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Boost for Tony Abbott as Australian unemployment fell in August to 6.2%

The jobless figure fell as expected last month from 6.3% in July and the total number of people in work rose by 7,400 driven by part-time jobs

Australia’s unemployment rate fell to 6.2% in August despite disappointing economic growth and turmoil on the world’s stock markets.

Related: Economic management is now Tony Abbott’s weakest claim to re-election | Stephen Koukoulas

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

UK auditors sound public-sector debt warning

Watchdog raises fears of £200m shortfall, saying ministers have failed to control government financial assets properly

Ministers have failed to impose proper controls on the government’s £222bn collection of financial-sector assets, which will add to public-sector debt, official auditors have found.

Despite £62.6bn worth of sell-offs, including shares in Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland, the National Audit Office (NAO) has expressed concern over an expected shortfall of financial assets worth £200m.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

UK house prices will end year 6% higher, say surveyors

Strongest price growth forecast in Northern Ireland and England’s north-east is predicted to see a 3% fall after house price rises reached 15-month high in August

House prices in the UK will end the year 6% higher than they started it, a group of surveyors has predicted.

The strong jobs market and low mortgage rates have supported demand from buyers, while the number of homes coming on to the market remains at its lowest level in at least three decades, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Shark survey points to higher numbers swimming off US east coast

Researchers catch and tag more than 2,800 sharks along the coast this spring pointing to steady population gains, but numbers come amid increase in attacks

US shark researchers caught and tagged 2,835 sharks along the east coast this spring, a record number which they say reflects a growing population thanks to federal protections.

It surpassed the 1,831 sharks captured and tagged in 2012 during the survey which is conducted every three years by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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Source: Guardian Environment

CVS reports a drop in cigarette sales after removing tobacco from stores

CVS data finds the company may have contributed to reduced tobacco consumption. Will other companies start tracking their social impact?

A year ago, pharmacy retailer CVS got plenty of attention for its decision to remove tobacco products from all of its stores. Now, the retailer is doing something that’s arguably just as noteworthy: measuring whether that choice has actually made a difference. According to data released last week by the company’s own CVS Health Research Institute, the decision to remove tobacco products has led to a decrease in cigarette sales. Sales of cigarettes are down by 1%, and nicotine patch purchases are up by 4% in the communities where CVS has at least 15% market share.

If the numbers prove accurate, they could indicate a measurable impact on local communities over a short period of time, with large implications for future efforts by CVS and other companies wanting to positively influence the communities in which they operate.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Morrisons needs to answer questions over convenience store sale | Nils Pratley

Supermarket chain has sold its M stores to Mike Greene’s Greybull Capital, but as a grown-up FTSE 100 company it should explain how the deal is funded

Morrisons was late to the convenience store game, then paid too much for shops in poor locations after Tesco and Sainsbury’s had spent a decade grabbing the prime pitches. That, roughly speaking, is how Morrisons’ 140 local M stores recorded an operating loss of £36m last year.

In the circumstances, you can understand why the new-broom chief executive, David Potts, has ordered an exit. Even so, the price looks poor – just £25m. Morrisons hasn’t even been able to wave a clean goodbye to the leases, which will revert should the business fail under its new owners.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Revenue & Customs 'winding down' inquiries into HSBC Swiss tax evaders

After reopening investigation into HSBC clients hiding money in Switzerland, HMRC admits it has still only prosecuted one tax cheat

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is winding down its inquiries into hundreds of British customers who used HSBC’s Swiss bank to evade tax, a senior official has admitted.

The tax authority reopened its investigation into British customers of HSBC Suisse in February, but has failed to add to the single prosecution of a tax cheat from the bank, the official told MPs on the public accounts committee on Wednesday.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Former Secret Millionaire leads takeover of Morrisons' convenience stores

Mike Greene is heading £25m takeover of 140 of supermarket’s M Local shops, backed by Greybull Capital – best-known for investing in Comet chain

A former bankrupt who later built a consultancy business and went on to appear on Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire is to acquire Morrisons’ struggling portfolio of convenience stores, backed by a controversial buyout firm.

Mike Greene, who has spent 20 years on the board of the Association of Convenience Stores and founded the Association of Retail Newsagents, is leading the £25m takeover of 140 M Local branches.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Google-backed San Francisco nonprofit offers showers for the homeless

After winning Google’s 2014 Bay Area Impact Challenge, Lava Mae provides free bathrooms and showers in decommissioned buses to San Francisco’s homeless

As San Francisco’s tech bubble continues to grow, so too does the city’s homeless population. Half of the city’s homeless say they lost their housing due to tech workers driving up rental prices. Google, whose headquarters lie in neighboring Silicon Valley, has come under fire for exacerbating the issue.

Last year, Google pledged $2m to homeless groups in San Francisco that work on everything from supportive housing to education programs. Part of that included a grant to a new nonprofit called Lava Mae, which converts decommissioned city buses into portable bathrooms for the homeless.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS