July 19th, 2011
06:16 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – If we were looking for News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch to give detailed answers to questions about alleged misdeeds at one of his subsidiaries, we did not get them.

"You had a hands-off approach," to the News of the World, committee member Philip Davies said to Rupert Murdoch.

The 80-year-old disagreed, saying he had his hands full "10 to 12 hours a day" overseeing an international company with 53,000 employees, and admitted that News of the World was less than 1% of his business, and that "maybe I lost sight of (it)."

"There was no excuse to break the law" at his newspapers, said Murdoch. "I was brought up by a father ... who was a great journalist. He ... bought a little small paper ... to give me a chance to do good ... to expose the scandals. Of which I am very, very proud of."
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July 19th, 2011
03:18 AM GMT
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(CNN) – So gold has broken the $1600 barrier – a significant price milestone.

But as sure as we talk about it this week, we’ll likely be talking about another hundred-dollar price jump again soon as global investors head for safe havens. That’s because 2011 has been packed with crises of confidence around the world – and we may be in for more.

Simply put, crises are to the price of gold as matches are to bottle rockets: One makes the other go pop.
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July 18th, 2011
05:17 PM GMT
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Valencia is a city busy rejuvenating its age old industries in oranges and rice.

Farming these products is no longer as economically important, and industry leaders are rethinking how they approach business.

Among other innovations, the orange industry is turning its leftover peels into bio fuel.

CNN’s Richard Quest reports on the new approach, and what means for the city’s future.



July 18th, 2011
01:19 PM GMT
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(CNN) - As a service to entrepreneurs everywhere, this occasional column exists to identify market opportunities open to fast-moving operators. What the world economy needs at this time can be listed by sector:

Construction

A “Smart” Ceiling: Innovative construction technology required for dilapidated house in Washington. U.S. experts are warning of a risk of the roof falling in, unless a method can be found of raising the ceiling. Warning: The house’s neighbors will not tolerate any repairs that fall below their exacting standards. Those to the right object to methods that result in taxes being increased, while those to the left object to methods that result in taxes not being increased. Value of job: Available on application, but between $14.3 trillion and the entire world economy.
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July 18th, 2011
08:54 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – Flat-faced canines can no longer fly Cathay Pacific. And their feline friends need to make other travel plans, too.

As of Monday, the airline has banned the so-called brachycephalic breeds due to concerns that certain types of short-nosed animals have an increased risk of breathing problems and overheating due to the stress of flying.

According to the airline’s travel advisory, the ban comes out of concern for the “negative health impact to the animal” caused by air transportation.

Banned are popular breeds such as pugs, bulldogs, and boxers, as well Himalayan, Persian and exotic short-hair cats.
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July 15th, 2011
06:48 AM GMT
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Beijing (CNN) – The infamous Great Firewall of China sent chills up my spine before I got on the plane for my summer internship here.  This abstract and intangible wall was intimidating – something that I could not prepare for in America before leaving for China.  I envisioned the Great Firewall to be something like hiking The Great Wall: exhausting and unconquerable.

Like most American college students, I am addicted to my Blackberry: the convenience at sending an e-mail on the go, keeping in touch with my family, and always being in-the-know, thanks to often pointless yet seemingly vital Facebook notifications. I could not fathom blocked internet access.

I am reliant on Facebook as a communication device.  My friends and I share a laugh at a picture or make fun of a friend’s overly-philosophical status update via laptops in class, computers at work, or cell phones walking across campus.  The thought of missing out scared me.
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July 15th, 2011
02:01 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – The most expensive city in the world for expats is … in Africa? Ok I’ll admit I was surprised when I read this finding from Mercer’s 2011 Cost of Living Survey.  The place: Luanda, the capital city of Angola. But when you look at the consulting company’s formula, it makes sense.

Mercer looked at two main variables.  One is the strength or weakness of the local currency compared to the same time last year.  If it’s grown stronger against the U.S. dollar then that would push the city higher in the rankings.  The other is the price increase or decrease of a basket of commodities. If the price increased relative to the basket of goods based in New York, then that would push the city higher as well.

Here’s Mercer’s top 10 list this year. Is your city here?
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July 14th, 2011
01:01 PM GMT
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Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) - The skullduggery by the News of the World newspaper in Britain exposed an underbelly of phone taps and lies.

While the fall of the newspaper and the shenanigans of the Murdoch business empire are a compelling and continuing drama, we should be reminded that this sort of behavior is not limited to the tabloid muckraking press.

Underhand tactics, secrets and illegal tampering with private information is a growing and common problem in the corporate world. Call it what you may - industrial espionage, corporate hacking, commercial spying - the practice is widespread and deeply entrenched on a global scale.
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July 14th, 2011
08:16 AM GMT
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(CNN) – The latest Harry Potter movie has already broken box office records – and it hasn’t even opened yet.

Pre-ordered tickets for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” have brought in $25 million in the U.S. alone. The film is due for release this Friday.

Not exactly a surprise for a movie franchise that is already king of the box office. Raking in $6.37 billion worldwide, Harry Potter has banked more billions than any movie featuring Luke Skywalker, Frodo and James Bond. The Potter franchise has also made more money than the Matrix, Twilight and X-Men franchises combined.

Take a look at the highest worldwide grossing franchises and number of installments, according to box-office research website The Numbers.
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July 14th, 2011
07:00 AM GMT
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(CNN) – The personal and societal impact of February’s Christchurch earthquake may be nearly impossible to quantify. The economic impact is a different story. Today's data from Statistics New Zealand reveals the economy grew by a solid 0.8% in the first quarter, despite the earthquake.

"While some businesses in Christchurch were adversely affected, the vast majority were able to continue operating, and the earthquake resulted in some activity that would not normally have taken place," national accounts manager Rachael Milicich said in a released statement.

Less than 1% of the nation’s commercial property was damaged in the disaster and few large businesses ceased operations. The overall GDP reading was higher than most analysts had expected.

The readings today out of New Zealand beg the question: What is the overall impact of a natural disaster on GDP growth?
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