Burkhalter's British/American Update

June 1, 2012

Did you know...

Rolling Stones Help Launch Omega Olympic Campaign with 'Start Me Up' Classic tune soundtracks the Games' official time-keeper's new ad 

May 31, 2012

When it comes to perfect song syncs in commercials, Omega has hit the nail on the head: The official time-keeper of the Olympics scored the Rolling Stones classic "Start Me Up" to soundtrack their spot in the lead-up to the summer games in London, USA Today reports.

As that indelible opening riff from the London hometown heroes careens out into space, the commercial features several Olympic athletes like sprinter Tyson and swimmer Natalie Coughlin prepping in the moments before the starting gun sounds.

To see the add click here.

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U.K. Climate Change Minister Visits Green Atlanta  

Benjamin Austin
Global Atlanta

May 24, 2012

The United Kingdom’s minister of energy and climate change, Gregory Barker, held up Marks & Spencer plc as a prime example of the benefits of abiding by the adage “a penny saved is a penny earned.”

Speaking at a Metro Atlanta Chamber breakfast meeting May 10, Mr. Barker said that the London-based luxury foods and clothing retailer saved 70 million pounds ($110 million) in 2011 from its sustainability initiative.

Mr. Barker visited Atlanta with a delegation representing a cross section of energy conscious companies looking for partnerships in the Southeast.

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UK retail sales improve in May 

Phillip Inman

May 29, 2012

Retail sales improved in May, but remain below average for the time of year, according to a survey by the CBI.

The business lobby group said a poll of its retailers found that 43% reported an increase in sales on a year ago, compared with 23% that said they experienced a fall, giving a 'rounded' positive balance of 21%.

The rebound in May following a downbeat April will cheer the Treasury, which is keen to see signs of a recovery in consumer confidence and a revival in spending.

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CBI urges state to kickstart private sector investment 

Dan Milmo

May 27, 2012

Britain's largest business lobby group has urged the government to act as a financial backstop for multibillion-pound infrastructure projects in order to unlock up to £20bn of private-sector investment in transport, telecoms and energy.

The CBI said the Treasury could kickstart an investment spree by pension funds without adding to the nation's debts. In a report on attracting infrastructure investment, it said private-sector involvement in greenfield projects – brand-new proposals such as a high-speed rail route – could be feasible if the government guaranteed 10% of the funding.

If the project got into trouble, the taxpayer would become liable for that share of the funding, but according to the CBI, the overall effect would be to raise the asset's credit rating from BBB- to BBB+, making it attractive to private investors.

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Litigation funders become big business, enjoying booming market in UK 

Owen Bowcott

May 25, 2012

Champerty used to be a crime. Now it is known as third-party litigation funding and has developed into an investment industry backed by up to £500m of investor cash looking for lucrative courtroom opportunities.

Both the obscure Anglo-Norman legal term and the modern business jargon describe the process of helping claimants pursue court cases in return for, it is hoped, a substantial slice of the eventual damages.

This month the UK market leader, Harbour Litigation Funding, announced a tripling of available finances to £180m. The growth of London as a global legal centre – drawing in Russian and Middle Eastern disputes attracted by Britain's reputation for impartial justice – has multiplied the possibilities for investment.

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UK green economy grew £5.4bn in 2011 

Will Nichols
May 25, 2012

Record growth over the last year pushed the UK green goods and services market past the £122bn mark, according to new government figures that reveal the low carbon economy now employs almost one million people.

The sector grew 4.7 per cent against the 2009/10 figure of £116.8bn, providing an additional £5.4bn of economic activity as green industries continued to defy the sluggish progress made by the rest of the economy.

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Fifteen more university technical colleges to open in next two years 

Jeevan Vasagar

May 28, 2012

A new state school with a focus on aviation engineering, backed by the owners of Heathrow, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, is to open on the outskirts of London in the next two years, the government will announce today.

The Heathrow university technical college – which will be based in Hillingdon, west London – is one of a new wave of comprehensive schools that will emphasise vocational education.

Fifteen new schools are announced on Monday including the Elstree UTC, which will specialise in electronic engineering and digital technology; one in Salford, which will focus on creative industries, and an engineering academy based at the University of Warwick and backed by Jaguar Land Rover.

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