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Europe’s largest pension fund to drop tobacco and nuclear weapons investments

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Owen Walker YESTERDAY Europe’s biggest pension fund, ABP of the Netherlands, plans to ax tobacco and nuclear weapons from its investment portfolio. The €405bn scheme joins a growing list of institutional investors in shunning stocks they deem harmful to the environment and to human health. The industry-wide fund, which manages money on behalf of 2.9m members, said on Thursday it will sell €3.3bn of tobacco and nuclear arms industry holdings in the next year. “Investments in tobacco and nuclear weapons have been a dilemma for us for quite some t... Read More »

Shell sells stake in Dutch wind farm to Switzerland’s Partners Group

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Terms of Partners Group’s participation in the “Blauwwind II” consortium were not disclosed. Project leader Shell, which last month put together a 13-bank consortium to provide 1 billion euros in funding to build it, cut its stake to 20 percent from 40 percent. Eneco, which disclosed on Monday it had agreed to buy 50 percent of the output from Borssele 3 and 4, cut its stake in ownership of the project to 10 percent from 20 percent. Shell has said it intended to continue investing in major offshore wind projects, arranging the highest-risk f... Read More »

Here’s how Europe’s storm names are chosen—and you can pick one, too

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Storm Eleanor has wrought havoc in Europe. Its intense flooding, gales and strong winds which swept Ireland, the UK, France and Spain this week has left hundreds of thousands without power, and at least four people dead in separate incidents. Before Eleanor, there was Dylan, Cermen, Herwart, Ophelia, Aileen and many more, but it is only by naming these storms that we can identify them internationally. Who names our storms? Storm names have been named in Europe for centuries. A powerful storm labelled ‘Ulysses’ reportedly swept Ireland in 1903... Read More »

UK companies will face huge new VAT burden after Brexit

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More than 130,000 UK firms will be forced to pay VAT upfront for the first time on all goods imported from the European Union after Brexit, under controversial legislation to be considered by MPs on Monday. The VAT changes spelled out in the taxation (cross-border trade) bill – one of a string of Brexit laws passing through parliament – are causing uproar among UK business groups, which say that they will create acute cashflow problems and huge additional bureaucracy. Labour and Tory MPs and peers said that the only way to avoid the VAT Brexit ... Read More »

Macron proposes anti-fake news election law

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Emmanuel Macron has said he will overhaul media law in France this year to fight the spread of  "fake news" on social media. Since he was elected last year, the French President has criticized Russian media in particular, openly accusing TV channel RT of sowing disinformation about him via its website and social media during the presidential election. "If we want to protect liberal democracies, we must have strong legislation," Mr Macron told a news conference on Wednesday. Mr Macron said the legislation would concern social media platforms,... Read More »

UK bosses are richest in Europe

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Research by Vlerick Business School in Belgium found that FTSE 100 chief executives took home pay packages worth 94 times those of their average staff member, despite government attempts to crackdown on ballooning corporate compensation. The school’s analysis, reported by the Financial Times, found that top French and German company chiefs were the only ones who came close to their British peers, earning multiples of 91 and 89 times their average worker. ... Read More »

Aston Martin to recall over 5,000 vehicles in U.S. – safety agency

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The recalls are expected to begin on Feb. 1., 2018 and come as the owners of the carmaker made famous by fictional spy James Bone prepare for a stock market listing or sale of the company. The documents on the NHTSA website say Aston Martin is recalling 3,493 DB9, DBS, Rapide, Virage and Vanquish models that were made between 2009 and 2016 due to problems that can cause the transmission park pawl to not engage, which could make the vehicle roll and increase the risk of a crash. The Gaydon, England-based company is also recalling 1,953 DB9... Read More »

Facebook caves under pressure from governments to change tax structure

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It currently re-routes revenue through its international headquarters in Dublin and attracted criticism in the UK after it was shown to have paid just over £4,000 in tax in 2014. Corporate taxation has become a hot-button topic in the wake of revelations of tax avoidance schemes by multinationals which have led to calls for companies to pay more tax. The company is expected to start paying tax on its local operations across roughly 30 jurisdictions outside the United States including France, Germany and eight other EU countries where Faceboo... Read More »

Spain agrees 4 percent rise in minimum wage for 2018

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pain’s economy emerged from recession in 2013 and become one of the fastest growing economies in the euro zone. However, many of the jobs created during the recovery have been temporary or part-time, leading to low wages and rising inequality. Unions have long asked for wages to rise to reflect Spain’s strong economic growth. The government’s end-of-year growth forecast is 3.1 percent. On Tuesday, they said they were pleased with the wage increase. “It is a boost to rebuild the salaries of people who lost most in the economic crisis,” sai... Read More »

World’s ‘steepest funicular line’ set to open in Switzerland

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The new railway, which cost 44.6 million euros, will be officially opened by the country’s president, Doris Leuthard. It has unusual barrel-shaped carriages that adjust their floors so passengers can still stand upright even as they go up at steep inclines. Gradients up to the Alpine resort of Stoos can reach up to 110 percent. The train, which will go into public service on Sunday, will climb 743 metres over a span of 1,738 metres, at speeds of up 10 metres per second. "After 14 years of planning and building, everyone is very proud of this... Read More »

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