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Nicolas Sarkozy, French president and current head of the G-20 countries, today became the first foreign leader to visit Japan since the devastating earthquake on March 11, 2011. Here he is meeting Japan's prime minister Naoto Kan, Tokyo, March 31, 2011.
Mortgage Rates: Irish Nationwide Building Society has announced that
its home loan standard variable mortgage rate will increase by 0.65% to 4.4%
with effect from 1 May, 2011. All customers have been written to advising them
of the rate increase.
The increase is directly attributable to the rising cost of funds and will add
an additional €34 to the cost of monthly repayments on a €100,000 mortgage over
20 years. The last time Irish Nationwide raised its home loan standard variable
mortgage rate was in September 2010.
Eircom: Eircom today welcomed the result from the Eircom Trade Union
Alliance (TUA) ballot that has endorsed the Eircom Recovery Plan, following the
‘in principle’ agreement which had been reached at the start of the month. The
company will now move to formalise the agreement, implement reductions in
working time for a pro-rata reduction in pay, and will commence discussions on
modernisation proposals in the Recovery Plan as soon as possible.
Commenting on the development, Paul Donovan, CEO Eircom Group, said:
“Following the outcome of this ballot, eircom has now taken another important
step on the path towards a competitive cost structure. It is extremely
encouraging to know that our employees throughout the organisation are prepared
to make difficult but necessary decisions to help secure the long term financial
future of the company.”
Ryanair: Transport Minister Leo Varadkar today criticised Ryanair for
imposing a €2 surcharge on passengers in order to recover losses caused by last
year's travel disruptions. However, the levy is also being used as a cover to
Speaking in Brussels, Varadkar said Ryanair had plenty of profits and therefore
does not need to penalise passengers.
He added that other airlines, equally affected by the disruption, had not
imposed penalties on passengers.
However he said he had some sympathy for airlines which were required to
compensate passengers whose flights were delayed or cancelled due to last year's
volcanic ash and weather emergencies.
Varadkar said he was in favour of rebalancing the rules so that insurers took
more of the burden, although he would not say by how much.
A review is currently underway of the EU rules which force airlines to
compensate passengers in terms of overnight stays, refreshments and other
expenses when flights are seriously disrupted.
HSBC Chief Global Economist, Stephen King told CNBC the ECB's power to control Eurozone inflation is limited due to a rise in worldwide commodity prices. "There's a limit to what the ECB can do to influence those commodity price increases," he said, warning that a rate rise together with commodity costs could affect spending power:
India: Emerging economy India on Thursday issued the first results of a new
census showing that the world's second-most-populous nation added 181m people to
reach a total of 1.21bn.
The population growth for the decade slowed to 17.64% over the past 10 years
from 21.54% in the decade to 2001.
Literacy rose to 74% from about 65%. however, the results revealed the
widespread killing of baby girls as the sex ratio among children up to age 6
dipped to 914 girls for each 1,000 boys from 927 a decade ago, showing that
female foeticide continues to be a common practice because of a traditional
preference in some communities for boys. Census Commissioner C. Chandramouli
described that statistic as "grim."
The cost of marriage dowries makes girls an unattractive option and the
government has banned doctors from revealing the sex of unborn children.
US Jobless Claims: The Department of Labor reported today that in the
week ending March 26, the figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims
was 388,000, a dip of 6,000 from the previous week's revised figure of
394,000. The 4-week moving average was 394,250, a increase of 3,250 from the
previous week's revised average of 391,000.
The number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week
ending March 19 was 3,714,000, a decrease of 51,000 from the preceding week's
revised level of 3,765,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,765,250, a decrease
of 32,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,798,000.
The Chicago purchasing managers index
70.6 in March, slightly exceeding expectations for a reading
of 70.0. US factory orders unexpectedly dropped 0.1%
In New York Thursday, the Dow rose
16 points or 0.13% to 12,367.
The S&P 500 was unchanged and Nasdaq advanced 0.03%.
Sokol to CNBC: I Shouldn't Have Told Buffett I Liked Lubrizol; David Sokol tells CNBC that looking back in light of widespread criticism, he still would have bought shares in Lubrizol, but wouldn't have told Warren Buffett anything about the company, including his belief that it would be a good acquisition for Berkshire Hathaway: