Money | Anorak - Part 21

Money Category

Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay

Apple Finally Signs The China Mobile Deal




THE financial markets have been waiting for this for some years: for Apple to sign up with China Mobile to take the iPhone. The importance of it is that China Mobile is the last major airtime provider around the world that doesn’t currently carry Apple’s products. And with 760 million subscribers that’s a hell of a market that Apple is missing out on. The deal has finally happened:

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Posted: 23rd, December 2013 | In: Money, Technology, The Consumer | Comment

CV Bloopers: 54 Interesting Things Written On Resumes


SOMEONE at Anorak Towers once scored a job on the strength of having a Duck of Edinburgh Gold Award. Her award really connected with the head of HR, who called her in and hired her on the spot. A few months later, and she was asked about her award. She just laughed.

Not everyone is as clever. CV Write,  pro CV writing company, has reported “some of the more ‘interesting’ things we have seen in CVs this year. Here goes. For anyone looking in with desires of working at Anorak (oh, the dream), we’ve marked the comments marked ‘A’ get you the interview.

I also like to boast that I can complete the Rubik’s cube in 2 minutes.

I am currently Falkirk’s Miss Personality. (A)

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Posted: 20th, December 2013 | In: Money | Comment

$636 millions: Californian Who Sold Winning Ticket Wins $1m But Georgia Vendor Gets Nothing

YOUNG Soo Lee , the owner of a newsstand in Atlanta, and  Thuy Nguyen of San Jose, Calif., each sold one of the two winning Mega Millions tickets, worth $636 million in all before taxes.

Nguyen earned $1 million, as per California state law. Lee could get nothing.

That seems incredibly unfair. Nguyen says he is “very lucky”. Lee might wonder why she gets to live in a poorer state than California and win less for her customer’s good fortune?

“I’m so excited and so happy now,” Soolee said. “I love my store and the customer now.”

That loved customer may care to give sweet Soo some money.  


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Posted: 18th, December 2013 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment

The Great Chinese Rare Earths Panic Is Over


YOU might recall back a couple of years there was a great panic as China decided to limit the export of the rare earths. These are the weird metals that are essential to much of modern technology, making the magnets for hard drives, earphones and windmills, batteries for electric cars and those new fangled light bulbs that flicker in the dark.

The situation was that China produced 95% of all the world’s production of these metals. Not for any particular reason other than that they were willing to make them cheap and put up with the pollution from doing so. Then they decided, well, we’ve got a bit of a monopoly going here lads. Let’s raise the prices and make huge profits! Hurrah!

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Posted: 18th, December 2013 | In: Money | Comment

War On Want Goes Doolally Over Alliance Boots

WAR on Want has decided to show its gross ignorance by complaining about the tax affairs of Alliance Boots. It’s their new big campaign, they’ve even gone off and complained to the OECD about it all. But the problem is that they’ve not actually shown that any tax has been avoided: not even shown that less tax has been paid overall.

As they complain:

New research shows that Alliance Boots, the high street chemist and pharmaceutical giant, has avoided more than £1 billion in tax since it went private six years ago through taking on excessive debts, profit shifting and corporate restructuring. This report, Alliance Boots & The Tax Gap, published by War on Want, Unite the Union and Change to Win, exposes the full scale of Boots’ tax avoidance for the first time.

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Posted: 18th, December 2013 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Dear Miliboy: It Ain’t A Tax Cut For Hedge Funds

WE have Ed Miliboy whining about a tax cut for hedge funds:

Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, in September suggested that Labour would reinstate the tax, describing the Coalition move as a “tax cut on hedge funds”.

Hmm, wonder what this could be?

The Treasury has promised to abolish “Schedule 19” stamp duty reserve tax, which applies to some investments sold by funds.

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Posted: 18th, December 2013 | In: Money, Politicians | Comment

Sacked Oxford Chef Uses Pub’s Twitter To Claim All Food Comes From Asda

Screen shot 2013-12-16 at 17.19.19


CHEF Jim Knight, allegedly sacked from The Plough in Oxford after, as he claims, he asked to spend the holiday with his baby daughter, has been using the restaurant’s Twitter feed to tell all. 


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Posted: 16th, December 2013 | In: Money, Reviews, The Consumer | Comment (1)

Well Of Course No One’s Paying For Streaming Music Services


THERE’S a bit of a logical disconnect in this idea that we’re all going to sign up for streaming music services like Pandora, Spotify and so on. The problem being that the more free services there are competing for our custom then the fewer of us are going to bother to pay for it. This is indeed how it normally works you know, more suppliers thus lower prices to consumers:

Yet even as they have grown, streaming companies have encountered a stubborn problem: Music lovers will consume large amounts of music as long as it is free, but getting them to pay a monthly subscription has proved much more difficult.

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Posted: 16th, December 2013 | In: Money, Music, Technology, The Consumer | Comments (2)

Why Worry About Bitcoin? Why Not Just Start Your Own Currency?


I ALWAYS feel remarkable clever when I find the Financial Times agrees with one of my ideas. It seems like confirmation that I’ve had a good idea sorta thing. And here they’re saying that investing in Bitcoin doesn’t look all that good an idea. For you can start up your own digital currency instead.

Buying Bitcoins while their price is so bubbly is nothing more than a gamble. Investing in other online currencies, or in companies that can help the Bitcoin economy develop, looks like a sensible use of a venture capitalist’s money.

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Posted: 12th, December 2013 | In: Money, Reviews, Technology | Comment (1)

‘Snuggle House’ Gets Closed Because Everyone Thought It Was Filled With Prostitutes


HAVE you heard of the unique business is Wisconsin called Snuggle House? Chances are, you haven’t. The idea behind the place was to offer snuggles to anyone who wanted one. For £37 an hour. You could have a little intimacy and get your hair stroked and then be on your way.

That’s slightly odd, but kinda nice, right?

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Posted: 12th, December 2013 | In: Money, Reviews, The Consumer | Comment

This Just Isn’t The Way To Make An Economic Argument

DEAR Lord this is piffle:

This year, state government subsidies to corporations, partnerships, and other businesses in New York state alone will total $1.7 billion, triple the giveaways in 2005, according to the new study. That’s $235 taken from the average Empire State household this year and redistributed to business owners on the theory that redistribution will create jobs.

During those years, the number of jobs in New York declined, the state’s official jobs data website shows. The total number of New Yorkers employed in 2012 was down 175,000, or 2 percent, compared with 2005.

This is used to show that tax incentives to companies does not provide jobs. For, as you can see, we’ve been providing more subsidies but there are fewer jobs!

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Posted: 11th, December 2013 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment

The iPotty Is Declared Worst Toy Of The Year

ipotty anorak

IT is the season for the awards ceremonies and one organisation has declared that this, the iPotty, is the worst toy of the year. I have to admit that I can’t quite see it myself: either as the worst toy of this or any other year or as an actual product to be honest. What it actually is is simply a potty to be used, obviously, for potty training and containing a stand into which one can slip one of Apple’s iPads. And you might think that that’s about it and not something so heinous as to deserve this award:

BOSTON—December 9—It’s official. Fed up with the latest effort to insinuate screens into every nook and cranny of young children’s lives, members of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood selected the 2-In-1 iPotty with Activity Seat for iPad by CTA Digital as winner of this year’s TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young children) Award for the Worst Toy of the Year.

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Posted: 11th, December 2013 | In: Money, Technology, The Consumer | Comment

Inequality Caused By Cronyism Kills Economic Growth



INEQUALITY. Is it harmful? It can be. When caused by cronyism.

In other words, is it a bad thing for a country to have some really rich people? Again, it depends on how they got rich.

Sutirtha Bagchi of the University of Michigan’s business school and Jan Svejnar of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs studied how inequality correlates with economic growth. In general, more inequality meant slower growth, and less inequality meant faster growth.

But in many countries, over various time periods, growing inequality had no effect on economic growth. The new study suggests that an increase in inequality hurt the economy when the rich were getting rich through political connections.

That is, inequality hurts the economy when “a large share of the national wealth is held by a small number of politically connected families,” as the authors put it. . . . When a country’s wealthiest people got their wealth as Pangestu and Fridman did, inequality places a drag on the economy. When a country’s wealthiest got wealthy through market means, the resulting inequality has no negative effect on economic growth.

This jibes with what we know about free markets. If people can get rich by providing valuable things at good prices, then society will get more valuable things at good prices—and people across the income spectrum benefit. But if people get rich by pocketing subsidies and using the state to crush competitors, then they gained their wealth at the expense of everyone else.

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Posted: 9th, December 2013 | In: Money, Politicians, Reviews | Comment (1)

Candy Crush Saga: The Game That’s Too Successful To Float (See Zynga)


THIS is a fun little story. Candy Crush Saga is the all conquering barnstorming game of the moment and it’s made its maker, King, worth something like $5 billion. But it’s exactly that mega-success of the game that means that the maker cannot cash out by floating it on the stock market. Imagine that, being to successful to be able to sell yourself.

King, the mobile games maker behind Candy Crush Saga, has delayed its initial public offering until next year amid fears that the flagship game has been “too successful”.

The British company, which is gearing up for a potential $5bn (£3bn) flotation on the Nasdaq stock exchange, had considered listing by the end of this year. However, it has decided to wait to give it time to demonstrate that it has other hits in the pipeline and is not a “one hit wonder”.

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Posted: 9th, December 2013 | In: Money, Reviews, Technology, The Consumer | Comment

Osborne’s Shelving The Fuel Duty Escalator Is The Right, Green Thing To Do

THIS might sound a little odd and I’ll almost certainly be the only person telling you this. But George Osborne’s shelving of the fuel duty escalator is the right thing for him to be doing. No, not because it’s a tax cut, or not a tax rise, but because it’s the correct green thing to be doing for the environment. Yes, this is going to sound a little odd, isn’t it?

We need to go back a few years, to the Stern Review. In it the main recommendation was that we have to have a carbon tax at $80 per tonne CO2 emissions in order to beat climate change. This is the scientific consensus now, that we should have this tax.

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Posted: 6th, December 2013 | In: Money, Politicians | Comment

Why Raising The Pensions Age Makes Such Damn Good Sense


GEORGE Osborne’s announced that he’s going to raise the state pension age and this makes damn good sense. No, not just because we’re all pig-faced Tories who love shafting the poor.

In potentially one of the most far-reaching reforms since the introduction of the state pension in 1908, Osborne will say the pension age for men and women will rise to 70 by the 2060s under a new formula linked to average life expectancy. This means that people born in the 1990s, who are now entering the workforce, will have to work until at least the Biblical life expectancy of three score and ten.

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Posted: 6th, December 2013 | In: Money, Politicians | Comment

The Global iPhone 5 Price Index


THIS is a nice little piece of research showing the variation in price of the iPhone all over the world. You can set it to tell you the absolute price in any country and see the impact of taxes etc on an iPhone 5s. Or you can mix and match it with how rich the country is and so see what percentage of the average salary it is.

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Posted: 5th, December 2013 | In: Money, Technology, The Consumer | Comment

So How Do You Train To Stick Your Finger Up A Man’s Bum?

cancer balls

THIS isn’t something I’ve ever really thought about: how do you go about training yourself to stick your finger up a man’s bum? No, no, not as part of the festivities on Hampstead Heath but rather, how does a doctor get trained to do prostate exams?

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Posted: 4th, December 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Coal Kills So We’d Better Go Nuclear Then

This is a fun little report. It’s also true (if perhaps a little exaggerated). The burning of coal to generate electricity does indeed kill people.

Labour will this week urge MPs to vote for tougher controls on Britain’s coal-fired power stations forcing them to reduce their emissions and pollution, as new figures show the old-style plants are responsible for 1,600 premature deaths a year. A report from the Health and Environment Alliance has found air pollution from coal plants causes respiratory problems that have a big impact on public health.

The charity released an analysis showing coal pollution leads to health complications resulting in more than 360,000 lost working days each year.

I wouldn’t take that 1,600 figure as being entirely and totally accurate but it is indeed well known that particularate emissions from coal burning do indeed kill some people each year. Fewer now that we filter the smoke, as we didn’t used to, but still some substantial number.

And we might check this against the number of deaths from the nuclear disaster at Fukushima. Which has been, so far at least, precisely zero. Or the deaths from Chernobyl 30 years ago. That total is guessed at as being some few hundred so far.

So, the two worst nuclear disasters ever have killed fewer people than the normal operation of coal fired plant does each and every year.

Sounds like we’d better go nuclear then, eh?

Ah, no, sorry, that doesn’t work, this report is sponsored by Greenpeace.

Posted: 2nd, December 2013 | In: Money | Comment

Man Arrested For Giving Away $1000

TO Minnesota, where the rain is made of currency. Serge Vorobyov has emptied $1,000 over the Mall of America in Bloomington. Vorobyov just wants to do something nice for people. And then the mall security staff arrested him.

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Posted: 2nd, December 2013 | In: Money, Strange But True | Comment

Chap Does To Banks What They Do To You

NICELY done:



Posted: 30th, November 2013 | In: Money, Strange But True | Comment (1)

Only TV’s Working Class Can Afford To Live In Fortress London: What If Shows Were Real?



AH, Eastenders the only London garden square non-oligarchs and trust-funded sados (sons and daughters of stars) can afford to live in. London is now so very expensive that it’s a fortress. If you’re not already in, forget about settling there. Best to accept the fact that you  can never live in the city.  Make your home town at the end of the long commute the epicentre of culture.

The only working class people who can afford London property prices are fictional. It’s true.

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Posted: 28th, November 2013 | In: Money, TV & Radio | Comment

Shocker: Daily Mail Australia NOT Modelled On Guardian Down Under

THE Daily Mail is going Down Under

Britain’s Daily Mail Group has announced it will launch an Australian version of its site with the goal of becoming this country’s leading news website. Daily Mail Australia will launch early next year and hire 50 local journalists, with an editor to be appointed in the next few weeks.

You might not like the Mail, but it makes money and employing local reporters is a sound move. They’re not the first UK organ to head to Oz. The Guardian has opened their version.

MailOnline publisher Martin Clarke said Australia was “an obvious market”.

“We are going very nakedly for a scale play,” he said … He dismissed comparisons with British rival Guardian Australia, which launched here six months ago. “I’m not hugely familiar with what they do in Australia,” he said. We won’t be copying their model.”

No sh*t.

Posted: 27th, November 2013 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment

London Slaves: Giggles And Oh-Shits About The Culty Three


THERE’S been a certain amount of giggling about those three slaves that were liberated in London. It turns out that they were not in fact slaves, not anything like it, they were however the remnants of one of London’s more insane Maoist communes. The leader of that commune being on Comrade Bala who was, if the stories are correct, the inspiration for Wolfie Smith in the TV comedy, Citizen Smith. This has all been going on a long time.

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Posted: 26th, November 2013 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment

London Slaves: Statement To Comrade Bala By The Central Committee of the Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist) – August 1st, 1974

 Aravindan Balakrishnan

I’M sure you were as shocked as I was at that story of three women being held as slaves in London for 30 years. But the story is now moving from tragedy into proper giggle worthy territory. The suspected slave master has now been named as Aravindan Balakrishnan. Who was also known as Comrade Bala.

Yup, this is about a small Maoist commune that managed to stagger along from the 70s all the way to today. And not only did social services know all about it they were even providing them with the housing they were using.

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Posted: 25th, November 2013 | In: Key Posts, Money, Reviews | Comments (2)