. On Friday, three migrant workers appeared in the Fair ... Read More »

Sri Lanka signs Hambantota port deal with China

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Billion-dollar agreement reached despite trade union opposition and protests over security fears, including from India. Al Jazeera and news agencies<imgheight=”1″width=”1″style=”display:none”src=”https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=968100353246427&ev=PageView&noscript=1″/> Sri Lanka has signed a $1.12bn agreement with a state-run Chinese firm to operate a port in the southeast of the country, despite security concerns and protests from trade unions. According to the long-delayed deal reached in the capital Colombo on Saturday, Sri Lanka Ports Authority agreed to sellΒ a 70 percent stake in the Hambantota port to China Merchants Ports ... Read More »

Arts patronage now

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Companies have gotten sophisticated in their support of and collaboration with artists. Helmi Yusof SPH ARTS patronage used to be more straightforward. In the Renaissance era, a rich patron might ask an artist to paint specific figures and objects using specific colours and medium. In return, the artist was given financial support and moral encouragement. Today, arts patronage has taken on different complexions – especially when the patrons are companies. Although artists are still regularly commissioned to produce artworks, commercial ... Read More »

UK watchdog to require banks to publish data on service

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[LONDON] Banks in Britain will have to publish data every quarter from next year to show the quality of service they provide to customers to try to boost competition, the… SPH Performance based on set criteria should be measured every three months from April 2018, and published on a bank’s website within six weeks of the end of the quarter, the… First publication is expected in mid-August 2018, with issues such as the… UK watchdog to… Read More »

IMF downgrades UK and US growth forecasts

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The UK and US economies will expand more slowly in 2017 than previously predicted, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). BBC It said “weaker-than-expected activity” in the first three months of the year meant the UK would grow by 1.7%, compared with an earlier 2% forecast. The IMF also revised down its US growth forecast from 2.3% to 2.1%. However, its overall global economic predictions – of 3.5% growth in 2017 and… IMF downgrades UK… Read More »

Turkey Sees Foes at Work in Gold Mines, Cafes and ‘Smurf Village’

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LONDON — Akin Ipek, one of Turkey’s richest men, was staying in the Park Tower Hotel in London when the police raided his television network in Istanbul. DAVID SEGAL The New York Times The raid was national news, so Mr. Ipek opened his laptop and watched an unnerving spectacle: an attack on his multibillion-dollar empire, in real time. It was an oddly cinematic showdown. Through a combination of shouting and persuasion, the network’s news editor convinced the officers that they ... Read More »

Australian dollar stung by RBA’s interest

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The Australian dollar slid back below US79¢ on Friday after Reserve Bank deputy governor Guy Debelle said there was no automatic reason for rates to rise after a recent outbreak of hawkishness by global… Eryk Bagshaw with Reuters and Bloomberg The Canberra Times The Australian dollar dropped about half a cent to US78.77¢ following the comments, having touched a high of US79.92¢ earlier in the week. “Just as the policy rate in Australia did not need to decline to the very ... Read More »

McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King branches

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The Government advises that the safe level of the bacteria in water used for human consumption is zero Ben Chapman Independent Faecal bacteria has been found in ice at McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King. The BBC’s Watchdog programme tested samples from 10 random branches from each of the fast food chains across the UK. Tests revealed bacteria known as faecal coliforms were present in three of the McDonald’s samples, six… McDonald’s, KFC and… Read More »