June 21st, 2012
06:30 PM GMT
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Copenhagen (CNN) - Meeting the men and women whose inventions have changed how we live our lives seems a world away from the daily bombardment of news on the state of Europe’s economy.

While the markets were reeling over Spain’s bank bailout, and trading floor chatter was Greece, Italy and what the European Central Bank can, can’t or should do, the Marketplace Europe team was at the European Inventor Awards in Copenhagen.

It was truly inspirational and refreshing to think about business without focusing on what has gone wrong, how companies are struggling and what impact this is having on the global economy. FULL POST



June 20th, 2012
02:42 PM GMT
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(CNN) - Now that the Greek people have voted and a government will be formed, we need to think about where this crisis will go.

The new Greek government will invariably go to Brussels and ask for some relief; breathing space is the phrase that will be used.

The Europeans will almost certainly grant it - to not do so would be cruel, especially bearing in mind the terrible suffering of people in Greece at the moment.

But outside of Greece what happens now?  Like a balloon that is squeezed, the European crises merely bulge out somewhere else - and that is what is happening now. FULL POST



June 17th, 2012
02:32 PM GMT
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Athens (CNN) - Whichever way the Greek people vote in these elections, there are no easy options for the country. It is almost certain no one party will get a majority – even with the top-up seats given to the front runner.

We are facing days of horse-trading.

Voices of Greece

The best that can be hoped for is that the leaders of New Democracy and PASOK follow through on the noises they are making. That it is time for unity.

They know what that means. That they are going to have to get into coalition with each other. If they do that, Greece carries on.

However, even if these so-called “sensible parties” get into bed with each other, they will still want to renegotiate the deal with Europe.

Cafes buzz with political talk

Europe will not budge on issues such social security, pensions or privatizations. But they might be willing to talk on deficit targets and taxation levels, for example, given the difficulties created by the recession.

There are 1,001 ways that Greece can stay in the euro. But even if the austerity deal is renegotiated, the Greek people face another three to five years of pain.




May 31st, 2012
10:32 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Have you noticed the new trend when using debit and credit cards overseas?

We are now frequently being asked if we want to be charged in the local - or destination - currency or if we want to pay in my home currency instead.

Since the bill will eventually be converted to our home currency. I started to wonder the point of this. I knew there had to be a catch to it somewhere, but I couldn't quite work out where!

The tool being used is called Dynamic Currency Conversion and it allows an immediate translation into the final charge you will face in your own familiar currency. It will even print you a receipt with these details.

So why wouldn't everyone do this?

You've guessed it: The exchange rate you get with the converter is not the same as the one you would get should the charge go through the banking system to your home bank.

It may well have been set by the merchant, who now has the ability to change the rate, daily, hourly or whenever they want.

Even worse, the banks involved will probably be charging you a higher commission for the privilege of knowing how much you are paying, which may well be shared with merchant.

So what are the advantages? I know the final amount and I have a receipt detailing this which I can use for my expenses, already in my home currency.

But, since expenses software will usually do the exchange rate calculation for you, or I can submit my credit card bill to show the charge, this seems a fleeting benefit.

I put the two systems to the test recently. I made two withdrawals of CFH50 [$52.30] in Zurich. I chose one to be charged in local Swiss francs and the other in British pounds.

Two days later I compared both charges as they hit my account. In pounds, the conversion was £34.96, nine pence more expensive than taking out the local currency.

For nervous or inexperienced travellers there may be a comfort in having the certainty of knowledge. But I think it is a false security. If they knew they were paying more or getting less, I am pretty sure even the most anxious traveller would decide to keep their more of their own money for themselves.

Dynamic Currency Conversion seems to be just another way to charge us more  for the same service. For me, from now on....the rule will be always pay in the local currency.



May 21st, 2012
05:38 PM GMT
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Dhaka (CNN) – With 500,000 new migrants arriving in Bangladesh’s capital each year, finding space for them is a problem.

Where do 15 million people go to sleep every night? For several months of the year certain areas of Dhaka are under up to a meter of water, creating even greater pressure for secure housing.

Architect Mohammed Rezwan is building what he believes will be the solution to rising floods. North of Dhaka, on the Gumani River, is a floating village. More than 50 boats providing homes, hospitals and schools, and supporting 90,000 people.
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May 21st, 2012
05:01 PM 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. Here, CNN contributor and Millennial David Lloyd – who in this week's episode is in the running for an innovation award - asks if foreign entrepreneurs are friend or foe.

(CNN) – There is a new talent war and it is global. But the battle to attract foreign entrepreneurs has put the differences between some countries under the microscope.

In the U.S., PayPal founder Peter Thiel is backing the construction of a ship which will host foreign entrepreneurs off California’s coast. This will keep them beyond the reach of America’s draconian immigration stance towards foreign wealth-creators.
FULL POST



May 18th, 2012
10:48 AM GMT
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Dhaka (CNN) – Dhaka’s story is one of chaos, congestion and calamity. This city is choked with people, traffic and pollution. At the centre is what has been described as a traffic clot: The jaanjot. A sticky quagmire of rickshaws, cars and vans, it’s the source of much frustration for Dhaka’s 13 million residents.

This megacity has one of the highest traffic fatality rates in the world: In all its many streets and roads, only 67 junctions have traffic signals.

Like any city, Dhaka has its dreams, and its vision for the future. The Strategic Transport Plan is a mammoth document which promises a lot of things in the next 20 years, including a new metro system, and a rapid bus transit system. Yet with the dubious accolade of being the "rickshaw capital of the world," and 400,000 of these vehicles on the streets, it’s hard to see how the busy roads will give way to a calmer reality. A pilot project to create rickshaw-free zones for Dhaka’s pedestrians has been implemented, with some opposition.

The UN predicts that by 2025 Dhaka will be larger than Beijing, Shanghai, and Mexico City, with a population pushing 25 million. Finding space for these people to move around their already crammed city will be a major challenge.



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.



April 25th, 2012
04:47 PM 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.



April 10th, 2012
06:44 PM 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. In this guest blog, Millennial Joe Braidwood questions Facebook's $1 billion purchase of Instagram.

(CNN) - Yesterday Mark Zuckerberg casually penned 352 words on his Facebook Timeline to let the world know that he’d agreed to buy the popular photo-sharing app Instagram.

My first reaction was that this was a great move - photos are the most shared content on Facebook, and injecting some great engineering and vision into that part of their product portfolio, while also acquiring a big community of passionate users, makes perfect sense.

Then I read the price on VentureBeat - $1 billion in cash and stock. No, must be a typo. I checked TechCrunch. One billion.  FULL POST



About Quest Means Business

Quest Means Business airs Monday to Friday, 1600 New York and 2100 London, and is hosted by Richard Quest.

 

 

 
 
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