UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

from Breakingviews:

James Murdoch stuck in limbo

By Chris Hughes
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The challenge to James Murdoch's credibility remains serious.

Two former senior staff have repeated assertions that News Corporation's European boss was made aware, in 2008, of evidence that phone hacking at his UK newspapers involved more than just a single rogue reporter. Murdoch has strongly rejected that claim. The truth of the matter remains unclear.

The dispute turns on what was discussed at a meeting between Murdoch and his two accusers -- a former editor of The News of The World newspaper and a senior legal executive -- more than three years ago. The meeting lasted only about 15 minutes. The outcome was that Murdoch approved a jumbo settlement to an alleged victim of phone hacking. The size of the financial settlement leads some to think that News Corp was buying silence. The key question, however, is whether Murdoch was told that phone hacking was more widespread than the company had previously maintained.

Murdoch's accusers say that he was told. But the details are fiddly. Neither Colin Myler, the editor, nor Tom Crone, the lawyer, can recall the exact phrases used in the discussion. So Murdoch can say, and is saying, that he wasn't explicitly told in plain language that phone hacking went beyond one individual.
The lack of decisive evidence regarding the 2008 meeting does not exonerate Murdoch. It is his word against the word of two others. He still has a case to answer and the allegation that he didn't act on evidence, and later misled parliament, is very serious. Another grilling is likely.

from Left field:

Strauss’s side still not England’s best

By John Mehaffey

According to International Cricket Council statistician David Kendix's calculations, three England sides before Andrew Strauss's present team would have topped the test world rankings too if the current format had existed.

In reverse chronological order, they are Mike Brearley's side of 1979-80, Ray Illingworth's 1970-3 team and the 1955-9 squad led first by Len Hutton then Peter May.

from The Great Debate:

America still needs to engage the world

This is a response to Nader Mousavizadeh's latest Reuters column,  "A smaller America could be a stronger America."

By David Miliband
The opinions expressed are his own.

Nader’s statistics pointedly and appropriately speak to a dysfunctional political dynamic of short term promises without long term responsibilities in the U.S.  It is also striking (and worrying) that both sides of American political debate are determined to persuade voters that they won’t be too concerned by the rest of the world.

from Breakingviews:

Man U’s mooted IPO valuation in league of its own

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

LONDON -- Manchester United’s flotation ambitions put it in a league of its own.

from Left field:

Rusedski looks to Cincinnati for US Open form

The Cincinnati Masters became a very important event before the US Open because a lot of the big names lost early in Montreal and needed to get match play before the Open started.

How would Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray perform? Could Novak Djokovic continue his amazing run of only one match lost all season, having just won Montreal a week earlier?

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Who can Arsenal actually buy?

With Cesc Fabregas gone and Samir Nasri possibly on the move too, there is a lot of gloom around Arsenal at the moment and Saturday's 2-0 home defeat by Liverpool did nothing to help the mood.

Arsenal fans are for the first time questioning the stewardship of Arsene Wenger and have demanded some top signings to prevent yet another trophyless season.

from Breakingviews:

HSBC supertanker will take time to turn around

By George Hay
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

LONDON -- HSBC is proving a slow ship to turn. In May, chief executive Stuart Gulliver set out a strategy for the giant lender that required it to hit a return on equity target of 12-15 percent. Getting there involves top-line growth and cutting costs. HSBC’s interim results suggest that, for the time being, the emphasis will be on the latter.

from The Great Debate:

Should Obama mimic David Cameron’s austerity?

By Nicholas Wapshott
The opinions expressed are his own.

In medieval times, a key member of a monarch’s retinue was the food taster, a hapless fellow who ate what his master was about to eat. If the taster survived, the food was deemed safe for the king’s consumption. President Obama has a taster of sorts in David Cameron, the British prime minister, who has embarked upon an economic experiment that echoes the recipe of wholesale public spending cuts and tax hikes needed if both sides in Congress are to agree to raising the federal government debt ceiling. How the British economy is faring offers Obama an idea of what a similarly radical policy of cutting and taxing here would mean to the American economy.

Cameron’s election in May 2010 coincided with the start of the Greek debt crisis. The Bank of England governor Mervyn King warned him that the public debt in the UK was so large that Britain, too, might see its lending become impossibly expensive, so Cameron decided that there was no time to lose in putting the fiscal books in order. He decided to slash public spending by 25 per cent over four years and immediately raise value added tax on goods and services from 17.5 to 20 per cent. Such a radical remedy found favor with the rump of British Conservatives who felt that Margaret Thatcher’s free-market, small government, “sound money” policies of the Eighties had not been pressed to their limit. In turn, Thatcher’s prescription to reduce the size of the state derived from her favorite thinker Friedrich Hayek, the author of “The Road to Serfdom,” who believed like many Tea Party supporters that government intervention inevitably leads to tyranny.

from Breakingviews:

In all, News Corp’s papers could be worth $6 bln

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

LONDON -- The Sun is Britain’s biggest newspaper, outselling its two tabloid rivals combined by 50 percent. Yet it might fetch less than 500 million pounds ($800 million), were Rupert Murdoch’s embattled News Corp to sell up. Add in The Times and the Sunday Times, and a deal might be struck for 800 million pounds ($1.3 billion). His entire newspaper empire, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and nearly 150 Australian titles, may be worth between $3 and 6 billion. The industry’s terrible economics, and the UK hacking scandal, both discourage M&A. But trophy buyers could emerge.

from Newsmaker:

Thomson Reuters Newsmaker with Sebastian Coe and Hugh Robertson

To mark the one year countdown to the London Olympics, Thomson Reuters held a Newsmaker event on July 21 with four-time Olympic medalist and chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, Sebastian Coe and Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP. Below are highlights from the evening.

Legacy of 2012 includes economic dividend: Robertson

Transport system ready for 2012 demands: Coe

Olympic ticket sell-out is coup for London: Coe

Stadium dispute threatens future Athletics bid: Robertson

Testing crucial during Olympic countdown: Coe

UK on top of Olympic security threat: Robertson

Coe welcomes "Blade Runner" Pistorius to London 2012

Thomson Reuters Newsmaker with Sebastian Coe and Hugh Robertson

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