March 16th, 2012
06:51 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – When asked by CNN for comment about the new Nike shoe nick-named the ‘Black and Tan’ one man in Newry, Northern Ireland asked, “How about if an Irish company came out with a shoe and called it 'The Taliban' how would the Americans feel?”

That might be a bit harsh. The Taliban are known the world over.

Yet, Nike has fallen into the trap many American companies face. What sounds normal to your American customers can offend elsewhere.
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March 16th, 2012
06:25 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – The bail-out is a done deal, the International Monetary Fund has agreed its share and the Europeans have started to hand over the money. One of the ratings agencies has even upgraded the new Greek bonds.

So it is incredibly dispiriting to be reading more and more notes from economists and analysts suggesting that this is not over yet.

Paul Donovan, in his note from UBS, noted that the markets were not that impressed by the state of play. The markets, he said, were pricing in “the debate about when the next restructuring will take place.”
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March 16th, 2012
07:16 AM GMT
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(CNN) – This is an ode to Greg Smith.

A middling executive at Wall Street’s most powerful firm turned the global business press on its ear by leaving Goldman Sachs with a flourish, publishing an op-ed in the New York Times, calling the culture of the bank “toxic.”

After the piece hit, Goldman Sachs went into damage control and lost $2 billion in market share. But the power of Smith’s departure isn’t that someone from the inner echelon of a secretive institution accuses the firm of (shock!) greed.

The real genius of the Goldman Sachs kiss-off is that Smith mined a deep vein hidden in the psyche of every employed person: The “take this job and shove it” fantasy.
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March 16th, 2012
05:29 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Earlier this week, voters in Switzerland went to the polls and said "no" to an additional two weeks vacation a year.

In a national referendum, 66.5% opposed the chance to put Switzerland in line with its neighbor Germany, where employees enjoy six-week paid vacation every year.

The Swiss apparently considered previous warnings of the government and business representatives who claimed that an additional fortnight of paid holidays increase labor costs and put their economy at risk.
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