January 19th, 2012
09:15 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – FIFA isn’t doing this for the fans, and I don’t think it’s doing it for football either.

The governing body’s “arrogant” (their word) insistence that alcohol should be sold in Brazil’s world cup stadiums has more to do with cold cash than cold beer.

FIFA receives tens of millions of dollars from Anheuser-Busch InBev - the giant brewing company which makes Budweiser - in World Cup sponsorship.

In South Africa in 2010, Budweiser was the only beer for sale in World Cup stadiums. Not surprising then that it outsold every other beverage on offer - sports drinks, soft drinks and bottled water combined.


January 12th, 2012
05:15 PM GMT
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London (CNN) - Tesco has lost the price war it declared back in September – and the third-biggest retailer in the world (by sales) has issued a profit warning.

The UK company says its strategy of slashing 3,000 prices simply didn’t work, failing to entice enough shoppers through the doors to make up for smaller profit margins.


February 16th, 2011
08:24 AM GMT
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Barcelona (CNN) – The queue for the toilets says it all. Twenty men patiently stand in line as I saunter past into the ladies’ loo – which is mercifully queue free.

It’s almost unheard of – except here in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress, which definitely feels like a man’s world.

“I wish there were more women here,” says Robin Wauters, a tech journalist from Belgium. “If there are any women, they’re in marketing and PR. The cause of the divide is because there are not many women engineers, developers and managers.”

“It’s a closed circle driven for years by men,” says sales manager Daniel Barbieri from Colombia. “Women are ashamed to be in a closed and aggressive environment.”


June 3rd, 2009
07:41 PM GMT
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The dog saw it first - a bucket full of raw bones.

While it was the smell which caught Pepper’s attention - it was the sign that interested me.

The gruesome boiled-up remains, yours for about three dollars each, were labelled “MPs’ Legs.” “Let your dog have a nibble on an MP’s leg,” the sign went on.

“Well worth it!”

People in Britain are furious about the expenses scandal which is engulfing our lawmakers. But we haven’t actually got started chopping them up yet.

The dog and I were at a pet food stall on my local town market. The bones belonged to innocent animals who have never claimed any taxpayer cash to clean out their moats or pay phoney mortgages, and whose snouts have only ever graced real feeding troughs.

I asked the stallholder Colin Fletcher how his lawmakers’ bits were going down with punters. “One guy said he wished they were real,” he said. The scandal is particularly upsetting at a time when many thousands of people are experiencing the pain of losing their jobs, their homes and businesses.

Down on the market, things have been good for Colin this year, despite the recession. He said he’s invested a lot of money in the stall and built up a following of regular customers. “They even come in the winter when it’s minus five and raining. “We have a laugh with them, and a joke.”

Colin’s sense of humour is obviously keeping his customers happy. Yes, the bones are a gimmick. But it’s working. It reminded me that even the worst of times offer an opportunity for a good laugh -

And who knows - maybe even the chance to make a bit of money.

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