Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blackstone gain kick expectations

Megan Davies NEW YORK Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:46pm EST Related News Graham IPO could buck negative Blackstone trendSun, Feb 14 2010REPEAT-IPO VIEW-Graham IPO could buck negative Blackstone trendSun, Feb 14 2010Blackstone-backed IPO prices at low end of rangeWed, Feb 10 2010 Stocks & &

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Giant private equity firm Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) posted better-than-expected earnings on Thursday and said that lending for deals has returned, although exiting investments by IPO has been bumpy.

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Private equity firms suffered in 2008-9 from sliding stock markets, which reduced the values of their investments, while a limited availability of credit shrank deal volume. That has improved, with valuations higher and increased debt financing available.

Both Blackstone and rival Rival Kohlberg Kravis Roberts Co (KKR.AS), which reported earnings on Wednesday afternoon, noted rising values of their portfolios.

Still, recent volatility in stock markets has meant exiting investments has been hard and Blackstone has postponed the planned IPO of some of its portfolio companies.

"Selling into a toppling market frankly made little sense," said Blackstone"s Chief Executive Officer Stephen Schwarzman. "We expect that several of our more mature companies ... will re-enter the market when they stabilize."

Blackstone could "easily see something like 10-12 monetizations this year", Chief Operating Officer Tony James said, should the markets and economy be healthy. That number would include sales and recapitalizations, as well as IPOs.

Blackstone"s earnings were driven by increased performance fees and improved valuations of its portfolios.

Fourth-quarter economic net income was $329 million, compared with a loss of $764 million a year earlier. ENI per share was 29 cents. Analysts had expected, on average, 20 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S/.

ENI strips out items such as noncash charges for vesting equity-based compensation, and the amortization of intangible assets. It is the measure which private equity firms prefer to report and which analysts follow.

Blackstone"s shares, which sold for $31 at its 2007 IPO, fell 8 cents to $13.92, which one analyst said was due to the overall market fall rather than the earnings.

"Generally, the (earnings) were pretty positive, with performance fees and transaction fees coming in better than expected," said Daniel Fannon, analyst at Jefferies.

It marked up its private equity portfolio 7 percent for the quarter and 12 percent for the year. Despite a 31 percent drop in 2008, the portfolio is marked at 1.3 times cost.

Blackstone marked its real estate portfolio down 35 percent for the year, but it was about flat for the quarter, and is valued at around 0.9 times its cost.

"It is the first time we"ve seen stabilization in real estate values for a couple of years," said James.

KKR, which announced long-awaited plans on Wednesday to follow Blackstone in listing on the New York Stock Exchange, said on Thursday it marked its private equity portfolio up 7.5 percent for the quarter. Another rival, Fortress Investment Group LLC (FIG.N), reported a smaller quarterly net loss on Thursday. [nN25146500]

LEVERAGE-UP

Lending for leveraged buyouts is now available at 5-5.5 times a company"s earnings, up from the 2.5-3 times seen last year, Blackstone said.

"The availability of debt for ... new transactions is back to normal, perhaps even above normal in terms of leverage levels," said James, stressing that is for mid-size deals.

The company has $28 billion of "dry powder," or available cash, to invest.

Blackstone has also been reducing or extending debt at its portfolio companies. Since the beginning of last year, Blackstone has bought back, amended or extended about $23 billion of debt in its private equity portfolios.

James said he was confident the restructuring of Hilton"s debt will come to a successful conclusion.

Blackstone has had a difficult time exiting investments by taking them public during the recent market volatility -- its airline ticketing company Travelport LLC called off its London listing.

Another problem exit for Blackstone is its Kosmos investment, where Ghana has threatened to block a planned $4 billion oilfield stake sale to Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N). Kosmos is backed by Blackstone and Warburg Pincus LLC WP.UL.

"I think one way or another we"ll work something out," said James. "But it"s not without doubt; there is certainly plenty of back and forth to come on that one."

Fund-raising remains tough, although Blackstone is close to calling time on a number of its funds in the market.

It has so far raised about $9 billion for BCP VI, its sixth global buyout fund, which has been in the market for two years. James was optimistic Blackstone would pick up some more money for the fund as it nears the finish line, but would not be drawn on an expected final number.

In China, where Blackstone is raising a yuan-denominated fund, three commitments have been received.

Blackstone said it would pay an unchanged quarterly distribution of 30 cents per unit.

(Reporting by Megan Davies, editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Maureen Bavdek, Dave Zimmerman)

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Jose Mourinho to interest anathema after Inter Milan trainer lands 3 games for shackles gesticulate

Inter Milan have announced they will appeal against the three-match ban imposed on manager Jose Mourinho as well as the suspensions awarded to Esteban Cambiasso and Sulley Muntari by the Lega Calcio.

Mourinho was given the ban and fined 40,000 euros (35,000) following his handcuffs gesture during Saturday"s match with Sampdoria in which two Inter players were sent off.

Inter defenders Walter Samuel and Ivan Cordoba both saw red during the goalless draw at the San Siro, prompting Mourinho to cross his arms in a gesture which has been interpreted as his way of suggesting his side were being victimised by officials.

jose mourinho

Controversial: Mourinho made headlines for the wrong reasons at the weekend

The suspension applies to Serie A matches meaning he will be banned from the dugout for the games against Udinese, Genoa and Catania as Inter look to maintain their lead at the top of the table.

However Mourinho can take his place on the touchline for Wednesday"s Champions League clash with Chelsea.

Muntari and Cambiasso were suspended for two games, the former for insulting match officials while the latter was punished for attempting to punch a Sampdoria player.

Samuel and Cordoba were given automatic one-match bans which the club are not contesting.

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Owner Massimo Moratti admitted he had not expected such action by the Lega Calcio, saying: "No, not to this extent."

Inter were furious after Saturday"s game and no-one was made available to speak to the Italian press.

Moratti, though, played down the significance of any media blackout, insisting it was so the players could focus on their Champions League clash against Chelsea.

"What do you mean by "silent protest?" Moratti added. "The reason for the press blackout is to protect the team, not to protest.

"We were trying not to add fuel to the polemics, considering that we have an important match to play on Wednesday. It is a respectful press blackout that has been interpreted badly by you journalists."

More...Jose Mourinho is a joke! All of Italy will cheer Chelsea, says Carlo AncelottiDES KELLY: It"s Jose vs the world! Italians are fed up with the Inter bossForget Mourinho"s mind games! Cech"s seen it all before from ex-boss JoseMourinho fined 35,000 and banned for three matches after "handcuffs" gestureAshley Cole offered Spanish escape route as Barcelona and Real Madrid line up 25m bidsCHELSEA FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE NET

Friday, July 30, 2010

JAMIE REDKNAPPS WEEKEND WATCH: No warn big clubs wish Evertons peculiarity player Steven Pienaar

He won"t be among the contenders for Footballer of the Year, but there hasn"t been too many more consistent players than Everton"s Steven Pienaar.

He travels all over the pitch, left and right, wants the ball and makes things happen.

Steven Pienaar

Man of the moment: In-form midfielder Steven Pienaar has been so consistent

He has good balance, can pass and dribble with both feet and scores goals. I"m not surprised other clubs are looking at him.

Jack in the box

On the subject of Everton, they are looking strong.

Even without the power and strength of Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini, they stood toe-to-toe against a Manchester United side who weren"t at their best, but who had a comfortable win in Milan five days earlier.

Jack Rodwell

Jack in the box: Rodwell"s brilliant third for Everton underlined his rising potential

Good to see Jack Rodwell scoring a brilliant third goal. I worry where the next superkids are coming from. He"s one of them.

Keeping it outRobert Green

The race to be England"s No 1 will continue throughout the season and all the way to the Finals in South Africa but a good run of form now does nobody any harm.

Robert Green, right, has kept four clean sheets in West Ham"s last four home games, behind a defence that had been leaking.

His save at 1-0 from George Boateng was match-winning on Saturday.

Striker light

Hull have not scored in six of their last seven away games and that suggests danger. Teams with goalscorers can see way out of what is looking a tense struggle at the bottom.

Carlton ColeDarren Bent

Too good, too bad: Carlton Cole showed his class while Darren Bent faltered

The return of Carlton Cole, for instance, helps West Ham and Sunderland have Darren Bent, even if they are out of sorts.

That was a poor miss by Kenwyne Jones at the Emirates, though.

Class actWayne Rooney

In a fascinating interview with Sir Alex Ferguson in a Sunday newspaper, the Manchester United manager reveals the generous nature of Wayne Rooney, right, saying that he always makes time for people.

It"s good to hear. Some players forget their responsibilities. They want the money, but they don"t want to make the time. If the best player can, why can"t the rest?

Hello JoseInter Milan coach Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho, right, hasn"t lost a home league game for eight years across his time at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan.

That"s some statistic and a sign of what Chelsea will be up against this week. When I was working on the Sky One programme Football"s Next Star, I got to spend time with him in Milan and saw close up his control and influence. He"s special, alright.

The Drog Bites!

...that said, for all of Inter"s qualities - and they are better than AC Milan - they do not have a striker with the power and form of Didier Drogba.

Didier Drogba

Beware of the Drog: Drogba is hitting form ahead of his reunion with Mourinho

Mourinho might end up regretting signing the giant Ivorian from Marseille, this week. Drogba has scored ten goals in his last ten Premier League games.

It will be fascinating to how Jose tries to stop him.

More...GRAHAM POLL: It"s about time Arsene Wenger took his Arsenal tinted spectacles offMARTIN SAMUEL: Jowell deserves an Olympic medal in utter madnessTHE LIST: Sportsmail"s top 50 English footballers who should be on Fabio Capello"s radar

Ageist understanding for the BBCs old hands

Their appointments were seen as the perfect response to accusations of ageism.

But just days after veteran news presenters Julia Somerville and Fiona Armstrong returned to our screens, the BBC has been embarrassed again after it emerged they were on only 30-day contracts.

The women were recruited to present on the News Channel after Director General Mark Thompson demanded that each department hire at least one woman over 50.

SomervilleArmstrong

30-day contracts: veteran presenters Julia Somerville (left) and Fiona Armstrong

His edict followed the row over 66-year- old Arlene Phillips" departure from Strictly Come Dancing last year, which resulted in thousands of complaints.

In December, a BBC spokesman proudly declared that the arrival of Miss Somerville, 62, and Miss Armstrong, 53, was evidence the corporation "reflected the public we serve".

The pair made their first appearances on the channel last week. But both women have been handed only short-term, 30-day contracts, drawing a furious response from Joan Bakewell, the official Government "tsar" for older people.

She branded the appointments a "PR exercise" and suggested it was proof that an ageist culture existed at the broadcaster.

Miss Bakewell said: "Let us just say that I am keeping a beady eye on the situation.

"You can talk about this just being a PR exercise, but there is a culture at the BBC that you are not going to change overnight and I saw this as a step in the right direction, if a small step."

Last year, it was revealed Mr Thompson asked news director Helen Boaden to find older women newsreaders. It sparked speculation that Moira Stuart, Selina Scott, Anna Ford and Kate Adie may return, but all made it clear they did not want to.

Many respected female broadcasters have spoken out in recent years about the lack of older women getting top TV jobs.

Miss Ford, 65, left the BBC in 2006 claiming she was being forced out, while Miss Stuart, 60, left after more than 30 years when she was dropped from her newsreading role in 2007.

A BBC spokesman said last night: "We don"t comment on the details of people"s contracts."

David Beckham defeated by Lionel Messi as Barcelona star tops football earner charts on �570000 a week

Lionel Messi earned a staggering 29.7million in the last year, replacing David Beckham as the world"s highest-earning footballer.

A study by France Football magazine found that the England midfielder had finally been toppled after two years on the top spot, though he stays above Cristiano Ronaldo in second place.

The 200,000 a week after-tax deal that Ronaldo signed when he left Manchester United for Real Madrid makes him the biggest earner by football salary, but Messi"s burgeoning commercial deals and a 3.6m bonus for winning six trophies with Barcelona put him out in front.

Brazils statute celebration endorses Rousseff candidacy

Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:16am EST Related News FACTBOX-Positions of Brazil"s ruling party candidateFri, Feb 19 2010CHRONOLOGY-Key dates in Brazil"s presidential raceFri, Feb 19 2010Brazil"s Lula plans no 2014 election bid - reportFri, Feb 19 2010Serra holds lead in Brazil presidential race-pollThu, Feb 18 2010FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in BrazilMon, Feb 15 2010

BRASILIA, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Brazil"s ruling Workers" Partyendorsed chief of staff Dilma Rousseff on Saturday as itspresidential candidate in the country"s Oct. 3 election.

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Delegates at the party"s national convention in the capitalBrasilia acclaimed Rousseff, who had been nominated byPresident Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

(Reporting by Ana Nicolaci da Costa, Carmen Munari andFernando Exman; Writing by Raymond Colitt; Editing by Paul Simao)

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From Anzio beach and Monte Cassino to Rome - my Italian debate with the D-Day Dodgers

Anzio"s beachhead museum occupies part of a handsome Art Nouveau palace, a short walk from the seafront.

In January 1944 Allied forces landed in this once fashionable seaside resort - 30 miles south-west of Rome - in a carefully planned thrust designed to open up a route to the Italian capital. Storming the beach turned out to be relatively straightforward.

Getting into the museum today, however, can prove rather more of a challenge.

The cemetery overlooked by the monastery of Monte Cassino which was heavily bombarded during the Second World War

Haunting: The cemetery overlooked by the monastery of Monte Cassino which was heavily bombarded during the Second World War

I was hoping to find out more about the amphibious landing, codenamed Operation Shingle, which put some 40,000 soldiers ashore at Anzio in an effort to break the awful stalemate further south.

The liberation of Italy had ground to a halt in a bloodbath at Monte Cassino, 80 miles south of Rome - the key point on the Germans" winter defensive Gustav line.

The initial effort at Anzio went well, with little resistance from the occupying German troops. The element of surprise in landing was squandered, the Germans quickly recovered and Allied forces were suddenly bogged down in a new location.

More...Find more Italian getaways in our dedicated sectionRead Frank Barrett"s brilliant blogWhy Northern Italy"s lakes, mountains and exquisite art are the full monte

Over-optimistic planning, squabbling between British and American forces, gritty German resistance and inadequate resources had turned the military effort into a slow, miserable slog with a rapidly mounting death toll.

Throughout military history many overseas fighting forces have had cause to consider themselves a "forgotten army".

Those soldiers pinned down in Monte Cassino and the newly landed forces sheltering in the shell holes of the Anzio beachhead had very good reason to claim such a fate.

Within a few months their courageous fight would be eclipsed by the D-Day landings in Normandy.

With mordant wit, Italian campaign veterans took to referring to themselves as "D-Day Dodgers".

Soldiers on the lookout for enemy snipers at Cassino in 1944

"Like the Somme": Soldiers on the lookout for enemy snipers with bayonets fixed at Cassino during the 1944 battle

Some 65 years later it"s sad to report that, unlike Normandy with its wealth of memorials and museums, with high-tech screens and displays explaining the intricacies of the military campaign, the hard-fought Italian campaign receives scant attention. Casual visitors to the area would barely realise that it had ever taken place.

There is a museum run by the council but it keeps quixotic opening hours - mornings and evenings on odd days and weekends. When I arrived it was, of course, closed. A recce round the back revealed a janitor behind a desk. "Museo?" I enquired hopefully.

"No, no, domani [tomorrow]. Come back tomorrow." Alas, I replied, I would be back in Britain. "Not possible to visit now?" I asked.

"Presidente!" shouted the janitor, "Presidente!" The museum is situated in one room of the palace and the janitor wandered the palace and the janitor wandered into a large marbled ballroom. I tagged along at his heels as he continued to bawl: "Presidente! Presidente!"

Frank Barrett

Thought provoking: Frank Barrett was touched by the stories of horror which marked the bloody campaign

By now I found myself at the entrance of the museum so took the opportunity to stroll in for a look. The janitor smiled at me and shrugged his shoulders.

While the Anzio museum has been worthily created with the best of intentions, it is more a collection of memorabilia.

"We are not a cold conglomeration of junk," says the leaflet about the museum.

Actually, this is just about what it is: more Steptoe"s front room than something that ought to capture the emotion of another hugely brave endeavour in a terrifyingly ferocious campaign.

The march north from Monte Cassino to Rome took Allied forces six months of hard slog and cost many thousands of deaths. Today, retracing in the opposite direction the main line of the Allied thrust in 1944, the same journey down the A1 motorway takes just over 90 minutes.

For those who fought there - British and Commonwealth soldiers, Americans, Poles, French and even a Brazilian force - Monte Cassino became a byword for military horror, something to stand beside the hell on the Somme or at Passchendaele.

Two armies opposing each other yards apart and constantly under attack, it was an awful throwback to the trench warfare of 1914-18. A friend"s father who fought at Monte Cassino was fond of recollecting the moment when it got so bad during one of the regular stand-to"s that the order came down to fix bayonets. ""Fix bayonets?" I said. "You must be ruddy joking.""

On a warm sunny February morning the town of Cassino, which was deliberately bombed flat in 1944, is as bright and cheerful as the weather.

High above the town sits the historic Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino: the monastery was also razed in a few hours of sustained carpet bombing - which proved only to make both locations easier for the Germans to defend.

It is hard to know which is more surprising: the fact that the monastery has since been painstakingly reconstructed or that visitors can arrive and leave without really learning anything about the extraordinary events that unfolded here.

The Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino

Risen from the ashes: The Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino was painstakingly rebuilt after being razed in a few hours

On the internet there is a website for a Monte Cassino "war memorial": a private museum that is "temporary closed". An explanation in halting English says that it "wait to reopen in another location". As in Anzio, this is hardly the tribute the Allied forces deserve.

There is worse, however, to come at the Cassino War Cemetery, the largest Second World War cemetery in Italy, with the graves of 3,985 identified casualties and a large memorial to a further 4,045 with no known graves.

Like all the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries, Cassino"s is hauntingly beautiful - and immaculately maintained. When I visit, the gardeners are completing a substantial renovation programme.

It would be no exaggeration to describe the cemetery as by far the most beautiful place in the rather charmless town of Cassino.

The Commission, however, reports that the cemetery has been the target for local vandals.

"Unfortunately, even with the support of local police, due to regular theft and damage to the cemetery register and visitors" book, it is only possible for these to be accessible during the hours when the gardeners are present."

The indifference to the events of the last war must be linked to the country"s own unhappy part in the conflict. As a close ally of Nazi Germany, Italy"s enthusiasm for the war quickly evaporated after the defeat of its forces in North Africa and the Balkans.

Mussolini"s overthrow in July 1943 led to the Italian government signing an armistice with the Allies in September 1943.

While many Italians chose to fight on with the Germans, others were conscripted by them as forced labour. Some Italians chose to resist and were subsequently massacred, such as the 5,000 on the Greek island of Kefalonia.

Green concerns fuel Hara CO tracking commercial operation

Poornima Gupta SAN FRANCISCO Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:41pm EST

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Online software start-up Hara, which makes software to track energy usage and carbon footprints, has added grocery retailer Safeway Inc to its list of customers.

The multiyear contract with Safeway follows Hara"s deals in recent months with media giant News Corp and tax software provider Intuit Inc.

Hara said on Wednesday it will provide the software to help the retailer measure, analyze and reduce the chain"s energy usage in about 1,800 stores.

The Redwood City, California-based firm, initially funded in 2008 by Silicon Valley venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, is catering to a growing market for carbon and energy accounting software, which has attracted the attention of some big players like SAP and Oracle Corp.

Hara Chief Executive and co-founder Amit Chatterjee said some estimates project the market for carbon tracking software and services could expand to $4 billion by 2015. The market was estimated at around $132 million in 2009.

"We are closing about a deal a week in terms of market momentum," he said.

Giving a boost to firms like Hara, and the market for carbon accounting software, is the new guideline from the Securities and Exchange Commission that urges public companies to disclose risks associated with climate change in their annual reports.

Chatterjee said business inquiries also jumped soon after the world"s largest retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc said it will start asking suppliers to start providing environmental impact data, such as tracking carbon emissions.

The nascent carbon tracking market is expected to receive a huge boost if the United States implements any kind of "cap-and-trade" legislation that will gradually reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by industry, by requiring companies to have permits to spew their emissions.

Hara"s software first collects information on a company"s use of electricity, water, gas and chemicals and compares it with outputs of greenhouse gases, solid waste and waste water.

It then devises a strategy to manage and reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

"Hara adds value by giving us not only reliable insight into the size and makeup of our energy usage and carbon footprint, but also a solid road map for achieving further cost reductions and better carbon management," said Joe Pettus, senior vice president of fuel and energy at Safeway.

Apart from the big software firms, Hara also competes with a few other smaller players such as Carbonetworks and Enervity.

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta, editing by Matthew Lewis)

London Fashion Week: Blondes are out in force as Pixie Lott Sienna Miller and Peaches Geldof attend catwalk shows

Do blondes have more fun? Three fashion fans certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves at London Fashion Week, as the event got into full swing.

Sienna Miller, Pixie Lott and Peaches Geldof filled the quota with making appearances throughout the day to support their favourite designers .

British actress Sienna Miller - who has her own label with sister Savannah - went to check out the competition at Matthew Williamson"s show at Lawrence Hall in Westminster.

Sienna MillerPixie Lott

Blonde ambition: Sienna Miller and Pixie Lott both attended shows atLondon Fashion Week today - Sienna at Matthew Williamson and Pixie atPPQ

 Sienna Miller

Sisterly love: Sienna and Savannah at the Twenty8Twelve Autumn Winter 2010 presentation at Two Temple Place

Dressed down in cream shorts with detailed bow, the 28-year-old kept it simple, completing the ensemble with a cropped black jacket over a studded tee.

Miss Miller posed for pictures with modeling legend Twiggy atthe event, which was Williamson"s second time showing in London sincehis return to the capital"s Fashion Week last September.

The Spanish-inspired collection featured an eclectic mix of fox fur and futuristic prints with Matador-style suits, embellished trousers and heavy-set suede jackets.

Matthew Williamson Matthew Williamson Matthew Williamson

Ol�: Matthew Williamson"s Spanish-inspired collection at Lawrence Hall

MissMiller, who counts Williamson as one of her best friends, said of the show: "I think it"s really exciting, because he"s totallyevolved. The last couple of seasons he"s been heading in a totally newdirection and I think this is cementing it."

Williamson was only too happy to return the favour as he later attended The Factory Girl star"s own Twenty8Twelve show.

Savannah, 31, designs the clothing line with her younger sister - and the two paired up at the presentation, held at the opulent 2 Temple Place, originally built for the first Viscount Astor.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Deadline looms for

There are just a few weeks left to enter our nationwide search to find the young business brains of the future - and competition is hotting up.

The Daily Mail"s Enterprising Young Brits awards, launched last month, have caught the imagination of 13 to 30-year-old would-be tycoons and inventors across the UK.

Among the hundreds of young people approaching us about the competition is a man who set up his own bus and coach company at just 17, a cartoonist with a global client base and a woman who has set up her own animal hospital in Liverpool.

Jewellery designer Nicole Shields in her workshop in Middlesbrough.

The award is designed to encourage young entrepreneurs like Nicole Shields, who launched her own company designing and making jewellery

Along with the high number of entries, Enterprising Young Brits alsoboasts a diverse list of business ventures each year, showing just howentrepreneurial young people in the UK are.

And in return for their hard work, business ideas anddedication, the Daily Mail rewards winners with some invaluable prizes.The media coverage can catapult your venture onto great things and boost your confidence as a young person starting out in business.

You will also be invited to an awards ceremony in London attended by Peter Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business.

Not only that, but you"ll join an exclusive community oflikeminded young entrepreneurs who have won the competition in the pastand are happy to share their tips and experiences.

Many now have multi-million-pound turnovers and operations across the world.

More...Guides: Everything you need to set up and run a small business

Add in a cheque for 1,000 and a trophy, and it"s not hard tosee why the awards are so competitive and entries of such a highstandard. We keep a close eye on our previous winners as they rise upthe ranks in terms of turnover and success.

Adam Duffy won the creative section of Enterprising YoungBrits last year with his Looks Can Kill bespoke footwear range. Adam,26, says: "The creative industries are very competitive, and in theearly days of starting a business you can sometimes feel as though theodds are stacked against you.

"Winning an Enterprising Young Brits award therefore came as a welcome boost and really helped me to develop my business. In particular, the competitionincreased my credibility which helped in my dealings withinternationally renowned brands including Converse, Vans and Ethletic.All these brands are now part of my newly launched Sole Creatorfootwear site."

Enterprise UK is running the competition and is supported bythe Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. And added to thesepowerhouses is the Institute of Directors, which sponsors the event.Entries are already flooding in from around the country.

Enterprise UK is a business-led, government-backed organisationwhich gives people the skills, confidence and ambition to beenterprising.

How to enter

The Daily Mail"s Enterprising Young Brits awards are open toanyone aged 13 to 30. You can enter yourself - or on behalf of afriend, colleague or relative - in up to two categories. You can enteronline at www.enterpriseuk.org/ youngbrits. Alternatively, you canobtain an application form by writing to: Enterprising Young Brits,Enterprise UK, 172 Drury Lane, London WC2B 5QR.

Entries must be received by close of play on March 5. The full list of categories is:

New startup.

Social, ethical or environmental.

Teen.

Creative.

Open category.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Labour refuses to order out genocide taxation to account caring for elderly

An aged integrate at home

David Rose, Health Correspondent & , : {}

The Health Secretary refused yesterday to order out plans for a genocide taxation to compensate for caring for the elderly.

Andy Burnham would not dedicate the Labour Party to a singular process preference prior to a long-awaited White Paper on the destiny of amicable caring appropriation is published this month.

But after a plead on the issue with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, he set out in item what a mandatory indication of open appropriation could see like.

The indication permitted by majority studious groups and believed to be lucky by ministers would engage each adult in England profitable towards the cost of a new National Care Service, a concept complement to yield free services to the aged at the point of need, most similar to the NHS.

Related LinksBlueprint for remodel of aged caring drawn upPut amicable caring on top of celebration squabblesIts time to speak about amicable word

The Tories have pounded the thought as a 20,000 genocide taxation that would be deducted from a persons estate when they died.

Instead, they deliver a intentional complement whereby people could compensate an optional, one-off remuneration of 8,000 towards word to cover the cost of destiny residential care.

Critics contend that the discretionary intrigue would have low take-up, and would not beget the required supports to cover the costs of an ageing population.

Mr Burnham denied that a singular volume would be charged to everybody underneath a mandatory system, and pronounced that a range of options were still being considered, together with a 10 per cent levy on the worth of a persons estate, or profitable a means-tested volume in instalments over the march of retirement.

[Another] preference could engage someone deferring their state pension, for instance, by operative to the age of 68, and profitable their contributions in to the National Care Service, he said.

That competence fit a little people but not others, such as primer workers who are full of health but ragged out when they get to 65.

Yesterdays debate, hosted by Age Concern and Help The Aged, was the initial assembly in between the 3 main parties to plead the issue given accord talks pennyless down in severity last month.

All 3 parties determine that the stream complement of means-tested caring is unfair, and have betrothed to deliver legislation in the subsequent Parliament to safeguard that in destiny people will not have to remortgage or sell their homes or outlay their assets to account the costs of residential caring or alternative services.

Campaigners guess that the amicable caring bill needs to enlarge by 370 million a year only to keep gait with the rising costs of caring for an ageing population.

But notwithstanding pleas from legislature chiefs for unity, hopes of reaching a cross-party understanding on the issue were dashed after the Conservatives vetoed any discussions involving a mandatory levy.

Mr Burnham pronounced that he was still debating the pros and cons of opposite appropriation options, and had nonetheless to find Cabinet capitulation on the essence of the White Paper, approaching to be published close to the Budget.

Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Health Secretary, indicted the Health Secretary of wanting to levy a taxation on lamentation relatives, and of not being true with the British people.

It is implausible that the Government is set to tell a White Paper surveying their genocide taxation process inside of the subsequent 3 weeks and nonetheless the Health Secretary claims he is still weighing up assorted options. He is treating people similar to fools, he said.

We have had thirteen years of a Labour Government with positively no remodel or assistance for aged people. The time for articulate is over. Each celebration should set out their policies and let the people confirm in the ubiquitous election, that is the most appropriate approach.

Norman Lamb, of the Liberal Democrats, pronounced that the Tories plans were unworkable, astray and unaffordable, adding that dual thirds of pensioners would not be means to means a 8,000 intentional contribution.

Social services directors urged the parties to stop the domestic bun fight.

Andrew Harrop, executive of process and open affairs for Age Concern and Help the Aged, added: All the options being discussed need some-more open money, in one approach or another, and politicians need to contend where it will come from. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

In the view, nothing of the parties has nonetheless set out convincing proposals for extensive remodel of the caring system. In particular, they need to contend how they will urge the peculiarity and accessibility of services. We urge them all to set out their plans in full prior to the choosing to give electorate a choice.

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Prison functions when we keep criminals in Dominic Lawson

Dominic Lawson & , : {}

Another week, an additional abhorrence story. The majority new circular of particular evil overseen by uncomprehending caring services comes pleasantness of the examination of the box of the Sheffield man who raped his dual daughters from the age of eight over a duration of twenty-five years. His assaults constructed 9 children/grandchildren and 9 alternative pregnancies. This horrible story of abuse, involving rape on a every day basis, took place notwithstanding the attentions of some-more than 100 caring workers and twenty-eight apart agencies.

The central apologies and claims that lessons have been learnt have duly been issued. Also as usual, no one has been dismissed, even though the reports author, Professor Pat Cantrill, noticed that it customarily unequivocally indispensable one authority with persistence ... and we competence have had progressing approval and movement taken. Of march no sackings would have finished a disproportion to the bad women who endured those rapes; but at least, you competence think, their sadistic attacker would never be released: they and all alternative women could feel assured that he would never be means to mistreat any one again.

If you were meditative that, you were wrong. The man, whom we know customarily by his sobriquet of the Gaffer, had been given twenty-five hold up sentences in Nov 2008. Judge Alan Goldsack told him: Members of the open will cruise you should never be released. I agree. Yet such are the peculiarities of British sentencing that Goldsack felt thankful to stipulate, discordant to his rhetoric, that the Gaffer would be authorised for recover in nineteen years.

If you find that shocking, try this: inside of a small 6 months of that sentence, the Court of Appeal met to listen to the prisoners claims that his low mark was extreme and it agreed, shortening his smallest tenure by five years. Lord Justice Hughes gave as his logic that the tenure of nineteen years prior to recover was as well high, as it was the judgment customarily given for critical murders (this would be graphic from murders that are merely frivolous, I suppose). It is roughly intolerable to suppose the outcome this preference had on the Gaffers victims but his interest was not written with their interests or feelings in mind.

In respectful circles it is not finished to direct higher sentences for criminals; it is thought to be barbarous and, worse, populist. It is loyal that pristine sympathetic fury for low mark is unattractive; it is additionally loyal that those who hatred the total thought of bonds are encouraged by an excellent discerning magnetism for the loser that in their perspective of the universe is represented by the man underneath close and key. They find it roughly unfit to assimilate that it is a identical magnetism for the loser that inspires those of us who take the conflicting view. For us the underdogs are the victims of crime of those crimes that have taken place and those crimes that will confidently occur when dangerous criminals are expelled early.

We have usually seen a great painting of this element in action. Last month Jack Straw, the probity secretary, spoken he was abandoning the early recover intrigue for prisoners. This measure, shred weeks off the sentences of 80,000 convicted criminals, was written to revoke the vigour on jail space. Yet in the less than 3 years of the enactment, those expelled early had committed 1,500 serve crimes, together with multiform rapes and murders.

Bear in mind that this early recover had been in further to the bound discounts that have the British sentencing complement such an institutional profanation of open trust: all sentences of less than 4 years are automatically halved, and those of some-more than 4 years are cut by a third, in any case of a prisoners control or hazard to the public.

Thus when Straw spoken last year that the woe and attempted attempted murder of dual French students by Dano Sonnex, a rarely dangerous probationer, was a one-off case, the probity cabinet member was mean action the public.

One in 7 of those charged with attempted attempted murder is a authority underneath the organisation of the trial service. Over the past dual years some-more than 100 men underneath that organisation were convicted of rape. I am not one of those who censure the trial service. It has an unfit job, such is the volume of dangerous criminals expelled in to the care: Straw certified that Sonnex was one of 127 cases being rubbed by a singular trial officer.

As one jail psychologist, with the near-despair that comes from years of experience, told me: We know that a small suit of the prisoners we recover on trial go on to dedicate rapes or even murders; the difficulty is, we have no thought that ones they will be.

Last week we were told once again by sections of the authorised investiture that the complaint is as well most people are sealed up, rather than as well few. The authority of the Criminal Bar Association seized on a inform by the National Audit Office (NAO) that estimated that crime costing at slightest 7 billion a year was perpetrated by those expelled after being sealed up for short periods. It was claimed this showed the disaster of jail to rehabilitate offenders; Paul Mendelle QC additionally argued that if, as is said, customarily one in twenty crimes formula in the perpetrator being caught, it seems a odious penal process competence have no discernible outcome on the rates of reoffending.

On the contrary, this shows given jail is so in outcome at shortening crime, by incapacitation. Since the normal restrained has committed hundreds of offences in the year prior to he is put away, even a short judgment can have a thespian outcome on the available crime rate to the service of the communities influenced (invariably the poorest).

In fact, the NAO pronounced it was unfit to ascertain that short jail sentences were less in outcome than supposed village sentences in shortening reoffending: frequency surprising, given the gibe that the offenders themselves demonstrate about the role and outcome of such non-custodial sentences.

More tellingly, the NAO was told by jail governors it was precisely the actuality that so most prisoners had had sentences arbitrarily marked down to a make a difference of weeks that finished it all but unfit to find time to residence their offending poise that is, to rehabilitate them. This competence be one reason the reoffending rate is most reduce between prisoners who have served 3 years, rather than 3 months even though they would have been the some-more tougher or stronger criminals.

Campaigners such as Mendelle are angry by such arguments, regularly indicating out that Britain imprisons some-more men per capita than any alternative nation in Europe. This is a incomprehensible statistic taken in isolation. The some-more poignant statistic is that we detain fewer people, relations to the occurrence of convictions, than most of the neighbours. Ireland, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Greece and Portugal all detain a higher suit of convicted criminals than Britain does. They additionally have reduce crime rates.

Ignoring this point, the Commons probity cabinet asserted dual months ago that it was no longer required to jail so most people given domicile crime and aroused crime have depressed by 46% and 43% respectively given 1995, whilst the jail race has some-more than doubled given 1992. It would be comical, if it were not tragic, that these MPs are incompetent to see that the initial of these contribution competence be the effect of the second.

It is loyal there has been overcrowding in Britains jails: usually as Gordon Brown as chancellor disliked on condition that the income required for the reserve of the armed forces in assembly Tony Blairs troops aspirations, so he refused to supply the prison-building bill required to compare new Labours aspiration to be difficult on crime.

Judgment by the open will not prolonged be deferred.

dominic.lawson@sunday-times.co.uk

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Jack Straw refuses to exhibit because Bulger torpedo has returned to jail

Richard Ford, Russell Jenkins & James Bulger

, : {}

Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, was underneath vigour last night to lift the deceive of privacy over the preference to lapse one of James Bulgers killers to control for violation the conditions of his parole.

Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, finished transparent that he believed the open had a right to be told the reason Jon Venables had been sent to prison. Ministry of Justice officials have refused to contend either Venables has committed an additional crime or simply breached the conditions of his release.

Mr Straw insisted that it was not in the open seductiveness to divulge the reason for the recall, but he was contradicted by Mr Johnson, who said: I hold the open do have a right to know and I hold they will know all the contribution in due march but I contingency in no approach influence the destiny rapist probity proceedings.

His criticism was after simplified by the Ministry of Justice, that pronounced that Mr Johnson had been referring to a examination by the Parole Board of the preference to stop Venables. The method said: The Home Secretary was articulate in ubiquitous conditions about rapist probity proceedings. He is referring to stirring record by the Parole Board.

Times Archive, 1993: Boys guilty of Bulger murder

The youngest murderers in complicated British rapist story were systematic yesterday to be incarcerated for "very, really most years"

Boys remanded in caring Mother"s fears reliable as child is found passed Related LinksThe manners ruling the recover of lifersProfiles of the Bulger killers Fear will lapse for Jon Venables in jail

Venables, 27, was removed to control last week after breaching the conditions of his release. It is the initial time he has been in a prison. He was liberated underneath a new temperament in 2001 and was 10 when he and Robert Thompson abducted and smashed James Bulger, 2, to genocide on Merseyside. Both were since hold up sentences but expelled on looseness after portion eight years in secure childrens homes.

Jamess mother, Denise Fergus, and alternative members of the family were told of the stop on Tuesday, but were not since the reasons for it. In her initial open greeting to his lapse to custody, Ms Fergus pronounced on Twitter: Is this my sons justice? A orator for her said: She believes she and the open have a right to know what Venables has finished and what is to be finished with him right away he is an adult offender.

Ralph Bulger, Jamess father, pronounced the preference was a flog in the teeth. We are still in the dim about because he is being sent back, Mr Bulger, 43, told The Sun. It is a disgrace. It is not only the family that has a right to know what Venables has done, the open need to know what kind of torpedo has been free to live next to them in anonymity all these years.

Former Detective Superintendent Albert Kirby, who headed the Bulger investigation, additionally called for the privacy surrounding the stop to be lifted. He said: It would assistance to explain and put this to rest once and for all if the open did have a little denote of what it is he has done.

Mr Straw said: I know there is an heated open seductiveness in because he has been recalled. I would similar to to give that information, but I am contemptible that for great reasons I cannot and that is in the open interest.

If Venables has been taken to jail for allegedly committing a crime, any preference on either to take to court would be taken by the Crown Prosecution Service.

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Toyota arch was unknowingly of increase in speed problems notwithstanding years of complaint

Akio Toyoda, boss of Toyota Motor Corporation, reacts as he listens to questions from reporters

Alexandra Frean, US Business Correspondent & , : {}

Akio Toyoda, the boss of Toyota, did not know of the problems of remarkable increase in speed in his companys cars that have been related to some-more than thirty deaths in the US until the finish of 2009, even though thousands of complaints had been pouring in to the association and regulators for years.

Giving justification to the Congressional Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Mr Toyoda released a surpassing reparation to the American people for Toyotas reserve failings and certified that they had occurred since the association had stretched as well quickly.

New peculiarity carry out standards would be put in place, as well as mechanisms to capacitate the association to compensate closer courtesy to patron feedback, he said.

Swat teams would be created, charged with opening an review inside of twenty-four hours in to each inform of remarkable unintended acceleration.

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Reading from a rebuilt statement, whichhad been released to the media the day before, Mr Toyoda said: My name is on each car. You have my personal joining that Toyota will work energetically and perceptibly to revive the certitude of the customers.

Mr Toyoda said: I am deeply contemptible for any collision Toyota drivers have experienced.

For the media-shy Japanese executive, who is grandson of the companys owner and is usually 7 months in to the tip job, the coming noted a thespian rise in a month-long reserve predicament that has led to a reserve stop of some-more than 8.5 million Toyota vehicles globally since of unintended increase in speed and alternative reserve problems.

The play was serve heightened after in the dusk when Mr Toyoda was forced to attend to the weeping justification of Fe LaStrella, whose son-in-law Mark Saylor, an off-duty California main highway patrolman, was at the circle of a rented Lexus when the accelerator pedal became jammed.

The collision claimed 4 lives, together with those of Ms Lastrellas daughter, Cleofe, and granddaughter and son, when the car tore off the highway at 120mph and plunged in to a canyon.

In a 911 puncture call done from the car only prior to the crash, that has turn for most the smoking gun of Toyotas safety-related culpability, Ms Lastrellas son, Chris, is listened saying: Were going north on 125 and the accelerator is stranded ... were in difficulty ... theres no brakes ... were coming the intersection ... hold on ... hold on and pray.

A weeping Mrs LaStrella described the day a law coercion military officer came to the family"s doorway with a note to hit the coroner"s bureau in San Diego the day after the crash. She found out that not one, but four, of her family members had died.

"It ravaged the family, even the seven-month grandson, Connor Toyooka, would not give us a smile," she said.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Vineyards try health drinks to fist some-more from the grapes

Didier Hauret booze grower

Adam Sage in Paris & , : {}

You competence have thought that the ostensible health benefits of booze were majority pleasurably performed from a potion savoured over a excellent meal. French viticulturists have alternative ideas, however.

In an try to distinction from studies suggesting that booze molecules might assistance to sentinel off cancer and heart disease, producers are transforming the ripened offspring of their vines in to pills, health tonics and alternative dietary supplements.

With vineyard revenues descending as ethanol expenditure declines in France, an try is underneath approach to daub in to the teetotal marketplace by formulating health dishes from tools of the grape that used to be discarded. Its necessary for us, pronounced David Ageron, commercial operation physical education instructor at Vitimed, a section of lUnion des Distilleries de la Mditerrane (UDM), one of Frances greatest wineries.

His traffic has traditionally concerned transforming booze excess in to state-subsidised industrial alcohol. But with the European Union grouping an finish to the subsidies over the subsequent twenty-four months, producers are building medicines and supplements formed on grape seed or grape skin extracts.

Related LinksIs white booze unequivocally healthy?Wine tastings can mostly trick

They goal to beget a new source of distinction by exploiting the contested systematic speculation that says rates of heart disease are reduce in France, notwithstanding a greasy diet, since of assuage booze consumption.

We positively contingency find a little approach of extracting worth from the rubbish products, Mr Ageron said. He creates a dietary addition formed on a red booze remove containing a high thoroughness of polyphenols, an antioxidant touted as a defense opposite disease. Now he is perplexing to the convince the food industry to make use of the proton as a health addition in drinks, yoghurts and alternative products. We think the marketplace is ready now, he said.

While French industrialists uphold the mental condition of building a multimillion-euro marketplace for soft drinks containing red booze extract, Didier Hauret is additionally perplexing to sell his things to teetotallers, but on a not as big scale.

At Le Clos du Grand Riou, his vineyard in Loire Valley, he creates an organic red wine. But has right away set up a commercial operation that produces Dionysox, a splash done from the skins and alternative excess of his grapes, that he sells as a dietary supplement.

It took him five years and €100,000 (87,000) to emanate the product, that he says is homogeneous to dual eyeglasses of wine. Personally I would cite to splash the wine, he said. But a little people cite to have the health benefits but the alcohol.

He is not alone. In southwest France Olivier Godin has set up Vino-Cure, that sells war paint and dietary supplements done from vines at Château Vent DAutan. Its for people who dont splash booze but wish to stay immature and healthy, he said.

Where is the veritas in vino?

• 80 per cent of booze studies show that it has a certain outcome on health if used up at assuage levels, according to Joseph Vercauteren, of Montpellier University in southern France.

• Other scientists contend there is no clinical justification to behind such theories, Marvin Edeas, authority of the French Antioxidant Society, between them.

• Even if booze is beneficial, there is no pledge that booze extracts are, too. Some researchers think the ethanol in booze might assist the fullness of antioxidants. If the ethanol is missing, they could be less effective. Dr Edeas said: The law is we only don"t know how polyphenols work in Man

Russian military military officer Denis Yevsyukov gets hold up for Moscow sharpened rampage

Denis Yevsyukov

Tony Halpin & , : {}

A comparison law enforcemetn military military military officer who killed dual people during a sharpened uproar in a supermarket, murdering dual people and wounding seven, has been locked up for life.

Denis Yevsyukov was convicted of dual charges of attempted attempted murder and twenty-two charges of attempted attempted attempted murder in a box that has angry Russians and stirred final for indiscriminate military reform.

Judge Nikolai Fomin, sentencing Yevsyukov to a maximum-security penal colony, described the former arch of Moscows southern military district of Tsaritsyno as an unusual risk to society.

Yevsyukov walked in to the supermarket in his military unvaried and began sharpened at pointless last Apr after assumingly arguing with his mother at his 32nd birthday party. He had progressing killed a cab motorist who had driven him to the store from his home.

Related LinksMoscow military arch kills 3 in gun uproar Moscow"s tip law enforcemetn military military military officer sacked after genocide debauch

The stores CCTV cameras showed business and staff using for their lives as the military military military officer walked quietly along the aisles sharpened at them. Prosecutors pronounced that he was drunk. Yevsyukov, who remained unresponsive as the judgment was delivered, claimed to have no mental recall of the attack.The three-judge row at Moscow City Court deserted his counterclaim and ruled that the former military vital had been wakeful of his actions and their consequences at the time of the shooting. Russian radio showed Yevsyukov giving no greeting as he was sentenced.

The box crystallised open annoy at Russias notoriously hurtful and heartless police. Moscows military arch Vladimir Pronin primarily shielded Yevsyukov as a good military military military officer after the crime and was sacked days after by President Medvevev.

The outcome was handed down a day after Mr Medvedev launched inclusive reforms of the Interior Ministry in a bid to purify up the force. He sacked sixteen military chiefs and dual emissary Interior Ministers, and systematic the method to separate the series of officials at the headquarters.

He in jeopardy serious low mark for military who pennyless the law and pronounced that 15,000 cases of crime were already underneath investigation, adding that this was only the tip of the iceberg. The President gave Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev one month to benefaction a plan for combating abuses and mending the peculiarity of military recruits.

Mr Medvedev additionally systematic compensate rises for rank-and-file police, who cite low salaries as one reason because they direct bribes. An normal Moscow military military military military officer earns around 290 a month notwithstanding prolonged operative hours.

Survivors of Yevsyukovs sharpened debauch pronounced that they would find supervision compensation. Russia Today radio reported that a little had to compensate for their own healing diagnosis to remove bullets and provide wounds notwithstanding being victims of crime.

Gordon Brown speaks of mother"s genocide in new romantic interview

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown applauds former South African President Nelson Mandela

Nico Hines & , : {}

Gordon Browns rebranding efforts one after an additional apace currently with an additional romantic speak focusing on his family life.

A couple of days after the Prime Minister was promote vocalization movingly about the genocide of his first-born child, he told a supermarket repository about his alternative childrens birthdays and the genocide of his mother.

Mr Browns closest advisors together with Lord Mandelson, Ed Balls and David Muir have succeeded in enlivening him to arrangement a softer side.

In the ultimate personal interview, the Prime Minister suggested that his sons sell birthday cards with Nelson Mandela and his mom Graca. He pronounced the former South African boss was the majority extraordinary man.

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Youngest son Fraser, three, celebrates his birthday a day prior to Mr Mandela whilst John, six, shares a birthday with Graca - so they send each alternative cards, Mr Brown explained.

The Prime Minister additionally pronounced he tries to keep in hold with Mr Mandela and spoke to him on his birthday last year.

In the speak forward of the Tesco repository Mum of the Year awards, Mr Brown described how the genocide of his mom in 2004 influenced him.

You dont utterly realize how most you depended on her until shes not there, he said. Your mom is so executive to all that you are, as well as what you do and how you behave, that the really formidable to anticipate hold up but her.

Even when my mom was old and anticipating it formidable to do things, she was regularly there to speak to and regularly meditative about how her son was removing on. So when your mom dies the the finish of an era.

With her left you feel a piece of what you are has been taken from you too. But the great thing is that a mums change lives on in you.

He added: I think she taught me a lot some-more than I ever concurred and you can admit right away some-more simply I think. Never distortion or cheat, regularly do what you cruise the right thing and regularly be cool in all that you do, and I think that was piece of her family upbringing too.

Mr Brown additionally pronounced his mom Sarah was a shining mother. I cant proceed to contend how unapproachable and beholden I am since it only couldnt occur but her, he said.

BUDGET 2010: "We are taxed on everything, it"s good to get a break"

By Kara Gammell 304PM GMT twenty-four March 2010

Isa savers Elaine and Ian Francis from Somerset with their children Isa savers Elaine and Ian Francis from Somerset with their young kids

When it comes to saving, Elaine and father Ian Francis, from Frome, Somerset, regularly make use of all of their tax-free stipend and so the headlines that it might enlarge each year is welcome.

Mrs Francis pronounced "Although you won"t indispensably be gaining as the enlarge is usually in line with inflation, if I have the income I will take value of the increase."

Savers beware, the Chancellor might come to cover up Prudence One Tory debate thats cursed to disaster Letters to the Telegraph Alastair Darlings 2009 Budget debate in full Budget 2009 The high travel is in need of a little sell care

The couple, graphic here with their young kids Oscar, elderly four, and two-year old Oliver, have a Flexi particular assets accounts (Isas) with M&S Money.

Mrs Francis, a teacher, pronounced "My father is really active when it comes to removing the most appropriate rates on the accounts. This Isa was undiluted for us, as we had only sole the prior home and longed for to be means to entrance the income when it came to shopping the subsequent house, but losing out on the interest."

"And given we have a M&S credit card, we were means to get 2,000 faithfulness points value twenty only by opening the account."

Mrs Francis pronounced that she is seeking brazen to the enlarge in the tax-free starting point this April.

She pronounced "It feels similar to we are taxed on anything and everything, so it"s good to get a bit of a break."

Debate: Should England reinstate Rob Andrew with Sir Clive Woodward?

1220PM GMT twenty-four March 2010

Comments 9 |

Rob Andrew Slow swell Rob Andrew has unsuccessful to lapse England to rugby"s tip list Photo GETTY IMAGES

Today"s RFU examination seems sure to column up Rob Andrew"s on all sides as executive of chosen rugby, notwithstanding reports that Sir Clive Woodward could be tempted by a lapse to Twickenham.

Woodward, England"s World Cup-winning coach, is accepted to be emptied by his purpose with the British Olympic Association. And that has led a little pundits to call for Woodward to reinstate Andrew and work in a "dream team" to one side Martin Johnson.

Team Johnson to keep jobs Flutey essay led to France axing programme Johnson urged to red blood immature bent Lions 2009 Debate is Ian McGeechan one of the all-time good British and Irish sporting heroes? Ian McGeechan prepares Lions for a energy onslaught opposite Springboks Josh Lewsey an outward gamble for Lions debate

But would such a move assistance England? With subsequent year"s World Cup on the horizon, should England unequivocally be ripping up the template at this stage? Would Woodward"s participation criticise Johnson?

Or is anything softened than the standing quo? Are England sleepwalking towards pool-stage elimination? And has anything unequivocally softened underneath Andrew"s regime? And what does Woodward, 7 years after Sydney, have to offer?

Have your contend next ...

Blackburn Rovers v Birmingham City: compare preview

By John Ley 300PM GMT twenty-four Mar 2010

Previous of Images Next Blackburn compare preview Sam Allardyce Blackburn physical education instructor Sam Allardyce Photo GETTY IMAGES Birmingham compare preview Alex McLeish Birmingham physical education instructor Alex McLeish Photo GETTY IMAGES

Wednesday, Mar twenty-four

Blackburn Rovers v Birmingham City Ewood Park Kick-Off 20.00 GMT

Premier League list Wolves beat West Ham Premier League fixtures Sport on radio Blackburn v West Brom Preview Heavy sleet continues to affect sporting fixtures

Tale of the diversion

Blackburn have one point from nine, but that came opposite Chelsea on Sunday. And Rovers are dominant in their last 6 home games, receiving fourteen points from a probable 18. Goalkeeper Paul Robinson is still out but Franco di Santo is available.

Gäel Givet, Lars Jacobsen, Vince Grella and Ryan Nelsen are additionally expected to be absent. But David Dunn, taken off as a prevision opposite Chelsea, should be fit.

Birmingham have lost 4 out of their last five afar games in the Premier League but when the teams met in Dec Cameron Jerome scored both goals in a 2-1 win.

Lee Bowyer, a surrogate in Saturdays 3-1 better at Sunderland, could lapse but Garry OConnor and Lee Carsley are still out.

Probable teams

Blackburn Rovers (4-2-3-1) Brown; Salgado, Samba, Jones, Olsson; Andrews, Nzonzi; Dunn, Pedersen, Diouf; Kalinic. Birmingham City (4-4-2) Hart; Carr, R Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell; Gardner, Bowyer, Ferguson, Fahey; Jerome, Benítez. Referee Mark Clattenburg. Matches 24. R5. Y66.

This deteriorate Birmingham 2 Blackburn 1.

Last deteriorate Blackburn 2 Birmingham 1, Birmingham 4 Blackburn 1

Stat of the diversion Blackburn have won twenty-nine of their 35 points at Ewood Park.

Betting tip A 2-1 home win is offering at 15-2.

Firms group to failure brothel UK

Robert Watts and Claire Newell , : {}

This essay is the theme of a authorised censure from Matthew Tippetts.

A GREEK multinational association has deprived creditors of 1.3 billion by claiming that a one-man London bureau was the tellurian domicile and exploiting kindly penury manners introduced by Labour.

Wind Hellas, Greeces third-largest telecoms company, changed the resources to Britain from Luxembourg in August. Its little London head bureau consisted of one man, one table and a computer.

Two weeks after it began the routine heading to the adminstration, utilizing a monetary device well known as a pre-pack that grew out of legislation championed by Gordon Brown when he was chancellor.

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When Wind Hellas subsequently collapsed, some-more than a third of the debt was wiped out, together with 9m due to Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), that is 84% owned by the taxpayer.

Creditors contend the Wind Hellas understanding shows Britain is apropos a failure brothel, with unsuccessful firms utilizing UK laws to off-load debt.

One penury consultant pronounced dozens of unfamiliar firms are formulation to take value of Britains tasteful penury regime.

The Greek economy is in the center of a bill predicament that has rocked the euro.

Pre-packs concede owners of a struggling association to set up a new organisation and afterwards buy behind the most appropriate stock, skill and alternative resources from the strange company.

The Wind Hellas pre-pack was the largest in British corporate story and nonetheless it was overseen by a 33-year-old comparison manager who had graduated from commercial operation propagandize five years earlier.

The executive, Matthew Tippetts, had no experience of corporate penury and conducted commercial operation from his small bureau utilizing mobile phones and a free email account. Sources close to him, however, pronounced he was suggested by experienced professionals.

Wind Hellas is owned by Naguib Sawiris, 55, the Egyptian aristocrat who is thought to be one of the richest men in Africa with personal resources estimated at 2 billion.

Under the conditions of the pre-pack deal, Wind Hellass resources were paid for by Weather Investments, an investment car tranquil by Sawiris.

The new company, that was shaped with capitulation from comparison creditors, had been liberated of 1.3 billion in debt that Wind Hellas due to subordinated bondholders.

Besides RBS, the losers enclosed a little of the greatest names in the City of London, together with Aberdeen Asset Management and Lloyds Banking Group.

Some of these bondholders are formulation authorised movement opposite Weather Investments and maybe even opposite Tippetts, who was allocated as an eccentric senior manager to manage the administration.

Tippetts has reliable he was being paid by Weather Investments via the administration. Some creditors explain this is a dispute of interest, but a source close to Tippetts pronounced total of his compensate were done open and comparison creditors authorized the pre-pack. The source pronounced Tippetts was paid a total next 500,000 for his work during the administration.

Pictures of the immature bureau worker have appeared on a amicable networking website display him dancing with a immature lady and swigging booze from a bottle.

Bertrand des Pallières, arch comparison manager of SPQR, a sidestep account that lost millions in Wind Hellass collapse, pronounced Britain is apropos a breakwater for firms looking to sale debts.

Any commercial operation can set up a little bureau in London and lie their creditors out of debts of hundreds of millions of pounds, he said.

This is wholly authorised underneath UK laws and sealed off by High Court judges.

Wind Hellas is the ultimate in a series of unfamiliar companies that have used Britains penury regime, that was done some-more kindly underneath the 2002 Enterprise Act. Karl Clowry, a corporate partner with Paul Hastings, the law firm, pronounced multiform dozen multinational companies were deliberation utilizing Britains pre-pack complement to revoke their debts.

A orator for the association that owns the reformed Wind Hellas declined to criticism on Friday.

Budget 2010: Alistair Darling prepares to item pre-election budget

By Robert Winnett and Andrew Porter 838AM GMT twenty-four March 2010

The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, presenting the 2009 Budget in the House of Commons. Budget 2010 Alistair Darling to freeze income bands in The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, presenting the 2009 Budget in the House of Commons Photo PA

The Chancellor will right away broach what he promises will be a "sensible, workmanlike" package of monetary measures.

He has motionless to freeze all income taxation bands, that will lead people to compensate some-more taxation on their earnings.

Budget 2010 live

Every higher-rate taxpayer earning some-more than 43,875 will compensate an one some-more 489 in taxation as a outcome of the move, and 75,000 some-more will compensate this higher-rate taxation for the initial time.

Other approaching measures in the check embody

The estate taxation starting point solidified at 325,000 Five per cent climb in taxation on wines and intoxicating beverage A immature criticism of 1bn to deposit in projects such as chief energy stations and breeze farms Free simple bank criticism for any one who needs one A hindrance in the programmed 3p climb in motor fuel avocation Scrapping stamp avocation on residence sales of up to 250,000 A new expostulate to stop taxation semblance The income taxation grab comes on tip of the new 50p higher rate of income taxation that will come in to outcome subsequent month for those earning some-more than 150,000.

Mr Darling will additionally remove taxation breaks for those earning some-more than 100,000. The targeting of people earning some-more than 100,000 will lift an one some-more 1.2 billion.

The Conservatives pounded Mr Darling hours prior to he was even due to speak, observant Labour had "run out of steam".

Shadow Treasury apportion Greg Hands pronounced "This Labour Government is out of vision, out of ideas and will shortly be out of time.

"They have busted the British economy, racked up an huge volume of debt and are right away mired in sleaze as well."

General Election 2010 More on the Budget 2010

Mr Darling is additionally approaching to endorse Government borrowing is on march to sum some-more than 1 trillion over the subsequent couple of years following the "extraordinary" actions taken to plunge into the monetary crisis. But he will exclude to permit any evident cuts to open spending, notice that it might discredit the recovery.

Mr Darling will have well known that 1 billion of taxpayers income will be used for a new immature investment fund. Extra income will additionally be earmarked to assistance the long-term unemployed. Schools are additionally set to be since one some-more funding.

The one some-more spending will be paid from the one some-more taxation take. Government borrowing is additionally approaching to be about 10 billion less than approaching that gives Mr Darling a little room for manoeuvre.

Discussions are still reception place over either Mr Darling could equates to to hindrance a programmed 3p climb in fuel duty. If he does go forward with it will meant motorists will have to compensate even higher siphon prices at a time when they are already streamer by the 120p a litre separator since of mountainous oil prices.

There is additionally approaching to be bad headlines for drinkers with a programmed 5 per cent enlarge on all booze and spirits.

Mr Darling is approaching to correct down somewhat the borrowing total and will have use of it as a pointer that the misfortune for the economy is over and that a feared "double-dip" retrogression will not happen.

In a matter last night the Chancellor could not conflict a spiny criticism destined at Gordon Brown. Mr Darling pronounced Britain had come "through what had been the majority formidable resources for well in one some-more of 60 years."

When the Chancellor settled in the autumn of 2008 that the predicament would be the misfortune for 60 years he was pounded by Number 10. Last month, in an uncharacteristic involvement that carried the lid on tensions in between him and Mr Brown, he certified "the forces of hell" had been unleashed on him by the Prime Ministers advisers.

Mr Darling attempted last year to fool around down the stroke of solidified taxation allowances as acceleration was essentially negative. However, acceleration has right away started rising neatly that equates to the solidified of the taxation bands is set to turn a vital monetary issue. Inflation is right away using at 3 percent.

All of the main income taxation bands will be solidified for the subsequent year together with the tax-free stipend and the turn at that higher-rate taxation becomes payable.

This supposed "fiscal drag" equates to that people compensate proportionately some-more taxation on their earnings, after reception a compensate rise. Most compensate deals are related to inflation. Income and alternative taxation allowances typically climb in line with inflation.

If keeping gait with inflation, the tax-free personal stipend should climb from 6,475 to 6,669. However, by solidified the rate at 6,475, the Treasury will lift an one some-more 1 billion and each taxpayer will compensate an one some-more 40 in tax.

The rate at that higher-rate taxation is paid will additionally be solidified at 43,875. However, it should enlarge to 44,995. The Treasury will have an one some-more 450 million as a outcome - 489 for each higher-rate taxpayer, according to accountants.

The estate taxation starting point is being solidified at 325,000 that will lift 60m in one some-more revenues for the Treasury.

Mike Warburton, taxation partner at Grant Thornton, the accountants, pronounced "Inflation was disastrous last year so this was not an issue but it positively is not disastrous now. Freezing the allowances in this approach shows ministers are behind to their old secrecy taxation tricks."

The Conservatives will right away advise of the impassioned risk to the British economy if the debt complaint is not addressed some-more quickly. The antithesis have drawn up new investigate that shows the Governments debt seductiveness payments could reach some-more than 106 billion a year inside of five years.

Using what has happened in Greece as an e.g. of how Britains debt complaint could spiral. That figure would paint a trebling of the Governments annual debt seductiveness check and it would be some-more than the annual NHS check in England.

It would meant the cost of profitable the seductiveness on the inhabitant debt seductiveness would climb from the homogeneous of twenty-four per family per week to over 80 per week, or from 1,250 per year to 4,320 per year.

The Conservatives have additionally voiced that they are mouth-watering electorate to disintegrate the Budget around the Tory celebration website in an practice well known as "crowdsourcing."

Tory debate to aim key seats was corroborated by a 750000 tax-haven loan

Dominic Kennedy, Investigations Editor & , : {}

The Conservative Partys last ubiquitous choosing debate was partly financed with a 750,000 loan from an offshore haven, The Times has learnt.

The income originated with a association formed in the sly taxation preserve of Belize. The law bans abroad businesses from creation gifts to British domestic parties but there is zero to stop them lending income in this way.

The offshore house is purebred at the same residence in the Central American state as the promissory note domicile of Lord Ashcroft. The income was destined in to a successful aim seats campaign, that slashed Tony Blairs majority, ensuring the better of twenty-five Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs and candidates.

David Cameron done Lord Ashcroft his partys emissary authority and gave him shortcoming for producing a identical descent for the entrance election.

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The use of flooding extrinsic constituencies with sufficient income to lean the outcome was criticised by the Commons Constitutional Affairs Committees exploration in to celebration funding.

One of the dangers compared with this increasing faith on large donations is the claim that individuals, corporations and unions can buy influence, or even buy elections, MPs wrote. Some of the problems that have caused majority open concern, such as the capability of a couple of abounding people or bodies to buy a jagged volume of power, are done worse if vigour groups can combine their await on sold candidates.

Until now, the place of the idealisation source of the income used at the 2005 choosing has not been known. Donations totalling scarcely 850,000 were paid to subdivision parties by a association called Bearwood Corporate Services, afterwards formed in Wokingham, Berkshire. Lord Ashcroft spoken in the House of Lords register of interests on Monday that he controls that entity.

This donor commercial operation was a medium operation run by one man and his secretary. The Electoral Commission has found that it constructed as well small income from trade to source such large gifts. Accounts filed at Companies House show that a British-based primogenitor company, Bearwood Holdings, borrowed 750,000 from a lender called Sierra Investments Ltd during 2003-04.

During the same period, Bearwood Holdings gave 750,000 to Bearwood Corporate Services in sell for 36,669 additional shares in the company. It already owned the auxiliary outright.

Bearwood Corporate Services began pouring income in to internal subdivision parties, often marginals. Election law forbids income being since to parties by any one alternative than people on the electoral hurl or British-registered companies. It is an corruption to come in in to any agreement to costume or costume the source of a gift.

The Times has traced Sierra Investments to the offshore association register in Belize, a Caribbean taxation preserve where Lord Ashcroft has corner citizenship and bases piece of his commercial operation empire. Companies similar to Sierra compensate small or no taxes and are protected, with no avowal of any report solely the first date and purebred agent. Sierras representative is Belize Bank, determined by Lord Ashcroft at 60 Market Square, Belize City.

There is no discuss of Sierra Investments on Lord Ashcrofts entrance in the Lords register, that lists companies he controls or in that he owns poignant shareholdings. The Times asked Lord Ashcroft about Sierra. His solicitors, Harbottle Lewis, responded: The actuality that one eventuality happened after an additional is no justification at all that the dual are causally connected.

The Electoral Commission privileged 5.1 million of Tory donations from Bearwood Corporate Services but it is misleading either it knew that this loan came from the Belize address.

The Labour MP John Mann said: It is obviously sleazy, dark and unethical.

dkennedy@thetimes.co.uk

Viktor Yanukovych gives Russia a possibility to keep Black Sea Fleet in Crimea

Tony Halpin Moscow & , : {}

Ukraines new pro-Russian President offering the Kremlin a possibility to keep a bottom for the Black Sea Fleet on his initial revisit to Moscow yesterday.

Viktor Yanukovych referred to that the swift could stay in Crimea over 2017, when a 20-year franchise is due to expire, overturning former President Yushchenkos process of grouping the Russians to leave. The predestine of the swift at the pier of Sevastopol was a key issue in talks with President Medvedev at the Kremlin, as Mr Yanukovych sought to correct ties that were all but cut off underneath his pro-Western predecessor.

Very shortly we will have an answer to this subject that will prove both Ukraine and Russia, Mr Yanukovych told a corner press conference.

Mr Medvedev pronounced that the dual sides would go on consultations, adding: We spoke about supportive aspects of the co-operation, together with the participation of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation in Sevastopol.

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A understanding would be a poignant manoeuvre for the Kremlin and justification that it is sketch Ukraine behind in to the globe of influence, after Mr Yanukovych finished the Orange Revolution epoch by defeating Yuliya Tymoshenko in last months presidential election. Mrs Tymoshenko, who was discharged as Prime Minister on Wednesday, led the pro-Western series with Mr Yushchenko in 2004.

It could, however, hint a recoil between nationalists who are questionable of Mr Yanukovych and voted overwhelmingly opposite him. Mr Yushchenko had warned that the swift was a hazard to Ukraines security, among fears that the Kremlin could stir disturbance in Crimeas often pro-Russian race as a stratagem for seizing the territory.

Readers Digest UK attracts roughly 100 suitors

Catherine Boyle & , : {}

Nearly 100 intensity buyers have approached the administrators of Readers Digest UK.

Moore Stephens, the accountants allocated after the 72-year-old British book of the watchful room prime collapsed in to administration department department last month, have set a deadline of the center of subsequent week for demonstrative offers after promulgation report to twenty-five intensity new owners.

Once the countrys best-read magazine, with a brew of gardening tips, fiction, jokes and genuine hold up stories, Reader"s Digest UK went in to administration department department after the American primogenitor association pronounced that it was no longer means to await the British edition.

Plans to block the 125 million grant necessity unsuccessful after the UK Pensions Regulator deserted a offer by the American owner, that was in US Chapter eleven failure insurance itself until last month, to speak up a pile total in to the companys grant account and in lapse for an equity seductiveness in the UK business.

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There were fears for the destiny of the magazine, and the 117 employees, after it went in to administration, but the director insisted that the Apr book will be published on time, in the second half of this month and work is underneath approach on the May issue.

The director said: "Readers Digests sales group is selling promotion space to media agencies for the May, Jun and Jul issues.

Prize draws are continuing, whilst new approach selling campaigns are underneath approach and products are being despatched to customers.

Circulation has depressed from a high of some-more than dual million to less than half a million.

The US primogenitor of Reader"s Digest UK additionally ran in to difficulty after receiving on a rarely leveraged $2.8 billion in isolation equity-backed buyout deal. It was afterwards left with immeasurable seductiveness payments on a $2.2 billion debt.