‘ Thailand Freezes Prices of Goods’

#AceFinanceNews – BANGKOK – June 06 – Thailand’s Commerce Ministry said on Friday that prices of many consumer goods would be capped for six months to November.

The measure is aimed at holding down living costs and boost the economy and confidence. 

“Producers of 205 categories of necessary consumer goods are happy to freeze prices for six months,”Reuters quoted the ministry’s permanent secretary, Srirat Rastapana, as saying.

Rastapana is acting minister under a military government that seized power on May 22.

The move was announced after a meeting with companies and trade associations.

Straits Times

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‘ Great Recession of 2008 Parallels the Recessions of Past Years ‘

#AceFinanceNews – UNITED STATES – June 06 – The popular conception of the Great Recession explains that it stemmed from a financial shock. Housing prices stopped going up, and then Lehman Brothers fell, triggering paralysis in the credit markets. This spilled onto Main Street, and the effects still linger in terms of elevated unemployment and sluggish economic growth.

But this history of the recession can’t be right, say two economics professors who have studied the data.

In their new book House of Debt, Amir Sufi of the University of Chicago and Atif Mian of Princeton point out that consumer purchases dropped sharply well before the September 2008 Lehman bankruptcy, and most deeply in places where home prices fell the most.

They found that steeper declines in net worth — many home-owners were completely wiped out by falling home prices — led to far sharper reductions in consumer spending, and bigger job losses.

But even those with no debt suffer when fire-sale foreclosures drop home prices, and lower overall demand spreads out across the country.

By reviewing other economic downturns, Mian and Sufi discover two recurring features: a build-up of household debt before the crash, and an extreme decline in consumer spending after-ward, as households cut back, hoarding money to pay off those scaled-up debts.

The normal channels of fiscal and monetary policy have difficulty dealing with highly leveraged household balance sheets. House of Debt correlates these features of recessions, and really targets debt as the core problem, arguing that it needs to be restructured during crises and prevented during better times.

This critique — about the destructive power of debt and the need to forgive it — has in recent years come from far more radical circles, not from two economics professors trained in the classical tradition. “When we pitched the book, one publisher said, this is the intellectual justification for Occupy Wall Street,” said Professor Sufi in an interview. “We did not set out with that agenda.

But one of the points we make is that the position we’re taking is not that radical if you look at history.”

Related: Economy May Never Fully Recover from Crisis

Ace Related News:

1. Courtesy of Fiscal Times (BY DAVID DAYEN,)– June 06 – http://tinyurl.com/nu3hyog

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` Businesses Protected On-Line By New Cyber Essentials Award ‘

#AceFinanceNews – UK Gov – Press Release – BAE Systems, Barclays and Hewlett-Packard are amongst the first businesses applying for the new Cyber Essentials award.

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The award will allow business to show consumers that they have measures in place to help defend against common cyber threats, such as the recent GOZeuS and CryptoLocker malware attacks.

The scheme, which goes live today (5 June 2014), was introduced by the government in April 2014. Until now, there had been no single recognised cyber-security assurance certification suitable for all businesses to adopt.

The Cyber Essentials scheme also has the backing of insurers, which are offering incentives to businesses to become certified.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:

The recent GOZeuS and CryptoLocker attacks, as well as the Ebay hack, show how far cyber criminals will go to steal people’s financial details, and we absolutely cannot afford to be complacent.

We already spend more on-line than any other major country in the world, and this is in no small part because Britain is already a world leader in cyber-security. Developing this new scheme will give consumers further confidence that business and government have defences in place to protect against the most common cyber threats.

Mike Cherry, FSB National Policy Chairman said:

FSB research found that cyber crime costs small businesses around £800 million every year and is a threat that cannot be ignored. Many businesses take steps to protect themselves but the cost of crime can act as a barrier to growth. For example, some businesses refrain from embracing new technology as they fear the repercussions and do not believe they will get adequate protection from crime.

In the face of an ever increasing threat of cyber attacks, the FSBsupports BIS’s Cyber Essentials Scheme as an additional and important tool, designed to help reduce the risk to small firms and improve the resilience of the sector.

Small businesses including Nexor, Tier 3 and Skyscape are adopting the scheme, as well as the University of Derby, the Confederation of British Industry, the Institute of Risk Management and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

From 1 October 2014, government will require all suppliers bidding for certain personal and sensitive information handling contracts to be Cyber Essentials certified. This will provide further protections for the information the government handles and will encourage adoption of the new scheme more widely.

The scheme is a key objective of the government’s National Cyber Security Strategy and is being delivered as part of the government’s £860 million National Cyber Security Programme.

Jamie Bouloux, Cyber Liability Underwriting Manager of insurance firm AIG said:

AIG is pleased to support the Cyber Essentials Scheme, which provides an effective way for organisations to manage essential cybersecurity risks. As part of our commitment to the programme, we will incorporate Cyber Essentials into our risk assessment process for new cyber insurance policies, offering preferential rates to those prospective AIG clients who have obtained a Cyber Essentials Certificate as part of our commitment to superior cyber hygiene and overall cyber risk management.

Mark Weil, Chief Executive of insurance broker Marsh UK and Ireland, said:

As a global leader in insurance broking and risk management, Marsh designs and delivers solutions that enable companies to protect themselves against cyber risks. We welcome this new government initiative to improve security practice to an accredited standard and believe it will make insurance more attainable for UK businesses.

To ensure the new Award is cost-effective and suitable for smaller businesses there are two levels of assurance available, Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus. The scheme is also available to universities, charities and the public sector.

Guidance on meeting the Cyber Essentials requirements can be downloaded for free for organisations to self-assess themselves ahead of gaining formal certification.

Notes to editors

  1. Obtaining a Cyber Essentials Badge will mean a company can advertise the fact that it takes cybersecurity seriously – boosting reputations and providing a competitive selling point.
  2. Cyber Essentials has been developed in close consultation with industry to provide businesses with clarity on good cyber practice.
  3. The scheme is being backed by AIG, Marsh, Swiss Re, the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) and the International Underwriting Association.
  4. From 1 October 2014, government will require all suppliers bidding for certain contracts which are assessed as higher risk to be Cyber Essentials certified. The suppliers and contracts affected are likely to be from the following sectors: IT managed or outsourced services, commercial services, financial services, legal services, HR services and business services. This will not be mandatory for suppliers through G-Cloud or the Digital Services Framework. Further guidance for suppliers will be issued later this year.
  5. Information on protections in relation to the recent attacks is available on‘Get Safe Online’ as well as CERT-UK. Further information on how businesses can protect themselves on-line is available at Cyber Street

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` Environment Agency Accepts an Enforcement Undertaking Offer From Wessex Water Services Ltd ‘

#AceFinanceNews – June 06 – Gov UK News – Press Release – The Environment Agency has accepted an Enforcement Undertaking (EU) offer from Wessex Water Services Limited, in the first case where a civil sanction has been used for an offence committed by a water company.

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The offer includes actions for Wessex Water to improve its operations and infrastructure, as well as financial contributions totalling £25,500 to environmental organisations and those affected by the offending.

It follows a major pollution incident in Bristol on 11 July 2013, when a blockage in a main sewer resulted in raw sewage being discharged into the River Trym.

The volume of sewage which entered the river had a large impact, with 112 eels, 200 sticklebacks, 1000 bullheads all found dead as a result of the pollution and an estimated 90% of river invertebrates also killed. The incident was reported to the Environment Agency by concerned members of the public who had seen dead and struggling fish floating on the surface of the water.

Officers from the local Environment Management team responded quickly to the incident by attending site and informing Wessex Water, who took steps to stop the polluting discharge and prevent further loss of aquatic life. In the following few days, the Agency and Wessex Water continued to monitor the river, sample the water, and survey the river to fully assess the impact the pollution incident had on invertebrates and fish life.

A CCTV survey of the sewer carried out by Wessex Water found that the cause of the blockage was a build-up of fat and grease, which had found its way into the system.

Businesses who commit an offence under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 (SAFFA) by discharging polluting matter into a water course and kill or threaten fish and other aquatic life are able to offer an Enforcement Undertaking (EU) as an alternative to prosecution or other sanction.

In any EU, the offender must offer to restore/remediate the harm caused by the offence, or where that is not possible, make a financial contribution to a recognised environmental charity or project to achieve equivalent environmental benefit. The offender must also demonstrate it will change its behaviour and ensure compliance with environmental legislation.

This was accepted from Wessex Water because it was felt a more proportionate response, that would benefit the environment.

Nick Hayden for the Environment Agency said:

We did initially consider prosecution due to the serious environmental harm it had caused. However, the company then submitted an Enforcement Undertaking (EU), which we subsequently accepted, as we considered it was a more proportionate response and that it would achieve more for the environment than if the company had been convicted and fined.

The actions offered in the accepted EU, require Wessex Water to:

• make improvements to its sewers in the area by installing and improving telemetry; • pay £15,000 to the Sustainable Eels Group, to put eels back into the affected River Trym and Bristol rivers; • pay £10,000 to the Bristol Avon Rivers Trust (BART) for work in the catchment; • pay £500 compensation to Henbury Golf Club for the impact to its business; and • payment of our costs.

Failure to comply with an EU may result in the offender being prosecuted for the original offence.

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