Top Stories

December 21, 2015


Fifa: Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini get lengthy bans

Fifa president Sepp Blatter and Uefa boss Michel Platini have been suspended for eight years from all football-related activities following an ethics investigation. They were found guilty of breaches surrounding a £1.3 million “disloyal payment” made to Platini in 2011. The Fifa ethics committee found Blatter and Platini had demonstrated an “abusive execution” of their positions. Blatter’s actions did not show “commitment to an ethical attitude”, and both men were found to be in “a conflict of interest”. Charges included conflict of interest, false accounting and non co-operation, with investigators submitting a file of more than 50 pages. The bans come into force immediately. Blatter and Platini have also been fined £33,700 and £54,000 respectively. Both men continue to deny wrongdoing and a spokesman for Blatter confirmed he will appeal against the ban. (BBC)


UK employers warn of cost risks from minimum wage and skills levy

Britain’s government risks intervening too much in the job market with a higher minimum wage and a new levy to fund apprenticeships, which could threaten the country’s economic growth prospects, an employers’ group has said. Just over half the services firms that took part in a CBI survey said they would raise their prices, and 27 percent said they would employ fewer workers after the higher minimum wage is introduced in April. On the apprenticeship levy, which aims to fund 3 million apprenticeships, only one in six companies said it was the right approach to fixing Britain’s skills shortage. Almost half said it would be costly and bureaucratic. Neil Carberry, the CBI’s director for employment and skills, said businesses’ main worry was that the levy did nothing to address the problem that many apprenticeships were of poor quality.  (Reuters; FT*)

Responsible Investment

US ‘Shark’ looking to invest in more women-led start-ups

Investors and business leaders including celebrity “Shark Tank” show investor, Kevin O’Leary, are working to change the gender gap which exists in accessing venture capital. While every investment situation is unique, O’Leary and other entrepreneurs say lack of men on the leadership team, or a focus on “crafty” businesses like baking can be held against women entrepreneurs as they try to raise cash. A 2014 study on women entrepreneurs from Babson College found only 2.7 percent of the companies that received venture capital funding, from 2011 through 2013, had a woman chief executive. Looking beyond those biases, however, and investing in more female entrepreneurs can pay off big. More than a third of O’Leary’s portfolio of businesses are either owned or run by women. The returns from these companies are on average 75 percent higher than his businesses led by men, he said. “It’s just facts for me. At the end of the day this is returns,” O’Leary said. (CNBC)


Ed Miliband aims for UK cross-party coalition on climate change

British Labour Party politician, Ed Miliband, has vowed to build a “high-ambition coalition” of UK businesses, trade unions and civic society to challenge the government’s “backward” environmental policies. The former Labour leader said the agreement reached at the UN climate talks in Paris this month provided a historic opportunity to tackle climate change. But he said time was running out. “This is the thing my kids will judge me on,” said Miliband, who stood down as Labour leader after losing the election in May. “Did you do something about this? Were you the last generation not to get it or the first generation to get it? I think that is in the balance now.” “It is a very significant moment,” he said, “but it is a beginning not an end and the question now is can we build on this moment, on this opportunity, or not?” (Guardian)


Devastating mudslide leaves 91 people missing in China

At least 91 people were missing after a huge mound of mud and construction waste collapsed at a business park in southern China and buried 33 buildings in the country’s latest industrial disaster. Premier Li Keqiang ordered an official investigation into the landslide in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen, just across the border from Hong Kong, which comes four months after huge chemical blasts at the northern port of Tianjin killed more than 160 people. The mud and waste smashed into multi-storey buildings at the Hengtaiyu industrial park in the city’s northwestern Guangming New District, toppling them in collisions that sent rivers of earth skyward. Al Jazeera reporter said: “The area affected equals 14 soccer pitches – so that gives you an idea of how big this thing was. Most of [the missing] are migrant workers.” He added that it is usually migrant workers who are most badly affected by such disasters in China. (Al Jazeera)

*Subscription required

Image Source: Sepp Blatter at signing of agreement by Marcello Casal Jr./ABr / CC BY 3.0 BR