15/03/2018 Asia Business Report


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15/03/2018

Live from Singapore, the essential business news as it breaks and a look ahead to the news that will shape the business day.


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This is BBC News.

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Our top story - the US says it

agrees with Britain that Russia

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was behind the nerve agent attack

that poisoned a former spy

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and his daughter on UK soil.

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Moscow's ambassador to the UN denied

Russian involvement in the attack.

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Earlier, Britain announced

the expulsion of 23

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Russian diplomats.

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Tributes have been paid

to the world famous scientist,

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Stephen Hawking, who popularised

theoretical physics

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in a best-selling book,

A Brief History of Time.

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He's died at the age of 76.

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And video of the American student

gun protest is trending on BBC.com.

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In the US, tens of thousands

of students staged a series

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of classroom walkouts to demand

tighter gun safety laws.

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The protests were led by survivors

of the Florida school shooting

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in which 17 people were killed

by a former student.

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Stay with BBC News.

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And another top story

here in the UK -

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Toys R Us is closing all 100

of its UK stores in the next six

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weeks after administrators

failed to find a buyer.

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Don't panic, don't do anything

drastic. Recognise him? He is the

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new economic adviser for President

Trump. Singapore tops that economic

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index for the fifth year in a row,

but which cities are the most

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expensive to live in?

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Good morning, age, hello, world.

Glad you could join us. We start off

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with US President Donald Trump and

he has appointed his new economic

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adviser, and it is a familiar face

to many of you who watch business

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television. Larry Kudlow has been a

TV commentator for decades. His

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predecessor resigned last week in a

disagreement over tariffs on steel

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and aluminium imports. The incoming

economic adviser said China has

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earned a tough response from the US.

China has not played by the rules

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for a long time. I have talked about

that, intellectual property rights,

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corporate technologies, other

barriers, Trans each month -- ship

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was to get around things. I don't

think you should punish your friends

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to try to punish your enemies in

international affairs.

They don't

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necessarily see eye to eye on Sun

economic issues, so why did Donald

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Trump pick him? I asked the question

to Joe Miller.

He is really good on

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TV, and that counts for a lot. The

President watches a lot of

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television, watches his friend on

television, and what is striking is

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as you saw in that clip, Larry

Kudlow has been critical of Donald

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Trump's tariffs on steel and

aluminium that he announced last

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week, and that was the reason that

Larry Kudlow's red assessor left the

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White House over a disagreement over

Donald Trump's tariffs, and now he

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has been replaced with someone who

has been equally critical of those

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tariffs. He is a very good

communicator, he is very good on TV

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and he is broadly supportive of the

economic agenda and has been for

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some time. It makes sense that he

has been chosen for this role.

Apart

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from trade tariffs, where does Larry

Kudlow stand on other issues such as

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free trade?

He is a traditional free

trade person, he is someone who

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worked in the Reagan administration,

he has always been traditionally for

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open markets, for low taxes, and in

that way, he is very supportive of

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Donald Trump's tax policies. It is

not really a departure from the very

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standard Republican agenda when it

comes to the economy, and he has

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softened his stance but towards some

of Donald Trump's less free trade

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and more protectionist agenda.

And

that was Joe Miller in New York. We

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have add news from Toys R Us. It is

closing all of its UK and US stores.

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We will find out why it from my

colleague. Doing so well here in

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Asia, but in the Western countries,

it is not.

That's right. We know

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Toys R Us is a very successful

chain, but in the UK and US they

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have been struggling for quite

sometime. Shoppers are going to

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online shopping, like Amazon, and

also children are choosing

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electronic gadgets over toys, and as

parents we can attest to that. In

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the UK, they are closing the

remaining 75 stores in the next six

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weeks and that will result in the

job losses of about 3000. The number

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is worse in the US. We understand

they are closing all of its 885

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stores, and if that is true, it

could risk for two 33 thousand jobs.

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They have been looking for a buyer

and it is reported that Toys R Us

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will file for bankruptcy later

today.

In Q4 that update. Hong Kate

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-- Hong Kong are interested to buy

the shares it doesn't own the Toys

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"R" Us Asia franchise. Thank you

very much. Moving on now. To India,

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which has set itself an ambitious

target. By 2022, they want to insult

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renewable energy capacity and that

is four times more than the country

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is currently out. The sources for

renewable energy include wind, water

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and the sun. While the push of the

two business opportunities for these

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industries, it is an uphill task or

solar panel produces.

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It is meticulous work. 36 of these

cells need to be strung together to

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make a working solar panel. With the

government mandate and rising demand

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for clean energy, many will think

that means bright prospects for the

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solar industry here.

But businesses

are struggling. We are making good

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quality solar panels. The toughest

thing we are facing is from the low

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quality imports of solar panel and

components from the neighbouring

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countries, particularly in China.

China, Malaysia and Taiwan supplier

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the majority of solar panels to

India, which are much cheaper to

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produce an Indian units. That is

largely down to its senses the

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government has offered them. Indian

producers are subject to strict

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politic controls and face higher

domestic service, making it

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impossible to compete with overseas

players. India is an entirely of

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clean energy because of this

pollution. Delhi is one of the most

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polluted cities in the world. The

last three years, Indian solar panel

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manufacturers have been able to

double their production. But it is

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the import from China of cheaper

solar rocks that has gone up by

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600%. To try and get a foothold in

this market, now Indian solar panel

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manufacturers are demanding to

impose a duty on these products. The

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Indian government is considering a

70% tariff on imported panels. But

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solar power installer say a tariff

would make the generation of solar

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power much more expensive. The

government says the benefits of

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import duties will outweigh the

costs.

When people buy, they look at

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who offers the low prices, so they

be the Chinese, the militias, the

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Taiwanese. But we do want to look at

that.

Local manufacture, we have

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gone on policy. India recently

hosted the first official meeting of

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the International solar Alliance in

Delhi, a treaty to promote the use

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of solar energy. Taking the lead

there signals in the's ambition to

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take pole position in a switch to

clean energy. At a dispute over

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tariffs at home could derail Prime

Minister goals.

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Singapore has been topping the cost

of living index for some time and it

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is still the most expensive city for

expats. It has topped the list for a

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fixed consecutive year. For example,

the goods and services or 16% more

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inner-city public stake in PT New

York. Paris has jumped to second

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place due to a stronger euro. As for

Hong Kong, it has slipped to number

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four slot. Tel Aviv is now in the

top ten due to higher transportation

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cost and so too has Sydney. The

strong Aussie dollar raises the cost

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of living into other cities,

Brisbane and Adelaide. The study

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takes into account price of 160

products and services including

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rent, utility bills, private schools

as well as household supplies.

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Earlier I spoke to Simon Baptist

from the EI you and he explained why

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Singapore remains at the top of the

list.

Singapore is about 4% more

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expensive than Paris, which is in

second place, and Singapore does

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come up as very high at cost concern

categories. The biggest one is

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owning and running a vehicle. It is

the most expensive thing about

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living in Singapore. Also, alcohol

and cigarettes are also quite

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expensive.

It will get more

expensive here in Singapore because

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over the next three to four years,

the government will raise the goods

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and services tax.

There might be

some tax increases here, although I

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am not sure they will be faster than

elsewhere. It might not affect the

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ranking. Singapore is actually more

in line with the Asian business city

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average in some other categories. It

is a cheap place to buy food, and it

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is also a fairly cheap place to get

domestic help and also for personal

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services.

How critical are changes

in currency valuations of the cost

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of living?

Currencies are one of the

most important that it is. If you

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are an international company, moving

people around the world, looking at

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how much you are an international

company, moving people around the

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world, looking at how much it will

pay to hire or for allowances of

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people travelling, then the currency

is one major driver. Other big

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drivers are taxation and

regulations, as you brought up, and

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demand and supply.

Singapore might top the list for the

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world for the most expensive cities,

but unfortunately, for those of us

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here, it has not taken the number

one spot as the world's happiest

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nation. That title goes to Finland.

The annual report has been released

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ranking 156 countries buy happiness

levels, taking into account such

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factors such as income and life

expectancy. Australia, and Canada

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made the top ten. The US came in at

number 18. Singapore was in 30

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Fourth Place. Let's have a quick

look at their markets and currently

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as you can see on the Asian market

boards they are all in negative

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territory due to a fall in the Dow

and the NASDAQ. To pounds, Hong Kong

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and Australia in the red in

mid-morning trade. Thank you for

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investing your time with us. Sport

Today is coming up next.

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The top stories this hour -

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the US says it agrees with Britain

that Russia was behind the nerve

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agent attack that poisoned a former

spy and his daughter on UK soil.

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Russia has dismissed the allegation.

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The world has paid tribute

to Professor Stephen Hawking,

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the world famous

physicist and author,

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who's died

at the age of 76.

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Almost 800,000 people

who live here in the UK

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speak little or no English.

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Now, the government is planning

to spend 50 million pounds

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to try to change that

and to encourage social integration.

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Five councils in England have been

selected for special help -

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Bradford, Blackburn,

Peterborough, Walsall

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and Waltham Forest in London.

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Judith Mortiz sent this

report from Bradford.

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What about this one?

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What sound does that give?

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One sound at a time,

these women are learning English.

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Whilst their children are at school,

they're studying too,

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wanting to improve their language

for lots of reasons.

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It would be easier

for me and my husband

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to establish our own business.

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I've got four children.

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Need to help with the children.

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You want to help your children?

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Yeah.

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To do homework.

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I'm really clever and I'm good

at my work and I can do anything.

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I'm creative.

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But I can't be my 100% if I don't

have my skill of English.

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Empowering marginalised women

and boosting language skills

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are amongst new government plans

to tackle segregation.

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Bradford is one of five areas

which have been selected.

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We've got florists, we've got

artists, we've got tailors,

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we've got women with a plethora

of experiences that they come

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with, but unfortunately,

they can't engage

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in the local society

because of the lack of the language.

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Now, if the language is there,

just open one barrier,

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we'll open a whole field full

of opportunities for these women.

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Bradford was at its lowest ebb

in 2001 when race riots erupted

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and segregated communities were

shown to be leading parallel lives.

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17 years on, tackling segregation

here is still a work in progress.

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But what Bradford has achieved

has now earned it extra funding

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and a chance to show

other areas how to improve.

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Two years ago, a report warned

that segregation and social

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exclusion were at

worrying levels in Britain.

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Its author has long been calling

on the government to take action.

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Some of these communities

that we're worried about,

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these very isolated communities,

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have abject poverty

and that will take money.

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I'm not sure that 50 million

over two years will be enough.

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The government says its plans

are designed to get more people

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to mix together, live

together and play together.

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Judith Moritz, BBC News, Bradford.

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Toys R Us is closing all 100

of its UK stores in the next six

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weeks after administrators

failed to find a buyer.

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3,000 jobs will be lost as a result.

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Some 25 stores have either

already closed in recent days

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or are due to close by tomorrow.

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Jim Molan best known as the

presenter of the game-show Bullseye

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has died at the age of 80. He was

inspired to try stand-up comedy

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after seeing Ken

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