Burkhalter's British/American Update

September 30, 2011

Did you know...

The human iPod: Derek Paravicini is blind and severely disabled yet can master any song after hearing it once... What is his secret?

The Daily Mail
By Harry Mount

Thirty years ago, Derek Paravicini was within a heartbeat of death. No other baby born in the Royal Berkshire Hospital 14 weeks prematurely had ever survived. His twin sister was dead at birth.

When Derek came along a few minutes later, the doctor presumed that he, too, could not possibly live. And yet, and yet... just when his mother Mary Ann had given up hope, she heard the faintest of whimpers, the tiniest of muffled squeaks. He had made it.

Three decades on, Derek no longer makes muffled squeaks. Instead, he brings a rapt audience in St George’s concert theatre, Bristol, to their feet again and again, with a dazzling range of music — an Oscar Peterson arrangement of Greensleeves, his own version of Bach’s Air in the key of G, a jaunty ragtime taste of Debussy.

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 NFL to keep London on season itinerary; second game possible

Sports Business Journal
By Daniel Kaplan
September 27, 2011

NFL owners plan to vote in two weeks to continue playing regular-season games in London, sources said, marking the latest business initiative the league has concluded since the end of the lockout last month.

The league, however, has not decided whether to have owners vote on a resolution to continue playing just one game annually, as has been the case, or add a second game in London each season.

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Numbers of overseas students at UK universities have ‘rocketed’ according to latest figures

September 27, 2011

 Figures released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) have shown that the numbers of foreign students at UK universities has grown significantly over the past 5 years. Now unions are warning that the number of student visa restrictions announced by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) this year could “seriously hit” universities’ finances and have a significant impact on the nation’s economy.

The HESA publication Higher Education Statistics for the United Kingdom 2009/10 provides the official overview of the UK’s higher education sector in 2009/10. The report shows that the number of non-UK domicile students studying at UK universities at undergraduate level has shot up by over 27% from 158,300 to 201,405 and the number studying a postgraduate qualification has increased by well over 37% from 148,740 to 204,400.

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Irish Trade Mission Brings 60 Companies

Mike Rast Jr.
September 22, 2011

As part of the effort to boost Ireland’s struggling economy, a cabinet minister kicked off the country’s first government-led trade mission to the Southeast Sept. 19, bringing representatives of 60 Irish companies to Atlanta.

Ireland is suffering the after-effects of the 2009 housing crash and ensuing debt crisis that forced the government to accept a $113 billion bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund last year. Last week the EU and IMF agreed to cut the interest rate on the loans, saving Irish taxpayers a potential $1.5 billion in repayments.

Richard Bruton, Ireland’s minister for jobs, enterprise and innovation and leader of the trade mission, met with Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and spoke at a lunch hosted by the Irish Chamber of Atlanta.

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Coca Cola announces energy reductions and zero waste at all UK sites

By Luke Walsh
September 29, 2011

Drinks giant Coca Cola announced it will be zero waste across all its sites as well as reducing energy and water losses as it marked half a century of operations in south east London.

At the company's vast site in Sidcup on the border of Kent and London Coca Cola's leading figures came together to mark a business success that is also fast becoming a sustainability icon.

Coke, or Coca Cola Enterprises (CCE) as it is officially known, employs about 350 people at the site 61 of which have a combined total of service of 801 years.

CCE's operations director for Sidcup, Steve Adams, addressed CCE staff, community figures and members of the press at the site on Tuesday (September 27) at an event marking its 50th birthday.

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Peer-to-peer lenders join forces in regulation call 

James Hurley
September 27, 2011

Three of the UK's leading social lending markets – Zopa, RateSetter and Funding Circle – have turned to self regulation following fears over “shoddy operators".

Entrepreneurs behind the UK’s largest 'peer-to-peer’ lending markets have joined forces to call for their emerging sector to be regulated in response to fears that “shoddy operators” could put consumers’ money at risk.

The founders of Zopa, RateSetter and Funding Circle have also established a self regulatory body that they hope will act as a 'blueprint’ for regulators.
They are concerned that the market’s growth will attract unscrupulous or simply poorly managed copycats that could ruin the image of the sector before it’s been established.

Peer-to-peer lending – online markets that directly link lenders to borrowers, offering attractive interest rates – will account for more than £100m of loans to individuals and small businesses this year.

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Big hitters line-up for £650m US Embassy

Some of the biggest names in UK construction are in with a chance of winning the new £650m US Embassy contract in Wandsworth, south London.

One contractor close to the project told the Enquirer: “It was originally thought that only American contractors would be considered but the major UK players have formed joint ventures with US firms to bid for the work.”

The source said the usual major project suspects are in the hunt – Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke, Mace, Sir Robert McAlpine and Skanska.

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Renewable energy hits record high in UK 

The Guardian
September 29, 2011

Second quarter of 2011 saw green generation contribute 9.6% per cent of the UK's electricity supply, a 50% rise on 2010

Wind turbines off the coast of north Lincolnshire. Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian Renewable electricity contributed an all time high of 9.6% of the UK's grid mix in the second quarter of this year, statistics released on Thursday by the Department of Energy and Climate Change have revealed.

The 7.86TWh (terawatt hours) contributed by green energy generators represented a 50% rise on the same time last year.

The surge in green energy was led by the wind energy sector, which saw output rise 120% year on year, and hydroelectricity where output rose 75% year on year.

Nuclear energy also saw a large rise, increasing by 38% to 17.44TWh, making up 21% of the UK's overall supply, its highest since 2006. The performance put nuclear on a par with coal, which recorded 18.14TWh of output, making up 22% of all electricity generated

To read more click here.