November 2009 Archives
What price advertising on the Google homepage?
The search engine giant is an almost ubiquitous presence on the web with upwards of two billion searches performed on it every day.
So when its logo undergoes one of its periodic creative overhauls, usually to celebrate an event or anniversary or some kind, it is big online news.
News the government of Dubai was seeking a standstill on the debt repayments of its investment vehicle, Dubai World, is currently reverberating through the world's financial markets.
Dubai World has interests in all manner of industries globally and has a number of UK investments in property, leisure and ports, among others.
However it is being weighed down by its property arm Nakheel, which counts the iconic Palm Islands development in the Gulf among its assets.
The revelation of 'secret' loans totaling £62bn to Royal Bank of Scotland and Halifax Bank of Scotland last year is startling.
In a rather convoluted way he told Channel 4 News: "The very definition of covert is that is not a question I am going to answer."
What is important to differentiate here is the fact these were not loans made in the traditional sense, but rather the Bank of England (BoE) stepping into the role of lender of last resort after the money markets closed up following the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
My nose might not be sensitive enough to pick up the difference between a Laphroaig and a Bruichladdich in a blind taste test but even I can smell what seems like a positive step for the whisky industry.
Further protection of the product is the main aim of new rules governing the making, bottling and labelling of Scotch whisky.
The regulations, which can be found in full here, are meant to provide strong legal protection against poor quality imitations and help customers receive clearer information on labels.
There are tighter guidelines on naming of products after distilleries (eg an Oban malt must be wholly made in Oban) and also in the use of the five traditional regional whisky producing regions - Highland, Lowland, Speyside, Islay, and Campbeltown.
But perhaps the most interesting development at a local level is requirement to only bottle Single Malts in Scotland.
The technology is said to be the "world's largest working hydro-electric wave energy device" and was installed at Billia Croo near Stromness, Orkney, in the summer.
It works by pumping high pressure water to an onshore hydro-electric turbine which feeds power into the National Grid.
Not particularly pleasant reading in the Fraser of Allander Institute's latest economic update.
The influential research unit predicts Scotland's economy will probably move out of recession by the end of this year but tempers this bright note with a number of stark warnings.
Growth in 2010 could be as little as 0.1 per cent and although things should pick up in 2011 and 2012 recovery here will be slower than the rest of the UK.
The possibility of a double dip recession is not being discounted.
A new Forth Road Bridge simply has to be built.
Political backbiting and recriminations need to be put to one side as this is a project which is vital to Scotland.
The current version is creaking at the seams under a weight of traffic it was never designed to cope with.
However wrangling over the funding, which is a not insignificant sum between £1.7bn and £2.3bn, for the new crossing is a worry.
For the sake of full disclosure Business7 is the media partner for the event.
To set the scene I dumped my car at Linlithgow Train Station on Wednesday and made my way through to Glasgow for an 8.30am kick off.
Deloitte's office on George Square was to be home for the day.
I was fortunate enough to be asked along to the Scottish Council for Development and Industry annual awards dinner on Friday.
It was a grand affair held in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
Dozens of policemen stationed outside the venue seemed an unusual addition as a skirling piper played to those hurrying in from the rain trying to protect ball gowns, black ties, tuxedos and kilts.
Inside a managing partner at a law firm believed security was beefed up because of G20 protests earlier in the day in Edinburgh.
The broadcaster confirms the long running show will continue regardless of whether any new commissions are received by ITV.
It is a pretty bold move given the costs involved in producing original drama series.
If ITV don't take up the commission for 2010 where will it leave STV?
It is often easy to point out where things are going wrong rather than giving praise for something which is working well.
So it would be churlish to deny the car scrappage scheme has provided a much needed boost to motor dealers across the UK.
This is one government initiative for business which does seem to be paying off.
Figures from the The Scottish Motor Trade Association show there were 14,807 new units bought in October.
So after months of wrangling, posturing and hand wringing the shape of the post-credit crunch banking landscape in Britain is starting to take shape.
If you are here reading this then chances are you know the basics. Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland doing a mixture of fund raising, protecting assets and selling off sections of the business to avoid painful competition pitfalls.
Oh and probably a couple of thousand jobs lost in the process as well.
Due to the pressures of work (ie having a paper and magazine to get out, blogs to do and a website to monitor) I can't get out for the day to go along to the GlobalScot conference.
Reluctantly I had to turn down the invite from Scottish Enterprise to attend as I am already out of the office for two afternoons this week.
Which in a roundabout way brings me to my point.