Uk Financial Firm Optimism Highest For 17 Years – Cbi

The Canary Wharf financial district is seen from the top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit in the London 2012 Olympic Park in east London May 11, 2012. REUTERS/Ki Price

Britains National Crime Agency said it had seized millions of pounds (dollars) worth of bitcoins, the electronic currency used on the site, and the agencys director general, Keith Bristow, said in a statement that other online drug dealers should expect a knock on their door. These latest arrests are just the start; there are many more to come, he said. Silk Road gained widespread notoriety two years ago as a black market bazaar where visitors could buy and sell hard drugs using bitcoins, a form of online cash which operates independent of any centralized control. A so-called hidden site, Silk Road used an online tool known as Tor to mask the location of its servers. While many other sites sell drugs more or less openly, Silk Roads technical sophistication, its user-friendly escrow system and its promise of near-total anonymity quickly made it among the best known. Officials say the black market website brokered more than $1 billion in sales before the FBI collared Ulbricht at a public library on Oct. 1. In its complaint, the bureau said it had managed to copy the contents of the sites server something one expert said would likely provide international authorities with detailed information about the sites dealers. Any large sellers on Silk Road should be very nervous, said Nicholas Weaver, a researcher with the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley and the University of California, San Diego. Silk Roads eBay-style customer review system means that months worth of sales history are now in law enforcement hands, Weaver said in an email, while the traceable nature of bitcoin transfers means the FBI can now easily follow the money. Britains Crime Agency said its arrests were carried out only hours after Ulbricht was detained. It called the suspects significant users of Silk Road and described them as three men in their 20s from the northern English city of Manchester and a man in his 50s from southwestern England. U.S. authorities have charged two people in Bellevue, Washington, a city just east of Seattle, after identifying one of them as a top seller on Silk Road. He was arrested on Oct.

An artisan gives finishing touches to an effigy of demon king Ravana in preparation for the upcoming Hindu festival of Dussehra in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh October 8, 2013. The effigies are burnt during the festival which commemorates the triumph of Lord Rama over Ravana, marking the victory of good over evil. REUTERS/Ajay Verma (INDIA - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Credit: Reuters/Ki Price LONDON | Mon Oct 7, 2013 12:06am BST LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s banks and other financial firms are at their most optimistic for almost 17 years, according to an industry survey. Some 59 percent of UK financial services firms said they felt more optimistic about their business situation, compared to 6 percent who were less optimistic, according to the latest quarterly CBI/PwC financial services survey, released on Monday. The positive balance of 53 is the highest since December 1996. The survey, covering the three months to early September, also showed a net 24 percent of financial firms increased staff in the period, the biggest rise for six years. A net 14 percent of firms expect to increase staffing again in the current quarter. The CBI/PwC survey is based on the balance of firms reporting an increase and those reporting a decrease. The survey findings indicate about 10,000 jobs were added in the third quarter and another 2,000 will be created this quarter, taking UK financial services jobs to 1.14 million, CBI/PwC estimated. Business volumes fell in the latest quarter, however, mainly in banking. The CBI said 22 percent of financial firms reported a rise in business volumes, but 32 percent said they were down. A big majority of firms expect volumes to increase this quarter, it said. “Banks’ optimism is increasingly buoyant despite seeing a slight seasonal blip in commercial and industrial volumes. Activity and profitability are expected to grow as the economy recovers, and investment in new products and infrastructure is increasing,” said Kevin Burrowes, PwC’s UK financial services leader. Profitability rose for the fourth consecutive quarter, as companies managed to offset the fall in business volumes by increasing their margins, the survey showed. With costs expected to fall, profitability should increase further in the current quarter, firms said.

UK breaks into ITU’s top 10 for ICT development

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The UK had been sitting just outside the top 10, in 11th place, but this year managed to rise up the ranks to eighth, pushing both Luxembourg and Hong Kong down a place. The Republic of Korea remained the leader of the pack for the third year in a row, with the Nordic countries of Sweden , Iceland, Denmark, Finland and Norway nipping at its heels. All top 30 countries were defined as high income locations, showing the strong link between wealth and progress with ICT. But there were some positive signs in developing countries that were investing more into both mobile and fixed connections to improve access. This years IDI figures show much reason for optimism, with governments clearly prioritising ICT as a major lever of socio-economic growth, resulting in better access and lower prices, said Hamadoun Toure, secretary general of the ITU. Our most pressing challenge is to identify ways to enable those countries which are still struggling to connect their populations to deploy the networks and services that will help lift them out of poverty. Slow progress towards worldwide internet connectivity The report showed there are now 2.7 billion people globally using the internet. As the ITU pointed out, however, this meant there was still a way to go to get universal connectivity. This means there are still 4.4 billion people who are not yet online, read the report. Priority attention needs to be given to the unconnected, and action needs to be taken to improve the accessibility and affordability of broadband internet services everywhere to usher in an inclusive information society. Mobile subscriptions almost equalled the worlds population at 6.8 billion. By the end of 2012, 50% of the worlds population was covered by a 3G connection , but this was something the ITU believed needed to grow to increase the availability of internet services. This is mostly down to reduced growth in developed countries, whereas developing countries were putting significant investment into fibre networks. The ITU still described the divide between the two as substantial, as while penetration will reach 10% globally this year, it will serve 27% of the population in developed countries compared with just 6% in developing countries. Prices of fixed connections fell significantly in the past four years, dropping by 82%. But the price is still out of reach for many in developing countries and must drop further to make connections more ubiquitous.

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