Communities Editor, Thomson Reuters Foundation, London
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Nov 5, 2009
via The Great Debate UK

When firms “Too Big to Fail” fall

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Amid the turmoil of the 2008 financial crisis a myriad of events unfolded that the general public knew nothing about, writes New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin in a new book titled “Too Big to Fail.”Wall Street fell from the dizzying heights of good fortune to calamity in a matter of months. To a large degree it’s still to early to tell whether financiers and politicians involved made the right choices.”At its core ‘Too Big to Fail’ is a chronicle of failure — a failure that brought the world to its knees and raised questions about the very nature of capitalism,” writes Sorkin in his behind-the-scenes account.He spoke with Reuters before giving a lecture at the London School of Economics on Thursday.

Nov 3, 2009
via The Great Debate UK

Narrow banking: reforms for the future

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British economist and author John Kay argues in “Narrow Banking: the reform of banking legislation” that the financial services industry should be restructured to ensure that regulation serves the interests of the public.”A competitive marketplace is one in which well run businesses earn profits through domestic and international competition, and badly run businesses go to the wall,” he says.”That is the process by which the market system promotes innovation and economic progress, and suppression of that process damages innovation and economic progress.”

Oct 19, 2009
via The Great Debate UK

Brooks Newmark drops a debt bombshell

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Britain’s national debt is far higher than Prime Minister Gordon Brown is willing to acknowledge, Conservative MP Brooks Newmark argues in a new paper published by the Centre for Policy Studies.The true level of government debt is not 805 billion pounds as currently reported by the Office for National Statistics, Newmark says, calling for an independent audit of the government’s books.”The lax control of public money over the last decade has created a catastrophic level of debt, now equivalent to 2.2 trillion pounds – or 157.2 percent of gross domestic product,” he writes. “This is an increase of 346 billion pounds since last year, when the true level of government debt was 1.85 trillion pounds (or 126.9 percent of GDP).Newmark, a member of the Treasury Select Committee, discussed “The Hidden Debt Bombshell” with Reuters:

Sep 22, 2009
via The Great Debate UK

Does the Internet empower or censor?

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What if the Internet is not really a utopian democratic catalyst of change?The Web is often seen as a positive means of instilling democratic freedoms in countries under authoritarian rule, but many regimes are now using it to subvert democracy, Evgeny Morozov, a contributing editor at “Foreign  Policy“, proposes.The Internet can actually inhibit rather than empower civil society, Morozov, argued in a lecture on Tuesday at London’s Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.Social media platforms are being used by certain governments to create a “spinternet” to influence public opinion. They are also being used as part of a process of “authoritarian deliberation” to try and increase the legitimacy of authoritarian rule, he said.Morozov spoke with Reuters after the lecture.

Sep 17, 2009
via UK News

Should stiletto heels be banned in the workplace?

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A call by the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists asking employers to work with unions to conduct risk assessments and if necessary allow workers to replace high heels with comfortable shoes in the workplace created a controversy this week.******Unions passed a motion at the Trades Union Congress conference demanding that women have the right to comfortable footwear in the workplace.******Defenders of the stiletto claimed that unions were attempting to ban the shoes in the workplace, but the podiatrists defended their position, stating that high heels can cause such foot problems as blisters, corns, calluses, damaged joints, knee and back pain.******Some women argue that stiletto heels give them a power advantage in male-dominated workplaces because the shoes make them appear taller and enhance their sex appeal.******Others consider the shoes demeaning and symbolic of the sexist subjugation of women and their health to satisfy male whims and fantasies.******What do you think? Should stilettos be banned in the workplace?

Aug 19, 2009
via UK News

Is the cost of university too high?

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With annual student debt soaring to 5,000 pounds a year, young people face tough prospects, according to a new study by Push, an online resource for students.New university students should expect to owe 23,500 pounds at graduation, the 2009 Push Student Debt Survey shows.By contrast, students who started university in 2008 can expect to owe nearly 21,200 pounds at graduation.Teenagers receiving A-level results on Thursday will be particularly concerned as some sources of income have been drying up while debt rises, Push suggests.About 80 percent of students rely on part-time or holiday jobs to supplement their income by an average of 2,000 pounds a year, the study says.With data from the Department for Children, Schools and Families published in the Guardian showing that one in six young people in England aged 18 to 24 are now classified as “neets” — not in education employment or training — the increase in costs for students raises new worries.A total of 835,000 young people, 100,000 more than this time last year, are classified as neets.Is it worth spending this kind of money and graduating in debt for a university education?

    • About Julie

      "I am the communities editor for the Thomson Reuters Foundation in London where I blog, micro blog, write stories, make videos, audio and work on the AlertNet and TrustLaw news websites. AlertNet is a humanitarian news website covering wars, conflict, natural disasters, food and health emergencies. TrustLaw is covers good governance and women's rights. I moved to the foundation in 2010 after two years with the Reuters UK website. Find me @jmollins or +Julie Mollins."
      Joined Reuters:
      January 31, 2005
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