May 17th, 2012
02:07 PM GMT
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Demra, Bangladesh (CNN) - Centuries ago, "jamdani" was among the most highly prized textiles in the world. But these days it's being replaced by cheaper, mass-produced materials, and the expertise needed to make traditional jamdani is dying out.

Jamdani originated in what is now Bangladesh, many centuries ago. Woven on hand looms, for hundreds of years it was traded everywhere from Bengal to China, and as far west as Italy. Historical accounts from the British East India Company show exports of jamdanis in the 1700s worth millions of rupees.


May 17th, 2012
07:04 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Global investors inhaled deeply when Greek President Karolos Papoulias relayed a difficult call with the head of the nation’s central bank - since Monday, Greeks pulled around 800 million euros (around $1 billion) out of the nation’s banks.

"There is, of course, no panic, but there is fear that could develop into panic," Papoulias said, describing what Central Bank Governor George Provopoulos told him. "He also said that the strength of banks is very weak at the moment."

So how much money is in the Greek banking system? About 170 billion euros (more than $216 billion) at the end of March, according to the Financial Times.

Since 2009, about 25% to 30% of Greek deposits have left the country. That’s not good for Greece, but given the turmoil of the past two years, it certainly could be worse.

May 16th, 2012
10:32 AM GMT
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Editor’s note: The Millennials are a generation that are constantly plugged in and moving fast to make their mark on the world. CNN’s Quest Means Business is tracking four of them.

(CNN) – In episode 11 of this week's Millennials, we look back at the earlier years.

We begin in London with Joe Braidwood. As a chief marketing officer, Joe has achieved more than most people at 27 years of age.

But is his success generational or is it down to great parenting?

We speak to his father and look back at some of Joe’s home videos to find out whether he’s Millennial from birth.

May 16th, 2012
07:00 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Which platform is better to advertise on, Google or Facebook?

On Tuesday, General Motors announced it will stop paid advertising on Facebook. "This happens as a regular course of business and it's not unusual for us to move things around various media outlets," the company said in a statement. But coming the week Facebook has its initial public offering, the announcement is raising more than a few eyebrows and begs the question:

Is Facebook really worth $100 billion?

WordStream, a U.S.-based search engine marketing company, released a study Tuesday comparing the advertising influence of display ads on Google versus ads on Facebook. The results: While Facebook is good, Google is better.

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May 15th, 2012
03:08 PM GMT
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Economics professor and former financial regulator William K. Black calls JPMorgan a "dangerous institution" which should not be allowed to exisit. But because it is a significant donor to both the U.S. Democratic and Republican parties, it has avoided reform.

He says: "It is a travesty for JPMorgan to be able to create an additional $2 billion in losses through investments that are supposed to be allowed only if they reduce losses. The government must revise the regulations and reject JPMorgan's absurd treatment of anti-hedges as hedges."

Read his Opinion column in full

Filed under: Business

May 15th, 2012
09:57 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Every day Dhaka’s 15 million residents produce 5,000 tons of waste. Almost half that waste is uncollected, and adds to problems with pollution, disease and carbon emissions.

Landfill sites such as Amin Bazar are dumping grounds for mountains of waste. More than one third of the uncollected rubbish finds its way into different water bodies, open spaces and drains, causing environmental damage.

In 1995 two urban planners decided that Bangladesh needed better waste management.

Around 70% of the city’s waste is organic and, in their business model, this can be converted into opportunity.

Trucks roll across the city collecting organic waste, from households and markets, taking it on to a large composting site. The compost is then used as fertiliser.

Bangladesh’s government has replicated the model in 14 other cities and towns since 2002. Other countries have also followed suit, including Vietnam, Pakistan and Nepal.

Filed under: Future Cities

May 14th, 2012
08:04 PM GMT
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The title was won at the Etihad Stadium. The players wore shirts emblazoned with the Etihad Airways logo - the Abu Dhabi-based airline. And the match was watched by an estimated TV audience of 4.7 billion people.

It was, in short, the brightest indicator yet of the Middle East's growing influence within European football.

So how much did Manchester City's dramatic victory on Sunday, that snatched the English Premier League championship from bitter rivals Mancester United, pay back the hundreds of millions of dollars invested by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan?

Caroline Cheese examines the numbers and looks at the Gulf's growing influence in "the beautiful game".

Full story

Filed under: Business

May 14th, 2012
07:35 PM GMT
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It's not often you witness a valuable commodity become even more valuable, live on television.

But that's what happened on Sunday afternoon when the English Premier League title was decided in the 94th minute of extra time in Manchester.

The league itself was also the big winner when the title went to Manchester's blue side.

It's come a long way since 22 teams formed the Premier League in the summer of 1992, with the backing of the fledgling satellite channel, BSkyB, controlled by Rupert Murdoch.

The first TV contracts were modest, but now the league gets more then $3bn over three years, just in the UK for both live and taped rights.

It's not an exaggeration to say many people, and pubs, pay for the Sky satellite package in order to watch top-flight football (I personally pay just over $100 a month when you add in ESPN to get the remaining Premier League matches, and baseball of course). Equally, if Sky were to lose the rights to the football league it helped make the most watched in the world, many people would drop Sky. And Sky knows it.

But it did take a decade for the world to wake up to the value of the Premier League. That all changed with a certain Russian billionaire.

Critics and disgruntled fans were up in arms when Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and pumped it full of stars (and reportedly spent more than $100 million JUST on numerous managers). And they won the league. Needless to say few Chelsea supporters could stay angry for long, if they ever were, with silverware coming in the door.

Then there was the take-over of Manchester United from the American Glazer family in 2005. Many United fans still haven't gotten over that, even though the growing debt has not stopped the side from competing more years for the title, and in Europe.

Not long after Manchester City was taken over in 2007 by controversial former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. His troubles opened the door to a new bid from the Gulf.

Since its purchase in 2008, the Abu Dhabi group has pumped more than $1 billion into Manchester City, so its not a surprise they were battling for the top. City has surpassed the Russian-fueled Chelsea side, already showing its age, and the American-debt ladened Manchester United side who continue to impress, whomsoever they buy or sell. Its other rival, Liverpool, has had a number of American owners in the past five years and only continues to slide down the table. Liverpool spent more money on a failed stadium plan than it did on quality players.

But you can't underestimate where City has come from in the past decade and you can't dismiss this win as a one-off title, like Blackburn Rovers.

In 1999, Manchester City was playing the mighty Gillingham in the play-offs for promotion from England's old third division (now called League One).

City was an also-ran club that slowly climbed back up the table, but it had one thing that could be nearly priceless: the name Manchester. When the Abu Dhabi group was looking to buy a club, and City became embroiled in the scandal surrounding its then owner, former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the name Manchester was surely a draw. It would be recognized around the world, thanks to its Red neighbors (the less noisy neighbors).

Manchester sounds better then say, Scunthorpe or Hull or Blackpool or even Port Vale, a team named for a non-existent place.

Now, the Premier League is ready to tender a new contract to air live matches in the UK from 2013-2016. The current deal for live rights in the UK is worth about $2.8bn to the league and the 20 teams that now make up the top tier. Sky is not allowed to gobble up all the rights, thanks to a European Commission competition ruling. While Sky and ESPN will certainly bid for the rights, but so could the likes of Qatari-based Al Jazeera, if you believe the rumors. I'm not sure Sky is going to be outbid, but it could mean the world's most valuable football league will only get more valuable. Manchester City has seen to that.

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May 11th, 2012
11:02 AM GMT
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Abu Dhabi (CNN) - An Abu Dhabi mosque is being adorned with beautiful new mosaics - thanks to some traditional Italian craftsmanship.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is first and foremost a place of worship, but in less than five years it has become synonymous with the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Enrico Fantini is a fourth-generation Italian mosaic artisan who was recruited to work on the vast exterior ground and key parts of the grand interior. “We are very proud to have an Italian tradition - the mosaic started in the Byzantine world, the Roman world,” Fantini told CNN’s John Defterios.


May 11th, 2012
09:52 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Dust off your old comic books: a collector has sold a near-mint copy of the first issue of the Batman comic book for a whopping $850,000.

The seller reaped a stunning return on investment, after paying $315,000 for the No. 1 issue two years ago, according to the auctioneer.  The comic book was priced a mere 10 cents when it was published in 1940.

The sale to an investor partnership was arranged privately by Dallas-based collectibles auction house, Heritage Auctions.  The identities of the buyer and sellers have not been revealed.

Playing on nostalgia, vintage comic book sales have been on the rise in recent years.  A rare comic book collection reaped Heritage Auctions over $8.9 million in February, breaking the company’s own world record of $6.03 million from May 2011.  According to Heritage, comic auctions grossed no more than $2.2 million when the company began auctioning comics over a decade ago.

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