Uk Spy Chief Defends Need For Secrets, Warns Of Syria Energizing Jihadists

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)

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.

UK economy should beware ‘weapons of mass distraction’

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. Citing the deadly mall attack in Kenya and the ongoing Syrian conflict, MI5s Director General Andrew Parker also said terrorism had become more diffuse and more unpredictable. He said terrorists were also turning to technological advancements such as encryption to hide their tracks. With Malala in the spotlight, Taliban issues new threat Tim Craig and Saleem Mehsud Amid Nobel buzz, the group warns the Pakistani teen it will harm her again if she keeps speaking out. Threats are diversifying, but not diminishing, Parker told the Royal United Services Institute in his first public speech. The Internet, technology and big data are transforming our society. … We cant stop every plot, much as we try and much as we would like to. There are choices ahead that will determine whether we can sustain what we do, or accept that it will erode. Debate on balancing security and peoples individual privacy has been percolating since Snowden detailed the extent to which the NSA collects data on its citizens and shares some of that data with partner nations around the world. Three groups filed a recent lawsuit at the European Court of Human Rights, accusing Britains eavesdropping agency of using its online surveillance programs to violate peoples privacy. English PEN, Big Brother Watch and the Open Rights Group claim that Britains Government Communications Headquarters, known as GCHQ, acted illegally by collecting vast amounts of data, including the contents of emails and social media messages. Britains domestic security agency of MI5 and its foreign spy service of MI6 rely heavily on tips and backup from GCHQ. Shifts in technology can erode our capabilities, he said. There are choices to be made, including for example, about how and whether communications data is retained. It is not, however, an option to disregard such shifts with an unspoken assumption that somehow security will anyway be sustained.

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

“In the past, we’ve seen a boost followed by a pullback in the subsequent quarter but this time that hasn’t happened, which means that we’re seeing an easing up of access to finance and cash flow is still not at pre-recession levels, so we’re not out of the woods yet.” The survey, collated from the responses of over 7,000 businesses in the U.K., showed that business confidence had also translated into a 20 percent rise in employment in the services sector in the third quarter to its best level since 2007. in September, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG’s jobs report showed. The rise in business confidence and employment follows attempts by the U.K. government to encourage banks to get lending to businesses and the public in its efforts to revive the U.K. economy. The government initiatives include schemes such as “Funding for Lending” and the “Help to Buy” home-buyers’ program , of which an updated version was launched on Tuesday. Under the home buyers’ scheme, the government will guarantee part of a home-buyer’s mortgage on properties worth up to 600,000 ($918,000). Although concerns have grown that the schemes could create another housing and credit bubble, the government has said the initiatives have helped contribute to a nascent recovery in the U.K. economic confidence. British house prices rose at their fastest rate in 11 years in September and sales hit a four-year high, a survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed on Tuesday, highlighting a sustained recovery in the property market and concerns of a bubble. With the rate of home building failing to catch up with the rate of price increases, however, Longworth warned that the “Help to Buy” scheme to assist home buyers could actually do more damage to the economy than good. Consumer confidence seemed to take a dip in September as retail sales slowed for a second consecutive month and showed a longer negative trend. Like-for-like sales were up 0.7 percent from September 2012, the British Retail Consortium’s report said, when they had increased 1.5 percent on the preceding year. While David McCorquodale, the head of retail at KPMG, which compiled the data with the BRC, called the figures “a reality check” that would make retailers nervous in the run up to Christmas, the BCC’s Longworth said that retail sales growth could be a false friend in terms of economic growth anyway. “Certainly what we don’t want is a consumer boom-led growth pattern, what we need is solid good growth and that sort of growth comes from exports, infrastructure investment and manufacturing and production and the building of businesses.” “This is a really dangerous time in the recovery.

Nexcess to Sponsor MagentoLive UK 2013

Press Release: Nexcess 17 minutes ago Print SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Oct. 9, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — via PRWEB – Nexcess, a leading provider of optimized Magento hosting and a Magento Platinum Hosting Partner, is thrilled to announce that they will be a Platinum Sponsor for this year’s MagentoLive UK conference in partnership with PayPal and eBay. The event will take place at etc.venues’ state of the art St. Paul’s conference center in London on Tuesday, October 22nd. MagentoLive UK is Britain’s largest Magento conference and hosts attendees and speakers from the UK, Europe, and the US. The conference is an unmissable opportunity to meet with and hear eCommerce experts, Magento hosting specialists, developers, and members of the Magento community. Nexcess CEO Chris Wells will be in attendance to deliver a talk addressing site performance, its relationship to eCommerce sales, and how Nexcess have optimized their Magento hosting platform to help eCommerce retailers maximize sales. “It’s a great opportunity for us to support the UK Magento community,” commented Mr. Wells, “Learning from developers, designers, and industry leaders from the British and European Magento communities is always a rewarding experience for us and informs our effort to maintain an unbeatable Magento hosting platform.” Among this year’s other featured speakers will be Roy Rubin, Magento co-founder and COO, who will be leading a general session along with Magento Head of Product, Jimmy Duval. Also speaking are Danny Essner, Head of Merchant Marketing for Magento; John Lunn, PayPal’s Director of Developer Relations; and Thomas Husson, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester. Talks will cover subjects ranging from eCommerce SEO and mobile conversion optimization strategies to cross border eCommerce and coding best practices for Magento extension developers. Nexcess is a trusted provider of highly optimized Magento hosting, offering eCommerce hosting solutions that range from shared hosting for boutique online stores to large Magento server clusters for enterprise clients. Nexcess provides Magento hosting from a number of international locations, including their wholly owned US data centers and facilities in the United Kingdom and Australia. Nexcess plays an active role in the Magento community: in addition to sponsoring conferences like MagentoLive UK, the company puts their expertise in Magento optimization to good use with projects like the open source Turpentine Magento extension, which improves Magento integration with the Varnish web application accelerator; and a recently published white paper that covers Magento optimization techniques in detail. ### About Nexcess Nexcess is a Southfield, Michigan-based managed hosting company founded in 2000, with wholly owned data centers located in Dearborn, Michigan and Southfield, Michigan.