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Bbc.Co. Uk
Monday, January 21, 2013

Sterling drops

THE UK pound has continued to weaken against the euro, falling below the 1.20 level for the first time since early April 2012. Traders said concerns over the UK's AAA credit rating and relationships with the European Union were undermining the sterling's strength. The pound was worth just over 1.19 euros in trading late on Thursday, making a euro worth about 83.5 pence. That means UK tourists exchanging money are like to get fewer euros.

The pound has fallen 3 per cent since January 3, according to Bloomberg data, which Harry Adams, managing director at Argentex, suggested that "2013 could be a disappointing year for the sterling".

Sign or leave

Barclays boss Antony Jenkins has told the bank's 140,000 employees to sign up to a new code of conduct, or leave. The demand has come as employees prepare to learn what bonuses they will receive for their services in 2012. He said performance would be assessed "not just on what we deliver, but on how we deliver it".

Mr Jenkins replaced Bob Diamond who quit over Barclays' role in rigging the Libor rate used in trillions of pounds of financial contracts.

Barclays was just the first of several international banks to be implicated in the scandal, and was fined a total £290m ($F813m) by US and UK regulators.

USB malware

TWO power plants in the US were affected by malware attacks in 2012, a security authority has said. In its latest quarterly newsletter, the US Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) said "common and sophisticated" attacks had taken place. Malware had infected each plant's system after being inadvertently brought in on a USB stick, it said. The ICS-CERT said it expected a rise in the number of similar attacks. Malware can typically be used by cyber-attackers to gain remote access to systems, or to steal data. In the newsletter, authorities said: "The malware was discovered when an employee asked company IT staff to inspect his USB drive after experiencing intermittent issues.

Safe oil flow

A North Sea oil pipeline which was shut down because of a leak at an offshore platform has been declared safe to resume transporting supplies. Taqa, operators of the Cormorant Alpha platform where the oil leak was discovered on Monday, had closed the Brent pipeline as a precaution. The firm said the process of restoring the flow of 80,000 barrels of oil per day was in progress. Work is also taking place to stop the leak inside one of the platform's legs.

Taqa removed non-essential workers from the Cormorant Alpha, about 94 miles from Lerwick in Shetland, as a precaution and said the leak had been contained.

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