Thursday, June 23, 2016

Pound plunges as Brexit seems near; Volkswagen 'to pay $10bn' for US emission claims; Refugees as future entrepreneurs

1 Pound plunges as Brexit seems near (Andrew Sparrow in The Guardian) Sir Vince Cable, the former Lib Dem business secretary, has told BBC that if leave win, David Cameron’s days as prime minister will be over.

Professor Michael Thrasher, the Sky News number cruncher, says that as things stand it looks as if leave is heading for a 12-point lead. The pound is slumping, down 5.5% at $1.408 as bookies put Leave as the favourite to win. And the FTSE 100 futures are down more than 4%.

Leanne Wood, the leader of Plaid Cymru, has said the leave vote – which is looking very strong in Wales – was an attack on the establishment. She also said that if the UK does leave the EU it could provide opportunities for Plaid, whose ultimate aim is independence for Wales.

“It’s looking as though those areas where there are greatest areas of deprivation and poverty, those areas which are receiving the most amount of money from EU funds are the areas where people are voting in the greatest number to leave. I’m of the view it’s austerity that is at the root of the problem here. People want change and they’ve seen this as an opportunity to get the change they want,” she said.

2 Volkswagen ‘to pay $10bn’ for US emission claims (BBC) Volkswagen has agreed to pay $10.2bn to settle some claims in the US from its emissions cheating scandal, according to reports. Most of the money would compensate 482,000 owners of two-litre diesel cars programmed to distort emissions tests.

Owners could receive between $1,000 and $7,000, depending on their car's age. The agreement could still change when it is officially announced by a judge on Tuesday, sources said. Lawyers representing car owners, Volkswagen and the US Environmental Protection Agency have not yet agreed the steps VW will take to fix the cars.

The company still faces accusations over its three-litre diesel cars, as well as the prospect of hefty fines from US regulators and possible criminal charges. Earlier this year the German company more than doubled its provisions for the scandal to €16.2bn.

Volkswagen admitted in September it had installed a "defeat device" - or software - in diesel engines in the US that could detect when they were being tested. The company subsequently revealed that more than 11 million cars worldwide were affected.

3 Refugees as future entrepreneurs (John Pilmer in San Francisco Chronicle) Current world events have spotlighted refugees in an often unflattering light. Governments are expressing concern that refugees will take up dwindling resources or be a security risk. While these may be valid concerns, there are plenty of positive reasons to take in refugees.

Much like the economic conditions in Cuba have made the population restless and ready for new opportunities, for many refugees, life-changing struggles help to fuel an entrepreneurial spirit. You don’t have to look very far to discover great examples of refugees who have had a positive impact on the world. (Google co-founder Sergey Brin is among them) Refugees have a strong inclination to not only survive, but to reach for something better.

Necessity naturally drives people to come up with solutions to problems all around them, from starting a pizza delivery service in a displacement camp to influencing global politics. By bringing their unique perspectives and skill sets to a new country, refugees are more than capable of finding new ways of doing business.

In Canada, Australia and Germany -- to name a few places -- immigrants and refugees have had a higher rate of successful entrepreneurial endeavors than the native population. In 2016 in the US, more than one in six business owners are foreign born.

Of course, creating a business out of nothing is always an uphill battle. Hurdles such as startup capital, language barriers and lack of a strong support network are real problems to would-be refugee entrepreneurs. But the courage that brought them out of conflict-ridden countries, the risk-taking that brought them across dangerous borders, the determination that led them to start a new life and the resilience that keeps them going so far from everything they know are all of the traits that make for successful business owners.

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