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Tom Hayes, the Libor-rigging scandal's 'ringmaster'

On 11 December 2012, City of London police and SFO representatives led away a 33-year-old multimillionaire former derivatives trader

In early December 2012, the UK felt like a modern-day version of a Dickensian Christmas.

A cold snap had left buildings and fields covered in frost, enveloping a country already frozen by a financial slump. The UK’s economic growth was in retreat and its credit rating threatened, just as many in the City accused of causing the gloom appeared insulated.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Former City trader Tom Hayes given 14-year sentence for Libor rigging

Jury in landmark case finds 35-year-old guilty of eight counts of conspiracy to fix the international interbank lending rate

Former City trader Tom Hayes has been sentenced to 14 years in jail after becoming the first person to be convicted by a jury of rigging the Libor interest rate.

In a landmark case, Hayes, 35, a former UBS and Citigroup yen derivatives trader, was convicted of eight counts of conspiracy to defraud.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Libor: the key global rate abused on a wide scale

The financial crisis showed how important Libor had become in globalised markets – the rigging scandal showed how much it had been abused

Libor first shot to prominence during the financial crisis when it emerged as a signal that banks were panicking. This is because Libor – shorthand for the London interbank offered rate – is the price banks estimate their rivals will want to lend to them at. During the crisis, those banks that admitted they expected to be charged the highest interest rates by their peers were perceived to be the riskier ones.

The £290m fine for rigging the rate imposed on Barclays in 2012 shed Libor in an entirely different light. The penalty and subsequent ones imposed on banks and brokers showed that the rates themselves were being manipulated. It also meant they may not have been a true reflection of wider borrowing costs paid by companies and households worldwide.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

These are the four SDGs we need to agree on to help the planet

Tackling indoor air pollution, protecting coral reefs, boosting R&D in cleaner energy and ending subsidies for fossil fuels are the most important sustainable development goals for safeguarding the environment

The governments of the UN’s 193 member states are gearing up to select a set of development and environmental targets for the next 15 years to replace the millennium development goals (MDGs) that expire this year. These targets will influence the £1.6tn in development aid the OECD predicts will be needed by 2030 and countless trillions in national budgets – as well as set the tone for corporate green spending.

Related: Sustainable development goals: changing the world in 17 steps – interactive

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Scent of success: perfume’s perennial popularity is thanks to natural and synthetic ingredients

The history of fragrance mirrors the history of civilization. But even the perfume-loving Egyptians and other ancients couldn’t have predicted how humans would use and create scents over millennia

Perfume has existed for thousands of years and manufacturers have used scents in everyday products – candles, soap, lip balm, lotions – for more than a century. Even today’s scent-free products contain an odor neutralizer, which in essence is one fragrance that masks the scent of another, writes Dr. Anne Steinemann of the Physicians for Social Responsibility’s Environmental Health Policy Institute. Michael Edwards, author of Fragrances of the World, the definitive annual perfume guidebook that classifies more than 8,000 fragrances, says upwards of 5,000 new perfumes have been introduced since 2000.

At banquets, the Romans refreshed themselves between courses with flower-scented water. Edwards notes that perfume’s origins come from ancient Romans’ temple rituals, in which they crushed and threw flowers, leaves, wood shavings, spices and aromatic resins onto burning coals as offerings to the gods, releasing their scents “per fumum” – the Latin phrase meaning “through smoke”.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

South Africa's circular economy could be lifeline for its 25% unemployed

With unemployment at a 10 year high, hope is coming in the form of new jobs offered by the country’s burgeoning circular economy

South Africa’s economy is having a tough time. The country is struggling to escape the effects of the global financial crisis and mining companies – one of South Africa’s key economic sectors – are laying off workers in response to falling commodity prices.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

HSBC profits rise 10% boosted by bumper Hong Kong earnings

The international banking group made pre-tax profits of £8.7bn in the first six months of the year

The international banking group HSBC reported a 10% increase in earnings for the first half of the year, boosted by bumper profits in Hong Kong as the lender considers whether to move its headquarters from London to the Asian hub.

Europe’s biggest bank said on Monday that pretax profits in the six months to the end of June were £8.7bn, up from £7.87bn a year earlier and well above analysts’ expectations.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Bank lending to business forecast to rise in 2015

Annual investment could rise by 0.25% over the year despite a dip in June – the first annual increase since the pre-crisis peak in 2008

Business lending by Britain’s banks remains on track to rise in 2015, despite falling sharply in June, according to a new forecast from the EY Item Club.

Boosting business investment is seen as an essential factor in restoring Britain’s shaky productivity record and putting the economic recovery on a sustainable footing.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

RBS sale speculation gathers pace

Advisers to Chancellor George Osborne reportedly discussing whether or not to signal start of sale

The starting pistol could be fired on the government sell-off of its stake in Royal Bank of Scotland as soon as this week.

Advisers to George Osborne are still deciding whether to recommend to the chancellor that now is the right time to go ahead with the disposal.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS