25 AUGUST 2011
Libyan rebelsstart with oil
LIBYAN rebel leaders have already called workers back into the nation’soil refineries and say pre-conflict lev-els of production could be reached within a year. The country’s TransitionalNational Council (TNC) said damageto its oil infrastructure is not as badas previously feared, adding resump-tion of its 1.6m barrels a day outputis an achievable goal.Meanwhile, Libya’s new mastersoffered a million-dollar bounty forthe fugitive Muammar Gaddafi, afterhe urged his men to fight on in bat-tles across parts of the capital.Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the TNC, said: “Gaddafi’s forces and hisaccomplices will not stop resistinguntil Gaddafi is caught or killed. Theend will only come when he’s cap-tured, dead or alive.”In a poor-quality audio tape broad-cast by satellite, Gaddafi urged Libya’stribes to “exterminate traitors, infi-dels and rats”. Defectors say Gaddafiplans to drop out of sight and thenlaunch a guerrilla war. There is no clear indication of where Gaddafi is, though his oppo-nents believe he is still in or around Tripoli after what Gaddafi himself described as a “tactical” withdrawalfrom his Bab al-Aziziya compound before it was captured on Tuesday.
It can’t be wrong to work for a living
HOLD the front page – or rather,please don’t. Page 2 will do just fine. What I’m about to “reveal” is only news to a small, close-minded elite of out of touch politicians, left-wing aca-demics and social engineers. Believe itor not, but given the choice, people will pick a well-paid job with a lesshappy lifestyle (long hours, stress,uninteresting tasks) over a less well-paid job with a happier lifestyle. Thatis the main finding from an experi-ment involving thousands of adultsand students conducted by a team of economists. Obvious, really, to any- body who knows anything – yet bizarrely, the news will have come as ashock to many of those in and aroundthe government, especially those whohave inherited large sums of money. Itis easy for people who have the luxury of pursuing a career that satisfiesthem to look down on those for whom work is primarily a means to an end –providing for themselves and theirfamilies – yet those who sneer at suchmotives are being shockingly patronis-ing in an age of austerity, declining liv-ing standards, wealth-destruction andelevated unemployment. The study refutes the view that thegoal of government policy should beto directly pursue happiness ratherthan to create the conditions for pros-perity. Happiness – as measured insurveys – is not a goal for many peopleand is intentionally traded-off withother aspects of life. As Alex Rees-Jonesof Cornell University, one of theauthors, points out, if governmentsdesign policies to maximise happi-ness, they will end up imposinglifestyle choices and policies that peo-ple don’t actually want. The researchdoesn’t mention this, but we saw thatin France a few years ago when absurdlimits were imposed on people’s work-ing hours, partly in the name of boost-ing happiness: millions were angry,and ultimately undoubtedly lesshappy, as they genuinely wanted to work more and earn more to providefor their families. The best policy, asever, is freedom and individual liberty. The researchers asked people tochoose between a number of scenar-ios. Choices included picking either a job paying £49,000 per year which lets you get 7.5 hours of sleep a night or a job that pays £73,000 but whichallows just 6 hours sleep. Many gaveone answer for what would makethem happiest (usually more sleep,less money) and another answer for what option they would choose (moremoney, less sleep). They would oftenchoose an unhappy option if they thought it would give them greaterpurpose, social status, control or helptheir family. The lesson for the government issimple: ditch all the nonsense abouttrying to promote happiness, which infact merely reduces opportunities. Ata time when the proportion of youngpeople not in work, education ortraining is at a record high, we needmore jobs and more economicgrowth, not mumbo-jumbo and com-pulsory reeducation. We need to boostGross Domestic Product (GDP), not worry about Gross National Happiness(GNH). The previous government’sobsession with our “work-life” balance was always based on a meaninglessartificial dichotomy. It some cases itssole purpose was to justify lazinessand a culture of entitlement. It cer-tainly feels very 2007 to speak in thoseterms these days. If we want to affordto consume more in the years ahead –including more healthcare and otherservices – we will need to work harder,longer and smarter to pay for it.
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GOOGLEhas agreed to pay a $500mto settle a probe into adverts it dis-played for Canadian online pharma-cies illegally selling prescriptiondrugs into the US. The settlement, one of the largestever in the US, represents Google’srevenue from Canadian pharmacy advertisements to US customersthrough its AdWords programmeand Canadian pharmacies’ revenuefrom US sales.Google announced in February last year that it would no longer allow Canadian pharmacies to advertise toUS customers. It had already set the$500m aside for a possible settle-ment. A Google spokesman said: “It’sobvious with hindsight that weshouldn’t have allowed these ads onGoogle in the first place.” The agreement with theDepartment of Justice sets compli-ance and reporting measures whichGoogle must take.
Google in $500m payout
Google, led by Larry Page, say the adverts should never have appeared on their site
NEWS | IN BRIEF
Hulu draws lots of bid attention
The deadline for initial bids in the auc-tion for US television service Hulu wasextended from yesterday until the end of the week to allow interested partiesmore time to examine the online videosite's financial information, according topeople familiar with the situation.Yahoo, Google, DirecTV and Amazonwere among the parties preparing tosubmit an offer for the company, thepeople said. Hulu’s joint owners NewsCorp, Disney, NBC and ProvidenceEquity Partners hope to net at least$2bn for the company.
Oil price trading case nears end
High-frequency trading firm OptiverHolding has set aside $19.3m to dealwith one of the biggest oil-manipulationcases ever brought by the US futuresregulator, according to a copy of the pri-vate firm's annual report. The three-year-long case, brought by the USCommodity Futures Trading Commission(CFTC) against the Amsterdam-basedfirm, may now be heading for settle-ment. The second of two August media-tion sessions took place in New York thisweek.
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Colonel Gaddafi’swhereabouts were stillunknown last night asthe rebels moved toget Libya on its feet
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COULSON LEGAL PAYMENTS COULD BESTOPPED
News International’s senior manage-ment has met to consider stoppingpayments to Andy Coulson’s legalteam. Mr Coulson, the former editorof the News of the World who wasarrested in July as part of an investiga-tion into phone hacking, is takinglegal advice on the testimony he givesto parliament, and on the evidencehe gives to police in their two investi-gations into phone interception andinto corrupt payments to police.
WIND TURBINE PROJECT IS SHELVED
A project to build the world’s largest wind turbine blade in Newcastle has been shelved. Clipper Windpower, aCalifornian company, was to havedeveloped and built the blade for theCrown Estate’s Britannia Project.United Technologies Corporation ter-minated the project.
PHOENIX EQUITY POISED TO SELL ASCO
Phoenix Equity Partners is preparingto sell Asco Group, the fast-growingoil and gas logistics business based in Aberdeen. The UK mid-market privateequity group has appointed advisory boutique Lexicon Partners to soundout a possibble full disposal or partialsale of the company, two people closeto the situation said. The move comesas the oil and gas logistics businessseeks fresh capital to enter the nextphase of its international expansion.Lexicon started talks this week.
HEWLETT-PACKARD CHIEF SEEKS TOCALM IMPACT OF PC UNIT SPIN-OFF
Léo Apotheker is confident thatHewlett-Packard’s personal computer business will continue operating as well as it has been, “if not better”, inspite of plans to spin off the $40bn-revenue unit from the parent compa-ny. The chief executive of HP is keento reassure investors, suppliers andcustomers, who have been alarmedabout the effect of the move.
POUND FOR POUND, IRELAND IS THEWAY FORWARD
With unemployment and austerity rising, now would not appear themost opportune moment for a grow-ing business to enter the Irish mar-ket. Unless you are a pound shop. 99pStores Group, one of several discountretailers to have taken advantage of empty shops to expand during therecession, is opening its first store inthe Republic of Ireland this month.
BIDDER TOLD TO DIG DEEPER AS AXIS-SHIELD WINS OVER CITY
The embattled healthcare company Axis-Shield shored up City support infending off a £230m Americantakeover by revealing a surge in salesof its machines to diagnose diabetes,flu and heart disease. Seven City ana-lysts published research yesterday arguing that a 460p-a-share bid fromthe Boston-based Alere was too low.
US EAST COAST RECOVERS AFTER RAREEARTHQUAKE
Two nuclear reactors that were shutdown after a 5.8 magnitude earth-quake struck Virginia, sendingtremors across America’s east coast on Tuesday, have been restarted. Thereactors at the North Anna powerplant, just seven miles from the epi-centre in the town of Mineral, Virginia, shut down automatically when the earthquake took place.
SILVIO BERLUSCONI HINTS HE WILLWRITE TELL ALL BIOGRAPHY
Silvio Berlusconi has said he may write a memoir in which he will docu-ment all his sexual conquests. The 74- year-old prime minister dropped thehint at a recent dinner when the con- versation turned to claims made by anItalian footballer in an autobiography that he had slept with around 600 women.
APPLIED MATERIALS GLOOMY ONOUTLOOK
Applied Materials Inc. provided a dis-mal fourth-quarter outlook amidslowing personal-computer sales anda weakening economy, overshadow-ing a leap in quarterly profits for the big Silicon Valley maker of machinetools. The company, which makesequipment used to manufacturesemiconductors, yesterday predictedthat net sales in the fourth fiscalquarter will decline 15 per cent to 30per cent from third-quarter levels.
GUESS PROFIT FALLS 9.1 PER CENT ONSETTLEMENT CHARGE
Guess Inc’s fiscal second-quarter prof-it fell 9.1 per cent on a settlementcharge, though the apparel makerposted better-than-expected revenueon double-digit sales growth inEurope and Asia. Shares fell 3.1 percent to $32.25 in after hours trading.
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