August 30th, 2010
01:49 PM GMT
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9-month old Alanna 'touching' her father through Skype while he is serving in Iraq. He's spent more time with Alanna over Skype than he has in person.
9-month old Alanna 'touching' her father through Skype while he is serving in Iraq. He's spent more time with Alanna over Skype than he has in person.

Cisco Systems is rumored to have put in a bid for Skype, before it completes its planned initial public offering. That’s according to the web publication TechCrunch.

All of this comes just as Google has launched Gmail Calls – a VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) – and a potential major competitor for Skype. According to Google, within 24 hours of the launch of Gmail Calls users placed one million calls.

So tonight we’re looking at voice calls over the internet and how those networks measure up to mobile networks and social networks. Who do you think has more users? Facebook, Twitter or Skype? You might be surprised by the answer. Find out at 2000 CET!

Filed under: BusinessQuest Means Business


August 30th, 2010
12:18 PM GMT
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Last week it was double-dip recessions, this week it's all about holidays and how you spend your vacation! Quest and Ali are here in this Q & A-style news quiz. You choose the topic here on our blog, then every Thursday Richard and Ali have a go at it to see who can outsmart the other in the world of financial news.

Check out this week’s video (right up there) and when you finish, let us know what you’d like to see next week by leaving a comment (right below here).

Filed under: Q&AQuest Means Business


August 30th, 2010
02:11 AM GMT
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An historic journey is happening now...and no surprise, it's to feed China's appetite for energy.

The SCF Baltica is a large tanker that has just made it safely through the Arctic Circle to deliver 70,000 tons of  gas condensate (a natural gas extract) from Russia to China. This is the first time a tanker of this size has been able to make the journey through the Northern Sea Route. It's now headed for its final port destination just south of Shanghai.

There are two  interesting angles to this story:

1) This route through the Arctic cuts down the distance traveled by almost a half. The route from Murmansk, Russia to Ningbo, China covers 7,000 nautical miles. This is down from the 12,000 nautical miles it takes on the traditional route through the Suez Canal.

Sergey Frank, CEO of SCF Group, is taking the journey on board his tanker. I spoke with him via satellite phone and asked him how much money the shortcut is saving his company. He says, "That depends on the freight market but today, the freight market in the tanker business is not great. But anyway, the one day capital cost is $20,000 to $25,000. Any day of savings from these logistics is definitely improving the economics of the business."

2) Global warming. You only have to connect the dots: A  huge oil and gas tanker can make it through ice fields in the Arctic today because of the effects of global warming. And even then, the SCF Baltica  tanker is being escorted by two nuclear-powered ice breakers.   Sam Chambers, journalist and author of "Oil on Water," tells CNN, " It is unquestionable that this route has only become possible thanks to global warming, as sailors have been trying to - and failing - to find an Arctic route for centuries. Just a couple of weeks back Canadian authorities found an old sunken British ship in the far north that had met its end attempting the elusive Arctic passage."

Whether we like it or not, the Arctic is the new frontier for oil and gas transport. According to SCF Group, the information collected on this historic voyage will be entered into a database to plan future Arctic crossings with larger ice-class tankers.



August 25th, 2010
08:08 PM GMT
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President Barack Obama and daughter, Sasha, on holiday swimming at Alligator Point in Panama City, Florida on August 14, 2010
President Barack Obama and daughter, Sasha, on holiday swimming at Alligator Point in Panama City, Florida on August 14, 2010

It's becoming ever clearer that we love our holidays!

Whether it’s a cruise, a few nights camping under canvas, a package tour or a deluxe week in a spa.. we are prepared to spend money on getting away from it all. We need our holidays to recharge our batteries.

Some of you watching will be luxuriating in having weeks of annual leave to take. Others will barely get a long weekend with pay.

On this week's Q&A Ali Velshi and Richard Quest will be going head to head debating the entitlement to paid annual leave. They’ll look at the benefits of a vacation for employees, employers and the economy. Surely this is a win win! There will also be our head to head quiz – the guys are one-all at the moment, but will that last? See you at 2:00pm ET / 1800 GMT on CNN!

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Filed under: Q&AQuest Means Business


August 25th, 2010
11:05 AM GMT
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Running your own company is hard work. So is running a family. So many parents try to juggle both, struggling to manage their careers and ensure their children are happy.

As a working mother, I have huge respect for anyone trying to manage the demands of work and family: Trying to achieve a "balance" between both aspects of your life is always hard.

Every working parent figures out by trial and error what works for them.

If you have your own business, it’s easier, in a way, to juggle the demands of school pickups and sick kids. That is according to one working mom, Kirsten Goss, who runs a jewellery design business from her hometown of Durban.

She has a shop in Kensington, London selling her beautiful pieces of jewellery, which are all made in her studio in Durban. Besides sourcing stones, designing necklaces and earrings, managing staff and travelling to London once a month, Kirsten also cares for her two young children.

So what are her tips for a happier working parent?

Location helps. We spent some time recently profiling Kirsten Goss for a story on Marketplace Africa and there is no doubt that a smaller town like the port city of Durban, with its warmer weather and simple outdoor lifestyle, helps.

She says she would not be able to manage her crazy juggling act between work and parenthood in a busy, urban, expensive town like London.

Having an understanding spouse also helps, she says.

You also need a capacity to be in two places at the same time - a superhuman ability that every mommy know all too well!



August 23rd, 2010
03:28 PM GMT
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Cruise
Cruise

All week Quest Means Business is looking at the time you spend away from work. All around the world we get different amounts of holiday: In Finland it’s 40 including national holidays, whereas in the U.S. there’s no federal law mandating companies pay employees for time off.

Given that large span, we’d like to know hear about your holidays. How many vacation days do you get? Does your company give you more days off the longer you’ve been with the company? Did the amount of vacation play a factor in choosing your current job?

In a world of smart phones, WiFi and fax machines almost any holiday spot in the world can turn into makeshift office. When you’re away from work do you stay connected to the office? Does your holiday sometimes turn into a work vacation? Does that hurt your vacation or help you from being overwhelmed when you return to the office?

Many companies offer discount travel packages to their employees. Do you and your family take advantage of package holidays? Or with the great recession has the staycation become a new, more affordable way to relax.

Leave your comments here (look below) or come on our air by sending in iReports of your favorite get-away spots

And enjoy your stay!

Filed under: BusinessQuest Means Business


August 23rd, 2010
03:20 PM GMT
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August 21st, 2010
08:11 PM GMT
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We knew the amount of oil sitting in Uganda’s Lake Albert basin. With proven reserves of two billion barrels, the country should soon become Africa’s fifth largest oil producer.

But what we really wanted to know when we set out to take a look at its upcoming oil windfall is whether the East African nation would be able to avoid the dreaded “oil curse.”

There are plenty of signs that it may be able to.

Its economy has doubled in ten years and in the process it’s become the darling of western investors. But President Yoweri Museveni is also one of the continent’s longest-serving leaders.

Stable yes, but his government has never been known for its transparency.

And now, as Tullow prepares to pull the first drops from the ground, there’s still very little known about the agreement between  the Anglo-Irish oil company - quickly becoming a dominant player in Africa’s oil game - and the Ugandan government.

We asked Director of Tullow’s Uganda Operations, Brian Glover to give us details. He’d love to, was the gist of Glover’s response as he emphasized the importance of transparency. But the decision to release details of the agreement is ultimately in the government’s hands he told us.

If there’s any industry that’s adept at handling bad PR it’s the oil industry. Look no further than the recent disaster involving BP in the U.S.

And while Tullow said all the right things, the government isn’t saying much at all, which leaves the average Ugandan guessing on what billions of dollars in their own backyard will actually mean to them.

Trust in the officials, was the response of Uganda’s Permanent Secretary of Energy and Mineral Development.

“The people of Uganda have a government which clearly represents their interests,” Kabagambe Kalisa said.

But on a continent where the sweet black stuff has been anything but, trust is something many here are finding it difficult to do.

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Filed under: BusinessMarketplace Africa


August 20th, 2010
09:53 AM GMT
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Last week it was wheat, this week it's double-dip! Unfortunately this one isn't about food – it's all about the possibilities of a double-dip recession. But have no fear, Quest and Ali are here in this Q & A-style news quiz. You choose the topic here on our blog, then every Thursday Richard and Ali have a go at it to see who can outsmart the other in the world of financial news.

Check out this week’s video (right up there) and when you finish, let us know what you’d like to see next week by leaving a comment (right below here).

Filed under: BusinessQuest Means Business


August 19th, 2010
01:47 PM GMT
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You’ve probably heard the screams “The Double-Dip is coming!” Sound like a great dessert? Maybe some soft ice-cream dipped once in chocolate and once in caramel? Yum! Or maybe nachos dipped once in sour cream and once in guacamole?

Unfortunately, we’re talking about a “double-dip” recession – something many economists and doom-sayers say we are headed straight for. Are we? And if we are, what, if anything, can you do to protect yourself? Richard Quest and I will duke it out for the best answer today on Q&A. 2:00pm ET / 1800 GMT on CNN.

Filed under: Q&AQuest Means Business


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CNN International's business anchors and correspondents get to grips with the issues affecting world business, and they want your questions and feedback.

 
 
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