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Wednesday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - October 29, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Oct 29, 2014 - 1:39 PM

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Irish Independent

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) has spent almost €300,000 on recruitment agencies so far this year as it tries to plug staffing gaps at Nama.

Around 66 staff have been recruited to work with the National Asset Management Agency this year, while the agency also suffered a series of departures, with more than 30 having left or are serving their notice.

Sixty-three of the positions filled had been advertised on the NTMA website.

Three were filled by staff who moved to specified purpose or fixed-term contracts.

Nama staff are paid about €90,000 on average.

Musicians including U2, Paul Brady and Christy Moore along with thousands of other Irish artists last year shared a €33.8m bonanza from the public performance and broadcast of their songs.

This follows the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) - which collects royalties on behalf of the artists concerned - confirming that licence revenues last year increased by 3.2pc or €1.18m to €38m.

IMRO's directors' report states that "public performance and overseas revenue contributed largely to this increase".

The amount in royalties paid out to artists last year increased by 4.5pc to €33.73m. IMRO's membership last year increased by 8pc from 8,052 to 8,678

Adam Clayton's former personal assistant Carol Hawkins has lost her appeal against her conviction for theft from the U2 bass guitarist.

The court will give its decision in the next few days on Hawkins' appeal against the severity of the seven year sentence imposed on her by Judge Patrick McCartan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in July 2012.

Irish Times

Germany has warned that corporate tax subsidy arrangements known as “patent boxes” are acceptable in the European Union only as a reward for research and investment by companies in member states, not as a new tax-avoidance tool.

It comes as the Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said US multinationals plan to advise the Government on what should be in the proposed “knowledge box” tax scheme.

Speaking on a five-day US trade mission, Mr Bruton said he had received “very positive feedback” on the budgetary changes in meetings with US companies in Boston on Monday and the Washington DC area yesterday.

Martin Wolf: Will the asset quality review and stress tests conducted by the European Central Bank and the European Banking Authority mark a turning point in the euro zone’s crisis? Up to a point. They are an improvement on what has gone before. But they are not a complete fix for the banking sector, still less for the economy’s wider problems.

The optimistic assessment is that the ECB has at least done enough to mend the banking system. There are two things to be said for this judgment: first, the ECB has taken a close look at the quality of assets in the system; and, second, the “stresses” imposed in the tests are tough. They seem comparable to those imposed by the Federal Reserve on US banks. The ECB concluded that 25 institutions, nine of them Italian, would need to add a total of €25 billion in capital. This number has already fallen to €13 billion because of capital-raising undertaken this year.

The Progressive Democrats held their Christmas Party in Dublin’s Mansion House last night. Sort of.

A galaxy of luminaries from the former political party was in attendance, including its three former leaders, Michael McDowell, Mary Harney and founder leader Des O’Malley, who also used the occasion to launch his memoir, Conduct Unbecoming.

There too were former PD TDs Liz O’Donnell, Tom Parlon and Bobby Molloy, and the party’s former PR supremo, Stephen O’Byrnes. Lucinda Creighton, the former Fine Gael TD in search of a party, was also in attendance.

Irish Examiner

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former IMF managing director, left as chairman of a Luxembourg bank days before his partner died.

Strauss-Kahn, 65, gave up the chairmanship at Leyne, Strauss-Kahn, & Partners on October 20 “to dedicate himself to other activities”, the firm said in an email yesterday. His partner, Thierry Leyne, fell from a building to his death in Tel Aviv on October 23. Le Figaro newspaper reported that he committed suicide.

Strauss-Kahn bought a 20% stake in Leyne’s investment-banking and asset-management company last year as part of an effort to rebuild his post-IMF life after a scandal dashed his chance to run for the French presidency. LSK & Partners said in March it planned to use Strauss-Kahn’s economic and political knowledge to help start a $2bn (€1.5bn) hedge fund.

Strauss-Kahn “desired to give a structure” to his consultant and advisory missions, Leyne said in a September 2013 interview with Bloomberg News.

Europe

Euro Topics: Britain does not want to participate in future EU refugee rescue operations on the Mediterranean. Such missions would only attract more migrants, Foreign Office minister Joyce Anelay said on Tuesday. London is exploiting the plight of refugees to further its own campaign goals, some commentators criticise. Others feel that initiatives for more stability in the countries of origin make more sense than seaborne rescue operations.

Europe's responsibilities start in crisis areas: While Britain's unwillingness to participate in future rescue operations in the Mediterranean is fully understandable Europe must not shirk its responsibilities, the news portal of the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle writes: "Europe's willingness to take in refugees has its limits. To hear some politicians, clergy or aid workers talk, you'd think they wanted to send cruise ships over the Mediterranean and pack everyone and anyone who wants to come over on board - no matter why or where they're from. ... Nevertheless Europe will have to take in more refugee contingents directly from crisis areas if it doesn't want to betray its own values. ... The basic problem is that all the EU does is react: it rarely makes provisions on its own. Often it only shows interest in a region when conflicts flare up there and refugees threaten to flood in. But by then it's mostly too late to stabilise the situation. We mustn't forget, however, that the EU wields enormous power, and it must use it in such cases."

Austerity leading Eurozone into ruin: After France and Italy's government made certain concessions, EU Vice President for Economic and Monetary Affairs Jyrki Katainen has announced that the two countries' draft budgets for 2015 do not seriously breach the Eurozone's Stability Pact. This shouldn't obscure the fact that the Eurozone is still caught in a downwards spiral, the Catholic Italian daily Avvenire believes: "The Eurozone threatens to go down like the Titanic. ... Many prefer to ignore the problem by misreading the numbers. According to the statistics the austerity policy has had the best results in Spain, which in fact has seen its national debt triple in proportion to its GDP since the start of the crisis, while its growth rate is just one percent and its deficit rose to 6.8 percent [in 2013]. Its national debt continues to grow and will probably exceed 100 percent of its GDP next year. And that's without mentioning the critical situation in Greece. These figures do anything but confirm the effectiveness of the austerity policy."

Salafists plunge Germany into chaos: The group "Hooligans against Salafists" has registered to stage demonstrations in Berlin and Hamburg on November 15. Under the same motto football hooligans and right-wing extremists clashed with police at a demonstration in Cologne on Sunday. But the Salafists pose the real threat for Germany, the national religious portal Gość Niedzielny concludes: "The neo-Nazis and the communists are no longer the fastest-growing social groups. Now it's the Islamists, who are recruiting a growing number of young people that cause more and more problems for Germany. Some have called for them to be thrown out of the country, but that's not so easy because they're German citizens. ... Germany now has a problem: if it can't quickly find a solution and reduce the Salafists' influence among young migrants, it will become a country where street battles between migrants and radicals - not to mention terrorist attacks - are the order of the day."


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