UK clears Zanu PF political activities

That defeat was largely the result of accusations that it had mismanaged the U.K. economy, voter ambivalence over then-leader Gordon Brown and the aftermath of the unpopular Iraq war. A recovering economy is likely then to take some of the firepower out of arguments made by shadow finance minister Ed Balls that the government’s stubborn adherence to austerity policies is doing long-term damage to the economy. “The improvement in the economy over the last few months is very helpful to the government and the Chancellor [George Osborne, the U.K.’s finance minister) in particular. It certainly makes it harder to lay into Osborne’s austerity policy and it is significant that the Labour party is now focusing its attacks more on wealth distribution,” Howard Archer, chief U.K. and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said. voters appear to be weary with Labour too, particularly in light of the data that showed Osborne’s policies could be working. A YouGov poll on Thursday showed that for the first time in 18 months, and despite unpopular policies, the Conservative party had pulled level with Labour in opinion polls which gave both parties 36 percent of the vote. “Labour has seen a double digit lead disappear in weeks. Its summer of discontent could turn into an autumn of despair,” YouGov President Peter Kellner told the U.K.’s Sun newspaper which published the survey. Yes, we are on the right track, but politicians cannot allow themselves to become distracted with other priorities,” BCC Director General, John Longworth, said on its challenge to Labour. “The economy has to remain at the top and we mustn’t allow ourselves to sit back and think that the job is now doneCurrently, there seems to be a lack of ambition from our political class,” he added, saying that the U.K.

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“This particular run will end some time between the back end of 2014 and 2016, as rising mortgage rates will cause the market to plateau,” Williams added. Foxtons, which last year earned more than half its revenue from its lettings business, is focused on expansion within London, home to 40 of its 42 branches, and has said it is aiming for five to 10 new branch openings a year between 2014 and 2018. But analyst Anthony Codling at brokerage Jefferies said that while estate agents were the best way to gain exposure to the UK housing market, prospects were better for nationwide firms. “We see more significant potential for house price growth outside of London than inside,” he said in a note. Jefferies worked on Countrywide’s float. CHEQUERED HISTORY House prices fell 16.3 percent in London after the financial crash and by 16.6 percent across England and Wales, according to Land Registry data. While London prices have recovered to 6 percent above their pre-crash peak, in the rest of the country they are still 10 percent below. Foxtons’ offering, which was oversubscribed, raised 335 million pounds for selling shareholders, including majority owner private equity group BC Partners, and company employees. BC Partners reduced its stake from 75 percent to 28.3 percent through the sale and if an overallotment option – whereby more shares can be sold if there is strong enough demand – is exercised this will drop further to 22.3 percent. Foxtons Chief Executive Michael Brown stands to pocket 52.3 million pounds from reducing his stake to 8.1 percent. The company, known for its cafe-style branches and the distinctive Mini Cooper cars driven by its sales staff, also raised 55 million pounds from selling new shares to reduce debt. A source close to the deal said good demand had come from investors in the UK and United States, with buyers confident housing market transactions volumes were far from peaking and Foxton’s strong lettings business would also support its value. The offer prospectus shows New-York based asset manager Blackrock (BLK.N) was a large investor, buying an 8.2 percent stake, while Fidelity Worldwide Investments holds 3.2 percent. The offer price valued Foxtons at around 18 times next year’s forecast earnings, compared with 17 times for Countrywide and a median of around 12.3 times for UK housebuilders, according to Thomson Reuters data.

A Foxtons estate agent sign is seen reflected in the window at a branch in north London September 3, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Mugabe’s Zanu PF party free to set up structures in UK Take Mugabe ‘with pinch of salt’: UK ZANU PF has assured its supporters in the United Kingdom that athey donat need to operate under the radara after assurances from the British government that they will not be targeted. An interim Zanu PF executive in the United Kingdom led by Nick Mangwana claims aa lot of cadres were persecuted in machinations led by their own regime change countrymen who campaigned for their deportation and expulsion.a aThose in public service jobs nearly lost them, and some lost them. Those in academic research had grants and funding withdrawn,a Mangwana said on Sunday. But after engagement with the UK Foreign Office, Mangwana said they now had written reassurances that they can hold public meetings and canvass without being targeted. He explained: aAssurances were initially given verbally but at our insistence for written assurances, details of the leadership were sought. It was only then that the policy statement was sent to the chairman of the steering committee assuring that the British government has no problem with Zanu PF operating from the heartland of Europe. aAfter many years of threats, covert and overt retributive actions against people who were perceived to be Zanu PF supporters and cadres, the British government has now given its assurance for their protection.a In a letter to the Zanu PF interim executive, Mark Simmonds, Britainas Minister for Africa, said: aYou asked whether there would be any objections to Zanu PF activity here in the UK. AThere would be no bar on your activities here in the UK, providing they do not contravene UK law, as is the case for any political party.a Simmonds further asked the Zanu PF executive to meet with Richard Croker, the Head of the Zimbabwe Unit at the Foreign Officeas Africa Department Central ato discuss the issues you have raiseda. Mangwana said: aThe steering committee wishes to extend this assurance to cadres that they donat need to operate under the radar. It’s okay to join the very fashionable Zanu PF UK openly.a Relations between the Zanu PF-led Zimbabwe government and former colonial power Britain remain frosty. Mugabe and nine other officials remain on European Union sanctions which he says were instigated by Britain which was angry with his land reform policy, but the UK accuses Mugabe of election fraud and rights abuses.

UK authorities clear Baba Ramdev after second round of questioning

According to sources, his questioning by airport officials was related to him travelling on a visitor’s visa instead of a business one. A day after his detention on arrival here, Ramdev returned to Heathrow Airport this evening with British Indian MP Keith Vaz to meet the chief immigration officer. The immigration officer later allowed Ramdev to enter the UK lawfully and carry on with his programmes. Ramdev alleged that he did not get support from the Indian government and he suspected that the British officials were misguided. “I am sad to state that my government did not support me. I was told there was a red alert attached to my name, which is only linked with terrorists and criminals. I will wait for full details but I have a doubt that my eight-hour detention yesterday was a result of the Indian government’s attempt to misguide the UK immigration department,” Ramdev told reporters outside the airport after being cleared. “While the Indian government may have played a villain’s role in this whole episode, Britain’s NRI community and Keith Vaz (British-Indian MP) stood by me,” he said. “I thank the UK government that they did not stay misguided for too long,” he said, adding that he had not been given any explanation for being detained. “I have never done anything illegal, immoral or unethical. So I kept asking them to let me know what my fault was. I was not informed about the reasons.