Archive for January 4th, 2010

2010: The City’s movers and shakers in the year ahead

Telegraph: With the UK economy nervously emerging from the financial crisis in 2009, we look at the 20 major challenges facing policy-makers and chief executives in 2010.


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Banker fired at 42 wins age case against CIBC

Times: A 42-year-old London-based banker has won an age discrimination ruling against one of Canada’s largest banks after being declared redundant during the credit crisis last year.

The London South Employment Tribunal upheld Achim Beck’s case for age discrimination after deciding that the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) had been unable to demonstrate that its decision to dismiss him “was not significantly influenced by his age”.

The bank is facing a potentially large payout after the case, which anti-ageism groups described as a victory “for all those who face age discrimination at work”.

Mr Beck, a German national, was head of marketing for the CIBC, earning about £900,000 a year. He was shed by the company ostensibly as part of a broader redunda

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How law could help to fight antibiotic resistance

Times: A couple of years ago 10-year-old Daniel Roberts hurt his leg falling from a slide in the playground. Within 48 hours, infection had spread throughout his body and he suffered septic shock and total organ failure. As huge volumes of antibiotics failed to work, it became clear that his infection was a particularly aggressive strain of MRSA. Daniel was not expected to survive. After a month in a coma and five operations to scrape away infected bone, his infection was cleared, but now he spends most of his time in a wheelchair.

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Apple not to blame for hearing loss from playing iPods too loud, says judge

Times: Music fans who damage their hearing by cranking up the volume on their iPods cannot blame Apple after a US appeals court ruled that users are responsible for listening to music too loudly.

The judgment is yet more good news for Apple, whose shares hit a record high ahead of the rumoured launch of its “tablet” computer this month with more details leaking out.

Judge David Thompson upheld a 2008 ruling that the iPod was not directly responsible for hearing loss despite users being able to listen to music at a potentially dangerous 115 decibels. He said that the two claimants did not prove that hearing loss was “actual or imminent” when using an iPod.

The complaint was initially filed by Joseph Birdsong in Louisiana before another complainant, Bruce Waggoner, joined the suit. They had argued that the iPod’s earphones were designed to be placed in the ear canal rather than over the ears, increasing the prospect of hearing loss, and that the device lacked any noise-isolating or cancelling properties.

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Solicitors Regulation Authority closes down law firm Wolstenholmes

Times: A leading law firm has been closed by regulators and five solicitors have been suspended after allegations of dishonesty involving hundreds of thousands of pounds of clients’ money.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has started an investigation into the activities of Cheshire-based Wolstenholmes, which was established in 1818 and has offices in London, Manchester and Birmingham.

There have been more than 100 complaints from clients using the firm to carry out conveyancing for buying and selling their homes. The watchdog is looking at suspected dishonesty and breaches of accounting rules.

Customers have bombarded the forums of money-saving websites with complaints about the way the company takes £300 as a deposit and then allegedly does not return calls.

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Eversheds offers guidance on new bribery law

Times: “I’m attending a trade fair. During a break, one of our preferred subcontractors said he could help us get a contract with a new customer as long as we promised to use him on the job. I think he’s planning to offer an expensive gift to one of the customer’s senior managers.”

An ethical dilemma. Should you seize what looks like a good opportunity to clinch a new contract, boost your company’s profits and earn valuable kudos within your company? Or should you blow the whistle on the subcontractor, report him to your boss and risk the deal being snatched by a rival?

If you opted for the first, you and your company would risk prosecution under the new Bribery Act that will come into force in the spring. Britain’s tough new legislation will make it an offence for any company to use agents who try to bribe potential customers. If you opted for the second, you might keep your company from becoming one of the many — half all those in Britain — that have fallen victim to financial crime in the past two years.

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Court of Public Protection should be opened to media, top judge says

Times: One of Britain’s most secret courts is set to be opened up to the media in a move that could boost public confidence after widespread criticism of its workings.

The Court of Protection, which looks after the affairs of people suffering from mental incapacity, hears most of its cases in private and has been the target of hundreds of complaints.

People applying to manage the affairs of elderly or vulnerable relatives have found the court — and, in particular, its administrative arm, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) — bureaucratic, complex and intrusive.

However, Denzil Lush, the senior judge in charge of the running of the court at Archway, North London, has told The Times that he would favour bringing it into line with the rest of family courts and allowing media access, subject to reporting restrictions.

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