UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

from MediaFile:

The future of journalism in the UK

By Mark Thompson
The opinions discussed are his own.

In the UK we are going through an unprecedented crisis in journalism, a crisis with the boundaries and techniques of investigative journalism at its heart.

We don’t yet know what will emerge from this crisis and from Lord Leveson’s Inquiry, but any recommendations about new laws or regulation will be studied with interest by Governments around the world.

Before the phone-hacking scandal, conventional wisdom suggested that traditional investigative journalism faced two threats:  the first economic, the second related to the impact of the internet and new forms of journalism and disclosure it has enabled.

The economic one is so familiar I won’t dwell on it for long.  It is that – in common with other forms of quality journalism – the deteriorating business models for newspapers, in the developed world at least, may not be able to support the cost of mounting often expensive and protracted investigations.

from FaithWorld:

Irish Catholic Church may tap parishes to pay for sexual abuse claims

(Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin speaks at a news conference in Dublin, Ireland November 26, 2009/Cathal McNaughton)

The Catholic Church in Ireland's capital may have to tap parish funds to pay compensation to people sexually assaulted by priests as more victims come forward, the Archbishop of Dublin said on Thursday. The Archdiocese of Dublin has paid out 13.5 million euros ($18.2 mln) since the late 1990s in compensation and legal costs related to sexual abuse cases and it has asked parishes to contribute money to a fund partly used to meet those claims.

from Breakingviews:

Foster’s gets full measure from SABMiller

By Quentin Webb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Like two quarrelsome drunks who are suddenly best of friends, SABMiller and Foster’s Group have quickly patched things up after earlier hostilities. Foster’s has done well to secure a sweetened $10-billion-plus offer from its London-listed rival, with markets queasy and no rival bidders in sight. The deal is hardly cheap. But the sums just about work for SAB, and Foster’s was one of the few easily buyable brewers of size out there.

from Breakingviews:

Man U investors can always vote with their feet

By John Foley
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Shares without votes raise hackles. Consider the disquiet around Manchester United’s upcoming listing in Singapore, where new shareholders may be offered a package of vote-lite instruments that will entrench the Glazer family’s control. But while unorthodox, that’s not necessarily bad. Besides, investors are free to demand a discount, or boycott the IPO altogether.

from MediaFile:

Murdoch in good times and bad

By Sir Harold Evans
The views expressed are his own.

There is a clear connecting thread between the events I describe in "Good Times, Bad Times" and the dramas that led so many years later to Rupert Murdoch’s “most humble day of my life.” I was seated within a few feet of him in London on July 19, 2011, during his testimony to a select committee of MPs with his son James at his side. Not many more than a score of observers were allowed into the small room at Parliament’s Portcullis House, across the road from the House of Commons and Big Ben. A portcullis is a defensive latticed iron grating hung over the entrance to a fortified castle, the perfect metaphor for News International, which perpetually sees itself as beset by enemies.

Murdoch, as chairman and only begetter of the giant multi-media enterprise News International (NI), was called on to defend his castle and himself as best he could for the outrages of hacking and police bribery inflicted on the British public by his News of the World and the cover-up that he and his company conducted over nearly five years. The paper Murdoch most affects to despise, the Guardian, was the instrument of his undoing.

from Felix Salmon:

When investment banks hire risk-takers

Matt Taibbi is quite right about the $2 billion of rogue-trading losses at UBS. Basically, investment banks hire for risk-takers; they shouldn't be surprised when this kind of thing happens.

The brains of investment bankers by nature are not wired for "client-based" thinking. This is the reason why the Glass-Steagall Act, which kept investment banks and commercial banks separate, was originally passed back in 1933: it just defies common sense to have professional gamblers in charge of stewarding commercial bank accounts.

from Breakingviews:

UK will get QE2 – but may need fiscal help too

The odds are moving rapidly towards a launch of QE2 in the UK. A second bout of quantitative easing - printing money - would be controversial. But a fragile economy needs extreme treatment - monetarily, and probably fiscally, too.

Britain's substantial home-grown problems are being exacerbated by crisis in the euro zone. UK unemployment crossed 2.5 million in the three months to July. Activity in services, the bulk of the economy, almost contracted in August. Wages, up just 1.7 percent in the past year, are falling fast in real terms, impoverishing consumers and threatening deflation. And exports are stalling: the euro zone is the UK's main trade partner.

from Left field:

“You just can’t speak to umpires like that” – Rusedski on Serena

Week two of the U.S. Open had many stories. Would the weather destroy the momentum of the event? How would the courts hold up? Will the U.S. Open finally make plans to build a roof? Who would be the men's and woman's U.S. Open champions?

On the woman's side Serena Williams made the finals easily and was the big favorite to win the title against Sam Stosur. Stosur had the longest match in US Open history and played the longest tie breaker in U.S. open history as well, to make the finals. Nobody except Sam Stosur thought she would win. If she won, she would become the first Australian woman to win a major since 1980. She played the match of her life and won 6-2 6-3.

from Felix Salmon:

Dimon vs Vickers

It's beyond ironic -- closer to moronic, really -- that Jamie Dimon would give an interview to London's very own Financial Times, complaining that international bank-regulation standards are “anti-American,” on the very day that the Vickers Report -- Robert Peston calls it "the most radical reform of British banks in a generation, and possibly ever" -- is released.

It's literally unthinkable that the US Treasury would ever dream of doing to JP Morgan what the UK Treasury, here, seems to want to do to the likes of Barclays and RBS. This is a Volcker Rule on steroids -- all retail banking will be ring-fenced and forced to operate with enormous amounts of capital, much more than Dimon is complaining about. It's essentially a break-up, in all but name, of the big banks with both retail arms and investment-banking operations. And it's designed, quite explicitly, to strengthen the UK's banking system by reducing the amount of risk and bolstering financial stability.

from FaithWorld:

Anglican spiritual head Archbishop Rowan Williams to resign next year – report

Britain's Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams leads the Easter Day Eucharist service at Canterbury Cathedral in in Canterbury in south east England April 4, 2010/Toby Melville

The spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, will resign his position next year almost a decade before he is due to retire in order to return to academic life, a newspaper reported on Sunday. Williams, 61, who has worked hard to prevent the worldwide Anglican community from splitting over the ordination of women and gay bishops, may take up a senior post at Cambridge University, the Sunday Telegraph said.

  •