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CBI says Osborne's minimum wage increase a 'gamble'

The CBI has called the Chancellor's minimum wage increase a "gamble" that risked politicising the process and causing problems for some small businesses.

John Cridland said businesses will be under pressure Credit: PA Wire

Director general John Cridland said overall he was pleased with George Osborne's Budget but added that businesses were being put under pressure.

"Overall, sorting the public finances, giving people incentives to work, reducing business costs in taxes: full marks to the Chancellor," he said.

"But this issue of the minimum wage will have caught businesses by surprise. It is a gamble.

"The businesses that will be under the most pressure, paying a significantly higher minimum wage - 6% higher on average every year in this parliament - aren't the same businesses as a whole who will get the benefit from the tax reductions."

Report: North Korea executes defence chief for falling asleep

North Korean Defence Minister Hyon Yong Chol Credit: Reuters

North Korea has executed its defence chief on treason charges after he fell asleep at an event attended by leader Kim Jong Un, South Korean media reported, quoting Seoul's National Intelligence Service.

North Korean Defence Minister Hyon Yong Chol was purged and then executed by firing squad in front of hundreds of officials, media reported.

Hyon was said to have shown disrespect to Kim by dozing off at a military event, the reports said, citing the intelligence agency's briefing with lawmakers.

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North Korea test fires new anti-ship cruise missile

North Korea's East Sea fleet test-fired a new anti-ship cruise missile. Credit: Reuters/KCNA

North Korea said it has test-fired a new anti-ship cruise missile, a move experts in Seoul see as an attempt to raise tensions ahead of joint military drills between the US and South Korea.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency said leader Kim Jong Un was on-site to observe the "ultra-precision" rocket being fired from a naval vessel in an exercise conducted by the country's East Sea fleet.

A Seoul-based security expert and an adviser to South Korea's navy, Yang Uk, said the North Korean missile looked similar to Russia's KH-35 anti-ship missile, which has a range of about 80-90 miles and is capable of travelling at high speeds while staying close to the sea's surface.

North Korea: US sanctions 'hostile' and 'repressive'

US President Barack Obama issued expanded sanctions against North Korea. Credit: Olivier Douliery/ABACA USA/Empics Entertainment

North Korea said fresh US sanctions issued by President Barack Obama are 'hostile and repressive' policies by Washington.

President Obama issued an executive order authorising expanded sanctions against North Korea in the wake of the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which Washington blamed on Pyongyang.

In a statement from North Korea's foreign ministry on the state-run KCNA news agency the Communist country said: "The policy persistently pursued by the US to stifle North Korea, groundlessly stirring up bad blood towards it, would only harden its will and resolution to defend the sovereignty of the country."

It added: "The persistent and unilateral action taken by the White House to slap 'sanctions' against North Korea patently proves that it is still not away from inveterate repugnancy and hostility toward the country."

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