September 22nd, 2011
12:53 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – Care for some Japanese sushi, Spanish paella or Vietnamese pho for your next meal?

Or maybe just a steamy bowl of white rice to go with your Filipino adobo, Indian red curry or Indonesian beef rendang?

About one of every two people in the world relies on rice as a staple food, according to the Manila-based International Rice Research Institute.

So if the price of rice jumps, nearly half of the global population could be impacted.

HSBC noted Tuesday that the cost of the consumable commodity is rising – and will continue to do so.
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September 21st, 2011
12:05 PM GMT
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Editor's note:  Elisabeth Afseth has worked in bond markets for 17 years, starting out at Williams de Broe. She currently works as a fixed income analyst for Evolution Securities. She has an economics degree from the London School of Economics and a masters in economics from Oxford University.   

London (CNN) – Just when everyone was waiting for ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service to downgrade Italy, Standard & Poor’s gets in first with what is a much more damaging downgrade. S&P’s rating of Italy was already lowest of the three major agencies, and its downgrade from A+ to A, with a negative outlook, puts it three notches below Moody’s Aa2 rating (on watch for downgrade) and two notches below Fitch Ratings' AA-.

The financial markets largely shrugged off the downgrade. While bond yields on Italian sovereign debt - an indicator of risk - rose slightly, European equity markets were positive through the day.

Some have argued a downgrade was expected so therefore priced in. But it wasn’t this downgrade that was expected or priced in. It came from the agency with the lowest rating, which did not even have the sovereign on credit watch, but merely a negative outlook. Negative outlook generally means there is a one in three chance that the issuer may be downgraded within two years - it is much less of a warning of an imminent downgrade than a watch for downgrade.
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September 21st, 2011
01:08 AM GMT
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(CNN) - Cigarettes used to be the bounty of choice for shoplifters keen to turn a quick profit.

Now gangs of “modern day rustlers” are targeting supermarkets for prime cuts of meat to sell on the black market, according to police in Tasmania, Australia.

“Years ago, there used to be rustlers. They used to go out and steal cattle, cut them up on the side of the road, in paddocks, take the meat and sell it. Our lot are a lot lazier,” says Detective Inspector David Plumpton.

“These days, these modern day rustlers, they just go straight into a supermarket. It’s already packed, and they’ve just got to put it straight into the frying pan.”
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Filed under: AsiaSign of the times


September 21st, 2011
12:45 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – Asia may not be the elixir to the world’s economic ills but it sure seems to be the pill that’s pushing one luxury goods maker to some great highs.

On Tuesday, Italian fashion house Prada announced a stratospheric 74.2% rise in net income for the period from January to July 2011, compared to the same period in 2010.

In hard cash numbers, that’s more than $244 million banked from the first half of this year versus $141 million from the first half of last year.

Who are the people powering these profits?
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September 20th, 2011
05:58 PM GMT
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Burberry is a quintessentially British brand. No label has reinvented the trench coat more times and with such success.

As chief creative officer Christopher Bailey presented his women’s wear collection for Spring/Summer 2012, famous faces were out in force, braving London’s fall weather.

"I think Christopher really captures the British sense of style. I love the trenchcoats; I have many of them in different colours and they all look great on me," says model and actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley the face of Burberry Body, the firm’s latest fragrance.

"To work for a brand that is British and makes great clothes is just the cherry on the cake for me," she adds.

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September 20th, 2011
03:19 PM GMT
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In this episode of "The Boss", we met two bosses who have proven you can combine profits with public service.

They contribute to their communities in different ways, but the outcome remains the same – both get gains from giving.

Brooklyn Brewery President, Steve Hindy, is donating a portion of the proceeds of BAM Boozle, a beer he created especially for the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Better known as BAM, the venue is celebrating its 150th anniversary this fall.

Bam Boozle Beer has become a win-win deal for both BAM and Brooklyn Brewery. Steve makes collaborations like this a key part of his marketing strategy with charitable donations comes valuable exposure. In fact, annually, Brooklyn Brewery donates about $200,000 in this way.

In Macau, Fancis Lui, the Vice-Chairman of Galaxy Entertainment Group is also reaching out to his local community. For the seventh year running he's sponsoring the Volleyball World Grand Prix in Macau. For Francis, this is about being socially responsible. Francis is aware that not everyone backs his industry, so he's trying to send a positive message to the local community.

By sponsoring this and other events, like the city marathon, Francis believes he's helping to upgrade Macau's image.

Filed under: Quest Means BusinessThe Boss


September 20th, 2011
07:54 AM GMT
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(CNN) – The news that Italy, the eurozone's third largest economy, was downgraded by credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s dealt another blow to hopes of a sustained market recovery Tuesday.

The second paragraph of S&P’s report on the downgrade speaks volumes about the debt-laden tumult spreading across developed economies:

“In our view, Italy's economic growth prospects are weakening and we expect that Italy's fragile governing coalition and policy differences within parliament will continue to limit the government's ability to respond decisively to domestic and external macroeconomic challenges.”

It’s a script torn from the same page as the U.S. – the gold standard of debt worthiness – when it watched its debt rating reduced by S&P in August ,  as partisan brinkmanship put Washington near the edge of defaulting on its credit card bill.
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Filed under: AppleAsiaChinaEuropean UnionGreece


September 20th, 2011
04:27 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – The lights are out at Jinko Solar. After three days of sometimes violent protests, China closed one of the company’s solar panel manufacturing plants.

The place: the town of Haining, about a two-hour drive southwest of Shanghai.

The reason: residents allege Jinko’s plant caused a mass die-off of fish and a cluster of cancer cases, including leukemia, in the local populace. 

The admission: Jinko Solar now says pollutants, with fluoride levels exceeding normal limits, may have washed from its factory into a nearby river because of improper storage.

Anger first erupted on Thursday when more than 500 people gathered outside Jinko’s factory gates demanding answers. Some protesters broke into the company compound, overturning several cars and damaging buildings.

By Monday, local police said they had detained more than 20 people - some protesters for stealing and a handful of Jinko employees for destroying the camera of two local journalists - and local officials had forced the factory to go dark.
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September 19th, 2011
06:25 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – When you think of buying a tablet computer, what brand comes to mind?

Well, if a soft-white, backlit Apple logo popped into your noggin, you wouldn’t be alone. In fact, a recent consumer survey shows a whopping 85% of consumers first think of the Cupertino-based company before other competitors.

Just 4% of consumers surveyed first envisioned Samsung’s Galaxy in their hand, according to a survey from Change Wave Research. A mere 2% first imagined buying RIM’s Playbook over other brands.

When comparing operating systems, nearly seven of every 10 tablets sold between April and June of this year were Apple iPads, according to IDC, a London-based research firm.  In percentage terms, that was a rise from 65.7% in the first quarter to 68.3% in the second quarter.
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Filed under: AppleAsiaBusinessTechnology


September 19th, 2011
04:08 AM GMT
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(CNN) – "Suck it up cry-babies," writes Jeff in response to a CNN blog about the squeeze on international school places in Hong Kong.

"So your company (probably a bank that we bailed out) is paying for your rock-star home, Bentley, and live-in Philippino [sic] but can't get you into that "rich-kid" school??? Bummer, oh well, at least you are living in a place where you have zero expenses," he says.

I can hear the collective sigh of expat families around the world. Oh, if only.
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Filed under: 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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