UPDATE 2-UK’s payday lenders escape interest rate clampdown
Artists include Paigey Cakey, Mike GLC, and DVS. Paigey Cakey “Same Way” Now settled into the seasoned nest of Alwayz Recordings (Chip), Paigey Cakey has the support to really fly. The pint-sized MC will release her new EP, The Next Paige, in November, with the first track being something all the haters can swivel on, “Same Way.” Mike GLC “Flying High” Mike GLC has had possibly the worst year of his life, after being unfairly set up by The Sun, but the rapper hasn’t let any of the drama distract him from his music grind (slackers, take note). The title of his new track, “Flying High,” would probably suggest that he ain’t worried about nothin’, but his lyrical content digs deeper than youd expect. DVS Feat. Syikes “Versace” (Freestyle) Just when you thought you heard all of the “Versace” freestyles possible, DVS comes through with a hood version of the Migos club banger. As expected, the Brixton-bred rapper spits flossy rhymes whilst rocking flossy Versace threads in the video (standard!) The track also features fellow Brixtonite, Syikes. DVS’ London Boy, American Dreaming mixtape drops next month. Blacks & Footsie Feat. Little Dee “Lunatic” Despite the poor visuals, Blacks, Footsie, and Little Dees new grime number, “Lunatic,” is a good’un. Bars for days!
Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor LONDON | Wed Oct 2, 2013 2:43am EDT LONDON (Reuters) – Tesco (TSCO.L), Britain’s biggest grocer that is 18 months into a recovery plan, posted flat quarterly sales in its home market on Wednesday, as 1 billion pounds ($1.62 billion) of investment failed to boost its fortunes. The country’s biggest retailer and the world’s third largest said sales at UK stores open over a year, excluding fuel and VAT sales tax, showed zero growth in the 13 weeks to August 24, its fiscal second quarter. That compared to analysts’ forecasts in a range of flat to down 0.5 percent and does represent an improvement on a first quarter decline of 1 percent. First-half group trading profit fell 7.6 percent to 1.59 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) in the six months to August 24 – in line with analysts’ forecasts. That was hit by a particularly poor performance in Europe, where trading profit in the first half was down 68 percent. “We are continuing to make good progress on building a better Tesco in the UK and the investments we have made in our international businesses have started to feed through into an improved trading performance in the second half,” the group said. “However, challenging economic conditions overseas, particularly in Europe, have held back consumer confidence and spending, leading to a lower level of sales than expected.” Once the envy of British retailers Tesco has been hurt by falling profits and asset write-downs, a costly retreat from U.S. and Japanese markets and revelations that horsemeat had been found in some meat products sold by it and other retailers. In Britain it was hit hard by the economic downturn because compared to rivals it sells a higher proportion of non-food items, where consumers have cut back the most and also following years of underinvestment that resulted in it losing ground to Wal-Mart’s (WMT.N) Asda, the No. 2, and J Sainsbury (SBRY.L), the No. 3. Tesco is also the most affected by the growth of discounters Aldi ALDIEI.UL and Lidl LIDUK.UL, according to JPMorgan Cazenove, until recently Tesco’s house broker. Though the firm has invested heavily in store upgrades, product ranges, more staff and its online offer for a British market which contributes over two-thirds of group revenue, its share of the market is still showing a year-on-year decline, monthly industry data showed last week. The firm is also facing serious challenges in its international markets, though it has struck deals to exit its loss-making business in America and fold its unprofitable Chinese operation into a state-run company. “The challenging retail environment in Europe has continued to affect the performance and profitability of our businesses there,” Chief Executive Philip Clarke said.
by Charlie Osborne September 30, 2013 8:08 AM PDT The UK government is planning to recruit hundreds of computer specialists to defend core infrastructure against cyberthreats, Conservative Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said Sunday. Speaking at the annual Conservative party conference, Hammond said the United Kingdom was dedicating additional resources and funds to building a strong cyber intelligence and surveillance network, according to Reuters . As cybercrime continues to prove a lucrative way for hackers to steal valuable data for profit or as part of state-sponsored jobs — and many governments struggle to catch up and protect networks adequately against rising attacks — defense budget funds now need to not only consider physical threats, but digital warfare as well. Hammond commented: “Last year our cyber defenses blocked around 400,000 advanced malicious cyber threats against the government’s secure internet alone, so the threat is real. But simply building cyber defenses is not enough: as in other domains of warfare, we also have to deter. Britain will build a dedicated capability to counterattack in cyberspace and if necessary to strike in cyberspace.” In February, the National Audit Office named “addressing the UK’s current and future ICT and cybersecurity skills gap” as a “key challenge.” The NAO report was published as part of the UK’s 650 million pound ($1.09 billion) Cyber Security Strategy scheme, and said it could take “20 years” to address the skills gap at all levels of education. Not only could a dedicated task force of offensive security experts deter hackers in the future, but the Defence Secretary told the Mail on Sunday that cyberstrikes could work “alongside conventional weapons in future conflicts,” disabling communications, nuclear weapons, ships and critical hardware. To establish the new cybersecurity force, the UK will recruit experts in their hundreds from a number of fields. The recruitment drive will include civilian computer experts who will be part of the “Joint Cyber Reserve,” and their role will be to work alongside members of the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ to protect critical infrastructure and prevent data theft. The cost of the program was not disclosed, but recruitment is due to begin in October. Hammond commented : “Increasingly, our defense budget is being invested in high-end capabilities such as cyber and intelligence and surveillance assets to ensure we can keep the country safe. The cyber reserves will be an essential part of ensuring we defend our national security in cyber-space. This is an exciting opportunity for Internet experts in industry to put their skills to good use for the nation, protecting our vital computer systems and capabilities.” The UK is also seeking ways to train the next generation of cyberspecialists. In May, two UK universities — Oxford and Royal Holloway — were granted 7.5 million pounds in funding to help develop the country’s skills in online security.
UK gears up for cyberwarfare offensives
Unite, Britain and Ireland’s biggest trade union which represents 1.4 million workers across all sectors of the economy, said the measures were “too little, too late.” “They fail to deal with the real reason people who borrow from a payday lender end up in deep financial trouble, which is the criminally high interest rates these lenders can get away with,” said general secretary Len McCluskey. Britain’s opposition Labour party said the government should impose a cap on payday interest rates straight away. Chris Leslie, the opposition finance spokesman, said lenders were “making a mint while ministers sit on their hands.” The FCA, which has powers to impose a cap, said it was concerned that doing so could make it harder for people to borrow and push them into the hands of backstreet loan sharks. Australia, most parts of the United States and some European countries have slapped a cap on payday loan interest rates, said Andre Spicer, a professor at London’s Cass Business School, who argued that imposing a cap would push lenders to consider more ethical alternatives like community credit co-ops. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has campaigned for tighter control of the industry and pledged to use the Church to build up credit unions to compete with payday lenders. He told Reuters the FCA’s measures would protect “those most at risk from the dangers of an uncontrolled slide into unmanageable debt” and welcomed the introduction of a curb on how often lenders can retrieve payments. The FCA said loan companies would only be allowed to dip into a customers bank account or credit card twice to obtain payment after normal collection has been unsuccessful, a practice known as continuous payment authority. MILESTONE “The publication of the FCA’s rule book is an important milestone for the entire consumer credit industry, and an opportunity to set a bar over which irresponsible lenders will struggle to jump,” said Russell Hamblin-Boone, Chief Executive of the Consumer Finance Association, which represents the major short-term lenders operating in the UK. A government survey released on Thursday showed payday lenders were not fully complying with industry standards designed to protect consumers. Nearly a quarter of consumers were put under pressure to extend their loan and about half said lenders did not explain the risks to them of doing so, said the survey of more than 4,000 people. “This research shows that the industry has failed to self-regulate effectively. We warned the industry months ago that if it didn’t get its house in order we would step in,” said government minister Jo Swinson.