Back to Top

GM technology isn't good or evil – it's what we do with it that counts

Rather than debating genetically modified food, we should be discussing the problems it is intended to solve

Just mentioning genetic modification (GM) creates division. The anti-GM lobby sees red mist, the pro-GM lobby seemingly wants to roll out the red carpet and others see GM as a red herring, a distraction from other (more easily acceptable) solutions to our huge food challenges.

My reaction? To be honest, my heart sinks. I’m fed up with arguments that GM is necessary to give us enough food in the future, but also tired with those who dismiss the technologies out of hand.

Continue reading…
Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Does the world need a financial early warning system?

Increase in market volatility suggest investors are as bad as slow-moving sovereign rating agencies at detecting early signs of trouble

Recent market volatility in emerging and developed economies is showing once again how badly ratings agencies and investors can err in assessing countries’ economic and financial vulnerabilities. Ratings agencies wait too long to spot risks and downgrade countries, while investors behave like herds, often ignoring the buildup of risk for too long, before shifting gears abruptly and causing exaggerated market swings.

Given the nature of market turmoil, an early warning system for financial tsunamis may be difficult to create; but the world needs one today more than ever. Few people foresaw the sub-prime crisis of 2008, the risk of default in the eurozone, or the current turbulence in financial markets worldwide. Fingers have been pointed at politicians, banks, and supranational institutions. But ratings agencies and analysts who misjudged the repayment ability of debtors – including governments – have got off too lightly.

Continue reading…
Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

A history of UK banks' system failures

HSBC’s meltdown has left business customers unable to pay salaries or suppliers, but this is not the first time such a crisis has hit a British bank …

9 June 2012

The worst banking meltdown to date hit millions of customers of RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank, locking them out of their accounts for days, and in the case of Ulster Bank customers, for weeks.

Continue reading…
Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

UK exports and business investment help second-quarter GDP growth

ONS data shows net trade made its biggest contribution to growth in four years, as 0.7% increase in GDP is confirmed

Exports and business investment helped the UK economy expand in the second quarter, according to official figures that confirmed a pickup in growth after a sluggish start to the year.

The Office for National Statistics said GDP rose 0.7% in the three months to the end of June, unchanged from an estimate made a month ago but a marked acceleration on 0.4% in the first quarter. Further details from the ONS on Friday showed that net trade made its biggest contribution to growth for four years.

Continue reading…
Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Qantas chief Alan Joyce paid $11.9m after turning record loss into profit

Company says bonus was earned but Transport Workers Union criticises pay award, saying there is ‘no justification for this level of greed’

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce’s pay packet has swelled to $11.9m, nearly six times his take home pay last year, after turning a record loss into a net profit for the company.

A week after reporting the largest financial turnaround in Australian corporate history, Qantas said Joyce was awarded $6.9m in shares in 2014-15, as part of long-term incentives.

Continue reading…
Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Share prices likely to close week relatively unscathed by Black Monday

European shares appear to recover after China’s stock market crash as jump in oil prices on Thursday helps energy and mining sectors

Global share prices look to be closing a dramatic week barely changed from how they began it, despite volatile movements that saw indices fall more than at any time in the past six years.

In some markets, share prices plunged about 7% before recovering on Friday to the levels at which they ended last week before China’s “Black Monday” crash.

Continue reading…
Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

The key to water security could be lurking in a New Mexico sewage farm

In Las Cruces, New Mexico, a pilot project is using heat-loving algae to clean wastewater and generate energy

The sulphurous springs of Yellowstone national park are scalding, tainted with heavy metals and acidic enough to eat through clothing. But their murky depths are also home to an algae that scientists claim could one day help provide cleaner, healthier water around the world.

“Galdieria sulphuraria is one of the most interesting microorganisms on the planet,” says Peter Lammers, a professor in algal bioenergy at Arizona State University. “It grows in a witches brew, can degrade over 50 organic molecules and even photosynthesise like a plant.” That makes it ideal, Lammers says, to use somewhere even more unpleasant than Yellowstone’s volcanic springs: urban sewage farms.

Continue reading…
Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Tony Abbott welcomes Bob Hawke's support for China free trade deal – video

Tony Abbott welcomes Bob Hawke’s approval of the free trade deal with China, which Abbott says means ‘there will be more jobs for Australians and more prosperity for all’. Speaking from the Northern Peninsula in Queensland, Abbott also urges Bill Shorten to follow Hawke’s lead and stop ‘dancing to the tune of the CFMEU’

Continue reading…
Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Stock markets surge for second day running after Black Monday losses

Markets worldwide enjoy better fortunes as Chinese government buys shares to prop up prices and US Federal Reserve suggests it may defer interest rate rise

Global stockmarkets surged for a second day yesterday, recovering most of the losses they suffered in Monday’s crash after the Chinese authorities bought shares to prop up prices and figures showed US growth surging ahead. The mood was helped by signals from the US central bank on Wednesday that it was unlikely to raise interest rates if the turmoil continued for much longer.

The Shanghai stock market gained 5.3%, its biggest gain for eight weeks, to continue a global rally that has ended two weeks of relentless selling leading up to China’s Black Monday this week. Yesterday Britain’s blue chip companies gained £60bn as the FTSE 100 index climbed 3.6% to 6192. The one-day rise was the sharpest in percentage terms since October 2011. European exchanges finished more than 3% higher and at 18.00 BST the Dow Jones in New York was up 2.2% at 16,641.

Continue reading…
Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Woolworths chairman Ralph Waters steps down despite $2.15bn profit

The supermarket giant’s full-year profit to 30 June was down 12.5% from the previous financial year

The supermarket war engulfing Woolworths claimed another victim on Friday when company chairman Ralph Waters stepped down after the chain announced a 12.5% slide in its full-year profit.

Amid intense competition from Coles and German retailer Aldi, Woolworths made a net profit of $2.15bn for the year to 30 June down from $2.45bn in 2013/14.

Continue reading…
Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS