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Banks set to raise charges

BANKS will charge more for current accounts, continue to cut deposit rates and raise credit card charges.

And 2013 could see banks offering a financial incentive to tracker mortgage holders to switch to a variable rate home loan, financial analysts said.

The European Central Bank meets next week, with expectations that it may deliver a cut in interest rates sometime in the first three months of this year.

But any cut in ECB rates will benefit only those on trackers, with homeowners with variable-rate mortgages likely to see further rises.



Shell drilling rig aground

Crews aboard two aircraft that flew over an oil drilling ship that went aground in a severe Alaska storm say there is no sign that the vessel is leaking fuel or that its hull has been breached.

The Shell drilling rig is aground off a small island near Kodiak Island, where the ship, the Kulluk, appeared stable.

The Kulluk was carrying about 143,000 gallons of diesel and about 12,000 gallons of oil and hydraulic fluid.



Maine bars OJ's lawyer

F Lee Bailey, the lawyer who represented OJ Simpson and Patty Hearst, has been refused permission to practise law in Maine.

Mr Bailey (79) who passed the Maine bar exam last winter, was licensed in Massachusetts and Florida, but was disbarred in those states for mishandling stock worth $6m (¤4.5m) for a client.

The Maine Board of Bar Examiners wrote that Mr Bailey had not demonstrated by "clear and convincing evidence that he possesses the requisite honesty and integrity" to practise law.



Auld Lang Syne ditched

Karaoke fans rejected Auld Lang Syne this New Year and saw in 2013 Gangnam Style, according to a new poll.

The K-Pop rapper Psy's hit single topped a chart to find the most sung song in the UK on New Year's Eve.

It accounted for almost a quarter (23pc) of the 100,000 songs sung on Monday on Karaoke firm Lucky Voice's online service, pushing the traditional favourite off the top spot for the first time since 2005.