Bitcoin creator remains a mystery

Australian tech entrepreneur in bitcoin allegationAustralian tech entrepreneur in bitcoin allegation

The identity of the famously coy bitcoin developer is still unknown, despite a raid by police on the home of an Australian tech entrepreneur ‘outed’ by US publications Gizmodo and Wired as the cryptocurrency creator in leaked interview transcripts. Officers arrived at the house of Craig Wright in a Sydney suburb for a raid that was said to be unrelated to the bitcoin claims, according to the Australian Federal Police. Those who claim to know Wright doubt the likelihood of his involvement, with some saying they believe Gizmodo and Wired have been the victims of an elaborate hoax. Read more…

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Oil prices near a seven-year low

Global oil prices continue to fallGlobal oil prices continue to fall

Crude oil prices have slumped to their lowest levels in seven years, with further losses likely in the coming weeks. On 4 December, the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) agreed to continue its policy of seeking market share rather than supporting prices, which saw US crude oil values falling to less than $40 a barrel. Prices are now at their lowest levels since the close of 2008, when crude-oil futures price fell to around $34. Opec’s organisational disarray has promoted renewed selling and is causing widespread concern in the sector. Read more…

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US airports don’t match up to international competition

US airports have a poor showing in Skytrax international indexUS airports have a poor showing in Skytrax international index

US airports are lagging behind other countries in the world rankings, losing out to Asian and European hubs. Singapore’s smart Changi Airport has claimed pole position for the last three years in consultancy group Skytrax’s definitive list, which surveys 13 million passengers. Changi features zen-inspired butterfly, orchid and cactus gardens, while South Korea’s Incheon boasts an ice-skating rink and a golf-driving range. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky is the US’s highest-ranked airport, trailing in at a disappointing 30th position, with only San Francisco and Atlanta joining them in the top 50. Read more…

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What next for the global economy?

Global economy pulling in two directions as Federal Reserve gets ready to raise ratesGlobal economy divided as Federal Reserve gets ready to raise rates

With businesses readying themselves for an interest rate rise in December, the global economy seems to be divided. A slight rise from 0.25% to 0.5% may not seem like a sweeping gesture from the Federal Reserve but it is a game-changer, nevertheless. While Fed boss Janet Yelland feels the US economy can withstand a modest rate rise, some economists are worried that the predicted rise in US interest rates won’t necessarily be the tonic needed to increase the pace of recovery and that the Eurozone, Japan, China and BRIC countries are still far from stable. Read more…

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EC rules against Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler in sweetheart tax deals

Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler face huge tax bills in EC tax rulingStarbucks and Fiat Chrysler face huge tax bills in EC tax ruling

A stiff, multi-million-euro tax bill awaits Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler as they prepare to face a ruling by the European Commission (EC), that they had unlawful sweetheart deals with the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The EC has been looking closely into allegations that multinationals, including the coffee giant and car manufacturer, have benefited from the willingness of some member states to offer special terms to companies willing to funnel their profits through them, so avoiding their tax liabilities in other EU countries. Read more…

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High hopes for Paris climate change summit

Climate change summit in Paris marks a crucial moment for the global communityParis climate change summit marks a crucial moment for global community

Following on from the Copenhagen summit, where no binding agreement was reached, the Paris summit represents renewed efforts to address global climate change. The 21st Conference of the Parties (CoP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) involves more than 190 nations and will be focused on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Existing commitments on emissions expire in five years, so an action plan for the next ten years is expected. Read more…

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Markets falter in the wake of Paris attacks

Markets falter briefly in the wake of the Paris attacks The terrorist attacks on Paris caused the world markets to falter

The Paris attacks caused a wobble in the global market with more than €2bn ($2.12bn) wiped off shares in European travel and hospitality companies, as investors feared a dip in bookings across the continent. Shares in airlines and tour operators dropped sharply on the first post-attack trading day, but the slump proved short-lived, with markets quickly stabilising and the Paris Bourse ending the day only slightly lower than its Friday close. Read more…

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Fed rate rise looks to be on the cards

Signs of economic recovery raise expectations of December rate hikeSigns of economic recovery raise expectations of December rate hike

The buoyancy of the US economy will be tested if the rate rise indicated by the Federal Reserve goes ahead in December. The Commerce Department recently reported that GDP grew at an annual rate of 2.1% over the July-September period, up from a previously estimated figure of 1.5%. While this may still represent a slowing in growth from the previous quarter, it is likely to influence decision-makers at the Federal Reserve as they consider their first rate rise in 9 years. Read more…

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Samsung in hot water over TV power consumption

Samsung under fire as allegations emerge over ‘gaming’ lab testsSamsung under fire as allegations emerge over ‘gaming’ lab tests

Consumer confidence is being tested again following news that discrepancies have been found during the official testing of Samsung TVs in Europe. An EU-funded research group says it has logged higher energy consumption rates for the manufacturers’ TVs in real life than were recorded in lab conditions, leading to allegations that the company is gaming the testing process and bringing into question the veracity of Samsung’s power consumption and emissions claims. Read more…

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No upturn in sight for Chinese economy

China’s economy shows no signs of recovery China’s economy shows no signs of recovery

Chinese manufacturing activity fell to a six-year low as China’s president defended his government’s stock market intervention during his recent state visit to the US. Xi Jinping claimed that although the economy was experiencing difficulties, it was on the road to recovery. International concern remains, though, as evidence of the country’s economic slump was seen in a dip in average annual growth rate to around 7.4% – with IMF forecasts standing at 6.8% for next year. Read more…

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