March 31st, 2012
02:04 AM GMT
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New York (CNN) – When I interviewed Research in Motion founder Mike Lazaridis two years ago at the launch of the Blackberry Torch, he was convinced the product would revive Blackberry’s fortunes because, “People don’t want to carry around two devices, they just want to carry one.”

He was right about that, but wrong about the device people wanted.

Thursday RIM announced a 23% drop in sales in the fourth quarter.  A recent Nielsen survey found only 5% of U.S. consumers buying a new smart phone chose a Blackberry.  It is a spectacular fall from grace for a company that pioneered push email and made their devices so indispensible they were nicknamed ‘Crackberrys.’

What happened? FULL POST

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March 22nd, 2012
06:13 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – This week we hosted Marketplace Europe from Boycott Farm in the old English market town of Stowe. The farm's main business is eggs – laid by a flock of 6,000 chickens – and as I stood in the middle of the field they peck in, I was very quickly surrounded by what felt like most of them.

They had spotted my approach from yards away, but rather than turn on their heels, they scuttled our way en masse in a constant stream from the laying house. It turns out that chickens are incredibly nosy.

I was a lone reporter in a sea of chickens, which were pecking at the ground, my boots and sometimes even each other, but all of them gossiping loudly, cluck clucking in a synchronized murmur that grew louder and louder as the throng swelled.


March 21st, 2012
05:52 PM GMT
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London (CNN) –It will come as no surprise that the Conservative-led UK government says lower taxes bring in more revenue, because the rich will come and business will spend.

Taxes cut, pensioners hit

And it is not a surprise that left leaning parties disagree and say that such a policy will get the rich off the hook while poorer workers pay too much tax.

UK finance minister George Osborne is trying to have it both ways.

March 1st, 2012
01:16 AM GMT
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New York (CNN) – News that James Murdoch was stepping down as executive chairman of News International was met with a collective yawn on Wall Street.

It is not that analysts don’t care about the phone hacking scandal, but in terms of impacting News Corp stock, most believe the probe is a distraction, not a problem that threatens long-term profits.

“I have a buy rating on the stock, it is my top pick in the space,” says Michael Morris, co-director of research at Virginia based Davenport & Company.

“I have been bullish on the banged up media companies, and News Corp’s business is not well understood. The discount it (the stock) is getting because of the Murdoch concerns presents a great investment opportunity,” says Morris, who has covered News Corp for years.

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February 27th, 2012
04:55 AM GMT
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Barcelona (CNN) - It seemed only fitting that I use my mobile phone to make my way to Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress, so for the first time I downloaded my boarding pass to my iPhone, checked in while on a bus, and handed my phone to the British Airways check-in staff upon arrival at Terminal Five. She did not blink an eye. I'm not sure why I waited so long to fully use the BA app.

Then, of course, I promptly turned my phone off after getting to the gate, and then had to stand aside to restart the damn thing (why does the iPhone take so long to boot up?).

Lesson learned.

Then we were packed into the A321 full of tech geeks and gurus. I had a look around and saw the normal amount of iPhones, BlackBerrys and iPads. But I also noticed a healthy number of Nokia phones with Windows OS. Nokia’s Lumia phone was a star at the CES in January. We await Nokia's press conference Monday to see what handsets Europeans can get their hands on.

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February 10th, 2012
04:34 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – Give eurozone finance ministers credit.

Markets had been rising. The euro was at a two month high. The banks had apparently agreed to take a steep loss on the Greek bonds they hold, or bought in the secondary market for cents on the euro.

Then, they snapped defeat from the jaws of victory. Why?

Greek politicians have now been told they need to put austerity pledges in writing and then into law, all by next Wednesday; the new deadline.

February 9th, 2012
04:48 AM GMT
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(CNN) – What does the U.S. Fed know that we don’t?

That is the question investors have been asking themselves ever since the central bank unveiled its intention to extend its plan to keep interest rates ultra low through late 2014.  Why would they need to do that when the recovery seems to be picking up steam, as witnessed in the latest jobs report?

That is exactly what I put to Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker when I sat down with him in Washington D.C.

“It is not an unconditional pledge. I think that it is clear because everyone recognizes, on the committee and more broadly, if things pick up we can change paths and raise rates before that. Does this mean policy is easier than it otherwise would have been? I am not so sure,” said Lacker.

February 7th, 2012
03:52 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – In December 1991, I was a 27-year old journalist covering the creation of a European treaty in Maastricht. Negotiations took some weeks, but exactly twenty years ago on Tuesday the city, sandwiched between Belgium and Germany, witnessed the signing of "The Treaty on European Union." The European Union had been created.

I recall forgetting my pass (yes, that one pictured above) and having to get a taxi back to our hotel in Germany to get it. And I remember the story being a bit confusing. I had moved from the U.S. to Europe only a year earlier and was trying to figure how things differed across the Atlantic.

I wondered if the so-called Maastricht Treaty really was creating a "United States of Europe" as some called it? And why did Britain say it had an "opt in" to the treaty, when everyone else called it an "opt-out"? Would the French, Italians and Dutch really be happy to scrap their centuries-old currencies for a new one, yet unnamed?

February 3rd, 2012
03:27 AM GMT
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New York (CNN) – The years of hard work, months of traveling and long nights reviewing game films all come down to this – the Super Bowl.  If a player can make the big play at the right time it can not only clinch the championship, but change the course of his career.

That is what Eugene Lee is hoping for.  He is the agent representing New England Patriot’s safety Sergio Brown.  The Pats signed Brown as an undrafted free agent in 2010.  It has been an up and down ride for Notre Dame graduate, but Brown has been on a roll lately.  Filling in for an injured player, Brown made a key tackle in the final minutes of the play-off game against Baltimore.  He will be starting in the big game Sunday.

Eugene Lee knows a big performance in the Super Bowl could make all the difference in solidifying Brown’s role as a starter and also helping Lee cement his reputation as a top-tier agent.

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February 1st, 2012
12:30 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – It’s one of the great oddities of the former British Empire – the Queen’s Honour List.

Every year people eagerly await the letter from the Queen to inform them if they have received a knighthood, a lordship, an OBE (Order of the British Empire) etc.

I know there is some incredibly crucial ranking to all this, and it’s all very important to some, but don’t ask me to explain it or agree with it. I do know that being awarded a life peerage (a non-hereditary lordship) gets you, no surprise, into the House of Lords - see the likes of Lord Coe of the London Olympics or Lord Webber of musicals. But a knighthood only gives you the right to be called “Sir,” as with Sir Elton John or Sir Paul McCartney.

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