Banking reforms too slow, says IMF; Yahoo may launch YouTube rival; Five things about Ukraine’s Chocolate baron-President; How economic crisis spurs obesity

1 Banking reforms too slow, says IMF (BBC) Banking reforms aimed at preventing another financial crisis have failed to make enough progress, the boss of the International Monetary Fund has warned. IMF managing director Christine Lagarde blamed a combination of the complexity involved, industry lobbying and “fatigue” for the delay. “The industry still prizes short-term profit over long-term prudence,” Ms Lagarde said.

She said inequality was “an issue” too. Ms Lagarde said some of the biggest problems were with the so-called “too-big-to-fail firms”, banks whose collapse would cause such a big knock-on effect on the wider economy that governments were still expected to rescue them. She said a recent IMF study indicated that such banks were still “major sources of systemic risk” and called for “tougher regulation and tighter supervision” to tackle the issue.

“Their implicit subsidy is still going strongly – amounting to about $70bn in the US, and up to $300bn in the euro area,” she said. Ms Lagarde called for regulators worldwide to agree a framework to wind down big banks in trouble, as well as mutual recognition on rules for financial markets.

2 Yahoo may launch YouTube rival (Megan Rose Dickey in San Francisco Chronicle) Yahoo is reportedly unveiling a YouTube rival this summer. Yahoo’s service will offer more generous revenue-sharing deals for creators, AdAge reports. Google’s YouTube takes 45% of ad revenue, but Yahoo is expected to offer a split that tips more in favor of creators.

Yahoo intended to unveil the new service in April, but contract issues ultimately delayed the launch. One point of contention was around content ownership. Early drafts of the contract gave a video’s ownership rights to Yahoo.

Similar to YouTube, Yahoo video creators will be able to have their own channels. Yahoo’s video player will also be embeddable on other sites. Those Yahoo creators who sign a contract will also get a publishing dashboard so that they can distribute across Yahoo properties like its home page, as well as blogging service Tumblr.

3 Five things about Ukraine’s Chocolate baron-President (Ling Chang Hong in Straits Times) Chocolate baron Petro Poroshenko claimed a resounding victory on Sunday in Ukraine’s presidential election. Just who is Petro Poroshenko? Here are five things about him.

Wealth: The 48-year-old is known as the “Chocolate King” for his ownership of Ukraine’s largest confectionery manufacturer, Roshen. His vast empire also includes vehicle manufacturing and shipbuilding. He also owns 5 Kanal TV, the most popular news channel in Ukraine. Forbes estimated his wealth at $1.6 billion in 2013.

Political experience: A 10-year political veteran, Mr Poroshenko comes from the mainly Russian-speaking Odessa region in southern Ukraine, although his political stronghold is believed to be in the central Vinnytsya region, where he started his business and political career. He was foreign minister in Ms Yulia Tymoshenko’s government from 2009 to 2010, and briefly an economic development and trade minister in 2012. He was also one of the main figures of the Orange Revolution that brought Mr Viktor Yushchenko and Ms Tymoshenko to power in 2004.

Campaign promises: The main slogan of Mr Poroshenko’s election campaign was: “A new way of living”. He portrays himself as a pragmatic politician who sees Ukraine’s future in Europe, but hopes to mend relations with Russia, using the diplomatic skills he developed as foreign minister.

Main challenges: Mr Poroshenko will inherit a country on the brink of economic collapse, with a separatist rebellion raging in its main industrial region, and a Russian neighbour that has annexed one part of the country. His main goal is to unite Ukraine. “The first steps of our entire team at the beginning of the presidency will concentrate on ending the war, ending the chaos, ending the disorder and bringing peace to Ukrainian soil, to a united, single Ukraine,” he said at a victory rally.

Quotable quotes: “No.” – When asked by a Ukrainian journalist at a post-election press conference whether he could guarantee the freedom of the press. “When I win.” – He interrupted and corrected a question about what he would do if he wins the election.

4 How economic crisis spurs obesity (Katie Allen in The Guardian) The economic crisis could have intensified the obesity epidemic in rich nations as people switched to cheaper and less healthy foods, acccording to a report. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development also found that the drop in physical activity for those who lost their job was likely to have contributed to higher obesity rates in some places.

In an update to its work on the economics of obesity begun in 2010, the Paris-based thinktank found the epidemic had spread further in the past five years, although rates have been increasing at a slower pace than before. “Until 1980, fewer than one in 10 people were obese in OECD countries. In the following decades, rates doubled or tripled, and are continuing to grow,” the report said, putting the obesity rate now at 18% of adults.

People with less education and lower socio-economic status are more likely to be obese, and the gap is generally larger in women, the research found. It highlighted the effect of financial hardship on food shopping habits. “In 2008, the world economy entered one of the most severe crises ever. Many families, especially in the hardest hit countries, have been forced to cut their food expenditures, and tighter food budgets have provided incentives for consumers to switch to lower-priced and less healthy foods,” the OECD said.


About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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