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News : International Last Updated: Aug 27, 2014 - 10:38 PM


Monday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - July 14, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Jul 14, 2014 - 10:13 AM

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Irish Independent

THOUSANDS of first-year college students who abandon their course could be making the wrong choices because of lack of guidance at school.

About 7,000 first years – one in six of those who start in third-level – don't continue into second year, according to a new study.

Some start again on a new course at a cost to them and the taxpayer, while others drop out of college altogether.

The problem is greater among boys, among students with lower CAO points, and among those attending institutes of technology.

Findings from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) study raise questions about whether school-leavers are adequately prepared for the transition to college.

HEA chairman John Hennessy said there was a need to understand why many students did not make it through. "There is increased emphasis by the colleges on support in first year but we need to ask are some students sufficiently prepared for college life?

SPREADING old-fashioned European values of thrift and prudence to people who in the past were too poor to learn about such things has been the challenge of a number of traditional businesses, not least the insurance sector.

Now it is taking the expansive Asian market and the virtually untapped African market more seriously than ever before. Unsurprisingly the legendary British outfit, Prudential Insurance is out there leading the pack.

In the 165 years since it started the Prudential has explored all the avenues of insurance and investment and is as 'blue chip' as it is possible to be, covering life insurance, accident, health, and property and casualty insurance plus fixed and variable annuities. Its finance and investment services include personal and group pensions.

Today Prudential has a significant 23 million customers worldwide with big operations in the USA, Asia and the UK. The company has four main businesses; Prudential UK which includes Europe; Hong Kong-based Prudential Asia has operations in most of the major countries in South East Asia; Its US business is Jackson Life Insurance acquired in 1987. Meanwhile the London based M & G investments is Prudential's investment arm.

NEW entrant to the energy market Energia is putting pressure on its rivals with bigger discounts for those who take both gas and electricity from it.

The move is set to turn up the heat on Bord Gais which has been free to set its own gas prices for the past two weeks.

Energia is set to announce today that it will give customers who sign up to take both fuels from it 18pc off the standard electricity price and 17pc off the standard gas tariff, the Irish Independent has learned.

This will mean families that opt for the bundle will save €320 off the standard rates.

Energy expert Simon Moynihan, of price comparison site Bonkers.ie, said the discount deal would be the cheapest in the market. Energia was already the cheapest in the market for dual fuel, but the latest move will pile pressure on Bord Gais, Electric Ireland and SSE Airtricity to respond.

Airtricity is the next most competitive for households that opt for a dual-fuel bundle.

Irish Times

The Government is facing resistance from business to any phasing out of contentious Irish corporate tax rules before similar steps by other countries.

In light of a looming overhaul of global tax rules, the Department of Finance is examining whether there should be an early move to gradually wind down a controversial tax scheme known as the “double Irish”.

This mechanism enables global companies to reduce tax payments by exploiting differences between Irish law and that in other countries. The debate centres on whether the Government should signal tax changes in October’s budget before reforms in any other states.

Every householder will be asked to provide their bank account details, their PPS numbers and the PPS numbers of any children living with them to Irish Water.

The new utility, which will begin charging for water from October 1st, with the first bills in January, will begin posting the “allowances application form” in September. The four-page form will have to be returned by October 31st.

The form asks the “account holder” for their name and address, whether they are a tenant or owner, and the details about what type of piped water they receive and what type of sewerage facility they use.

Section 3 of the form asks for the householder’s personal public service (PPS) number as well as those of any children aged 17 years or younger “who are in receipt of child benefit”.

Space is provided for six children’s PPS numbers and anyone with more children will have to contact the utility.

Business groups have called on the Government to reduce taxes on labour and investment in October’s budget.

In their pre-budget submission documents, Chambers Ireland and the Small Firms Association seek a reduction in the marginal (highest) rate of income tax and ask the coalition not to introduce new taxes. “It is vital that no new taxes are introduced in Budget 2015,” said Chambers Ireland chief executive Ian Talbot.

While some sectors of the economy have seen a nascent recovery, many are facing tough economic conditions, he said. Because of this, marginal tax rates should fall below 50 per cent “to reward employment, support enterprise and attract high-value foreign direct investment jobs”, according to the business network.

The mooted reduction in the universal social charge (USC) “would be a welcome means of putting more income in consumers’ pockets”, Chambers Ireland notes in its submission.

Banco Espirito Santo’s outgoing executive board member José Maria Ricciardi said the management at Portugal’s second-biggest bank by market value should be replaced quickly to help bolster confidence in the lender.

“To reinforce the confidence of clients, employees and the general public, I consider it essential that Banco Espirito Santo’s executive committee be replaced as soon as possible by the new team that shareholders and the Bank of Portugal agreed to,” said Mr Ricciardi, who heads the lender’s investment-banking unit and belongs to the bank’s founding family.

Irish Examiner

A government-supported equity finance scheme for entrepreneurs, combined with a reform of capital gains tax (CGT) and a reduction in the rate of PRSI are included in the Small Firms Association (SFA) pre-budget submission.

“Access to funding for small business continues to be difficult and a 30% equity investment is now demanded by the banks before they grant approvals for small business loans. “The State has a key role to play in enabling entrepreneurs to meet that equity investment threshold, through enhancing the current Employment and Investment Incentive Scheme, which is completely under-utilised due to lack of awareness and over-complexity. “This scheme allows people who invest in small businesses a tax right-off,” said SFA chairman AJ Noonan.

The SFA has also called on the Government to introduce an “across-the-board” 20% CGT. Moreover, it wants a special relief equivalent to 10% of CGT for an entrepreneur about to sell a business. The CGT has been increased from a rate of 20% in 2008 to a current rate of 33%.

Europe

Euro Topics: After indications of a further case of US espionage on its territory, the German government asked the CIA station chief in Berlin to leave the country on Thursday. The US can't expect eternal gratitude and must understand the Germans' anger, some commentators write. Others see the move as a diplomatic affront and evidence of a new German anti-Americanism.

A new German anti-Americanism: The expulsion of the top representative of the CIA in Berlin is a diplomatic affront and exemplifies the growing distance between the Germans and the US, the conservative daily ABC observes: "This news is an unprecedented blow to relations between the two countries. ... Unfortunately we're not just dealing with a temporary conflict. Twenty years ago things would have taken a different course and damage limitation would have taken precedent over any kind of confrontation or public sanction. But times have changed and the perception of bilateral relations has evolved fundamentally on this side of the Atlantic. ... For decades the German anti-Americanism was hushed up for important reasons. Now it is re-emerging from its lair in far-right or far-left groups, where it had remained hidden since the Soviet blockade of Berlin in 1949, and it is becoming socially acceptable again."

US money only for Afghans' public welfare: In Afghanistan the row over alleged fake votes in the presidential elections is escalating. The defeated candidate Abdullah Abdullah says he should become president and has threatened to form a counter-government. In that case the US would scrap financial aid for the country. That would be the wrong approach, the conservative weekly Weekendavisen believes: "When the Soviet Union cut off its funding for Afghanistan, all hell broke loose. The Soviet money was all that was keeping the government apparatus in Kabul in power, because it was used to buy support in the provinces through corruption and a clientele system. ... But we also know what a new school, a repaired bridge or an irrigation channel can mean when these projects belong to the people; when it's about something that they themselves wanted and worked for. ... Now diplomacy is needed. And then economic support structures that don't just make the post of president a goldmine must be built up."

Moldova won't let itself be bullied by Russia: After the signing of the association agreement between the EU and the Republic of Moldova at the end of June, Russia banned meat imports from the former Soviet republic. The import ban may also be extended to fruit products in the future. But the government can fight back, Mihai Roşcovan comments on his blog with the liberal-conservative daily Adevărul: "The Russian sanctions will have serious repercussions. They could negatively influence the competitiveness of Moldovan products on the domestic and international markets. Our government should examine the potential consequences and take the necessary steps to counter them. Some measures are already under way, including the construction of a gas pipeline between Iaşi [in Romania] and Ungheni [in Moldova]. ... Investments in energy saving measures are needed on both sides of the Dniester River. European integration must remain a reasonable alternative for the entire population - regardless of their origins - and have a positive impact. That is the price of independence from Russia."


© Copyright 2011 by Finfacts.com

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