Rebel-Held Town Smoked With Chemica...

About 100 civilians, including children, had died foaming at the mouth after toxic agents from a rebel arsenal was hit by a Syrian air strike.  Accor...

UK Prime Minister Blasts Scottish N...

According to her speech before she arrives in a Glasgow conference with the Scottish National Party, UK Prime Minister Theresa May would say that Scot...

Snapchat The Fastest Growing Tech C...

Snapchat is believed to be the biggest rival for social media giant Facebook. Snap Inc has increased its IPO valuation to 44% during their first day o...

Snapchat Continues Success, Perceiv...

The clip-long video recording sharing app Snapchat has long been said as an "Instagram for videos," which show more expression than a usual photo roul...

EIOPA States Regulators Need to Pay Closer Attention to PPI

Many customers have been devastated by the recent PPI crisis. The banks have been heavily criticized for using aggressive and dishonest practices to promote the insurance. Major financial regulators have also received a lot of flak for failing to prevent it. The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority recently stated that the regulators will need to scrutinize PPI much more carefully.

EIOPA Alleges Regulatory Failings

The EIOPA said that the United Kingdom’s financial regulator failed to properly oversee the PPI market. They said that there were serious problems with the state of the financial market and the regulator failed to ensure the proper consumer protections were in place.

Martin Wheatley, Chief Executive of the new Financial Conduct Authority, recently made a similar statement. Wheatley said that the Financial Services Authority failed to create the safeguards needed to prevent such a scandal from occurring. He said that the new agency will be dedicated to preventing financial crises beforehand rather than containing the damage after they arise.

The banks have taken a lot of heat for selling PPI to their customers. They have been trying to fix their reputations and resolve many of the complaints that were filed against them. The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has also shown little mercy on the banks and upheld many of the complaints customers have filed.

However, some critics feel that regulators and the FOS may have gone too far. One customer said that he filed a complaint against his bank long before the scandal gained so much publicity. This customer said that the claim was valid, but is skeptical that all other claims should have been upheld. He believes that many customers may have actually needed the insurance.

Other people share his perspective. They think that some of the claims should have been denied. They are worried that upholding too many claims could eventually create financial risks for the banks. This could make them more reluctant to uphold legitimate claims.

Proper Oversight Needed

The FCA and the EIOPA both feel that these issues will need to be resolved as soon as possible. Wheatley said that his staff is going to be more stringent on overseeing the banks. Banks will be required to work educate customers on the process and teach them how to use a PPI claim calculator to determine the value of their claim.

Rebel-Held Town Smoked With Chemicals Leaving Hundreds Of Civilians Dead

About 100 civilians, including children, had died foaming at the mouth after toxic agents from a rebel arsenal was hit by a Syrian air strike.  According to Russian Major General Igor Konashenkov, military intelligence assets found a Syrian air force strike Tuesday on weapons depots and ammunition factories, which produced chemical weapons as part of its arsenal for rebels.

According to General Konashenkov, the chemical weapons were similar to the once the rebels used in Aleppo. The symptoms were similar to the images in the small town of Khan Sheikhoun  where the gas spread into homes.

According to Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, about 58 people died and 11 children who foamed at the mouth, which was a similar symptom of the incident in Aleppo a few years ago.

World leaders still condemned Syrian President and strongman leader of the Syrian Regime Bashar al-Assad, who had allowed indiscriminate air strikes on arsenal possibly destructive to the civilian population.

Videos captured and uploaded in the Internet during the Syrian regime air attacks showed a journalist who barely survived the run in the town in the morning. Before the ordnance landed, the journalist showed on video the patients staying in the hospital that the regime indiscriminately bombed.

According to UK Prime Minister Theresa May, the attack was barbaric and called on Russia to ensure Bashar al-Assad’s regime is swiftly brought to an end. US President Donald Trump said the “heinous actions” of Assad is to blame.

UK Prime Minister Blasts Scottish National Party For Mismanaging Scottish Education

According to her speech before she arrives in a Glasgow conference with the Scottish National Party, UK Prime Minister Theresa May would say that Scotland had “scandalously” mismanaged Scottish education. The copy of her speech released to the UK press focused on criticising the “standards that have fallen” and that “young Scottish people are losing out.”

According to her speech, Mrs May would say that the “SNP’s neglect and mismanagement of Scottish education has been a scandal.” The prime minister was not the first to accuse the Scottish National Party of politicking rather than focusing on education. According to Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, the  SNP continues to focus on constitutional matters “instead of education and health.”

According to a copy of her speech, Mrs May would say, “Politics is not a game” and that the “devolved public services in Scotland “is too important to neglect.” However, the country has yet to see whether the UK Prime Minister would push through with her speech copy; she is under pressure to explain whether to use Brexit to help bring more Westminster influence to Scotland’s farming and fishing policy.

SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon said Mrs May did not have “democratic basis to impose Brexit on Scotland” and reserves the country’s right to secure a second independence referendum.

Snapchat The Fastest Growing Tech Company With Over 44% Increase In Valuation

Snapchat is believed to be the biggest rival for social media giant Facebook. Snap Inc has increased its IPO valuation to 44% during their first day of trading, helping the loss-making application in 2016 propel both founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy into billionaires.

The price of its initial IPO offer increased 41% to $17 a share and up to a $24 opening price. The stock closed during the day at $24.48. The company is now valued at $28.3bn.

As the closest rival to social tech giant Facebook, the latter tried to buy out its competition to the tune of $3bn, to which both Spiegel and Murphy declined. During the time, the company was still of a modest size.

The Guardian compares the initial public offering of Snap Inc to Alibaba’s IPO in 2014.

However, Facebook is now valued at $393bn and may soon overtake Snapchat as per innovation after it had copied several features from Snapchat to its social media features — including the Messenger app having a “today” feature similar to Snapchat’s daily disappearing videos.

Advertising giants including WPP Chief Executive Sir Martin Sorell said Snapchat should be closely watched because it is “very important” and it could become the “third force” behind tech giants Google and Facebook.


Snapchat Continues Success, Perceived To Reach Facebook-Levels

The clip-long video recording sharing app Snapchat has long been said as an “Instagram for videos,” which show more expression than a usual photo roulette Instagram could present. But unlike Facebook and Instagram, users can loop videos over and over, making its replay value better — and positioning Snapchat as a great, fan-favourite among those who have used it.

The community of Snapchat users have clearly grown in the last few years since its first introduction in 2011. Earlier, it became an immense hit amongst “sexting” youth and individuals, but humour and information caught on, allowing the app to be more than just a homemade smut databank.

Analysts believe the app has the potential to reach the record levels of Facebook. The consistent development and introduction of new creative tools that enhanced its performance and the first to introduce the now-copied Facebook functionality of stories, Snapchat Stories, to greater fanfare than before Facebook used it in its own Messenger app.

As of writing this post, Snapchat has filed to become a public company as it passed its IPO documents just today. According to the company, it remains to be a “Camera Company” more than just a social network focused on images and videos. While Facebook had tried to buy out the company in 2013 for $3bn, it remains the only serious competition against Facebook and Instagram.

UK EU Ambassador Quits Before Brexit Talks Begin

Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK’s now-former Brexit representative to the European Union, had officially resigned and shocked his staff three months before the UK begins the process of invoking article 50 to leave the European Union. He handed in his 1,400-word resignation letter that highlighted his thoughts on UK ministers’ “muddled thinking.”

Sir Ivan Rogers said in his letter that UK pro-Brexit ministers should consider hearing “unvarnished” and “uncomfortable” views from Europe and to “challenge ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking.” He also called on all ministers to “support each other in those difficult moments” where messages — regardless how one opposes it — needs to be delivered to people who deserve to know it.

Sir Ivan had been an adviser to the Brexit department head David Davis, who said that they were surprised Ivan Rogers “did not resign the same time” as former Prime Minister David Cameron. Sir Ivan was also said to have “threatened to resign” if his advice during the EU negotiations before the June referendum was ignored.

Brexit supporters including UKIP leader Nigel Farage expressed the need for the Foreign Office to have a “complete clear out” of those who did not believe in the Brexit. A staunch supporter of the European Union, Sir Ivan is asked to be replaced by someone who can truly understand and enforce Brexit as it was intended.


Italian Prime Minister Resigns After Referendum Defeat, Markets Sway Wildly Over News

Italian right-wing parties and anti-establishment sentimentality win against Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi after he announced his resignation in an emotional speech in Palazzo Chigi. He confirmed he would submit his resignation to Italy’s President, Sergio Mattarella on Monday afternoon.

According to Renzi: “My experience in government ends here … I did all I could to bring this to victory. If you fight for an idea, you cannot lose.” The Prime Minister said that if the referendum yields that majority of the country would vote against his proposed reforms, he would fitfully resign from office. The results had humiliated the PM with 60 per cent of Italians voting against his reforms that would introduce changes to Italy’s constitution and parliamentary system.

The results were validated by 68% of Italians eligible to vote casting their ballots in the referendum. The irony was in the actions of anti-establishment. The reforms would drastically change government processes — a change wanted by many — as Renzi had promised during his campaign.  The vote had also shaken in the country as the ASX200 index had dropped down by 44 points indicating a market surprise.

Ireland Gets Tesla’s Electric Car

But this comes with some caveats.

Elon Musk’s ambitious and successful electric car company Tesla is bringing the brand’s signature cars to Ireland.

However, it will not install chargers in the country.

Chargers for these vehicles are important as they are essentially gas stations for these vehicles.

In Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast will Tesla’s chargers appear. However, they have no immediate plans to install the chargers in the country. The devices are free and can charge half the car’s battery in 30 minutes, making them efficient as they are four.

The Tesla Model S Saloon and Model X SUV would become available to Irish customers.

Prices will start at around £79,000 for the Model S and £100,500 for the Model X SUV.

According to Tesla:

“Both vehicles come standard with active safety features for all customers, and additional autopilot capabilities can be enabled to make motorway driving safer and more enjoyable”.

“Tesla makes the only cars on the road that continue to get safer, smarter and more capable over time, thanks to free over-the-air software updates which roll out regularly to customers.”

Global Economic Growth Still At a Very Slow Pace

Surveys and studies of financial analysts indicate the world is still far from growing rapidly as it did decades ago as major and emerging market economies are still at a low point of progress. Weak investment, stagnant productivity and imbalanced private sector confidence continue to act as a pendulum to economic growth.

The Brookings-FT Tiger index presents a picture of general despondency in the global economy that more than offsets isolated signs of strength in some economic indicators in a few countries. A strong adverse feedback loop has set in with low growth, fragile business and consumer confidence, low interest rates, financial system stresses, trade tensions, and political instability feeding into and reinforcing each other.

According to analysis, ‘bogeymen’ acting as a cover for failures in economic policies continue to feed into protectionist and nationalistic investments, which leads to poor growth on many countries.

The US economy continues to send mixed signals. Growth in GDP and industrial production have weakened slightly during the course of the year. Investment and productivity growth are also stuck in the doldrums, but the labour market is humming along.

Employment growth remains robust, labour force participation is recovering, and wage growth has picked up. The Federal Reserve appears to have boxed itself into raising rates in December if these patterns in labour market data persist. Fiscal and regulatory policies are likely to remain prisoners of political stalemates, adding to the uncertainty that has kept business and consumer confidence muted.


Theresa May Vows To Protect Soldiers Who Fought In Iraq

UK Prime Minister Theresa May promised senior commanders of Iraq operations that every effort is made to stop British soldiers from falling victim to “legal system abuses” used by lawyers that represent Iraqis who believe they were victims of war crimes during the Iraqi occupation of the US and the United Kingdom a decade ago.

Mrs May, meeting with senior commanders, said that she would protect the UK armed forces from “vexatious complaints” that relate to the eight-year occupation where tens of thousands of British and US troops set foot on Iraqi soil.

Reports said that more than 1,200 cases of alleged abuse is to be dismissed in the next three months. Public Interest Lawyers lost its funding over troubles regarding conflicting evidence in a case against British forces.

A Downing Street statement said: “The prime minister spoke of her pride in the UK armed forces, and praised the work they do to keep our nation safe. She said that every effort must be made to prevent any abuse of the legal system, and restated her determination to protect the armed forces against any instances of vexatious complaints.”

But the Law Society, which represents lawyers, hit back, warning that political interference in the legal cases risked undermining “the independence of the legal profession, the rule of law, and the separation of powers which are fundamental to a strong and diverse society.”

Scheduled Protests of Junior Doctors To Be Expected

The British Medical Association announced that junior doctors in England would be holding protests every month for the remainder of 2016.

They scheduled the action to take place from 8 am to 5pm between September 12 and 16, October 5 and 11, November 14 and 18 and December 5 and 9.

The protests are due to disputes to new contracts, which does not address the issues faced by junior doctors in the United Kingdom. Backing the claims of junior doctors, Council Chairman Dr Mark Porter of the BMA said that the alienation and frustration of doctors in training and their right to take industrial action is proper.

According to General Medical Council Chief Niall Dickson, the matter is of great concern, but junior doctors and the BMA are disregarding the safety and exposure to harm of patients.

Labour Shadow Health Secretary Diane Abbott had called on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to address the issue of contracts and scrap them immediately.

“Zero-Hour” contracts had led to a point where general practitioners in NHS hospitals had made errors. In some cases, this has cost them their careers.

Mr Hunt said that the protests would only cause further misery and pain to patients nationwide. He recognises the issues of the doctors but the concern is for the patients.

According to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, it is “disappointed” saying:

We are acutely aware that the NHS is under extreme pressure at the moment. Patient safety and quality of care must be the priority.

“We know there are genuine concerns about the contract and working arrangements, but we do not consider the proposed strikes are proportionate.

“Five days of strike action, particularly at such short notice, will cause real problems for patients, the service and the profession.”