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News in Brief: 14/7/2014

BANK ETHICS: The Co-operative Bank has had a record 73,000 responses to a survey about its ethical policy carried out in June.

After its financial troubles, the bank is striving to re-establish customer trust. The Co-op plans to work with the Institute for Public Policy Research in the coming weeks to analyse the results of the survey and develop a new ethical policy which will be launched in September.

 

EDUCATION: Britain’s reputation as a nation of poor linguists who are reluctant to value languages other than English must be changed, MPs and peers warned in a report published today.

Languages are as important to Britain’s future as science and maths-based subjects, according to an all-party parliamentary group.

It has published a new “manifesto for languages” calling for a national recovery programme aimed at upping the numbers of people who can speak another language.

 

BUSINESS: Foreign firms that take over British companies will be hit by big fines if they go back on jobs promises made during the deal, Vince Cable said yesterday.

The Business Secretary told the Sunday Times that tougher laws are also being looked at to bolster the “national interest test” to meet concerns about the acquisition of major British firms.

Pledges made during negotiations should be legally binding with penalties for breaking them running into millions of pounds. It follows controversy over the  — ultimately failed — takeover bid by US pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer for British-based AstraZeneca.

 

RIGHT TO DIE: Desmond Tutu became the latest high-profile figure yesterday to come out in favour of a change in the law on the right to die, days before a House of Lords debate on the issue.

The world-renowned religious leader, writing in the Observer, said he reveres “the sanctity of life — but not at any cost.”

His comments come after former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey said he had changed his mind on the issue of assisted dying after considering cases like that of locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson and “the reality of needless suffering.”

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