Cheques to be paid in via phone: Plans to allow people to pay cheques into their bank accounts using their smartphones have been announced in Britain by the government’s finance department, known as the Treasury.
30 December 2013
It could become as simple as this: picking up your mobile phone, taking a picture of the cheque you’ve just received and your bank account is credited.
In other words, no more queuing at a bank branch. The government is considering legislation which will make this become a reality.
But what about security? Can an image of a cheque really be a safe substitute for the real thing? The banking industry says it does now have the right technology.
It hopes that cheque imaging will speed up the clearing process. Time could be saved by not having to sort and move paperwork between banks.
The technology is widely used in the United States.
Egypt jails three leading activists: Three of Egypt’s most prominent activists from the 2011 uprising have been sentenced to three years in prison. They are the first to be convicted under a controversial new law that restricts demonstrations.
23 December 2013
The three activists, Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma, and Mohammed Adel were at the forefront of the revolution in 2011. They were founding members of the April 6th Youth Movement which led the revolt against Hosni Mubarak.
The jailing of these leading pro-democracy campaigners will deepen concerns about a growing crackdown on dissent here.
Initially, Islamists were the main target for the authorities – thousands have been detained. But recently dozens of liberal activists have been rounded up for breaching the draconian new law on public protests.
The military installed government maintains that it is on a path to democracy. But to many here that’s not how it looks.
Fed scales back stimulus effort: The US central bank, the Federal Reserve, says it will next month begin scaling back a key strategy to stimulate the economy because of a stronger jobs market. The Fed said that from January it would reduce its spending on US government bonds by $10bn a month.
20 December 2013
The Federal Reserve has been pumping money into the US economy by buying $85bn of bonds each month. From January, it will cut the figure to $75bn. And it has signalled that it will further reduce the scale of its bond buying if the economy continues to improve.
It’s a small but highly significant step towards unwinding the extraordinary measures put in place to support the economy through six years of deep crisis.
The decision follows a run of data pointing to sustained if weak recovery and – the key factor – an improving jobs market.
But the Fed hasn’t entirely kicked away the monetary props. It plans to keep short term lending rates at near 0% until it sees at least another 0.5% drop in the unemployment rate.
Investors responded by sending share prices higher. There was relief at the end to uncertainty over when the Fed, as has seemed inevitable for months, would start tapering off its monetary life support.
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