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Economy

UK's New Financial Czar Wages War On Bad Bankers

THE INDEPENDENT, FINANCIAL TIMES (UK)

Worldcrunch

LONDON - Martin Wheatley, the newly appointed chief financial policeman to the UK vowed on Monday that there will be no stone unturned in bringing corrupt bankers to justice in the City- London’s financial hub.

Bad bankers warned: repent or go to jail ind.pn/QEdKg3

— The Independent (@Independent) October 1, 2012

As head of the newly created Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Wheatley will hold the power to instigate raids on City offices and bring criminal prosecutions to those exploiting or manipulating the financial-services industry.

In an interview with the Independent on Monday, Wheatley proclaimed: "We will shine a light into a number of dark corners and we will have to take action depending on what we find."

He has proposed U.S.-style prosecutions of senior executives, claiming that banks have, up until now, behaved in an unacceptable manner, which, if they were running a commercial enterprise, would ultimately lead to a dwindling customer base.

"If companies were operating in a way that was thinking about the long-term interests of their customers then you wouldn't need a heavy-handed financial regulation," Wheatley said.

Wheatley also said the regulator will force banks to assign personal responsibility to individuals, in order to avoid the blameless society that surrounded the financial industry in the "deep, dark period" in the years running up to the financial crisis of 2008.

This could be seen as a response to the amassed public anger at the fact no senior executives have been held accountable.

Wheatley published a report Friday on Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate) - the primary benchmark for short-term interest rates around the world - branding it a "broken system built on flawed incentives, incompetence and the pursuit of narrow interests that are to the detriment of markets, investors and ordinary people."

The Financial Times' editorial piece on Sunday suggested: "Mr. Wheatley wants to “cleanse the toxic brand of Libor.” His proposals are the best way of doing so.

"But beyond rebranding, regulators must aim to make interbank lending itself more transparent and market-based – and to nudge the issuers of derivatives and other transactions towards using other benchmarks altogether."

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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