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The Bank of England is seen in the City of London August 7, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Medium-sized British banks are likely to face a cut-down version of the test, and clearing houses could face their own health checks later on, the central bank said. “Stress-testing can provide a quantum leap in transparency and accountability,” BoE Deputy Governor Paul Tucker said. The test will be mainly used to form supervisory approaches rather than just to identify any capital holes to plug. “These new proposals should reinforce confidence in the financial system by letting regulators make judgments that balance systemic risk with the need to support growth,” the British Bankers’ Association said. Mike Trippitt, director of banks’ research at Numis Securities in London, said banks were already starting to see strong enough profits to build up capital buffers that would meet even a pessimistic stress test scenario. At any rate, shares in Britain’s biggest banks were unperturbed by the BoE’s announcement, with most outperforming a rise in the broader market on Tuesday. “The capital position of banks is pretty strong and without looking at the detail of the stress tests, what the market is saying is that these banks should be able to fare well,” Trippitt said. Analysts at Citi said uncertainty over details of the test will constrain dividends for 2013 and its lack of harmonisation with European tests may dent credibility. But having a clear framework could in the long run reduce the “risk premium” on Britain’s banks due to “ongoing concerns over regulatory creep”, Citi said. Britain, which had to rescue several banks in the financial crisis, has already required its lenders to do more to bolster their capital reserves than required under global rules and that approach looks set to continue under the new framework. “At the very least, banks would need to maintain sufficient capital to be able to absorb losses in the stress scenario and not fall below internationally agreed minimum standards,” the BoE said.

UK banks ‘leading funders’ of Indonesia coal mining

A week of activities to highlight the issue of sexual exploitation was launched yesterday on September 30, in Bradford, a northern British city with a high Muslim population, where local agencies have pioneered innovative approaches to confronting this issue among minorities. Unheard Voices: The Sexual Exploitation of Asian Girls and Young Women , published in September by the Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWNUK) , has been praised by Muslim leaders for its candour. Thousands of UK children vulnerable to abuse Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, an imam from Leicester and Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain , said: “We welcome the findings of this report, but particularly the recommendations within it, which we believe provide vital tools in the quest to eliminate and eradicate this heinous crime from all our communities.” Unheard Voiceschallenged a myth commonly repeated in the British media suggesting that child sexual exploitation is mainly a racial crime in which Asian men target white girls. Britain’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), a national police body, says child sexual exploitation spans “all cultures and ethnicities” – but acknowledges that cultural factors may help to explain why research to date suggests most victims are white. The Muslim Women’s Network report has united frontline agencies and community leaders in their determination to raise awareness of the issue in minority communities – and to tackle a crime that has risen rapidly up the political agenda in the UK. Police forces across the UK have dramatically raised the importance they have given to child sexual exploitation in recent years. Greater Manchester Police has made it a top policing priority, and recent awareness initiatives have been launched by police in the northern counties of Durham, Lancashire and West Yorkshire. Police in West Yorkshire, which has high Asian and Muslim populations, unveiled a hard-hitting video on September 29 featuring parents whose children have been victims of child sexual exploitation as part of its on-going ” Know the Signs ” campaign. Detective Chief Inspector Susan Jenkinson, the force’s head of safeguarding, said that officers trying to combat child sexual exploitation did not approach this as an ethnic minority issue – yet were fully aware of the special problems faced by Asian and Muslim children. DCI Jenkinson said: “For me it’s not a minority issue: there are people committing horrendous crimes against children, and it’s the children that the police, social care and all the partner agencies and third-sector workers want to protect. “I don’t want it to become a race or minority issue: it’s something that we should all be looking at together to try and prevent it happening and get the people who are committing these offences to justice.” The approach taken by West Yorkshire Police reflects a practice now gaining ground in this area that stresses multi-agency partnerships where officers work with a host of other bodies in local safeguarding units to identify and tackle the crime.

SKYCIG, a Leading UK Electronic Cigarette Brand, Announces Acquisition by Lorillard

Here as in so many fossil fuel projects across the world, the invisible hand of UK finance is at work. We have to stop our banks pouring billions into dirty energy that fuels climate change and ruins local peoples environments and livelihoods. And we have to stop destructive fossil fuel companies accessing UK investors money by listing on the London Stock Exchange. Indonesia is the worlds largest archipelago and the fourth most populous country (after China, India and the US). It is home to some of the worlds last great rainforests on the islands of Borneo, Sumatra and New Guinea, but it is also home to large reserves of gold, tin, copper and bauxite as well as coal, oil and gas. The report claims that 83% of coal produced in Indonesias top coal province on the island of Borneo is mined by companies part-financed by UK banks. Indonesia currently exports about 77% cent of its coal, mostly to other East Asian countries but Europes share of Indonesian coal exports has fallen from 14.9% in 2006 to around 5% in 2011. Money According to the findings in the report, Barclays has loaned 127 million to Bumi Resources, owner of Indonesias biggest coal mine. Barclays, alongside Standard Chartered, RBS and Lloyds have offered a total of 6.3 billion since 2009 to London-listed mining giant BHP Billiton. Standard Chartered, the UKs second biggest bank, has lent more than any other bank in the world. The WDM had produced a report recently about RBS loans to fossil fuel companies saying the state-owned banks true carbon emissions were revealed to be 18 times the total emissions of Scotland. In the current report it quotes RBS as saying that in 2012, 68% of its structured lending to the energy sector was to renewable projects. This may be true, but this kind of lending typically accounts for only a tiny fraction of a banks overall investments, making this less significant than it appears at first glance, says the report.

SKYCIG’s current premises in Great Britain will be retained, and further investment in the UK e-cigarette market is expected as the SKYCIG brand continues to grow. FF&P Advisory advised SKYCIG on the transaction with Mark Winkler as Lead Adviser. About SKYCIG SKYCIG has been the most trusted electronic cigarette brand within the United Kingdom for a number of years. It has established a large market share in the growing industry and has been voted ‘Best Electronic Cigarette in the UK’ for two years running in 2011 and 2012 by Smoking.com. Electronic cigarettes are regarded as the nation’s top smoking alternative and SKYCIG are currently the largest UK based brand, with plans to expand further into other EU e-cigarette markets. Electronic cigarettes have the potential to play an important role in the harm reduction dialogue. As well as SKYCIG providing an attractive alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes, they also offer a variety of different flavours to accommodate everyone’s taste buds from Crown Vanilla, Crown Cherry, Crown Menthol, Cinnamon, Tobacco Gold, Crown Tobacco and Classic Tobacco. About Lorillard, Inc. Lorillard, Inc. ( LO ), through its Lorillard Tobacco Company subsidiary, is the third largest manufacturer of cigarettes in the United States. Founded in 1760, Lorillard is the oldest continuously operating tobacco company in the U.S. Newport, Lorillard’s flagship premium cigarette brand, is the top selling menthol and second largest selling cigarette in the U.S. In addition to Newport, the Lorillard product line has four additional cigarette brand families marketed under the Kent, True, Maverick and Old Gold brand names. These five brands include 41 different product offerings which vary in price, taste, flavour, length and packaging.