UK’s ‘ban Trump’ petition passes half-million mark

Posted on Feb 24, 2016 in Politics

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A petition on the UK government’s website, calling for US Presidential hopeful Donald Trump to be barred from entering the country, has now passed a half-million signatories becoming the most-popular petition ever posted on the site. The signatories include a majority of UK MPs.

The petition was originally submitted late November by campaigner Suzanne Kelly from Aberdeen, preceding Trump’s remarks which prompted the overwhelming response. Kelly, saying her attention was drawn due to concerns over Trump’s golfing developments in the area, noted, “I never in my wildest dreams imagined it would get so many signatures”. Locally, Robert Gordon University have stripped an honorary degree from Trump, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon removed him from the GlobalScot network of business ambassadors.

Following the tycoon’s call for a “complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”, an NBC/WSJ survey found the majority of adults in the United States disagree with him. The remarks also prompted global criticism of Trump.

London mayor Boris Johnson said the demand made him “unfit to hold the office of the president of the United States”. French Prime minister Manuel Valls stated on Twitter, “Mr. Trump, like others, fuels hatred […] our only enemy is radical Islamism.” The director of the American university in Cairo‘s Kamal Adham Center for Television and Digital Journalism, Hafez Al Mirazi, said: “What we are getting now is really terrible […] Stuff that only the Ku Klux Klan and others would say.” Kassem Allie, from the Islamic Center of America, accused Trump of evoking fear “reminiscent of Nazi Germany“.

In contrast, a humorous petition calling on NASA to “send Donald Trump into Space and Leave Him There” on the change.org site has exceeded 30,000 signatures. Autumn Boehle from Michigan, who started the petition last Wednesday, says, if the petition garners sufficient signatures, she will provide a link where people can: “donate to make this happen. It wont be cheap, but it will be worth while.”

The petition to ban Donald Trump from the UK, having passed 100,000 signatures, is now eligible for debate in the House of Commons.

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UK’s Financial Conduct Authority drop inquiry into culture of banking

Posted on Feb 24, 2016 in Economics, Financial Crisis

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The Financial Conduct Authority, one of Britain‘s banking sector regulators, indicated it has decided to drop an inquiry into banking culture, including practices and payment of banking staff. The inquiry was intended to review “whether culture change programmes in retail and wholesale banks are driving the right behaviour, in particular focusing on remuneration, appraisal and promotion decisions of middle management, as well as how concerns are reported and acted on”.

A spokesman for the Financial Conduct Authority stated: “A focus on the culture in financial services firms remains a priority for the FCA[…] There is currently extensive ongoing work in this area within firms and externally. We have decided that the best way to support these efforts is to engage individually with firms to encourage their delivery of cultural change as well as supporting the other initiatives outside the FCA.”

The Shadow Chancellor, Labour‘s John McDonnell, said shutting down the inquiry would be a “dangerous and costly mistake” and said: “This will be a huge blow to customers and taxpayers who are all still paying the price for the failed culture in the banking sector that’s been widely attributed to be among the main causes of the crash and the scandals over Libor and price-fixing”.

Members of the Treasury Select Committee have also been critical of the cancellation of the review. On Twitter, Labour MP John Mann stated the “FCA surrender to big banks today is entirely from pressure from Treasury and Osborne”. Conservative MP Mark Garnier, told the BBC: “There has always been this great argument that perhaps the Treasury is having more influence over the regulator than perhaps it ought to and certainly, if I was looking for a Machiavellian plot behind what’s happened here and the tone of the regulator, then I suppose I would start looking at the Treasury.”

Richard Lloyd from the consumer group Which? expressed disappointment at the cancellation of the report: “It’s disappointing that the regulator has decided against publishing this report on the culture of banking. Cultural change doesn’t happen overnight, so despite signs of improvement, the FCA must not take their eye off the ball and should continue to clean up the industry”

The FCA has had no leader since Martin Wheatley resigned in July following an expression of no confidence by George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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