Tuesday newspaper review: December 16, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Dec 16, 2014 - 2:16 PM

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Irish Independent

The death toll in a Taliban attack on a school in the city of Peshawar in Pakistan has risen to 126, an official says.

The information minister for the province, Mushtaq Ghani, said most of the dead were students, children and teenagers from the school.

The still-unfolding violence began in the morning, with about half a dozen gunmen entering the school.

Two loud booms were heard coming from the scene in the early afternoon, as Pakistani troops exchanged fire with the attackers.

The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack, the country's worst in more than a year.

Jamil Shah, a spokesman for Lady Reading Hospital, said a soldier killed was a member of the Pakistani paramilitary forces.

The rouble plunged more than 10pc for the second day on Tuesday and recorded its worst fall since the Russian financial crisis in 1998 as confidence in the central bank evaporated after an ineffectual overnight rate hike.

The rouble opened around 10pc stronger against the dollar following the overnight 650-basis-point rate hike, but it reversed gains in early trade and fell to record lows, pushing losses this year against the dollar to over 50pc.

At 1137 GMT, the rouble was down over 11pc against the dollar at 73.00 after dipping past 74 roubles per dollar for the first time. It was more than 15pc weaker versus the euro at 92.99, dragged lower against both currencies by falling oil prices, increasing market panic and Western sanctions over Ukraine.

Russia's dollar-denominated RTS share index at one point was down as much as 15pc, extending similar losses from Monday. Russian sovereign dollar bonds fell and money market rates jumped.

Senior members of the banking inquiry have today conceded the public will be disappointed in what it will be able to achieve, one day before public hearings are to commence.

Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty and Fianna Fail’s Michael McGrath have conceded that the inquiry is “severely restricted” by legal opinion given to them, as revealed this morning by the Irish Independent.

Speaking to reporters this lunchtime, Mr McGrath said: “We won’t be able to make any major findings of fact unless they are uncontested and that is highly unlikely to be honest. The constraints are very serious. I don’t think it is the best form of inquiry.”

Irish Times

Key features of Ireland’s role in the tax affairs of major technology companies such as Google and Microsoft are being targeted by the OECD’s base-erosion and profit-shifting (Beps) project, it has emerged.

Ideas being worked on by the Paris-based organisation could reduce the attractiveness of Ireland as a location for global tech companies, while at the same time reducing the amount of taxable profits such companies would be allowed book here. Commissionaire arrangements, where distinct legal entities promote and help organise sales that are then booked by affiliated subsidiaries in Ireland, may be designated as artificial arrangements under the new global rules the Beps project is working to put in place.

The rouble fell to a record as Russia’s attempt to defuse a crisis with the largest interest-rate increase since 1998 failed to revive confidence in the currency wrecked by slumping oil and international sanctions.

The ruble weakened to 66.9995 a dollar before trading 2.2 per cent lower at 65.9025 as of 1:46 p.m. in Moscow. The currency erased an earlier gain of as much as 10.8 percent, the biggest advance in 16 years, as investors shrugged off a surprise Bank of Russia decision to take its key interest rate to 17 per cent from 10.5 per cent.

Stephen Jen landed in Hong Kong in early January 1997 as Morgan Stanley’s newly minted exchange-rate strategist for Asia. He was soon working around the clock when investors began targeting the region’s currency pegs, first felling Thailand’s in July. The rout spread through Asia before rocking Brazil and Russia. It led to the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management, an event that introduced the Federal Reserve-brokered bailout.

Irish Examiner

The European Union’s new anti-trust chief said the EU is braced for a legal battle with governments embroiled in its probe of sweetheart tax deals for multinationals from Apple to Amazon.

Margrethe Vestager said the process needs to be legally watertight as officials investigate whether deals handed out to companies by Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands were a form of illegal state subsidy.

Governments would like to challenge the EU and “of course the casework has to be very very thorough”, she said yesterday.

Ms Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner since November 1, inherited probes into Irish tax deals with Apple, Luxembourg’s taxation of Amazon and Fiat Finance & Trade, and Netherlands’ treatment of Starbucks Corp.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said last month the EU case isn’t strong and he thought it would be dropped.


Euro Topics: Denmark struggling with failed integration: More than half of the respondents in a Gallup survey conducted in Denmark believe the tone in the debate over refugees has become too harsh. But there are simply already too many problems that need to be discussed, the conservative daily Berlingske argues: "Almost 50 percent of the immigrants from non-Western countries aged between 30 and 59 live on social benefits. This proves that the Danish social model is ill equipped to integrate foreigners on the labour market. The failure of the integration measures is apparent in many statistics. To bring up these problems is not to adopt an 'inhumane tone' in the debate. ... It is simply the observation that we face enormous challenges and that these challenges will grow as the influx of refugees increases."

Pegida pushes Europe to discuss immigration: Europe must discuss immigration using modern arguments rather than the current clichés, the conservative Spanish daily La Vanguardia urges in reaction to the Pegida anti-Islam alliance's demonstration on Monday in Dresden:

"Europe needs a new discourse on the topic of immigration, one that is free of stereotypes, unrealistic concessions and opportunistic visions. Immigration is a defining characteristic of our era and as such should be approached with modern criteria that take account of its complexity. ... In tackling this subject it is just as important to preserve European values based on diversity and tolerance as to counter the intolerance of religious fanaticism. This can be achieved by integrating those who come from afar to build up a new life on the Old Continent as far as possible with generosity and intelligence."

Illusion of safety shattered: Through its participation in the war on terror Australia became a direct target of the terrorists, the left-liberal daily The London Independent explains: "For the past 10 years or so, Australian governments - and the public - have kidded themselves that they could have it both ways. They could join US-led adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, earning themselves kudos with Western allies. And they could feel more or less safe from any kind of terrorist backlash, convinced that Australia was too small and too distant to become a target. Sure, there were bombs in Bali and elsewhere which claimed Australian lives - far too many lives. But those were targeted at Westerners generally, not specifically at Australians. ... Now, here in Australia, that sense of invulnerability has been shattered."

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