Liberal Democrat President Tim Farron today vowed the party would “kill” proposals for increased monitoring of emails and internet use if they were not watered down. Mr Farron said he was “prepared” to look at draft legislation, dubbed a “snoopers charter”, when it is published but warned he was “in no mood” to back “authoritarian” laws. Many Lib Dems were “horrified” by the plans, which would allow Government listening post GCHQ to monitor internet traffic – times, dates, numbers and addresses – in real time. Mr Farron told BBC 1’s Andrew Marr Show: “I am prepared to recognise that there is obviously a need in modern society with new technology to have a look at what needs to be given to the security services but only if it is absolutely clear there is no universal access.“But we are prepared to kill them, be absolutely clear about that, if it comes down to it”
A shareholder revolt over the pay of chief executive Bob Diamond is set to hit banking giant Barclays at its annual meeting later this month. It has been reported that investors holding more than 10% of the company’s shares will vote against the bank’s remuneration report on April 27. The sizeable protest vote reflects anger over a £5.7 million tax payment made on Mr Diamond’s behalf as part of an overall package of pay and bonuses worth £17.7 million, the Sunday Telegraph said. The award of significant bonuses that reportedly included more than £6 million for the co-heads of Barclays Capital came despite Mr Diamond’s admission that the bank’s return on equity – a key performance measure – was “unacceptable”. Standard Life, Fidelity, Aviva and Scottish Widows – who account for 6.45% of the share register – are believed to be preparing to vote against the bank’s remuneration report or the re-election of Alison Carnwath, the chairman of the bank’s remuneration committee.
A British mining company will discover tomorrow whether it can open a controversial mine on an Indian mountain that is sacred to the people who live on it. Two years ago the Indian government ruled that Vedanta Resources would not be allowed to go ahead with a bauxite mine in eastern India which could threaten the lives of an ancient tribe. But the FTSE 100 company, owned by London-based billionaire Anil Agarwal, appealed to India’s Supreme Court to overturn the decision. The Supreme Court is expected to announce tomorrow whether Vedanta can go ahead after all with their proposed opencast mine on the Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa State. The forested mountain is a god to the traditional Dongria Kondh tribe, whose lives and livelihoods depend on its continued existence. In 2010, India’s environment minister said a mine “would threaten the survival of the entire community”.
Yoo, the luxury property company that counts Jade Jagger and Kelly Hoppen among its creative directors, is opening in Brazil as the London-based firm looks to crack Latin America. John Hitchcox, who co-founded the firm with French star designer Philippe Starck in 1999, said: “We’re now in a global marketplace… I know that Brazil will fall in love with Yoo designs just as many other countries have done.” Yoo, which has designed 10,000 homes in more than 30 cities, is looking to develop projects for the super-wealthy in increasingly lucrative South American economies. It already has schemes in Uruguay and Argentina.
Trade figures due on Thursday will indicate whether Britain is likely to avoid a double-dip recession. If the volume of exports grows faster than that of imports, international trade will make a positive contribution to growth. The first estimate of growth for the opening quarter of the year is due on April 25. A negative figure, coming on top of the 0.3 per cent decline in GDP seen in the last three months of 2011, would mean Britain is back in recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth.
Raleigh will stay in Nottingham if it is bought by Accell, the Dutch group’s chief executive has pledged. Accell revealed last week that it was in exclusive talks to buy the 125-year-old bicycle maker. Chief executive Rene Takens said: ‘We have many brands all over Europe. As our group has grown by acquisition, we have always kept each brand as it is.’ Takens said: ‘Raleigh is one of the best-known bicycle brands worldwide. It is strong in Britain, Canada and the US, where we are not so strong.’ Accell has ambitions to expand the Raleigh brand, he added. Raleigh employs 430 and has sales of £165million. It sold 850,000 bicycles in 2011.
GEORGE Galloway is lining up Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds to invest in Bradford City FC and the city’s iconic Odeon building in an audacious regeneration bid. Galloway, elected MP for Bradford West last week after a sensational by-election victory, said: “I have big plans for Bradford City FC. With my connections in the Arab world, I am actively speaking to and seeking out sovereign wealth funds and Middle Eastern princes to pump investment into the club. There is massive potential.” The former Odeon cinema had been earmarked for demolition by its current owner, the Homes and Communities Agency, but Galloway hopes to secure investment to save it. He said: “I’m also tapping up sovereign wealth funds to invest in the Odeon building, which is an architectural treasure.”