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News : International Last Updated: Jul 8, 2014 - 7:38 AM


Monday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - July 07, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Jul 7, 2014 - 10:49 AM

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Irish Independent

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny is eyeing up the Education Minister's position for Fine Gael, and Tanaiste Joan Burton wants an extra cabinet post for the Labour Party as the coalition talks begin this morning.

Mr Kenny and Ms Burton will meet in Government Buildings to begin discussions on a cabinet reshuffle and the prioritisation of policies.

Among the Labour demands are a second year of free child care for 65,000 children, the Jobs Minister's portfolio and measures to ease the tax burden on low and middle income families.

The allocation of ministries was last night expected to be the area of greatest conflict between the two sides.

"The most contentious area is what ministries will go where. That will not be easy," a Labour source said.

Negotiations have taken place between Mr Kenny's economic adviser Andrew McDowell and Ms Burton's incoming Chief of Staff Ed Brophy throughout the weekend.

Ahead of the talks, Ms Burton sent a dossier outlining the priorities that Labour wants to see in Government to Mr Kenny.

"In terms of the policy stuff, Fine Gael are not frightened by what we are asking for," said one Labour source.

CRÈCHE fees in Ireland, now costing over €750 per child per month, have been confirmed as among the highest in Europe.

And Ireland is one of only two European countries where childcare workers are not required to have minimum qualifications.

Average childcare costs for under one-year-olds now stand at €756 per month – and for older children, the figure is €727.

The findings are likely to increase pressure on the Government – in light of various controversies that have dogged the industry – to implement greater controls and ensure staff are properly qualified.

They also provide further evidence that meeting the monthly crèche bill is putting a huge dent in the after-tax income of young couples. The latest Eurostat findings show that average monthly fees for early childhood care and education are most expensive in Ireland, the UK, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

China's economic growth quickened in the second quarter from the previous three months, but further modest government support measures will still be needed, Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday.

Speaking at a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is visiting Beijing, Li said the Chinese economy still faces downward pressure and that the government will increase its usage of targeted measures to boost growth.

His cautiously optimistic remarks may boost market confidence ahead of China's second-quarter economic report due on July 16. Analysts polled by Reuters expects China's growth for the April-June period to have steadied at 7.4 percent.

"China's economic performance in the second quarter has improved from that in the first quarter. However, we cannot lower our guard against downward pressures," Li said.

"We will keep up our composure and not adopt strong stimulus. Instead, We will increase the strength of targeted measures," the premier said.

To lift China's flagging economic growth, which hit an 18-month low of 7.4 percent in the first quarter of 2014, authorities have cut taxes, ordered regional governments to speed up spending and reduced the amount of cash that some banks have to hold as reserves.

THE Free Legal Advice Centres says it is "frustrating" that Ireland's new personal insolvency regime is "serving those with money better than the poor" it was aimed at helping.

The FLAC has also raised concerns over the country's unregulated debt collectors and a lack of State-funded legal advice for vulnerable debtors negotiating with "powerful, well-resourced" banks.

Calls to the FLAC's national telephone information line rose 10pc last year, according to its annual report launched today by the Chief Justice Mrs Justice Susan Denham.

More than 27,500 people were assisted by the agency's dedicated telephone team and 500-strong volunteer corps of barristers and solicitors last year, an increase of some 6.2pc over the same figures in 2012.

Although family law queries count for one-in-five calls, FLAC says there has been an increase in queries in certain areas including credit and debt calls, which are up by almost 10pc.

Irish Times

The European Commission’s inquiry into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of Microsoft looks set to involve some of the company’s key Irish operations, company filings in the EU’s smallest member-state indicate.

Microsoft Luxembourg Sarl, one of four Microsoft subsidiaries in the Duchy, is in turn a subsidiary of an Irish Microsoft company that has a €15 billion turnover. The Irish company received royalty payments of €368 million from the Luxembourg operation in its most recent financial year.

It was reported last week that the commission’s inquiries into the tax treatment of multinationals that may offend the union’s state aid rules are to include Microsoft in Luxembourg. It had already been reported that similar inquiries were taking place into the treatment of Apple in Ireland, Starbucks in the Netherlands and Fiat in Luxembourg.

Company filings in Luxembourg for Microsoft Luxembourg Sarl show it has very significant financial dealings with two key Microsoft subsidiaries here.

The mood music surrounding the needs of the Irish economy has changed significantly in the past year as the work of the Central Statistics Office has shown a pattern of rising full-time employment.

The improving mood received a boost last week when the half-year exchequer figures showed that tax receipts were €500 million ahead of target and data from the Central Statistics Office showed strong economic growth.

Not only that, but new rules for estimating the size of EU economies had a particularly large impact on the perceived size of the Irish one, which in turn positively affects our debt-to-GDP ratio and the size of the deficits we can have in our public finances without incurring Europe’s ire.

Dublin City Council wants to address the city’s housing shortage by resuming its partnership with property developers and providing social and private houses on council lands.

The council has identified more than 30 hectares (74½ acres) at five vacant sites around the city which, it said, could provide large numbers of houses in the short to medium term.

However, while it has “significant land banks”, it has not been able to raise capital funding to build houses since 2008, the year the public private partnership (PPP) housing regeneration deals with developer Bernard McNamara collapsed.

Three of the five sites are around the city’s north fringe. The other two are to the west of the city in Ballyfermot and Cherry Orchard. The council is to seek expressions of interest from developers for what it describes as “housing construction collaboration”.

John McManus: The Germans love plans. It’s their strength and their weakness. Or at least that is the stereotype, and like most stereotypes it has at least a grain of truth in it.

No surprise then to hear that the German Bundestag finance committee, which visited Ireland a few weeks ago, was troubled to find that we appear to have no long-term plan for economic growth over and above giving tax breaks to multinationals to invest here.

In reality, the only thing that is surprising here is that the committee chairman, Green MP Gerhard Schick, and his colleagues, thought we might actually have some sort of plan.

Irish Examiner

Economic optimism among Irish-based investors has hit a four-year high, with 82% saying they are confident the economy will continue growing and a similar percentage upbeat about their own financial stability, according to a new survey.

According to RaboDirect’s latest investor barometer, 85% of Irish investors are confident about the outlook for the global economy, while 66% say they are favourably disposed to the global stock market and see there being value to be found in stocks.

The RaboDirect investor survey represents significant recovery from the all-time low of 2010 when only 10% of Irish investors expressed confidence in the domestic economy.

“We’ve seen a sustained rebound in investor confidence in the global economy since the beginning of 2013 and this has now been matched by a strong upturn in confidence in the Irish economy during the first half of this year. This is in stark contrast to the lows seen at the end of 2010 when Ireland applied for external assistance from the EU/IMF,” according to the online bank’s investment manager, Killian Nolan.

Europe

Euro Topics: Investigate torture by Spanish army in Iraq: A Spanish military court on Thursday ordered that an elite soldier accused of torturing a prisoner of war during his 2004 deployment in Iraq be remanded in custody. The crime was filmed and published by Spanish media in 2013. The investigation will help improve the image of the armed forces, the left-liberal Spanish daily El País comments: "In any case it's good that this episode is being investigated. It is a very serious crime. Under Article 76 of the military penal code serious injuries, the torture or inhumane treatment of prisoners of war can be punished with 10 to 25 years in prison. A case like this should not be allowed to tarnish the excellent image of the armed force in recent decades. ... A thorough investigation of the case will no doubt boost the armed forces' image and public standing."

Honest Belgian citizens victims of speculators: The European Commission ruled on Thursday that the financial guarantees given by the Belgian state to investors in Arco, the financial arm of the ACW trade union, in the course of the nationalisation of Dexia Bank were illegal. But Arco's approximately 800,000 savers can't be accused of any wrongdoing, the left liberal Belgian daily De Morgen points out: "For a fair solution, the worst one can accuse the Arco savers of is being naïve and gullible. These people are not speculators but honest fathers and housewives who in many cases put most of their savings into products their trade union assured them were safe, like bonds or savings accounts. In actual fact these were high risk investments. Those at Arco and ACW who sold these products to the customers were at best pretty dumb, probably dazzled by the possibilities of the financial sector, and at worst downright swindlers. But no one is talking about that."

Greens have botched Berlin refugee drama: Around 40 refugees will be allowed to stay for the time being in a school in Berlin's Kreuzberg district, which they have been occupying for months. Prior to the announcement they had threatened to jump from the roof of the building if the police tried to evacuate them. The Green Party, which leads the district's local government, has made a mess of the whole affair, the left-liberal Austrian daily Der Standard writes: "When the refugees arrived in the fall of 2012, the district wanted to make concessions. The men and women were allowed to set up a camp in a park and move into the school in the winter. Everything was tolerated by the Green Party and its local mayor. What was overlooked, however, was that this would encourage certain hopes. The refugees believed they'd be able to stay. They couldn't - and didn't want to - understand that the district didn't have the power to grant them a right of residence. ... These people who'd lost everything finally resorted to a radical solution and threatened to kill themselves. The Green Party should never have let things go that far."


© Copyright 2011 by Finfacts.com

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