Tánaiste Joan Burton is finally tightening controls in her
department in the wake of damning revelations surrounding the handing out of
confidential data to private investigators.
The Social Protection Minister has tasked two of her most senior officials with
putting a stop to the leaking of sensitive information about members of the
An alert has been sent to thousands of department staff warning them of "bogus
calls" and providing information about the shady methods used by so-called
tracing agents to illegally obtain data.
The department last night confirmed that a "high-level working group" will now
look into all aspects of data protection following strong criticism of its
Apple shares closed at their highest ever level ahead of the
company's iPhone 6 launch next month.
Last night the shares closed in the US at $100.53 - Apple's highest closing
level ever when the stock is adjusted for its June 7-for-1 share split.
Irish banks have the potential to show the most
notable improvement through 2015 compared to those in Portugal, Italy and Spain,
Moody's Investors Service has said.
This is because comparatively higher economic
growth in Ireland should offer some boost to these banks' bottom lines and
improve the performance of asset portfolios via rising borrower debt-service
capability, Moody's said.
The ratings giant said Spanish banks should also perform better over this period
as problem loan formation slows and credit costs eases.
In Italy, where economic growth is more sluggish, as well as in Portugal, banks'
internal capital generation is likely to remain more subdued for a longer period
of time, it added.
GLOBAL ingredients and nutrition firm Glanbia has reported a 10.7pc increase in
revenues to €1.7bn for the first half on a constant currency basis.
Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation hit €129.5m, a
10.3pc improvement on the same basis.
Glanbia also announced a €60m strategic investment programme in global
ingredients aimed at "maximising the value of our whey pool and further
strengthening our position as a leader in value-added dairy ingredients."
The firm's global performance nutrition was the key growth driver as revenue
growth of 21.8pc and a 110 basis point margin expansion drove a strong increase
New car sales in the Netherlands will hit a 45-year low this
year, the industry said yesterday, as the Dutch government was warned any
worsening of unrest in Ukraine or the Middle East could end hopes of fragile
economic growth in 2015.
The auto industry consultancy group Aumacon revised downwards its previous 2014
sales forecast from 415,000 to 318,000, considerably lower than the annual
average of 478,000 vehicles sold over the past decade and the high of 612,000
driven out of forecourts in 1999.
The unexpectedly high price offered for the rented homes in four
separate suburban developments underlines the heightened competition between
investment funds for distressed assets being offloaded by the State property
agency as well as the higher rents now widely available for apartments.
The recently floated Ires Reit is understood to have been the top bidder for the
portfolio, narrowly ahead of the seasoned Californian investor Kennedy Wilson
and a company linked to solicitor and property developer Noel Smyth.
Ires Reit, a subsidiary of a Toronto-based company, recently acquired 84 luxury
apartments adjacent to the Marker Hotel in the Grand Canal Dock area for €50.1
In keeping with the other Irish banks, Permanent TSB’s half-year
results yesterday showed improving trends on a number of fronts.
Income was up, payroll costs were down, its net interest margin improved, a
lower impairment charge (€149 million versus €430 million a year earlier) was
recorded, and it reported a 14 per cent decline in the number of customers in
mortgage arrears when compared with the end of 2013.
However, unlike AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank, who were all able to
report a clean return to profitability, Permanent is still operating in the red.
Poland has asked the European Commission to lodge a complaint to
the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over a Russian ban on EU food products, the
Polish Economy Ministry said yesterday.
The commission has so far been cautious about taking the embargo case to the
WTO, with lawyers in Brussels advising that doing so could escalate the conflict
with Russia over Ukraine.
Russia has banned the import of EU food products from Poland, whose total food
exports to Russia were worth around $1.5bn (€1.1bn) last year.
The ban was imposed in response to Western economic sanctions against Russia
over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and a pro-Russian rebellion in
eastern Ukraine that Western capitals accuse Moscow of fomenting.
Euro Topics: Burial mound in Amphipolis is
Greece's chance: Archaeologists working near Amphipolis in northeastern Greece
last week discovered a vast burial site dating back to 325 to 300 B.C. It is
thought to be the tomb of the family of the Macedonean king Alexander the Great.
What a chance for Greece, the Greek online daily To Vima rejoices: "This
fabulous heritage in the midst of an equally fabulous natural environment
constitutes our country's biggest treasure. But it's not enough just to sit back
and rest on our laurels. ... We must protect this heritage, and above all
present it in the best way possible. This is not just a moral and historical
imperative, but also the path to a better future. ... The global interest in the
discovery of the tomb in Amphipolis gives us a unique opportunity to think about
how we can best exploit our cultural heritage."
Poles are world champion taxpayers: Poles
spend an average of 286 hours a year filling out tax forms, according to a
recent study. The conservative news portal Wprost calls for a sweeping tax
reform: "The taxes here are absolutely absurd. The VAT on healthy mineral water
or green tea is 23 percent. Yet instant soups, crisps and salty snacks come
under the reduced rate of eight percent. The system is repressive. The [annual]
tax allowance of 3,091 złoty [740 euros] hasn't changed in six years, apart from
an 'astronomical' rise of two złoty in 2009. Even in Tanzania it's twice as
high. ... But instead of tackling this pathological state of affairs, [Finance]
Minister Szczurek only digs deeper into our pockets. Now he even wants to
introduce a tax on fibre optics."
Send exports to China instead: While Russia is
dispensing with European meat imports in reaction to Europe's trade sanctions,
China could become an important new market for Spanish meat, the left-liberal
Spanish business daily Cinco Días observes: "Between 2008 and 2012 Spanish
meat exports to China have increased five-fold. The investments of the
Shuanghui/WH Fosun groups in Campofrio and Osborne, respectively, confirm
China's strategic interest in this sector. The process of approving Spanish food
products for China was slow but doesn't seem to be as arbitrary as that of
Rosselkhoznadzor [the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary
Surveillance]. And since the setting up of Chinese certifying agencies in Spain
the process has become much easier. Without doubt the future of Spanish meat may
be decided in Asia."