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Monday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - August 11, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Aug 11, 2014 - 7:54 AM
HEALTH Minister Leo Varadkar is planning a small charge for every
visit to the family doctor under his free GP care scheme to prevent abuse of the
system and clinics being overwhelmed.
The fee has yet to be set, but would act similarly to the prescription charge,
which serves as a deterrent to patients getting unneeded medicines.
It is not expected to apply to patients already on a medical card or a GP-only
The free GP scheme is being rolled out for the under sixes, followed by the over
70s. But these groups are also expected to be exempt from any fee.
From there, the Government plans to extend the scheme to primary and secondary
school children. Ultimately, the entire population will be covered. But the
minister has not put a timescale on everybody having free GP care.
FORMER Taoiseach John Bruton is entitled to attend trade missions
and similar events overseas that are hosted and funded by the Government in his
role as a lobbyist for the financial services sector.
Mr Bruton claims voters pointing the finger at bankers for the economic collapse
and resulting austerity are the same as people in the 17th century who blamed
witches for their woes.
He also believes the governments of Europe will not be able to pay for the
commitments to poorer people on health and social welfare.
THE 300,000 workers in the public sector are expected to know
before the next general election how much of their pay cuts, made during the
economic crisis, will be restored.
Talks will begin next year on the restoration of public sector pay and pension
cuts, made during the economic crisis, as the Coalition prepares for the end of
the "financial emergency".
Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin confirmed to the Irish Independent
that some pay and pension cuts in the public sector will be reversed.
He said the talks will focus on what measures will continue indefinitely and
what will be reversed.
Two prominent Fine Gael Deputies have strongly criticised comments by Minister
for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin on reverses in public-sector pay cuts,
with one saying it looked like the Government was “back to buying votes”.
John Deasy and Eoghan Murphy questioned the basis of a possible change of
policy, indicated by the Labour Party Minister in a weekend interview. The TDs,
members of the Public Account Committee, argued it was too early and was not
“If Labour was not at 5 per cent in the polls this would not be considered
and every public-sector worker knows it. It looks like we are back to buying
votes,” said Mr Deasy, a TD for Waterford.
Irish Water’s running costs have been portrayed as “outlandish” following
weekend newspaper reports contending its running costs are twice those of
similar water companies in Britain.
Fianna Fáil environment spokesman Barry Cowen has said the reports
copper-fasten the impression of a “bonus-driven” culture at the new utility.
He was responding to a report in the Sunday Business Post which said its €1.9
billion running costs over the next two years would work out at more than twice
the average costs of water companies in England and Wales. Indeed, it found the
running costs were closer to three times more that the running costs of the
equivalent utility in Scotland.
A US judge has offered a behind-the-scenes look at the force of will with which
Steve Jobs once held sway over Silicon Valley, as she threw out a proposed
settlement of a lawsuit against Apple and three other tech companies.
The class action case had been brought on behalf of more than 64,000 tech
workers over alleged collusion between the Silicon Valley companies not to poach
each others’ staff.
Property developer Michael O’Flynn borrowed €5m from AIB to buy racehorses and
build his home shortly before the financial crisis hit in 2008.
The developer sought and received €2.5m to assist with the construction of his
home and a further €1m to “purchase bloodstock” in January 2008. AIB loaned the
remaining €1.5m to Mr O’Flynn for him to invest in a portfolio of shares.
The €5m loan, plus interest, was intended to be repaid within six months.
Details of the loans emerged in legal documents arising from a dispute between
Mr O’Flynn and private equity giant Blackstone over control of his O’Flynn
Moscow can't hurt Europe: Rather than letting
itself be intimidated by Moscow's threats Europe should see the current
situation as an opportunity to tackle its own problems, the conservative daily
La Razón urges: "Now is the time to finally build a network of pipelines, for
example one from Algeria to Spain or from Turkey to Bulgaria. .... We mustn't be
fooled by the retaliatory policy of Russia, which depends in large part on
European goods and services, nor should we lapse into dark prognoses for the
future. ... Europe's problem is its weak internal demand and the lack of credit,
but also the refusal of France and Italy to carry through their reform
programmes as Spain has done, whose economy is growing faster than expected.
This is where the EU institutions should intervene to give the recovery of the
Eurozone a definitive boost."
Paul Mason in The Guardian: "Most
nights in Gaza my hotel's power went off but the Wi-Fi didn't. It was hooked up
to some magic circuit, powered by the owner's tiny generator. The router sat on
a chair in the hall, vintage 2002 technology with blinking green lights – a
visual symbol of what was important to people and what was not: stumble around
in the dark if you have to, but don't lose connection with the world.
That router enabled me to follow the effect of bombs dropping around me in real
time. Locals in Rafah appealing for help, tweeting photographs of the dead in
refrigerators. Doctors at Shifa hospital, recounting the night's toll of maimed
and burned. Bloggers from Israel disputing everything, convinced the hospital
itself is just the lid of a vast tunnel complex for Hamas.
My social networks followed me into the war and collided with others – a
reminder that warfare has become newly alive with information."
Larry Elliott in The Guardian: "Despite
the fact that real incomes are barely growing, the numbers for consumer spending
look surprisingly strong. Retail sales in the three months to June were 4.5%
higher than in the same period of 2013, while new car registrations in July were
up by more than 6% on a year earlier. The unbroken run of year-on-year increases
in car sales is the longest since records began in 1959.
But here’s another twist. More people in work, together with tills ringing in
the high street, normally means a big improvement in the public finances as
higher income tax and VAT receipts roll in. But reducing the budget deficit is
proving to be a long and slow process. In the first three months of the 2014-15
financial year, income tax and capital tax receipts were 3.5% lower than the
previous year. Even taking into account the way in which many City bonuses were
delayed until April 2013 to exploit the cut in the top rate of income tax, that
is a weak performance."
El País, the leading Spanish newspaper reports:
"Two young Spaniards have travelled to the east of Ukraine to join the
pro-Russian militia known as the Vostok Battalion. Rafael Muñoz Pérez, 27, and
Ángel, 22, reportedly form part of one of the most violent and feared groups,
which the Kiev government blames for some of the worst atrocities of the
conflict so far.
Pérez is a former social worker from Madrid, now based in Gijón (Asturias),
where he has been a member of the youth wing of the United Left group since
2010. Ángel, meanwhile, is from Murcia, and belongs to the youth wing of a
branch of the Spanish Communist Party.
There is no evidence as of yet that they have taken part in any operations
The pair traveled to Ukraine from Madrid in July, with barely “€500 in their
pockets and no return ticket,” according to newspaper La Nueva España, which
first broke the story.
After a five-day stay in Kiev, from where they could observe the violence on the
streets, they traveled to Crimea, where they joined the rebel forces in the east
of the country."
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