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US, Irish, Spanish economies power ahead with faster GDP growth – as it happened

3.12pm BST

Good-bye, and thank you for all your great comments. We’ll be back tomorrow.

3.12pm BST

Before I go…. The Financial Times is reporting that the IMF’s executive body has been told by its staff that Athens’ reforms don’t go far enough and the fund should not be involved in the troika’s third, €86bn bailout. The paper says:

The International Monetary Fund’s board has been told Athens’ high debt levels and poor record of implementing reforms disqualify Greece from a third IMF bailout of the country, raising new questions over whether the institution will join the EU’s latest financial rescue.

The determination, presented by IMF staff at a two-hour board meeting on Wednesday, means that while IMF staff will participate in bailout negotiations currently under way in Athens, the Fund will not decide whether to agree a new programme for months — potentially into next year.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Do we still need boycotts when you can send an angry tweet?

Ten years ago, people could join a boycott and send an angry letter to a company, now they could just take to social media with an angry or ironic hashtag

Four years after political reforms saw campaigners lift calls to boycott companies operating in Burma, a new ranking of the largest 100 Burmese firms shows a gradual move towards greater transparency, human rights protections and anti-corruption measures.

Although the ranking isn’t independently verified, it’s eye-catching for one particular reason: of the top ten performers, half found themselves on either EU or US sanctions lists prior to the end of military rule in 2011.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Santander's UK spin-off delayed

Profits at British arm rise 67% but long-mooted flotation not expected in the next two years, says CEO

The spin-off of Spanish bank Santander’s UK arm has been pushed back for a number of years, the CEO of the British operation has revealed.

Nathan Bostock said on Thursday he did not expect the flotation of the business, first mooted five years ago, to take place “for the next couple of years”. When Bostock was hired from Royal Bank of Scotland last year it was regarded a sign that a sale was back on the cards.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Shell cuts 6,500 jobs as oil price slump continues

Chief executive Ben van Beurden says group will press ahead with $30bn asset sales and $3bn spending cuts as second quarter profits fall 35%

Shell sees no quick end to the slump in oil prices and plans to further slash annual spending, sell off assets and bring the total number of job cuts to 6,500 by the end of 2015.

But the Anglo-Dutch group has vowed to press on with its expensive and controversial exploration programme in Arctic Alaska, saying it was a “long-term play” that could not be influenced by current energy prices.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Spanish economy back to pre-crisis growth levels

Low inflation and falling unemployment mean Spain is starting to see light at the end of the tunnel, economy minister says

Spain’s economy has recorded the strongest growth since 2007, before the global financial crisis plunged the country into recession.

Economic growth was 1% in the second quarter of the year, up from 0.9% in the first quarter, reaffirming the strength of Spain’s recovery, and underlining the divide with more troubled eurozone economies such as Greece.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

British Gas owner Centrica cuts thousands of jobs

Scaling back of energy company’s business comes despite a doubling in profits at residential power supply business

Centrica is to cut 6,000 jobs, slash gas exploration and sell off its wind farms in a dramatic restructuring ordered by its new boss and former BP executive, Iain Conn.

The move comes despite a doubling in profits at its British Gas residential power supply business in the first half of the year despite a further 45,000 customers being lost to rivals along the way.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

BT television boosted by sports channel screening Uefa Champions League

In first-quarter results BT says TV section is at two-year high, with new channel BT Sport Europe set to go live on Saturday

The impending arrival of a new sports channel featuring Uefa Champions League and Europa League games has boosted BT’s television business.

The company said its TV section is at a two-year high after 60,000 customers were added in the three months to the end of June.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Rolls-Royce profits cut in half as jet engine demand plummets

Engineering firm announces pre-tax profits are down by 57% to £310m in the first half as company moves towards more fuel-efficient engines

The new boss of Rolls-Royce has pledged to make the defence and aerospace group simpler and faster after it reported that profits have slumped by more than half.

The FTSE 100 engineer said that pre-tax profits fell by 57% to £310m in the six months to 30 June as it suffered from falling demand for its jet engines.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

RBS expects further fines with no let-up from regulators

Burden of compensation and fines will delay resumption of dividend payments, chairman Sir Philip Hampton says

Royal Bank of Scotland warned of a “noisy” 2015 as the bailed-out bank was hit by £1.3bn of charges for fines and compensation payouts to customers in the first half of the year.

Sir Philip Hampton, presiding over his last set of results after being chairman since the 2008 bailout, said the bank faced more hurdles because of the higher than expected fines imposed by regulators around the world.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Man sues Etihad over back injury from sitting next to obese passenger

James Andres Bassos tells Queensland court he was forced to contort his body on a flight from Sydney to Dubai while sitting next to an obese passenger who coughed a lot

A man is suing an airline, claiming he got a back injury after being forced to sit next to an obese man who coughed a lot.

James Andres Bassos has taken Etihad Airways to court in Queensland, Australia, saying he was forced to twist and contort his body for long periods on a flight in 2011 from Sydney to Dubai.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS