` European Central Bank leaves `Key Interest Rates ‘ steady with ` Refinancing ‘ rate at 0.25 Percent’


#AceFinanceNews says that the European Central Bank held its key interest rates steady as largely expected on Thursday.

The ECB left its central “refi” or refinancing rate unchanged at 0.25 percent at its monthly policy meeting, it said in a statement.

The central bank also held its other two key rates — the marginal lending rate and the deposit rate — unchanged at 0.75 percent and zero percent respectively.

There had been speculation that the central bank might ease monetary conditions in the 18 countries that share the euro given the worryingly low level of inflation.

ECB President Mario Draghi was scheduled to explain the reasoning behind the latest decision at a news conference.

This decision is key to the strategy adopted by the European Central Bankers and will largely prevent inflation rises, but it will eventually lead to a slow down in the economy of the Western Nations. this is due mainly to the huge indebtedness and risk factor in the Asia-Pacific Investment markets.

More soon ………………………………………………………………………………….

#AFN2014

` First there was a `New Currency ‘ called `Bitcoin’ then came `Greed ‘ now comes Taxation ‘ allowing `Greed ‘ to have its own Reward’s


#AceFinanceNews says according to latest news Japan is looking at ways to tax Bitcoin transactions, a report said Tuesday, in the wake of the spectacular failure of the Tokyo-based MtGox exchange after a half-billion-dollar theft.

The finance ministry and the national tax agency are studying possible rules that could govern transactions using the digital currency, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said.

Authorities believe purchases made with Bitcoin can be subject to consumption and corporate taxes, even though the unit is not a legal currency, the Yomiuri said without citing sources.

This latest case of irregularities that has lead to an the recent investigation as cites by Reuters in saying Mt Gox, once the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, filed for bankruptcy in a Tokyo district court on Friday, the company’s lawyer citing ‘outstanding debts of $63.2 million, after mysteriously going offline on Monday.
Investors may have lost all of their virtual coins, as the exchange’s computer system was exposed to fraudulent transactions and technical failures. More on this story at http://wp.me/pzTwj-2tk

Has allowed a way for countries to tax Bitcoin transactions and bring them in line with many other the Monetary Systems controls, as was always wanted by the a number of countries.

This latest round of investigations, has only added fuel to the fire.

#AFN2014

` Mt Gox the largest ` Bitcoin Exchange ‘ files for ` Bankruptcy ‘ amid rumours of Hacking ‘


Ace News Group:

#AFN2014

Originally posted on Ace Finance News :

#AceFinanceNews says that `Tokyo‘s Mt Gox Bitcoin Exchange has filed for `Bankruptcy‘ amid missing currency‘.

Published time: March 02, 2014 11:54
 
Reuters/Jim Urquhart Reuters/Jim Urquhart
Mt Gox, once the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, filed for bankruptcy in a Tokyo district court on Friday, the company’s lawyer citing ‘outstanding debts of $63.2 million, after mysteriously going offline on Monday.

Investors may have lost all of their virtual coins, as the exchange’s computer system was exposed to fraudulent transactions and technical failures.

A leaked internal Mt Gox “crisis strategy” document suggesting that the exchange site had been hacked and hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of the cryptocurrency stolen began to circulate online.

Technical glitches in February forced the trading platform to halt deposits, causing the already volatile crypto-currency to plunge 20 percent. On Friday it was listed at $565.07 on Winkdex, a New York-based bitcoin value…

View original 205 more words

` Super Rich Taxation could Boost the Economic Growth according to IMF ‘


Ace News Group:

#AFN2014

Originally posted on Ace Finance News :

#AceFinanceNews says that the `IMF says `Taxing Super Rich’can boost Economic Growth in the long run’

Published time: : March 01, 2014 20:28
 
Reuters / Kim Kyung-Hoon Reuters / Kim Kyung-Hoon
A new International Monetary Fund study has found that taxing the super wealthy does not stunt the economic growth of a country, and that redistribution can actually spur gross domestic product.

The paper argues inequality is harmful to a country’s growth, and that redistributing wealth using taxes can reduce inequality and boost growth and the length of growth cycles.

“There is surprisingly little evidence that increases in tax rates impede medium-to-long-run economic growth,” the IMF paper says.

Redistribution is a win-win situation and overall has a “pro-growth effect”, and is not a job killer, as many other economists argue.

Growth inequality is more common in countries that redistribute less, and more equal societies have “faster and more durable…

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#US : “Obama to `Issue Executive Order’ Raising `Minimum Wage’ for `Federal Contract Worker’s’ to $10.10″


#AceFinanceNews says `Obama to Issue Executive Order‘ rising minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10

Breaking-News Alert US President Barack Obama will announce he is issuing an executive order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for federal contract workers under new contracts, the White House said. He will lay out a strategy for getting around Congress and boosting middle-class prosperity on Tuesday in his State of the Union speech, Reuters reported. The president is expected to make clear in his 9pm (02:00 GMT Wednesday) address that he will bypass US lawmakers and go it alone in some areas by announcing a series of executive actions.

 

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#Silk-Road : “US `Federal Charges’ were made `Public Monday’ against `Two Men Accused’ of `Bitcoin’ Exchange Business `Bitinstant’


#AceFinanceNews says `Bitcoin Exchange Operators’ arrested in connection to Silk Road case. 

Published time: January 27, 2014 16:26

Reuters / Pawel Kopczynski Reuters / Pawel Kopczynski
 Federal charges were made public early Monday against two men accused of operating a Bitcoin exchange business in connection to the ongoing investigation involving the Silk Road on-line marketplace.

The United States Justice Department published a statement on their website Monday morning confirming that the two men, Robert Faiella and Charlie Shrem, had been arrested within hours of each other and charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business apiece. If convicted, the men would face a maximum of 25 years in prison.

“As alleged, Robert Faiella and Charlie Shrem schemed to sell over $1 million in Bitcoins to criminals bent on trafficking narcotics on the dark web drug site, Silk Road,” Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in Monday’s statement. “Truly innovative business models don’t need to resort to old-fashioned law-breaking, and when Bitcoins, like any traditional currency, are laundered and used to fuel criminal activity, law enforcement has no choice but to act. We will aggressively pursue those who would co-opt new forms of currency for illicit purposes.”

Shrem, the CEO of the Bitcoin exchange service BitInstant, was also charged with one count of willful failure to file a suspicious activity report, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.

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” Teaching Students How to Properly Launder Money”


#AceChinaNews says this post was courtesy of  wuyiyao and his report, on how someone on his course asked ” Is there a way of laundering money `properly’ and this is his post.   

During a financial orientation course at Shanghai Finance University, 19-year-old Li Jing raised his hand and asked if there is a way of laundering money “properly”.

A little later, another student said she had heard that even small coffee houses can launder cash. She asked for an explanation of how the practice works and how to spot financial crimes committed under the guise of daily business activity.

Dang Hue, Asia head of the Association of Certified Anti-Money-Laundering Specialists, said in response to the students’ questions, “There is no legal way to launder money, because the activity is intrinsically illegal, and anyone involved will be caught and punished.”Money laundering fight becomes matter of course for students

Li and his peers are the first undergraduates in China to major in Compliance and Anti-Money-Laundering, a course created to meet increasing demand from financial markets amid the country’s ongoing economic development.

Dang said the students’ questions are a sign that compliance and anti-money-laundering are still relatively new concepts.

“There’s a long way to go. When the students graduate from this undergraduate program, they will still need more hands-on experience and training to become qualified anti-money-laundering specialists,” Dang said.

Compliance, the adherence to business laws and policy, has become a buzzword after recent probes into alleged bribery, corruption and fraud at State-owned enterprises and multinational corporations, especially large pharmaceutical companies.

The students realize that what they learn will be crucial for the healthy development of China’s financial and economic system and that the demand for professionals in the field will surge in the next few years.

Supply shortages

According to the International Monetary Fund, laundered money accounts for approximately 5 percent of the combined annual GDP of all the countries in the world, approximately $1.8 trillion. The figure is rising at a rapid rate, with annual growth of $100 billion.

Amid faster-than-ever global capital flows, dirty money, which finances crimes including drug dealing, human trafficking and terrorism, will be “washed clean” by laundering if effective action isn’t taken, said Dang.

“As the world’s second-largest economy plays an increasingly important role in global economic development and the internationalization of the yuan continues, China’s efforts to combat money laundering will have a growing impact on the global economic picture,” said Dang.

However, the gap between the supply of and demand for talent in compliance and AML work is wide.

“In Shanghai alone, about 2,000 professionals are needed for compliance and AML work,” said Chu Zhen, head of the Department of Finance at Shanghai Finance University. It’s likely that it will take a long time to fill all those positions, however, given that the school only can enroll around 50 students a year. The first majors in compliance and AML will graduate in 2017.

Ma Qing, a Shanghai-based head hunter who specializes in the financial sector, said some of the most difficult requests to fulfil come from companies looking for compliance officers.

In the past, many employers put compliance under the direction of other, unrelated departments, and the responsibilities often included a number of miscellaneous functions that had little to do with legal affairs.

“The job prospects were not attractive; the pay was low, the outline of the responsibilities was too vague and compliance units were given very few resources,” said Ma.

That may be about to change, though; salaries in the field may rise by 40 percent or even more, and compliance units are being given a say in a wider range of decisions.

“One client on our books told me that as a compliance officer, he feels more respected, involved, and indispensable in his workplace than before. He is not alone in thinking that,” said Ma.

The difficulty in finding talent lies in the current dearth of experienced professionals, he added.

“I’ve been working on filling a vacancy at a bank, but the employer is demanding at least five years’ experience in compliance. But that’s a very rare commodity because few people were willing to work in the sector given the poor conditions in the past, and very few remained in the field for five years to gain the necessary experience,” he said.

Some educational establishments realized the problem existed and began to take action. In 2009, Shanghai Fudan University established postgraduate-level programs in compliance and AML, and cultivated talent to meet the future market demand.

Shanghai Finance University and AML association have cooperated on the undergraduate program since autumn. Together, they are providing wide-ranging training, including basic AML courses that focus on regulatory requirements in China, the study of global standards and leading practices in the fight against money laundering.

Experts in compliance and AML from across the world will be invited to lecture and provide practical experience, and all the Shanghai Finance University lecturers have been trained by experts from the AML association, according to Dang.

Money laundering fight becomes matter of course for students

Student will gain hands-on experience through internships at insurers, stockbrokers, financial institutions, auction houses and property developers, according to Chu.

In addition to courses in economics, finance and other compulsory studies for Chinese college students, the first undergraduate compliance and AML majors at Shanghai Finance University will learn by studying cases of illegal financial behaviour.

“Wherever there is significant cash flow, there is soil for compliance and AML work. Students will use case studies to understand how money laundering works, but personal integrity will also be key to their future success – we hope students equipped with that sort of knowledge won’t get involved in improper deeds,” said Chu.

Circumstances can also play a role, however. A report published by Ernst & Young’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Service in August 2013, said: “We are beginning to see a slowdown in growth. Companies are faced with budget cuts and are struggling to meet their targets. Business risks are often heightened in economically hard times.”

Weak controls, a tough business environment – which may prompt enterprises to take “shortcuts” to achieve sales or business-growth targets – the use of technology to detect bribery and fraud, and an established, but as yet, immature whistle-blowing program all contribute to compliance risks.

In the Asia-Pacific region and other emerging markets, poor regulatory frameworks and a lack of effective channels for reporting illegal behaviour have provided an environment in which illegal financial activities, such as fraud and corruption, are able to flourish.

“The key question for companies in the (Asia-Pacific) region is how to effectively minimize the risk of fraud and corruption in high-risk markets with weak control environments, given the restricted resources,” said the E&Y report.

The authorities and businesses have strengthened measures to combat illegal behaviour in economic activity, and funding has been increased to help achieve that goal.

Chinese banks already rate their clients’ risk of criminal conduct on a scale of one to five as part of efforts by the People’s Bank of China to curb laundering and fraudulent transactions, according to a post on the central bank’s official website.

Money laundering fight becomes matter of course for students

Financial institutions must identify their riskiest clients and use their own discretion to report suspect deals. The accounts of clients assessed as high-risk must be checked frequently and not once every six months, as is the normal practice, the PBOC website said.

In December 2012, the PBOC issued new anti-money laundering rules to all domestic financial institutions, requiring lenders to rate clients based on their location and the nature of their business, including their levels of transparency. A number of insurers and stockbrokers have also implemented the system.

So far the PBOC has yet to set a deadline for companies to comply with the guidelines.

“In the past, clients were rated against a checklist of money laundering traits, but the list failed to differentiate risk levels. That led financial institutions to unwittingly inundate the authorities with information and false leads that impeded the checks,” said a source with a Shanghai-based commercial bank who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The source said that as the PBOC’s anti-money laundering rules are implemented, a greater number of professionals are becoming involved in training programs to learn more about AML and the prevalent practices.

Businesses are becoming more attuned to, and knowledgeable about, AML and bribery, according to market insiders.

Foreign businesses were once regulated by the laws of their home countries, but an increasing number are now better prepared and aware of the fact that they need to ensure they have good “know-your-customer” policies to tackle AML issues and effective anti-corruption and bribery policies in place, said Dang.

A large number of financial professionals have undertaken intensive training in the relevant programs.

Approximately 190,000 professionals work in the AML field in China’s banking, insurance and securities sectors, but most of them are new to the field, according to a report published by the PBOC, which acts as the banking regulator in China.

Crucially, however, self-regulation is a growing trend as companies acknowledge the benefits that can accrue from being seen as squeaky clean.

Research undertaken in 2013 by the consultancy services provider A.T. Kearney, which conducted in-depth interviews with compliance executives at 40 top companies worldwide, showed that most of the interviewees said they expect to expand their compliance systems. Furthermore, 57 percent of those interviewed said they will most likely seek external help, especially in staffing departments with experts in issues such as anti-corruption, data protection and product safety.

“Today’s regulatory pressure doesn’t stop with the external authorities. Many firms understand that compliance can lead to a competitive advantage and are making their suppliers commit to compliance standards that go far beyond those required by law,” said the report.

Thanks to the Author wuyiyao for supplying this post. 

 

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US:”Banks Have Set Aside Extra Money to pay for `Potential Legal Costs in Part Due To JP Morgan Chase & Co’ Bad Mortgage Business”


#AceFinanceNews says according (Reuters) – Several large U.S. banks have set aside extra money to pay for potential legal costs in part because of JPMorgan Chase & Co’s massive $13 billion settlement with U.S. authorities over bad mortgages, according to two sources familiar with the situation.

The size of the JPMorgan settlement, which the government called the largest in U.S. history, led many banks to realize that the cost of resolving some of their own legal problems was likely to be higher than they had initially believed, the sources said.

Justice Department officials have said in public statements they want to use the JPMorgan settlement as a template for deals with other banks.

Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley all added hundreds of millions of dollars to funds they have set aside to pay for the cost of litigation, including legal fees, fines and settlements. All four banks are facing mortgage-related investigations by federal prosecutors located in different parts of the country.

The increase in such funds impacted the fourth quarter results of the banks published this week, surprising many analysts.

Elizabeth Warren: “What She Had to Say About JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon”


Ace News Group:

#AceFinanceNews says Elizabeth Warren: “What She Had to Say About JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon” #Banksters

Originally posted on Ace Finance News :

#AceFinanceNews says on Saturday night at 9:00 PM/EST Bloomberg aired an extra special episode of “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” his guest is none other than Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and she had some fairly blunt things to say about JP Morgan‘s CEO, Jamie Dimon.

Warren was elected on crusading against Wall Street malfeasance, and JP Morgan is Wall Street’s bad boy right now. The bank has paid $20 billion in legal fees to the government over the last year —that’s enough to pay the New York Yankees for 2o years — and just this week paid out $1.7 billion for failing to alert authorities of  their former client, Bernie Madoff‘s infamous decades long Ponzi scheme.

What’s more, knowing that Madoff was a fraud, JPM got rid of their $275 million exposure to Madoff shortly before he was arrested in December 2008.

When asked whether Jamie Dimon…

View original 438 more words

” Dark Money in 2012 Had Koch links”


#AceFinanceNews says "Centre for Responsive Politics" says

At Least 1 in 4 Dark Money Dollars in 2012 Had Koch Links

dark_money_machine.png

Political money flowed freely in the world of conservative billionaires David and Charles Koch in 2012. With most of the annual tax filings for non-disclosing non-profits now in, it’s clear that no other conservative or liberal dark money network matched the constellation of Koch-linked groups that churned hundreds of millions of dollars into elections around the country last year. »

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The Koch brothers and their wealthy allies pledged…


The Koch brothers and their wealthy allies pledged to spend $400 million on the 2012 elections — and it looks like they did it: Tax filings from an array of Koch-connected non-profits show that the Kochs’ political coalition raised over $400 million during 2012, an analysis by the Washington Post and Centre for Responsive Politics shows. The Koch network alone raised nearly as much as the Romney campaign, and tens of millions more than GOP presidential candidate John McCain raised for his entire 2008 campaign.

#AceNewsGroup says to All its Readers “Thank You for 1000 Likes on Our Posts”


WP Like Button#AceNewsGroup says today marks another milestone for our group and it is all thanks to you the readers kind support and all your likes, as we have reached 1000 and we could not do it without your support.

So all l can say is a great big thank you from the Ace News GroupThanks in all languages   

 

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” Collapse of the US Dollar as China Ditches Them as Their Reserve Currency”


Series of 1917 $1 United States bill
Series of 1917 $1 United States bill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceFinanceNews says the US dollar is now in the process of collapsing. It will eventually lose the reserve status of the world. China has taken the first step to remove the US dollar as the reserve currency by broadcasting to the world that it does not see the benefit of holding the dollar any more. China decided to take it one step further by saying that they may price crude in the yuan. The central bankers/US Government are pushing the false flag event and are preparing for what is about to hit every American. This event will be much worse than 911, it will be so horrific that people will be crying in the streets.

Read more at http://investmentwatchblog.com/whats-wrong-with-us-dollar-the-fed-is-still-printing-10s-of-billion-each-month-foreign-governments-are-dumping-t-bills-like-crazy-not-to-mention-the-fact-that-usd-is-in-the-process-of-losing-st/#8VmWUu4ojt8xBR3U.99

Ace Related News:

Extract: A while ago l predicted the currency changes in the market to a number of my colleagues who then could not see the “Sign of the Times” but l was looking at a number of indicators. These were that the Chinese believe in keeping to customs and are steeped very much in the past ,so much so that they would keep their “Sovereign Currency” the Yuan in tact. Their decision on may occasions has been to not devalue, as so many other countries have advised. They have stuck to their guns and the time is coming when this “Third World Currency” will become one that everyone will want to trade!

Read More:  http://acefinance.me/2013/11/06/the-beginning-and-the-end-of-the-next-global-currency/

HS2: Hybrid Bill Documents that Together Form the HS2 Phase One Environmental Statement


HS2 Cost#AceNewsServices says these documents that together form the HS2 Phase One environmental statement outline the pro’s and con’s of HS2’s environmental impact! It has been given the name “Hybrid Bill” which of course has the hybrid word is a word which etymologically has one part derived from one language and another part derived from a different language. A little like the HS2 as it is being cobbled together in order to obtain contracts ,for those that look to benefit when their tenders are accepted. 

Well here is this cobbled together collection of “Hybrid” parts and God help the countryside when this scheme gets approval, according to the UK Parliament Site this is the progress so far.

Progress of the Bill

Bill started in theHouse of Commons

  1. House of Commons
    1. 1st reading
    2. 2nd reading
    3. Committee stage
    4. Report stage
    5. 3rd reading
  2. House of Lords
    1. 1st reading
    2. 2nd reading
    3. Committee stage
    4. Report stage
    5. 3rd reading
  3. Consideration of Amendments
  4. Royal Assent

Next event

  • 2nd reading: House of Commons2nd reading: House of Commons | Date to be announced

Anyway judge for yourself!          

HS2 BuildingThe ‘HS2 Phase One environmental statement’ was produced to accompany the HS2 Phase One hybrid Bill.

We’re seeking comments on all the documents forming the environmental statement through the HS2 Phase One environmental statement consultation open between 25 November 2013 and 24 January 2014.

Guide to the environmental statement

This document does not form part of the ‘HS2 Phase One environmental statement’ itself but provides a short guide to the makeup of the environmental statement.

  1. Understanding the HS2 Phase One environmental statement

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Non-technical summary and glossary

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement: non-technical summary

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  2. HS2 Phase One environmental statement: glossary and abbreviations

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

HS2 Phase 1 and 2Volume 1: introduction and background information

This provides an introduction to the HS2 Phase One environmental statement under consultation. This volume also includes an overview of the impact assessment process and the consultation itself, and the main strategic, route-wide and local alternatives considered.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 1: introduction to the environmental statement

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Volume 2: area reports

Reports of the main environmental effects of HS2 in different geographical areas (known as ‘community forum areas’) along the HS2 Phase One route. This volume also contains books of maps relevant to each report.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 2: community forum area reports and map books

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Volume 3: route wide effects

This document sets out the likely route wide environmental effects of the construction and operation of Phase One of HS2.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 3: route-wide effects

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Volume 4: off-route effects

This document sets out the likely significant environmental effects of Phase One of HS2 expected at locations beyond the route corridor, such as rail stations, rail depots and rail lines. This volume covers areas not included in the community forum area reports in volume 2.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 4: off-route effects

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Volume 5: supporting information and planning

Documents providing information including: planning consents, standard measures to be followed when building the route, and environmental effects of moving parts of the route within its legal limits.

  1. HS2 Phase One draft environmental statement

    • 25 November 2013
    • Consultation outcome
  2. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: alternatives report

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  3. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: committed developments

    • 25 November 2013
    • Map
  4. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: draft code of construction practice

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  5. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: off-route effects supporting information

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  6. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: planning data

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  7. HS2 Phase One environmental statement: scope and methodology

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  8. HS2 Phase Two consultation: sustainability statement

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  9. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: wider effects

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Volume 5: environmental topic reports and map books

Reports by topic of the environmental effects of the building and operation of Phase One of HS2. This volume also contains books of maps relevant to each report.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: agriculture, forestry and soils

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  2. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: air quality

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  3. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: climate

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  4. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: community

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  5. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: cultural heritage

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  6. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: ecology

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  7. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: electromagnetic interference

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  8. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: land quality

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  9. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: landscape and visual assessment

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  10. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: socio-economics

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  11. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: sound, noise and vibration

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  12. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: traffic and transport

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  13. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: waste

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance
  14. HS2 Phase One environmental statement volume 5: water resources

    • 25 November 2013
    • Guidance

Consultation

Stop HS2Comments are invited on the environmental statement which covers the environmental effects of the building and operation of Phase One of HS2and the measures that could be used to manage and reduce any negative effects.

This consultation is required by parliamentary rules to allow member of the public and other interested parties to comment on the environmental statement which accompanies the HS2 Phase One hybrid Bill.

draft of the HS2 Phase One environmental statement was consulted on in spring 2013.

  1. HS2 Phase One environmental statement

    • 25 November 2013
    • Open consultation

Announcements

  1. Major step forward for HS2 as hybrid Bill published

    • 25 November 2013
    • Press release
  2. High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill

    • 25 November 2013
    • Statement to Parliament

 

Student Loan Repayments the Facts and the Fiction


#AceNewsServices says this is a follow-up to my previous post at NAO

Press Release:

Full report: Student loan repayments

Student Loans the Fact and the FictionUntil the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has a robust strategy for maximizing the collection performance of student loans and improves its information on borrowers, it will not be well-placed to secure value for money, according to today’s report from the National Audit Office.

BIS forecasts that the total value of outstanding student loans will increase from £46 billion in 2013 to approximately £200 billion by 2042, in 2013 prices. The number of borrowers due to repay is projected to increase from 3 million in 2012-13 to 6.5 million by 2042. The loan book is therefore becoming a substantial public asset.

BIS and its collection partners HM Revenue & Customs and the Student Loans Company (SLC) work together in a joined-up way. In 2012-13, they collected £1.4 billion in student loan repayments, at a cost of £27m. While using the existing tax system brings clear benefits for efficient collection from borrowers who work and pay tax in the UK, BIS nevertheless needs to make better use of data to support  its collection strategy and improve its understanding of where it could invest to maximise the collection value of the loan book.

In designing how student loans would work, BIS anticipated that a proportion of the loans would not be repaid. However, BIS has not set an annual target for the amount to be collected because repayments are affected by graduate earnings and economic factors outside its direct control. It does not separately publish its forecasts for the amounts it expects to be collected and has had difficulty developing an accurate forecasting model. Annual repayment forecasts are consistently higher than amounts collected and BIS cannot explain why forecast repayments are currently around 8 per cent higher in value than actual repayments.

Furthermore, it has not done enough to establish whether borrowers with no current employment record are earning enough to repay their loans. While many of these borrowers may not be in employment, BIS and the SLC have carried out little analysis to establish how many may be working overseas or the level of repayments that may be missed. They need to improve their information on borrowers to make more informed judgements about where to invest to maximize recovery.

Book Debt Sell Off“Given the expanding size of the student loan book, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills now needs to take a more energetic and considered approach to maximizing the value of the loan book to the taxpayer and achieving a high level of collection performance.”

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, 28 November 2013

Notes for Readers:

£46bn

Total value of outstanding student loans, March 2013.

£55bn

Total student loans paid out since scheme introduction in 1990.

35%

The proportion of new loans BIS does not expect to be repaid.

£200 billion

Projected value of outstanding student loans by 2042.

£21,000

Earnings threshold for new loans above which borrowers begin  repaying.

£1.4 billion

Total repayments collected in 2012-13.

£27 million

Total spent by the Student Loans Company and HM Revenue & Customs on maintaining and collecting repayments in 2012-13.

82 per cent

Proportion of repayments collected through the UK tax system in 2012-13 (the rest is collected by the Student Loans Company).

50 per cent

Estimated proportion of borrowers with new student loans who will not fully repay.

8 per cent

Gap between forecast and actual repayments collected, 2011-12.

1. The government introduced student loans in 1990 to support students, primarily for living costs but subsequently extended to include tuition fees. The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) is responsible for ensuring that there is an effective and efficient system for collecting student loan repayments from English borrowers and from EU borrowers attending English universities. The Student Loans Company (SLC) and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) operate the system for collecting loan repayments.

2. Press notices and reports are available from the date of publication on the NAO website, which is at http://www.nao.org.uk. Hard copies can be obtained from The Stationery Office on 0845 702 3474.

3. The National Audit Office scrutinises public spending for Parliament and is independent of government. The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), Amyas Morse, is an Officer of the House of Commons and leads the NAO, which employs some 860 staff. The C&AG certifies the accounts of all government departments and many other public sector bodies. He has statutory authority to examine and report to Parliament on whether departments and the bodies they fund have used their resources efficiently, effectively, and with economy. Our studies evaluate the value for money of public spending, nationally and locally. Our recommendations and reports on good practice help government improve public services, and our work led to audited savings of almost £1.2 billion in 2012.

28 November 2013

 

Over Half the Customers Surveyed Said They Felt Undervalued by Their Bank


Ipsos MORI
Ipsos MORI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceFinanceNews says over half of “Consumers feel undervalued by their Bank” leading banks to look at closer at  their customer experience gap,  with friendly, knowledgeable staff and banking services as the consumer demands.

Almost half of consumers in GBGermanyFrance and the US feel their bank does not value them as a customer ( 48 per cent), according to new Ipsos MORI research commissioned by GMC Software Technology. Consumers want to decide how they bank, with almost three-quarters wanting to request the format in which they receive information from their bank (72 per cent) and also at a time that suits them (74 per cent). Banks therefore need to listen to consumers to deliver the services they need. However, only 19 per cent of consumers really believe banks understand
how to deliver good customer experience.

FULL STORY AT: AFN

 

History of the Jefferson Nickel


English: Ad placed by Samuel Brown in numismat...
English: Ad placed by Samuel Brown in numismatic magazines, offering to buy 1913 Liberty Head nickels (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceHistoryNews says the coin is an American five-cent piece which was produced in extremely limited quantities without the authority of the United States Mint.

The Liberty head design was used between 1883 and 1913, when it was replaced by the Indian Head (Buffalo) design.

The first official striking of nickels by the Mint in 1913 were of the Buffalo design, and the official records have no record of Liberty Head nickels produced in that year.

The 1913 Liberty Head Nickel was part of the hopes and dreams for something better that saw the American nation through the terrible Depression Era of the 1930’s. Riding on the foundation of this hope, later coin dealers who handled the 1913 Nickels built upon the legend, enhancing and enlarging it.

However, five 1913 Liberty Head Nickels were created and were first displayed at the American Numismatic Association‘s annual convention by the coin collector Samuel Brown. Brown had previously placed an advertisement in The Numismatist in December 1919 looking for information on these coins and offering to pay $500 for each.  However, various theories abound as to where he acquired the coins:  as Brown had been an employee of the Mint in 1913, many numismatic historians have concluded that he was responsible for unofficially striking the coins himself.

The five coins in existence are known as the Eliasberg, the Olsen, the Norweb, the McDermott, and the Reynolds.

The Eliasberg specimen is the finest known 191...
The Eliasberg specimen is the finest known 1913 Liberty Head nickel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eliasberg Specimen:

The  Eliasberg is the finest known specimen of the five 1913 Liberty Head nickels. Of the five, two have proof surfaces, and the other three were  produced with standard striking techniques. The finest of the coins has been graded Proof-66 by various professional grading services,  including PCGS and NGC.

This coin was purchased from  Newman and Johnson by the Numismatic Gallery, a coin dealership that then sold it to famed collector Louis Eliasberg. It remained in Eliasberg’s collection until after his death. In May 1996, it was sold at an auction conducted by Bowers and Merena,  where it was purchased by rarities dealer Jay Parrino for $1,485,000, breaking the World Record price for a coin at that time.

When it was auctioned again in March 2001, the price rose to $1,840,000. In May 2005, Legend Numismatics purchased the Eliasberg specimen for $4,150,000. In 2007, the Eliasberg Specimen was sold to an unnamed  collector in California for $5 million.

Olsen SpecimenOlsen Specimen:

The Olsen specimen was  once featured on Hawaii Five-O (in an episode called ‘The $100,000 Nickel’, aired in 1973, and is the most famous of the five. It has been graded Proof-64 by both PCGS and NGC, and was also briefly owned by Egyptian King Farouk.

It was bought by collector Fred Olsen, who then sold the coin to Farouk, but his name has remained attached to it ever since. It was purchased by World Wide Coin Investments in 1972 for $100,000, who then sold it for $200,000 to  Superior Galleries in 1978. It has been resold several times, most recently  by Heritage Auction Galleries in January 2010 for $3,737,500.

Norweb SpecimenNorweb Specimen:

The Norweb specimen is currently displayed in an exhibition at The Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

In 1949 it was purchased by King Farouk to replace the Olsen specimen, which he had sold. It remained in Farouk’s collection until he was deposed in 1952. Two years later his possessions were all auctioned off by the new regime, and the coin was purchased by Ambassador Henry Norweb. In 1977 he donated the specimen to the Smithsonian, where it remains to this day10.

Walton Specimen:

The Walton specimen was believed to have been lost for over 40 years. The collector George O. Walton purchased it from Newman and Johnson in 1945. On March 9, 1962, Walton died in a car crash whilst on his way to exhibit the Nickel at a coin show. $250,000 worth of coins was recovered from the crash site, and among them was the 1913 Liberty nickel in a custom-made holder.

Walton SpecimenHowever, in 1963 when his relatives later tried to sell the coins at auction the nickel was mistakenly identified as a fake. The coin remained in the possession of Walton’s relatives until 2003, when the American Numismatic Association launched a nationwide hunt for the missing fifth specimen. He arranged with Bowers and Merena auction house to offer $1m to purchase the coin or as a guarantee for consigning it to one of their auctions, and a reward of $10,000 was offered if representatives of Bowers and Merena could be the first to see the long-lost specimen.

Walton’s relatives heard about the reward, and brought it to the ANA convention in Baltimore where expert authenticators from the P.C.G.S examined it and determined it to be genuine. The coin is still owned by Walton’s relatives and is on loan to the American Numismatic Association’s Edward C. Rochette Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

McDermott Specimen:

McDermott SpecimenAlso currently held by the Money Museum, the McDermott Specimen is the only one to bear circulation marks. It was once owned  by collector J.V. McDermott, who often carried the coin around with him and would show it off in bars. Due to this activity, the coin lost some of its original mint lustre, becoming circulated in condition. After McDermott died the coin was sold in 1967 for US$46,000, and later donated to the ANA in 1989, where it is exhibited in the Money Museum

Other theories suggest they were created as test pieces in 1912, or created as cabinet pieces for the Mint itself. However they came into existence, all five were sold by Brown in 1924 and passed through the hands of various collectors until they reached Colonel E.H.R. Green. Green kept them in his collection until his death in 1936. His estate was then auctioned off, and all five of the 1913  Liberty Head nickels were purchased by two dealers, Eric P. Newman and B.G. Johnson. The dealers then broke up the set for the first time.

Its legendary status was due in large part to the coin dealer B. Max Mehl, who used it as part of a publicity campaign to sell copies of his ‘Star Rare Coin Encyclopaedia’. He advertised across the country that he would pay $50 to anyone who found one and sent it to him, and such an offer during the Depression caused great excitement as the nation started searching through their loose change.

Conclusion: 

Jefferson NickelThe Jefferson nickel has been the five-cent coin struck by the United States Mint since 1938, when it replaced the Buffalo nickel. Since 2006, the copper-nickel coin’s obverse has featured a  forward-facing portrayal of early U.S. President Thomas Jefferson by Jamie Franki. The coin’s reverse is the original by Felix Schlag; in 2004 and 2005, the piece bore commemorative designs. The Mint conducted a competition for a new nickel depicting Jefferson and his home, Monticello, which Schlag won, but was required to submit an entirely new reverse and make other changes. The new piece went into production in October 1938 and was released on November 15. As nickel was a strategic war material during World War II, nickels coined from 1942 to 1945  were struck in a copper-silver-manganese alloy which would not require adjustment to vending machines, and bear a large mint mark above the depiction of Monticello on the reverse. In 2004 and 2005, the nickel saw new designs as part of the Westward Journey nickel series, and since 2006 has borne Schlag’s reverse and Franki’s obverse.

In 1996, numismatic history was made as Jay Parino paid over 1 million dollars for the Eliasberg specimen of the 1913 liberty  nickel. This was the first coin to break the million-dollar barrier, with a final hammer price of $1,485,000 after a 10% buyer’s fee was added. This amount surpassed the previous record paid, set in 1989, of $990,000 for the Dexter specimen of the 1804 Dollar and the $962,500 paid for the Reed Hawn Specimen of the 1913 Liberty Nickel. You can read a transcript of this sale, and even listen to the actual auction call by clicking here. The mystery surrounding this coin is that, while there are 5 known specimens, there is no record at the mint of any being produced. Here lies the mystery.

The existence of a Nickel with the Liberty design dated 1913 was not known until the ANA convention in 1920,  and even speculation of such a coin was not even thought of until the following ad was placed in the December 1919 issue of the Numismatist.

 

Alistair Burt Middle Eastern Foreign Minister Welcomes Step that will Starve Al Qaeda of Access to Funding


#AceWorldNews says Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt welcomes step that will starve Al Qaeda of access to funding.

Speaking in New York the other day, where he co-chaired the Friends of Yemen conference, Mr Burt said:
English: World map about terrorist attacks of ...
English: World map about terrorist attacks of al-Qaeda. Español: Atentados atribuidos a Al Qaida Dansk: Verdenskort med alle de terror angreb der påstås at været begået af al-Qaeda. Svenska: Världskarta över Al-qaida attentat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) aims to destabilise the Government of Yemen and its security forces. Its ability to do so is significantly enhanced by funding gained through large ransom payments for foreign national hostages. We estimate that in the last two years AQAP has received almost US$20 million in ransom payments. Should this continue, AQAP’s attack capability in Yemen and against its friends and neighbours will only strengthen. “Many Friends of Yemen members in this room have experienced the kidnap of their nationals overseas, and know the terrible impact kidnaps have on individuals and their families. But they also know that making concessions to terrorists, including through ransom payments, serves only to fuel the problem and increases the risk to our nationals.

That is why members of the G8, many of whom are here today, took the unprecedented step at the G8 Summit in Lough Erne to unequivocally reject ransom payments to terrorists. Similar action to reject ransoms to terrorists by Yemen and its friends, who are committed to Yemen’s recovery, will starve AQAP of access to the funding it relies on to exist.