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In-work poverty in the EU

August 19, 2014 Comments off

In-work poverty in the EU
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

Having a job yet still being unable to make a living: In-work poverty is a phenomenon that affected 9,1 percent of the working age EU population in 2012. The rate of those in work and at risk of poverty has been on the rise since 2005. It applies to those with an income below 60% of the national median. In the aftermath of the crisis, wage polarisation and an increase of part-time work have led to higher rates of in-work poverty in Europe. At the same time, nearly a quarter of the overall EU population is facing the risk of poverty or exclusion.

Employment does not always protect from poverty. Whether a person is becoming “working poor” is decided by working status and household income. Analysts often see a combination of low pay, high needs and weak ties to the labour market as root causes. In general the risk is higher for single households (sole earners, especially women with dependent children), young workers and temporarily employed people as well as those with low levels of education. Paradoxically, men face a higher risk than women, even though women are more often in part-time employment with a lower salary. Yet women are more often secondary earners, meaning that the household income does not depend only on them.

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Baby Names in England and Wales, 2013

August 19, 2014 Comments off

Baby Names in England and Wales, 2013
Source: Office for National Statistics

Key Findings

  • Oliver and Amelia were the most popular first names given to babies born in England and Wales in 2013. Amelia has been in the top spot since 2011 while Oliver replaced Harry, the top name in 2011 and 2012.
  • In England, Amelia was the most popular name in all regions and Oliver was the most popular name in five out of the nine regions.
  • In Wales, Oliver was the most popular name, replacing Jacob, while Amelia has been the most popular name since 2012.
  • Oscar and George replaced Alfie and Riley in the top 10 most popular names, climbing from number 17 to 7 and number 12 to 10 respectively.
  • Poppy replaced Lily in the top 10 most popular names, climbing from number 13 to 7.

Coordinating Immigrant Integration in Germany: Mainstreaming at the federal and local levels

August 18, 2014 Comments off

Coordinating Immigrant Integration in Germany: Mainstreaming at the federal and local levels
Source: Migration Policy Institute

In contrast to other European countries, the idea of “mainstreaming” immigrant integration policy—the practice of reaching people with a migration background through social programming and policies that address the needs of the general population—has not caught on among policymakers in Germany. Although characterized by fragmented policies scattered across many levels of government with little vertical coordination, integration policy in Germany has made many strides over the past decade. Still, civil-society organizations and employees in public services continue to call for a shift away from policymaking that targets specific groups, and toward measures directed at society, or young people, as a whole.

This report explores the history and recent trends of integration policy in Germany, focusing on the past 15 years, when immigrant integration became an important issue. Aside from matters of nationality, freedom of movement, and passports, which are the exclusive domain of the federal government, and matters of education, which are up to the Länder (state-level governments) to decide, integration has consisted of a tangled web of overlapping and unclear legislative jurisdiction. Integration policy, which cuts across areas such as education, labor, and urban development, also suffers from a lack of horizontal coordination across various governmental departments and across states.

The report also examines various integration measures taken by the federal, Länder, and local governments as well as civil-society actors, including those that have attempted to reach the general population and those targeted at specific groups. Young people have been a particular focus of many projects, in a country where one-fourth of the estimated 15.6 million people with an immigrant background are under the age of 25.

The Human-Capital Needs of Tech City, London

August 15, 2014 Comments off

The Human-Capital Needs of Tech City, London
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Cities are important sites of entrepreneurship and innovation, especially for the tech industry, and skilled migrants can play critical roles in economic development in high-tech clusters such as London’s Tech City (also known as Silicon Roundabout). In the United Kingdom, an undersupply of skilled native-born developers encourages recruiters to look afield, but visa restrictions make hiring the right workers difficult. Evidence that firms are having trouble making the most of immigration point to a number of areas for policy action, as this report outlines.

A raft of policies were introduced to grow the Tech City cluster, but while the United Kingdom is reforming policies to attract and retain skilled migrant workers and migrant entrepreneurs, getting the design of these programs right has proved especially difficult. Policymakers’ control over cluster development is limited: policies that seek to map clusters and maximize their growth rarely deliver expected benefits. However, policies that are not cluster specific—such as human-capital interventions aimed at improving the international supply of workers through migration or the local supply of workers through skills training—are likely to have indirect effects that help clusters grow.

This report analyzes the importance of human capital to the development of Tech City and sets this discussion in a broader framework linking cities, digital sectors, and highly skilled immigration.

The report is part of a series from MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration focused on how policymakers at all levels can work together to help cities and regions get more out of immigration. The reports were commissioned for the Council’s eleventh plenary meeting, “Cities and Regions: Reaping Migration’s Local Dividends.”

Dependent Children Usually Resident in England and Wales with a Parental Second Address, 2011

August 15, 2014 Comments off

Dependent Children Usually Resident in England and Wales with a Parental Second Address, 2011
Source: Office for National Statistics

Dependent children who shared their time between two different parental addresses were analysed for the usually resident population in England and Wales using 2011 Census data. Analysis includes the age and sex profiles of these children in 2011, as well as their geographical distribution and location of their usual residence and parental second address.

McKinsey on Sustainability & Resource Productivity — Issue 2, Summer 2014

August 14, 2014 Comments off

McKinsey on Sustainability & Resource Productivity — Issue 2, Summer 2014
Source: McKinsey & Company

Articles in this issue

McKinsey on Sustainability & Resource Productivity—Introduction
In this second issue of McKinsey on Sustainability & Resource Productivity, we seek to establish the value of sustainability and to demonstrate how these opportunities can (and are) being captured in a range of industries.

Profits with purpose: How organizing for sustainability can benefit the bottom line
Becoming a sustainability leader requires big changes, but the effort is worth it—in both environmental and economic terms.

The human factor: Amassing troops for the ’resource revolution‘
Companies on the front lines of the resource revolution need to implement creative talent-management strategies.

Riding the resource wave: How extractive companies can succeed in the new resource era
With economic and social expectations rising in resource-rich countries, extractive companies must rethink how they do business.

Brave new world: Myths and realities of clean technologies
Don’t be fooled by high-profile setbacks. The cleantech sector is gaining steam—with less and less regulatory assistance.

Unconventional wisdom: Fracturing enters a new era
Faced with change on a scale not seen in decades, companies must alter their business plans to accommodate unconventionals or else risk irrelevance.

The disruptive potential of solar power
As costs fall, the importance of solar power to senior executives is rising.

Bioenergy in Europe: A new beginning—or the end of the road?
Bioenergy faces challenges in Europe, but there is reason to believe it can make a comeback.

CRS — NATO: Response to the Crisis in Ukraine and Security Concerns in Central and Eastern Europe (July 31, 2014)

August 14, 2014 Comments off

NATO: Response to the Crisis in Ukraine and Security Concerns in Central and Eastern Europe (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. Department of State Foreign Press Center)

Russia’s actions in Ukraine and its alleged role in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 have caused observers and policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic, including Members of Congress, to reassess the role of the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in upholding European security. The security concerns of NATO’s Central and Eastern European member states and non-NATO member states such as Moldova and Ukraine are of particular concern.

NATO has strongly condemned Russian actions in Ukraine and has taken steps aimed both at reassuring allies and partners in Central and Eastern Europe and at deterring further Russian aggression. These include demonstrations of support for Ukraine and its territorial integrity; actions to demonstrate NATO’s commitment to defending Central and Eastern European allies; and measures aimed at rebuking Russia. NATO members have said they will continue to conduct previously planned military exercises in Ukraine and elsewhere in the region.

The United States has been a key driver of the NATO response and has taken additional military measures intended to reassure its allies and partners in Central and Eastern Europe. These include the deployment of U.S. fighter jets and 600 paratroopers to Poland and the Baltic states, and U.S. naval vessels to the Black and Baltic Seas. In June, the Obama Administration requested congressional approval for $925 million in the Department of Defense’s FY2015 Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget to fund a proposed European Reassurance Initiative (ERI). Among other things, the ERI would enable augmented U.S. troop rotations and military infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe. The United States has supplied the Ukrainian government with some nonlethal military assistance, but has thus far ruled out providing lethal military aid.

The Added Value of EU policy on Mobile telephone roaming charges

August 12, 2014 Comments off

The Added Value of EU policy on Mobile telephone roaming charges
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

International roaming allows a customer of a mobile network operator in one country to obtain telephone services – whether voice, SMS or data – from an operator in another country. The service provider ensures that the consumer remains connected to a mobile network abroad whilst using the same mobile phone handset – or a laptop/tablet in case of data roaming – and the same telephone number as at home.

In the era before the emergence of an EU-level policy to increase competition in telecommunications, the European market in this field was largely dominated by a limited number of traditional players, often public-sector monopolies, and was characterised by a marked lack of regulatory coherence between member states. Telephone networks across Europe were limited to national boundaries, preventing effective competition. The cost of telephone calls was generally high – and mobile-phone roaming charges were especially high, to a degree strikingly unjustified by the actual cost incurred by the service provider. Such charges were, on average, three times as high as those for domestic phone calls.

With the initial liberalisation of the European mobile telecommunications sector in 1998, EU action was taken to increase competition between operators and to promote adoption of common GSM and UMTS standards. A gradual fall in prices followed, and innovative new products and services began to appear. Almost a decade later, in 2007, the EU institutions introduced specific caps on mobile roaming charges for the first time, and since then – in 2009, 2012 and 2013 – they have adopted further revisions, with the aim of cutting such charges further. The EU roaming regime applies in the 28 member states of the Union, together with the three other countries within the European Economic Area (EEA).

UK — Internet Access – Households and Individuals 2014

August 11, 2014 Comments off

Internet Access – Households and Individuals 2014
Source: Office for National Statistics

Key Points

  • In 2014, 38 million adults (76%) in Great Britain accessed the Internet every day, 21 million more than in 2006, when directly comparable records began.
  • Access to the Internet using a mobile phone more than doubled between 2010 and 2014, from 24% to 58%.
  • In 2014, 74% of all adults bought goods or services online, up from 53% in 2008. Clothes (49%) were the most popular online purchase in 2014.
  • Of all adults in Great Britain, 67% are aware of Internet storage space services, but the take up of these services to store data is much lower at 35%.
  • In Great Britain, 22 million households (84%) had Internet access in 2014, up from 57% in 2006.
  • Fixed broadband Internet connections were used by 91% of households.

 

UK — The Communications Market 2014 (August)

August 8, 2014 Comments off

The Communications Market 2014 (August)
Source: Ofcom
From press release:

A ‘millennium generation’ of 14 and 15 year olds are the most technology-savvy in the UK, according to new Ofcom research, which shows that after our teens our digital confidence begins a long decline.

Teens born at the turn of the millennium are unlikely to have known ‘dial-up’ internet and are the first generation to benefit from broadband and digital communications while growing up.

The research – part of Ofcom’s eleventh Communications Market Report – measures confidence and knowledge of communications technology to calculate an individual’s ‘Digital Quotient’ score, or ‘DQ’, with the average UK adult scoring 100.

The study, among nearly 2,000 adults and 800 children, finds that six year olds claim to have the same understanding of communications technology as 45 year olds. Also, more than 60% of people aged 55 and over have a below average ‘DQ’ score.

It shows that we hit our peak confidence and understanding of digital communications and technology when we are in our mid-teens; this drops gradually up to our late 50s and then falls rapidly from 60 and beyond.

The IMF crisis and how to solve it

August 7, 2014 Comments off

The IMF crisis and how to solve it
Source: Oxford Economics

As the IMF approaches its 70th birthday, this extract from our July UK Economic Outlook investigates the Fund’s Greek programme, one of the most credibility-sapping in its history. We trace the IMF’s role in the programme from its stormy launch to misfiring implementation; the Fund’s half-hearted apology; and its early (and ongoing) attempts to draw lessons and revise its sovereign debt restructuring framework, which appear destined to deliver insufficient meaningful change. A transparency revolution is both necessary and feasible. It worked for central banks in the 1990s. Why not the Fund?

UK — Audience attitudes towards violent content on television

August 7, 2014 Comments off

Audience attitudes towards violent content on television (PDF)
Source: Ofcom

Key Findings

• Time of broadcast is the single most important factor in the acceptability of violent content on television.
• Differing demographic groups show only subtle differences in their approach to violent content, but all agree children should not be exposed to sexual violence on television under any circumstances.
• Viewers have a sophisticated ability to analyse contextual factors when assessing the acceptability of violent content on television, and many confirm that violent content contributes to their experience of television.
• Viewers suggested five key questions to be asked when judging the acceptability of a violent scene on television:

• What time is the violent scene shown?
• Who is the victim of the violence?
• What is the act of violence?
• How is the violence presented?
• What is the purpose of the violent scene?

See also: Violence in UK Soaps: A four wave trend analysis (PDF)

Possible Missile Attack on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 – CRS Insights

August 6, 2014 Comments off

Possible Missile Attack on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 – CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), a Boeing 777 bound from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in eastern Ukraine.

MH17’s position was shown on live aircraft tracking websites using the airliner’s automated dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) signal. Its final reported position was near the Russia-Ukraine border at an altitude of 33,000 feet.

Initial reports from the crash scene indicated that the resulting debris field covered a large area. This is characteristic when an aircraft breaks up at high altitude (as opposed to diving into the ground or incidents on landing or takeoff, where the debris field is tightly confined around the point of impact). Inflight breakup can occur for a number of reasons, including metal fatigue (as in the case of two DeHavilland Comet jetliners in the 1950s); onboard explosions, whether caused by bombs or accidental combustion (such as TWA flight 800 in 1996); or external events like a missile attack (as was the case with Korean Air Lines 007 in 1983 and Iran Air 655 in 1988).

Because spontaneous inflight breakup of an airliner is a rare event, the crash’s proximity to an active conflict zone where military aircraft had recently been shot down led to speculation that MH17’s breakup may have been the result of a surface-to-air missile. This was reinforced when, almost immediately, pictures appeared in social media purporting to show Russian-built Buk anti-aircraft missile launchers near the crash site.

The 2014 European Parliament Elections: Outcomes and Implications – CRS Insights

August 6, 2014 Comments off

The 2014 European Parliament Elections: Outcomes and Implications – CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

Between May 22-25, 2014, the 28 member states of the European Union (EU) held elections for the next European Parliament (EP), a key institution that represents the citizens of the EU countries. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) serve five-year terms. The new EP, which began work on July 1, 2014, has 751 MEPs from 186 national parties (for background, see CRS Report RS21998, The European Parliament).

The recent EP elections are notable for several reasons. They were the first since the entrance into force of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty in December 2009, which increased the power of the EP. The Treaty also explicitly links the EP elections to the selection of the next President of the European Commission (the EU’s executive). Although the leaders of the member states still decide on the next Commission President, the treaty now requires that they take into account the results of the EP elections. Thus, for the first time, five of the EP’s main political groups nominated candidates for Commission President.

Additionally, Europe’s recent economic and financial crisis has contributed to the rise of anti-EU or “euroskeptic” parties in several EU countries. Many of these parties—which are predominantly nationalistic, populist, and on the far right, although a few are on the far left—made gains in the EP elections, with potential implications for the functioning of the EU and for certain issues in U.S.-EU relations.

Who pays the piper? Rules for lobbying governments in Australia, Canada, UK and USA

August 5, 2014 Comments off

Who pays the piper? Rules for lobbying governments in Australia, Canada, UK and USA
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

This publication surveys lobbying codes of conduct and registers introduced by Australian federal and state governments and some overseas governments. Although lobbying is a legitimate practice and part of the democratic process, the 2014 hearings conducted by the New South Wales (NSW) Independent Commission Against Corruption have exposed weaknesses in lobbying rules. Initially Australian governments introduced very similar minimalist codes and registers. Two states, NSW and Queensland, have recently introduced stronger regimes but Australian codes are, in general, far weaker than the strong statutory regimes operating in Canada and the United States.

UK — Changes in the Older Resident Care Home Population between 2001 and 2011

August 5, 2014 Comments off

Changes in the Older Resident Care Home Population between 2001 and 2011
Source: Office for National Statistics

Key Points

  • The care home resident population for those aged 65 and over has remained almost stable since 2001 with an increase of 0.3%, despite growth of 11.0% in the overall population at this age.
  • Fewer women but more men aged 65 and over, were living as residents of care homes in 2011 compared to 2001; the population of women fell by around 9,000 (-4.2%) while the population of men increased by around 10,000 (15.2%).
  • The gender gap in the older resident care home population has, therefore, narrowed since 2001. In 2011 there were around 2.8 women for each man aged 65 and over compared to a ratio of 3.3 women for each man in 2001.
  • The resident care home population is ageing: in 2011, people aged 85 and over represented 59.2% of the older care home population compared to 56.5% in 2001.

Advancing Outcomes for All Minorities: Experiences of Mainstreaming Immigrant Integration Policy in the United Kingdom

August 4, 2014 Comments off

Advancing Outcomes for All Minorities: Experiences of Mainstreaming Immigrant Integration Policy in the United Kingdom
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Although the United Kingdom has large foreign-born and native-born ethnic minority populations, there has been little policy activity in the area of immigrant integration in the country. Instead, since 2010 integration issues have been subsumed within broader concerns about diversity, equality, and social cohesion.

This report explores the United Kingdom’s unique experience with immigrant integration, which is strongly influenced by its colonial ties. Following World War II, the United Kingdom received a wave of migrants from its former colonies, many of whom were already British citizens, spoke English, and maintained strong ties to what they consider their mother country. As a result, native-born citizens have been reluctant to think of migrants as such, preferring instead to consider them minorities. Government programs and civil-society groups engage migrants, particularly migrant and minority youth, as part of communities rather than as discrete entities.

This mainstreaming of integration policy—attempting to reach people with a migration background through needs-based social programming and policies that also target the general population—has been supported by societal norms emphasizing inclusion and antidiscrimination as well as an ideological commitment to localism at the national level. These factors, combined with suspicion of top-down regulation, have led the national government to relinquish responsibility in integration matters to local governments. Localities, including case-study cities London and Glasgow, now have the space to develop innovative approaches to integration, but must overcome low levels of funding due to austerity measures.

Twelve things everyone should know about the European Court of Justice

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Twelve things everyone should know about the European Court of Justice (PDF)
Source: Centre for European Reform

The EU is a legal animal. The Union differs from other international bodies such as the UN or the Council of Europe in that it produces binding legislation. Member-states have to transpose into national law the agreements they make in Brussels or face litigation from the European Commission. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) sits at the heart of this shared law-making system. Its rulings are faithfully applied in 28 countries, comprising the world’s largest economic area. Hence it is arguably the most powerful international court.

EU — Customs action to tackle goods infringing Intellectual Property Rights – Frequently Asked Questions

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Customs action to tackle goods infringing Intellectual Property Rights – Frequently Asked Questions
Source: European Commission

As the EU’s 2020 Strategy underlines, the protection of IPRs is key to the EU economy. By giving people the incentive to be creative and innovative, IPRs foster economic growth, creating and protecting millions of jobs.

Right-holders can ask for customs action to protect their rights at the border. When they have a suspicion of an infringement, customs can detain the goods or suspend their release and inform the right-holder accordingly. The right-holder is given the opportunity to initiate court proceedings to determine the infringement, while the goods remain under customs control.

UK — New measures to tighten up the immigration system

July 31, 2014 Comments off

New measures to tighten up the immigration system
Source: Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and Home Office

A new crackdown on immigration abuses was announced today by the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary as part of the government’s long-term economic plan to secure a better future for Britain.

From November, tougher rules will be imposed on universities and colleges who sponsor international students to study in the UK. Currently, educational institutions cannot enjoy highly trusted sponsor status if 20% or more of the individuals they have offered places to are refused visas. But that figure will be cut to 10% in November after a 3 month transitional period for colleges and universities to re-examine their admissions procedures before offering individuals places.

The Prime Minister also announced plans to halve the period over which European migrants can claim benefits. From November, European jobseekers will only be able to claim Jobseekers Allowance and other key welfare benefits for a maximum period of 3 months. This follows tough changes that were announced earlier this year to introduce a minimum 3 month delay to claiming benefits and to cut off benefits after 6 months unless the individual has very clear job prospects.

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