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Asia Pacific stock markets continue recovery after Fed hints at delay – live

Follow the day’s events with Martin Farrer.

2.00pm AEST

Interesting piece on Reuters about how some of the problems could be down to the loss of key regulatory personnel.

After the GFC, it says, Beijing poached top Chinese talent from overseas banks to come home and overhaul the country’s financial system. But by June this year, they’d become disillusioned and headed back to the private sector:

The best and brightest returnees, known in China as “sea turtles”, had already left for the private sector, disillusioned and disappointed.

A former official at the China Securities Regulatory Commission, one of a group of 20 high-profile returnees, recalled the CSRC’s appeal to make “sacrifices for the motherland”.

1.55pm AEST

Fairly steady on the markets still. Tokyo is well-placed at lunch having put on 1.89% without loss, while in Australia the ASX is batting through the break at +1.28%.

In China, the Shanghai Comp has played a riskier knock but is up 1.55% for the day so far despite nearly falling into the trap earlier in the session.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

China free trade agreement: Andrew Robb open to constructive talks with Labor

Options for a breakthrough appear limited however after trade minister says legal text of the treaty has been signed off ‘and it will not be reopened’

The trade minister, Andrew Robb, has opened the door to “constructive” talks with Labor in a bid to salvage the China-Australia free trade agreement, which has been at the centre of a fierce political battle and a forthright campaign by unions.

Robb’s offer provides a potential avenue for resolving political disagreement over the contents of the agreement, as Labor weighs up the option of blocking the enabling legislation if the government refuses to increase “safeguards” for Australian jobs.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

China’s slumping economy a bigger threat to Australia than its plunging stock market

The impact of the Chinese stock market on Australia will not be great, but its slowing economy and demand for goods will continue to be a drag on our growth

This week the Chinese stock market has plunged more than 17% in three days. While its value still remains higher than it was a year ago, the fall in value is a reflection that China’s economy is undergoing a tough transition, with lower economic growth. For Australia, the plunging Chinese stock market will have little direct impact, but the slumping economy will.

Related: Asia Pacific stock markets continue recovery after Dow bounces back – live

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Denmark reveals €800m tax fraud – the country's biggest

Tax authority alerts police amid suspicion that foreign companies have defrauded its system over past three years

Denmark’s tax authority said on Wednesday that it had alerted police after foreign companies appeared to have drained more than 800m euros from the system in what would be the country’s biggest tax fraud.

“Over the summer we became suspicious after receiving information from a foreign authority,” said Jesper Ronnow Simonsen, head of the Skat tax agency.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Sainsbury's shopfloor staff to receive 4% pay rise

Hourly pay to go up from £7.08 an hour to £7.36 an hour for workers aged over 18, but 24,000 non-store staff and store managers not included

Sainsbury’s is to give 137,000 shopfloor staff a 4% pay rise, their biggest increase in a decade, after pressure from low pay campaigners.

The supermarket said its standard rate of pay for store workers would go up from £7.08 to £7.36 an hour from next week. It remains below the level living wage campaigners have called for, but will be above George Osborne’s £7.20 national living wage, a new minimum for over 25s that comes into force next April.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Estimated 4.5m Britons plan bank holiday trips within UK

Nearly 9% to have a ‘staycation’, while almost two million will head abroad, according to national tourist board

The bank holiday is set to be a bumper weekend for tourism, with millions packing their bags for trips within the UK and abroad.

An estimated 4.5 million Britons are planning an overnight break in England, according to the national tourist board.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Walmart to stop selling AR-15 rifles due to 'decreased demand'

Retailer says decision was made because of lack of demand from customers, not because of political pressure in the wake of shootings where AR-15 was used

Walmart will no longer stock AR-15 rifles and other semi-automatic weapons, saying the decision is because of less demand from customers and not continued political pressure in the wake of several mass shootings in the US.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of demand for those products so we replaced them with products we have seen customers coming into purchase it,” Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg told Fortune on Wednesday.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

McDonald's UK boss defends company's use of zero-hours contracts for staff

Paul Pomroy says workers love the flexibility of their contracts, as the company says 80% of more than 100,000 UK employees are on zero-hours terms

The boss of McDonald’s in the UK has defended the company’s continued use of zero-hours contracts for about 80,000 employees in its British restaurants.

Paul Pomroy, who took over the running of the UK operation in December, said staff loved the flexibility of the contracts, which have been criticised for exploiting workers.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Is a chief happiness officer really the best way to increase workplace happiness?

While the trend of chief happiness officers might not have spread like wildfire, companies are increasingly finding ways to make workplace happiness a priority

Happiness in the workplace has become such a hot button conversation topic, some companies have created a job specifically dedicated to it. The remit of a chief happiness officer (CHO) is simple: to ensure workers are kept happy.

But for a trend supposedly sweeping the workplace, the list of people who have assumed the position of CHO is rather short.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS