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August 22, 2022


P&O Ferries not to face criminal proceedings for mass sackings

P&O Ferries will not face criminal proceedings over its mass sacking of almost 800 workers earlier in 2022. The company provoked public anger and was hauled in front of MPs to answer questions when it sacked hundreds of workers without notice in March. The UK government business secretary had asked the Insolvency Service to investigate whether any criminal or civil offences had been committed. However, a statement by the government agency said it had determined there was “no realistic prospect of a conviction”. A civil investigation is ongoing. During parliamentary hearings, P&O admitted it had broken the law by not giving notice of the firings. Labour opposition has accused the government of breaking its pledge to hold P&O to account, warning of a repeat of the mass firing without  stronger labour legislation. (The Guardian)


Singapore ends ban on gay sex, enshrines heterosexual marriage

Singapore will repeal a law that bans gay sex, effectively making it legal to be homosexual in the city-state. The decision, announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on national TV, comes after years of fierce debate. LGBTQ activists in Singapore have hailed the move as a win. The city-state is known for its conservative values, but in recent years an increasing number of people have called for the colonial-era ‘377A’ law to be abolished. Singapore is the latest jurisdiction in Asia to move on LGBTQ rights, after India, Taiwan and Thailand. However, in the same speech, the Prime Minister enshrined heterosexual marriage as constitutional, effectively making it harder for gay marriage to be legalised. Singapore inherited 377A from British colonial rule and chose to retain it after independence in 1965. (BBC News)


City of Sydney to ban fossil fuel advertising on public property

Australia’s commercial capital Sydney could become the first major urban centre in Asia Pacific to ban fossil fuels advertising from public spaces. The city’s deputy lord mayor will propose a motion to request an investigation into banning fossil fuel advertisements and sponsorship deals. A ban on fossil fuel advertising would go a step further than mandating public health warnings on fossil fuel brand advertising. Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of fossil fuels and home to major fossil fuel brands which have collectively spent an estimated US$164 million a year on advertising. Sydney would become the second big city in the world to ban fossil fuel advertising, after Amsterdam, and the second city to stop fossil fuel brands from sponsoring events, after English city Norwich. (Eco-Business)


Number of unemployed over-50s in the UK surges by 10%

The number of people aged 50-64 who are economically inactive in the UK has increased to 3.6 million, representing a rise of almost 10% prior to the pandemic. Other findings released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) include data showing that 375,000 of over-50s were claiming unemployment benefits in July. This total of over-50s in receipt of state help while looking for work has risen by 65,000 since the month immediately prior to the pandemic. . The number of over-50s on unemployment benefit is also 173,000 higher than five years ago. The ONS’s ‘Over 50s Lifestyle Study’ found that 39% of those who left work or lost their job during the pandemic would consider returning to paid work. (The Guardian)


EU watchdog backs ESG ‘quality label’ for market benchmarks

The European Union’s markets watchdog has called for a ‘quality label’ for market benchmarks that would seek to prevent investors being misled by environmental, social and governance (ESG) claims. In a statement released by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the watchdog claims the absence of clear labelling "raises questions on the inclusion of firms with a negative environmental or social impact in these benchmarks."  ESMA’s statement is in response to a public consultation from the European Commission on updating rules for benchmarks. It believes that minimum methodology standards should underpin an EU quality label . The watchdog also believes that compilers of ESG benchmarks based outside the EU should comply with EU rules if they want investors inside the bloc to use them, in order to minimise greenwashing risk and regulatory arbitrage. (Reuters)

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