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Monthly Archives: June 2013

An unlikely change of career

Howard Marks didn't see his latest career, as a crime fiction novelist, coming. "I didn't see any of them coming," he quips, with a throaty giggle which erupts into an alarmingly bronchial coughing fit. Since 1995, after seven years in a US prison convicted of epic international cannabis-smuggling (reduced from 25 years for good behaviour), Marks has been both a writer, whose autobiography Mr Nice sold a million, and a sort of Welsh, stoned, Billy Connolly with Bill Wyman's hair, touring his standup show of dope-crime stories like a jovial, cackling pirate. The pesky law, however, is once again threatening his livelihood, with rumoured forthcoming bans on authors profiting from previous crimes. "They'd have to ban Nelson Mandela's autobiography, Oscar Wilde's poetry, half the Bible," he muses, an unhurried 67-year-old with an air of permanent amusement. His publishers suggested crime fiction, and the enterprising Marks suggested a full trilogy, around the whodunnit dramas of Welsh Detective Sergeant Catrin Price, a onetime suicidal teenage goth. AfterSympathy for the Devil…

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Euro leaders unite to tackle soaring youth unemployment rates

European leaders warned on Tuesday that youth unemployment – which exceeds 50% in some countries – could lead to a continent-wide catastrophe and widespread social unrest aimed at member state governments. The French, German and Italian governments joined forces to launch initiatives to "rescue an entire generation" who fear they will never find jobs. More than 7.5 million young Europeans aged between 15 and 24 are not in employment, education or training, according to EU data. The rate of youth unemployment is more than double that for adults, and more than half of young people in Greece (59%) and Spain (55%) are unemployed. François Hollande, the French president, dubbed them the "post-crisis generation", who will "for ever after, be holding today's governments responsible for their plight". "Remember the postwar generation, my generation showed us and gave us the support we needed, the hope we cherished. The hopes that we could get a job after finishing school, and succeed in life," he said at conference in…

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Financial focus

Today’s Markets: European markets seen opening lower Asian Markets: Stocks fall on improving US data UK: Company profits in shock 30% decline UK: Bank lending to keep on falling UK: Retirement savings falling short Switzerland: Banks will not be bailed out Eurozone: Draghi sees signs of recovery this year China: Xi Jinping says expansion on a “more stable footing” Japan: Capital spending falls Currencies: Euro holds losses before manufacturing data Energy: Brent crude trades below $100 as Open maintains output target Commodities: Hedge funds boost gold bets Property: International investors eye Spanish property deals

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