Thursday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - July 17, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Jul 17, 2014 - 12:10 PM

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Irish Independent

PRIVACY campaigner Max Schrems will have to pay no more than €10,000 in legal costs if he loses his complaint about the mass transfer of data by Facebook Ireland to the US intelligence services, a judge has ruled.

In what is known as a "protective costs order", Mr Justice Gerard Hogan applied a €10,000 limit to costs of the Austria-based law student's legal challenge to the Data Protection Commissioner's refusal to deal with a complaint over the data transfer issue.

The judge said that rather than give a protective costs order for €55,000 – as sought by the Data Commissioner in recognition of the amount Mr Schrems has obtained through a fundraising campaign – he would limit it to €10,000.

The judge said as a post-graduate law student in his 20s, on the cusp of his career, Mr Schrems was somebody who was very likely to be exercised by the prospect of legal costs.

Cost competitiveness in Ireland has begun to slip, it has been warned.

The National Competitiveness Council said this threatens to undermine the hard-won gains made to date, puts job creation at risk and damages living standards.

It called for vigilance to ensure the country’s international competitiveness does not start to fall back considerably.

Chairman Dr Don Thornhill said the economy was in a much sounder footing for growth than at any stage over the past five years.

But he warned: “We are especially concerned about the very real threat to Ireland’s cost competitiveness.

It's a big day for German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she celebrates her 60th birthday.

And an enthusiastic German reporter wanted to let her know just how special the occasion was.

At a news conference in Brussels, the journalist wished Merkel a happy birthday before launching into the traditional song.

However, no other attendees joined in the tune so the reporter continued his birthday serenade alone.

Irish Times

Plans to invest €3 billion in developing Dublin’s docklands on the lines of Canary Wharf in London and delivering up to 22,000 houses and apartments in the greater Dublin area over the next five years have been announced by the National Asset Management Agency.

The programme was outlined yesterday at the publication of a review by the Department of Finance of how well the State property agency is progressing. “Investing in the docklands and . . . housing are key objectives,” Frank Daly, the chairman of Nama said. “That could be anything in the order of a billion and a half in each of those programmes so we are talking possibly €3 billion.”

He added: “I also want to make it clear that that is factored into our thinking about debt repayment. It will not compromise our ability to repay our debt or leave a surplus.”

Who will be the next chair of the RTÉ board? The appointment will be one of the first tasks to fall to ex-RTÉ radio producer Alex White, the new Minister for Communications.

The term of current chairman Tom Savage, a former broadcaster and the director of PR firm the Communications Clinic, and six other board members is due to expire on August 31st. But the identity of Savage’s successor in particular will say a lot about how much the Coalition respects the status of the broadcaster.

The smart money is naturally on an inner-circle grandee, someone who is on the verge of retirement from their day job, or someone who has just retired, perhaps.

The Irish economy is set to grow by at least 3 per cent a year over the coming years, or at twice the European average, according to the latest report on Ireland by ratings agency Moody’s.

Employment growth is expected to be “robust” and the level of economic growth will help ease the Government’s fiscal consolidation drive, it said in a generally positive note on the economy, although it says difficulties with non-performing bank loans and a shortage of credit will continue to act as a drag.

“Growth in the industrial, service and construction sectors imply that Government revenues will continue to grow faster than nominal gross domestic product,” the report said.

Irish Examiner

The former US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s recently published memoir, Stress Tests is deeply uncomfortable reading for anybody even remotely interested in the fortunes of the eurozone.

Mr Geithner lays bare the inept and shortsighted response by EU leaders to the financial and debt crises that threatened to rip the eurozone apart.

The fact that the single currency is still in use, and all member states are still in the club, rests squarely on the shoulders of one man, according to Geithner. And he is the president of the ECB, Mario Draghi.

Mr Draghi understood the magnitude of the problems facing the region, which prompted the now infamous July 2012 speech that he will, “do whatever it takes to save the euro and believe me, it will be enough.” In September of that year, he unveiled the outright monetary transactions programme.

Since then, eurozone borrowing costs for core and periphery countries have tumbled to record lows.

The biggest single factor behind the success of Nama is the effect of the ‘Draghi put.’


Euro Topics: The Dutch state bears partial responsibility for the deaths of 300 Bosnian Muslims who were deported by Serbian soldiers from Srebrenica in 1995, a civil court ruled on Wednesday in The Hague. The ruling is harsh but fair, some commentators write. Others put the blame on the United Nations, which had declared Srebrenica a safe area.

Victory for the "Mothers of Srebrenica": The ruling is harsh but fair because in the court's opinion the Dutch UN unit Dutchbat was in control of the military base near Srebrenica and so was also duty bound to protect the refugees, the conservative Dutch daily De Telegraaf writes: "The 'Mothers of Srebrenica' have won a big victory in The Hague. The ruling states that the Netherlands is responsible for the deportation of roughly 300 men in the ghastly drama that took place 19 years ago after the fall of the Muslim enclave. ... The court leaves no doubt that there was no fear of an attack on Dutchbat as the base was never fired on and the Bosnian Serbs didn't want to use force against UN soldiers. But in helping to deport the men who were later killed, the Dutch acted unlawfully. The judgement is harsh, but it is one the state cannot ignore.

Half-hearted judgement a disgrace: The court ruled that the Netherlands is not responsible for the deaths of all the 8,000 murdered Muslims. This is a half-hearted verdict, the liberal Italian business daily Il Sole 24 ore comments: "You witness a massacre and don't do anything to stop it? And that's not all. The pictures from back then show General Mladić and the Dutch officers cheerfully raising their glasses to each other in Potočari while peace-keeping forces denied hundreds of Bosnians access to the military base and thus refused to protect them. But according to the court the Netherlands can't be held accountable for the actions of the peacekeeping forces before the fall of the Muslim enclave. The ruling is in truth a disgrace, and the Netherlands would have done well to assume responsibility on its own initiative before it was delivered."

Assange to blame for his predicament: A Swedish court on Wednesday upheld the European arrest warrant against Julian Assange on charges of sexual assault. For the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter the Wikileaks founder only has himself to blame for his predicament: "We don't know to what extent Julian Assange is guilty. To determine that the preliminary hearings must be concluded and if necessary the case must go to trial. But Assange alone is to blame for his prolonged stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. ... Assange's anxiety about being extradited to the US is partly understandable. The anti-terrorist legislation and the scandals over Guantanamo Bay have undermined trust in the US legal system. ... But this is not what the arrest warrant deals with. His being a wanted man has nothing to do with the US or Wikileaks, but is due to the fact that Assange is accused of having sexually assaulted two women and has prevented a court investigation for four years."

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