- - Sunday, August 12, 2012

LONDON — The new chairman of Barclays Bank says he’ll undertake a top-to-bottom review of the embattled business, telling a British newspaper that he isn’t wedded to any of his predecessor’s policies.

Asked whether he was committed to the current business plan of Barclays, which is reeling from a massive rate-fixing scandal, David Walker told the Sunday Telegraph that he wasn’t “committed to anything except getting it right.”

Mr. Walker said he wanted to review the company’s business plan, but didn’t want to sound “threatening.”

Mr. Walker is due to replace Marcus Agius, who offered his resignation last month after the imposition of a $453 million fine for manipulating the critical London interbank offered rate, or LIBOR, which is used to calculate borrowing costs for hundreds of trillions of dollars in loans and investments such as bonds, auto loans and derivatives.

The scandal has damaged the bank’s reputation and led to a slew of resignations. Regulators are still weighing whether to bring criminal charges.

Market-watchers had speculated that the scandal would prompt Barclays to pare back its investment banking arm, Barclays Capital. But Mr. Walker, who takes over from Mr. Agius on Nov. 1, seemed cool to the idea, said he wanted Barclays to remain a “universal bank.”


Iraq’s oil outputnow exceeds Iran’s

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s oil output now stands at 3.2 million barrels per day, outpacing neighboring Iran to become the second-biggest producer in OPEC, Hussein al-Shahristani, Iraq’s deputy prime minister responsible for energy affairs, said Sunday.

Iraq has sought to dramatically increase its oil output and exports. The latter accounts for the vast majority of government income, while world powers have imposed ever-tightening economic sanctions on Iran’s oil-export sector.

Oil cartel OPEC’s August market report, citing secondary sources, put Iraqi production at 3.079 million barrels per day in July, compared with 2.817 million barrels per day for Iran.

The gap is likely to widen further as Iraq looks to ramp up production in coming years, and as several contracts with foreign energy firms to extract crude begin resulting in increased output.


Hair braider wins suit challenging rules

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah woman who braids hair to supplement her family’s income has won a federal lawsuit against the state over its licensing process for her craft, arguing state regulations violated her right to earn a living.

A federal judge ruled last week that the state’s requirement that Jestina Clayton get a cosmetology license to braid hair was “unconstitutional and invalid” because regulations are irrelevant to the profession.

Ms. Clayton, 30, sued last year after she found it would be illegal to run a hair-braiding business without a license. She said she learned how to braid hair as a 5-year-old in her West African home country of Sierra Leone, and she was doing it at her suburban Salt Lake City home to support her three children while her husband finishes school.

U.S District Judge David Sam in Salt Lake City said Utah’s cosmetology licensing requirements are so disconnected from hair-braiding “that to premise Jestina’s right to earn a living by braiding hair on that scheme is wholly irrational and a violation of her constitutionally protected rights.”

Judge Sam said the state couldn’t prove a cosmetology license for hair-braiding is needed to protect public health.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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