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Venezuela launches oil cryptocurrency

Venezuela launches oil cryptocurrency Venezuela has launched a cryptocurrency in an attempt to bypass tough economic sanctions imposed by the US government. The “Petro” is intended to bolster the country’s crumbling economy, which has been suffering from hyperinflation and devaluation for years. Venezuela claims it is the world’s first sovereign cryptocurrency. Critics say the move is a desperate attempt by Caracas to raise cash at a time when Venezuela lacks the ability to repay its $150bn of foreign debt. Opposition leaders said the sale constitutes an illegal issuing of debt,…

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'Secret' report into RBS published

'Secret' report into RBS published After months of wrangling MPs have released a report by the financial regulator which said a unit of RBS of mistreated thousands of small firms. The Global Restructuring Group (GRG) was marketed as an expert service that could save a business, but according to the report took “inappropriate” action. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had refused to publish the report, blaming legal reasons. But after a meeting, MPs on the Treasury Committee voted to publish it. Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Committee, said MPs…

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Asda sales rise on strong Christmas

Asda sales rise on strong Christmas Asda has reported rising sales in the final months of last year and said it had a strong Christmas trading period. It reported a 0.5% increase in like-for-like sales – the most closely watched measure of sales, which strips out the effect of new stores. The company said it was the only one of the UK’s big supermarket chains to retain its market share in December. Asda is owned by Walmart, which reported a 2.6% increase in like-for-like sales during its fourth quarter. However,…

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KFC shuts more stores in chicken crisis

KFC shuts more stores in chicken crisis KFC has closed more of its outlets in the UK after delivery problems meant it ran out of chicken. Its website shows that 575 of the fast-food chain’s 900 outlets in the UK and the Republic of Ireland were shut as of 21:00 on Monday night. That compares with 562 that were closed at 15:45 on Monday. Last week, the fried chicken chain switched its delivery contract to DHL, which has blamed “operational issues” for the supply disruption. It is not yet clear…

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William Hill fined £6.2m for lax controls

William Hill fined £6.2m for lax controls Betting firm William Hill has been hit with a £6.2m penalty package for breaching anti-money laundering and social responsibility regulations. The Gambling Commission said the company did not do enough to ensure prevention measures were effective. As a result 10 customers were able to deposit money linked to criminal offences and William Hill gained £1.2m. The company was found to have not done enough to determine the source of the money or if they were problem gamblers. In a statement, the Gambling Commission…

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Australian tax staff told to report 'long lunch' colleagues

Australian tax staff told to report 'long lunch' colleagues Australian public servants have been told to anonymously report their colleagues if they are wasting time at work or spending too long at lunch. The Australian Taxation Office sent out a memo to 20,000 staff in December urging them to be aware of workmates’ behaviours, local media reported. It encouraged staff to report things like inaccurate timesheets or those who read the newspaper for too long. Critics have denounced the policy as harmful to workplace culture. The memo began by asking…

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HSBC profits jump to $17.2bn on Asia growth

HSBC profits jump to .2bn on Asia growth HSBC has posted a pre-tax profit of $17.2bn (£12.3bn) in 2017, saying its focus on Asia was driving its growth. The results represent a 142% jump on the $7.1bn profit of the previous year. But that comparison is flattering, given 2016 saw the bank incur a string of one-off costs including the sale of its Brazil business. Though it is well known on the UK High Street, HSBC makes most of its money outside of Britain with Asia accounting for the bulk…

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Maplin in talks with potential buyers

Maplin in talks with potential buyers One of Britain’s biggest electronics retailers is in talks with potential buyers amid reports it is seeking to head off the threat of administration. Maplin, which has more than 200 stores and 2,500 staff, hopes to strike a deal this week, the company said. News of a possible sale, first reported by Sky News, comes after insurers withdrew credit cover last year because of falling profits. Maplin, owned by Rutland Partners, is the latest High Street name in trouble. A string of clothing retailers…

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Apprentice levy needs total overhaul, business chief will say

Apprentice levy needs total overhaul, business chief will say The government’s apprenticeship levy on employers has been “disastrous”, according to the head of one of Britain’s biggest business groups. Dame Judith Hackitt, who chairs the EEF manufacturers’ body, will say later on Tuesday that the levy is “complex” and seen as just another tax on business. She will make the comments in a speech at the EEF’s annual dinner, attended by Business Secretary Greg Clark. The scheme needs a complete overhaul, Dame Judith will say. Many companies have postponed or…

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Key gig economy case reaches Supreme Court

Key gig economy case reaches Supreme Court A plumber’s legal battle for working rights will be closely watched by “gig economy” workers when it reaches the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Gary Smith, who worked for Pimlico Plumbers for six years, began his fight when he wanted to reduce his hours following a heart attack. Lower courts have ruled that he is entitled to basic workers’ rights, although technically self-employed. These rights include the national minimum wage and paid holiday. Mr Smith won his most recent victory in the Court of…

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