Global corruption costs consumers billions, says report

Global corruption on a massive scale is costing consumers billions and standing in the way of sustainable economic growth, a new report has said. Transparency International’s (TI) Global Corruption Report 2009: Corruption and the Private Sector shows how corrupt practices, such as bribery, price-fixing cartels and undue influence on public policy, undermine fair competition, stifle economic growth and ultimately undercut a business’s existence. Research in the report also shows that half of international business executives polled estimated that corruption raised project costs by at least 10pc. The bottom line is that it is ultimately citizens who pay. The report reveals that consumers around the world were overcharged approximately US$300bn through…

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AGI posts US$9.28m loss, announces new business strategy

Dublin-listed pharmaceutical company AGI Therapeutics has reported a pre-tax loss of US$9.28m for the first six months of the year. AGI made a loss per ordinary share of US$0.14 cents during the first half of 2009, compared to the loss per ordinary share of US$0.13 cents made in the same period in 2008. The company’s revenue in the six months to June remained flat, totalling US$0.3m, while spending on R&D was slightly down on 2008’s US$8.3m to US$7.8m. AGI said it had moved to cut costs to allow funding for future clinical programmes, and it said it should now have sufficient cash resources to last at least two years. The…

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Irish Food and Drink Bands Join Forces

Over 30 of Ireland’s top food and drink brands – including Tayto, Ballygowan, Avonmore, Cadbury, Barry’s Tea and Batchelors – have come together to form Love Irish Food, an independent body that will promote Irish-manufactured food and drink products. Economist Jim Power has been named chair of the organization. According to the organization, consumers are currently confused as to what constitutes an Irish brand, and there is considerable support for a new logo to assist in identifying Irish products.  As a result, it has developed a distinctive Love Irish Food logo, which, it says, provides “an absolute assurance to consumers that the brand carrying this symbol is above all else,…

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Ryanair to spend €500,000 on Lisbon ‘Yes’ campaign

Budget airline Ryanair has said it will spend over €500,000 on a campaign urging a ‘Yes’ vote in the upcoming referendum on the Lisbon Treaty this October. “I believe it is vital that every Irish voter on 2 October next votes in the referendum and votes ‘Yes to Europe’. Ireland’s membership of the European Union and the euro has transformed our economy and the lives of millions of Irish people today,” said Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary (pictured). He described how that without Europe and the euro, the Irish economy would be “run by our incompetent politicians, our inept civil service and the greedy public sector trade union bosses, who through…

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Sunday Times, Star titles score in UK ABC figures

The only national daily newspaper title in the UK to register an increase in year-on-year circulation was The Daily Star, according to the newspaper ABC data released today. Circulation at the tabloid increased by just over 20pc for the year, to an average 887,106 copies per day. The title’s sister paper, The Daily Star Sunday, was also up, by 6.6pc to 414,533 The Sun remained the most popular daily title with a circulation of 3,121,407, which represented a slight fall of 0.4pc year-on-year. The next most popular title was the Daily Mail, with 2,178,640 copies, down just over 4pc. The biggest fall in circulation was recorded by INM’s The Independent,…

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News Corp Posts Q4 Losses, Murdoch Charge for News

Rupert Murdoch

One of the world’s biggest media companies, News Corporation, today revealed that fourth-quarter operating income had slumped by over 30pc to US$3.6bn, a US$1.7bn decline from the record US$5.3bn in operating income reported during the same quarter a year ago. The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch (pictured) also warned in a conference call following the results that the group is planning to charge for news. News Corp, whose assets include TV station Fox, social-networking website MySpace, newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, and the 20th Century Fox film studio, reported a fourth-quarter net loss of US$203m (US$0.08 per share) compared with net income…

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Irish search engine enters GEC cluster

Murgurdy, an Irish search engine start-up, is the first company to enter the Guinness Enterprise Centre’s (GEC) Microsoft BizSpark cluster, and has plans to create 20 new jobs by the end of next year. This move into the world’s first dedicated BizSpark cluster is expected to accelerate the global launch of the Murgurdy search engine by up to nine months, meaning it can be released before the end of 2009. The Mugurdy search engine is a unique image-based service that displays website screenshots in the results field in real-time. The search engine has been in development for two years by the co-founders of the Irish software development company, Software du…

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Two new Mozart compositions discovered

Offering further evidence of the precocious talent of the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, two pieces of music attributed to the composer have been discovered in the back of a music book used in his musical education. The International Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg, Austria has said both are almost certainly unknown compositions by the young Mozart. The pieces, an extensive concerto movement and a prelude, were found at the end of the so-called ‘Nannerl’s Music Book’, which Mozart’s father Leopold had begun to compile in 1759 for his daughter Maria Anna (‘Nannerl’) and which was also used for the musical education of Wolfgang. Although having previously been published in a volume…

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Online video-watching – ‘near universal’ – study

The proportion of online adults in the US who watch videos on video-sharing sites has nearly doubled in the last two-and-a-half years, according to a new study by Pew Research. The study – The Audience for Online Video-Sharing Sites Shoots Up – found that swift growth continues to occur across all demographic groups, far outpacing the adoption rates of many other internet activities. It reveals that 62pc of US adults have watched a video on sites like YouTube and Google Video, up from just 33pc in December 2006. According to the study, online video watching among young adults is ‘near universal’, with 89pc of internet users aged 18 to 29…

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Eircom blames DNS outage on ‘irregular’ traffic volumes

The country’s largest ISP says the outage that caused a DNS outage on its servers and resulted in browsing delays and misdirected traffic was due to ‘unusual and irregular’ volumes of internet traffic. The outage has led to speculation that the company’s servers were hacked. However, the company’s statement neither confirms nor denies this, although it suggests the company may have been the victim of a denial of service attack. “Some customers may have recently experienced delays in web browsing and may have been unable to access the internet. In some cases, customers may have been redirected to incorrect websites. “This issue has been caused by an unusual and irregular…

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