Cost of global disasters jumps to $306bn in 2017

Despite the rise in financial loss from disasters, the number of people who died or went missing in disasters remained similar to 2016 Shafi Musaddique The Independent Global disasters in 2017 cost homes and businesses a staggering $306bn (£229bn), according to a new study. Losses made this year from both natural and man-made catastrophes represent a 63 per cent jump compared to last year. The US saw its most damaging hurricane season since 2005, hit hardest with Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria across ... Read More »

In Britain, the productivity problem has a clear solution

The UK is lagging in productivity, but it has a secret weapon to leapfrog ahead of its competitors. Deborah Sherry Over the past year, Brexit has been the all-consuming storyline looming over the British economy. Politico As growth has lagged, people have looked to the country’s impending exit from the European Union for explanations. But Brexit or no Brexit, the real crisis is British productivity. In 2016, the U.K. ranked well below the other major economies of Europe in productivity, ... Read More »

Alicia Garcia-Herrero: What US Tax Reform Means for China

How will the new U.S. tax system affect the world’s second largest economy? Maurits Elen The Diplomat Since the 1980s, the American corporate income tax rate has remained unchanged, all while OECD countries consistently started to reduce their own. With lower rates soon to be signed into law, a key economic policy objective of Trump is taking shape: to make the United States more competitive. The tax overhaul is unlikely to significantly affect the Chinese economy, nor will it pressure China ... Read More »

France bans fracking and oil extraction in all of its territories

French parliamentarians have passed a law banning fossil fuel extraction. President Macron says he wants France to lead the world with switch to renewables Agence France-Presse The Guardian France’s parliament has passed into law a ban on producing oil and gas by 2040, a largely symbolic gesture as the country is 99% dependent on hydrocarbon imports. In Tuesday’s vote by show of hands, only the rightwing Republicans party opposed, while leftwing lawmakers abstained. No new permits will be granted to ... Read More »

Uber faces tougher regulation across Europe after ECJ rules firm is a transport service

Taxi service had labelled itself an ‘information society service’ that merely connects drivers with passengers through an app – European Court of Justice disagrees Ben Chapman The Independent The EU’s top court has ruled that Uber is a taxi service and can be regulated like other transport firms. The long-awaited decision could have wide-ranging implications for how Uber, and other gig economy firms, can operate across the continent. Uber had labelled itself an “information society service” that merely connects drivers with passengers through ... Read More »

A co-founder has sold all of his bitcoin, and the reason he cites is serious

A bitcoin believer no longer believes it to be the future Is the cryptocurrency’s dream run nearing an end? By : Kukil Bora International Business Times Emil Oldenburg, one of the co-founders and CTO of, is no longer convinced by the future of bitcoin. Despite the fact that the cryptocurrency’s astronomical price surge this year helped his site grow its profile, Oldenburg now tends to believe that bitcoin investment is currently the riskiest venture one can make. “There’s an extremely ... Read More »

Intangible assets are changing investment

Forecasting profits is not as helpful as it used to be WHEN you work as an equity analyst at an investment bank, your task is clear. The Economist It is to comb all the statements made by corporate executives, to scour the industry trends and arrive at an accurate forecast of the company’s profits. Achieve this and your clients will be happy and your bonus cheque will have many digits. But is all this effort worthwhile? Not as much as ... Read More »

Regional News Outlets: The real target of Poland’s New Media Law?

Poland’s government has made no secret over the past 12 months of its plans to change media rules in a such way that could force some foreign owners out of the country. Emerging Europe Despite criticism from both the European Union and human rights groups including Amnesty, Poland’s Deputy Culture Minister Paweł Lewandowski said as recently as August 2017 that while the new law (which he is helping to draft) would stop short of ‘re-Polonizing’ the nation’s media, it would ... Read More »

Georgia Still on the World Bank’s Mind

As the World Bank racks up 25 years in Georgia, Mercy Tembon, the bank’s regional director for the South Caucasus, Europe and Central Asia tells Andrew Wrobel that her organisation is as committed to the country’s future as ever. Andrew Wrobel Emerging-Europe Let’s start with the anniversary. What has the World Bank been doing here for the last quarter of a century? Yes, Georgia, along with the other countries in the region, joined the bank in 1992. Those were very ... Read More »

Japan exports, imports surge on strong demand in China, U.S.

Japan’s exports rose 16 percent in November from a year earlier driven by robust overseas demand for cars and manufacturing equipment that is helping to sustain the longest economic expansion in more than 15 years. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The Asahi Shimbun Customs data released Monday showed the trade surplus for the world’s third-largest economy slipping 23 percent from the year before to 113.4 billion yen ($1 billion), however, as imports jumped 17 percent thanks to a surge in purchases of ... Read More »

Insight: The Scots investors in the Bitcoin boom

Some Scots investors in the cryptocurrency can barely believe their luck, writes Dani Garavelli Around 18 months ago, Norman, a pensioner from Inverness, was contacted about an investment opportunity: bitcoin. Dani Garavelli The Scotsman A financial dabbler, he had once been defrauded out of quite a large sum of money, so he was reticent about getting involved. But eventually he was persuaded to take the risk. He bought just over six bitcoins at just under £500 each, through a London-based ... Read More »

Footage released of battle to rid EEZ of N. Korean fishing boats

The Japan Coast Guard wages a constant battle to chase North Korean fishing boats from Japan’s exclusive economic zone. YOSHITAKA ITO The Asahi Shimbun From July, it began using water cannons on a regular basis to warn such boats to leave, but those efforts seem to have had little effect. Instead, the number of boats operating in Japanese waters has increased, as well as those washing ashore, sometimes with dead crew members. On Dec. 15, the coast guard released photos ... Read More »

Japanese business to start paying workers in bitcoin

Workers at the Japanese tech firm are free to choose whether or not they want a part of their salary to be paid in virtual currency Shafi Musaddique The Independent A Japanese business will begin paying its workers partially in bitcoin, in a bid to gain a better understanding of how the digital currency works, Agence France-Presse reports. Tech firm GMO Internet said it will pay up to 100,000 yen (£660) a month to approximately 4,000 employees via bitcoin from February next year, ... Read More »

Scotland set to lag behind UK with growth below 1% until 2022

A gloomy outlook for Scotland’s economy over the next five years has been unveiled by the new Scottish Fiscal Commission SCOTT MACNAB The Scotsman Growth will lag behind the rest of the UK at less than 1 per cent between now and 2022, according to the body which was set up by the Scottish Government to provide economic forecasting. Its first report was published yesterday to coincide with the Scottish budget. “Scottish economic growth has been slower over the last ... Read More »

3 myths about the poor that Republicans are using to support slashing US safety net

Republicans continue to use long-debunked myths about the poor as they defend lower taxes for the rich and deep cuts to the social safety net to pay for them. Michele Gilman In so doing, they are essentially expressing scorn for working class and low-income Americans. The Conversation Sen. Chuck Grassley, for example, recently justified reducing the number of wealthy families exposed to the estate tax as a way to recognize “the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, ... Read More »

Cabin pressure: Are airline contractors cutting corners on safety to earn business?

Former and current pilots at Air Georgian, which annually handles 62,000 Air Canada Express-branded flights, allege it has a troubling approach to safety and maintenance, but the airline said it is one of the country’s most audited airlines, and the results of those evaluations put it in “the top tier” of Canadian operators. Financial Post Staff Financial Post Tom Blackwell Alan Eugeni had been flying at Air Georgian for only a month when he said the first one happened. Landing ... Read More »