The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, has insisted he will not resign amid growing government infighting over who will become the Socialist presidential candidate to face the right’s François Fillon and the Front National’s Marine Le Pen. The fractured Socialist party is under pressure to unite its warring factions against the right’s newly nominated candidate Fillon, a former prime minister whose platform of traditionalist, Catholic social conservatism and sweeping cuts to the French state has infuriated the left who call him the “French Margaret Thatcher”. But the Socialists are in such disarray that polls show they are unlikely to make it through to the second-round runoff in the French presidential election next May, which is currently predicted to be fought between Fillon and the far-right Front National’s Le Pen. François Hollande, the least popular French president since the second world war, is expected to announce in the coming … [Read more...] about France: government in turmoil as Socialist infighting grows
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In less than a week the most valuable company in history will make its debut on a publicly traded market. Saudi Aramco is both the most profitable and the most polluting company of all time. Its looming $1.7tn (£1.3tn) market listing is also evidence of the gaping chasm between Europe’s growing climate movement and the carbon addiction the rest of the world just cannot kick. A year that has seen the most determined green investor activism, fossil fuel divestments and climbing climate targets will end with the largest single fossil-fuel binge in investment history. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman put in motion plans to offer international investors the opportunity to own a piece of the world’s biggest oil company in 2016, only months after governments in Paris had agreed plans to tackle the climate crisis. Nonetheless, the world’s biggest investors, from Wall Street to the largest financial centres in Europe and Asia, still clamoured for a chance to help … [Read more...] about Market debut for world’s biggest polluter must be a rallying cry for climate action
In Greek mythology, Hermes is the god of trade, commerce, merchants, roads and travellers, but also the god of trickery. The parcel delivery firm that shares its name with a French fashion house, an asset management company and the Olympian deity, might be associated with all those things, except – as of this week – possibly the last on that list. After hundreds of Hermes couriers in summer 2018 won the right to be recognised as “workers” at an employment tribunal, the company this week offered guaranteed minimum wages and holiday pay to its drivers – the first such offer in the industry. The agreement means that the 15,000 individuals ferrying parcels up and down the country every day can still enjoy all the flexibilities associated with being self-employed if they choose to, but they will also be able to opt into contracts that provide far more favourable rights. The GMB Union, with whom Hermes struck the deal, said the deal gives drivers “a real … [Read more...] about Hermes is now delivering on workers’ rights. Is the gig economy changing?
Two years ago, GCHQ's annual sports day took place on Wednesday 15 June at the Civil Service Sports Club in London. A mixed six-a-side football tournament was the centrepiece of the day, with matches kicking off at 11am sharp. The event was a jolly for those routinely cooped up in the agency's distinctive doughnut-shaped headquarters in Cheltenham, and they were furnished with six pages of rules and regulations to ensure fair play. "Each team MUST field at least ONE lady player at all times," the note said. "Appropriate footwear shall be worn. No crocs, sandals or flip-flops will be allowed. The wearing of shin-pads is COMPULSORY." Of all the highly classified documents about GCHQ revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, this has to be one of the least sensitive. But it offers a glimpse into the world of the 6,100 people crammed into the open-plan and underground offices at GCHQ; the fact that there is a sports day at all reveals something about the agency which most people … [Read more...] about GCHQ: inside the top secret world of Britain’s biggest spy agency
Professor, Dr. Pankaj Jha (R) in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency correspondent. (Source: VNA) New Delhi (VNA) – An Indian scholar has hailed Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang's upcoming visit to India as a significant event given the fact that the Vietnamese President has a very positive attitude towards the bilateral ties and has a fair knowledge about the status of the relationship between the two countries. In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency ahead of President Tran Dai Quang’s visit to India (March 2-4), Professor, Dr. Pankaj Jha, a senior faculty member with Jindal School of International Affairs (JSIA) and is also Editor-in- Chief of the JSIA Journal, said in the last three years, the hyper activism in India-Vietnam relations has manifested itself into opening of new vistas of cooperation between the two sides. This includes areas such as political understanding on areas of critical interest, defence and strategic areas, … [Read more...] about Indian scholar hails Vietnamese President’s upcoming visit
The UK economy fell by 0.2% in the second quarter of this year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said. It marks its worst performance since 2012, raising fears of another potential recession. The drop comes despite a boost to the economy in the first quarter of 2019 thanks to Brexit stockpiling, ahead of March's plans to leave the EU. Rob Kent-Smith, head of GDP at the ONS, said manufacturing output fell and the construction sector weakened, despite a 5% growth earlier in the year. The services sector, which is usually the main driver of Britain's economic growth, also recorded its weakest quarter for three years, climbing 0.1%. Rob Kent Smith, head of GDP at the ONS, said: "GDP contracted in the second quarter for the first time since 2012 after robust growth in the first quarter. "Manufacturing output fell back after a strong start to the year, with production brought forward ahead of the UK's original departure date from the EU," he said. In comparison with the same … [Read more...] about UK economy slumps to worst performance in 7 years as Brexit stockpiling stalls