Daily Archives: July 30, 2011

Archives July 30, 2011 posted by

Our View: Pandering to unions is not just damaging but based on utterly irrational framework

THE BRITISH government on Thursday announced plans to increase the pension contributions of more than two million public service employees. The contributions would be related to wages, with the lowest increase at 0.9 percentage points and the highest at 2.4. The increases, which would allow the British government to reduce its pension bill by £1.2billion next year, are the first of three consecutive annual increases that were being planned.

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All Blacks crush Springboks to open Tri-Nations defence

 

The All Blacks opened their Tri-Nations title defence with a 40-7 hammering of the injury-ravaged Springboks on Saturday, falling just four points short of a record test victory over the South Africans.

After a stop-start performance in their season-opening 60-14 win over Fiji last week, the World Cup favourites moved up another notch and were rewarded with six tries, including two each for wingers Cory Jane and Zac Guildford.

“It was a big improvement on last week,” said coach Graham Henry. “It’s important for us to keep improving … I’m pleased with the performance, still things to work on … but overall seven out of 10.”

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Vettel storms back to take Hungary pole

Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel roared back to form with pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday after his Red Bull mechanics worked through the night to get his car up to speed.

The German had failed to win the last two races but made sure Red Bull snapped up their 11th pole in 11 races this season, and 12th in a row, with his eighth of the campaign and 23rd of his career.

Australian team mate Mark Webber, second in the championship but a massive 77 points behind Vettel, qualified down in sixth place.

“I felt much more comfortable this morning,” Vettel said. “I’m very pleased with the result, we changed a lot on the car overnight. The boys were working pretty hard and didn’t get much sleep. I’ve got the confidence back.”

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China may help fund Greek bond buybacks -finmin source

CHINA could provide loans to Greece to fund government bond buybacks in the secondary market to help cut the country’s debt burden, a Greek finance ministry official said yesterday, but analysts were sceptical.

While talks with private creditors on a debt swap continue for a second day, analysts said more money to fund bond buybacks could help Greece shrink its debt mountain but questioned whether China would lend more cheaply than the eurozone.

China has made a major investment in Greece’s main port in Piraeus and offered to buy government paper when Athens resumes issuance based on comments by its Premier Wen Jiabao, during a visit to Athens last year.

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British police step up nationwide war on metals theft

BRITISH police raided scrap yards in a nationwide campaign yesterday after steeply climbing prices of metals like copper led to a 26 per cent rise in thefts this year, causing huge economic losses from halted trains and power blackouts.

Authorities are contacting regional police forces, lawmakers, magistrates and scrap merchants in an effort to get the issue made a priority, Deputy Chief Constable Paul Crowther, coordinating the drive on metals for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), told Reuters.

“As you see the price go up on commodities markets globally, that translates into a higher price on the chalkboard outside a scrap metal dealer. Therefore it’s a quick way for people to make a cash return on stolen property,” Crowther said.

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Tensions show during Tahrir rally egypt islamists, others rally for unity, tensions show

TENS of thousands of Egyptians rallied yesterday in a bid to show that Islamists and liberal groups were united in wanting change, but the overwhelmingly Islamic tone of chants and banners exposed differences between the two sides.

“Islamic law above the constitution,” several banners read in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Protesters who fear Islamists will seek to dominate plans to rewrite the constitution demanded they be taken down. Similar tensions emerged in Suez.

Many of those gathered were from the strict Salafist Islamic groups. Religious chants such as “There is no God but Allah” and “Islamiya, Islamiya” dominated Tahrir, which had filled up even before the start of Muslim prayers at noon.

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Air France crew ‘didn’t know jet was in stall’

THE crew piloting a doomed Air France jet over the Atlantic did not appear to know that the plane was in a stall, despite repeated warning signals, according to findings in a new report.

They never informed the passengers that anything was wrong before the jet plunged into the sea, killing all 228 on board.

Based on cockpit recordings from the crash, the French air accident investigation agency is recommending mandatory training for all pilots to help them fly planes manually and handle a high-altitude stall.

The Airbus 330, en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, crashed amid thunderstorms over the Atlantic on June 1, 2009. It was the worst accident in Air France’s history. The victims included five Britons and three Irish citizens.

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A five-minute film in praise of conservation

This week in a Soho cinema, five minutes of history was made. The world’s largest conservation organisation, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and Europe’s largest cinema group, Odeon, collaborated to re-instate the short film before the ‘main event’. With a plastic glass of Organic Prosecco, I was there at the premiere of ‘Astonish Me’ written by Stephen Poliakoff and directed by Charles Sturridge.

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Who really benefited from Breivik’s violence in Norway?

Three pieces about Muslims in the same paper on the same day (The Independent, July 25). The first is a local colour piece about how there are a lot more Middle Eastern tourists in London this summer. Why? Because France has banned the “Islamic” veil (or the Babylonian/Roman/Byzantine/Islamic veil, if you want to be precise) that covers the face. So the high-spending female shoppers from the Gulf aren’t going to Paris any more.

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Cyprus too slow in making cuts

STANDARD & Poor’s cut Cyprus’  credit rating by one notch yesterday and warned another cut was  possible, deepening economic gloom for the island struggling with its worst peacetime disaster and mounting speculation it  might be forced into an EU bailout.

Citing “inconsistent commitment to cutting public spending in order to offset a substantial decline in capital gains and corporate tax revenues”, S&P said the outlook for its BBB-plus rating remained negative. It also cited risks of contagion from Greece’s debt crisis,

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