Blue cheese block, Lourdes knock and pay day for The Rock

Planet Business: Unedifying chapters all round

Cures welcome: French economy and finance Minister Bruno Le Maire  in a souvenir shop near the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

Cures welcome: French economy and finance Minister Bruno Le Maire in a souvenir shop near the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

 

Image of the week: Miracles needed

A masked French economy and finance minister Bruno Le Maire had a hopeful gander round a souvenir shop near the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Catholic pilgrim site of Lourdes, southwestern France early this week. Like Leo Varadkar in the Dublin shoe shop, retail therapy was not the main reason for him for being there, however. Accompanied by two ministerial colleagues, Le Maire dropped in on Lourdes – where businesses have lost about 80 per cent of their revenues as a result of cancelled pilgrimages – to announce an extension to France’s aid package for the tourism sector. Prayers were not included.

In numbers: Stilton rumpus

€113,000 The paltry size in euro of the UK’s Stilton exports to Japan. Trade talks between the two nations have stalled over the future tariff treatment of the blue cheese as UK trade secretary Liz Truss is pushing for a symbolically tastier deal than the Japan-EU one.

66% “We import two-thirds of our cheese. That. Is. A. Disgrace,” Truss declared to the 2014 Conservative party conference. Her emphatic passion for this statistic went viral, with the clip shown on the BBC’s Have I Got News For You every time Truss’s name comes up.

7 With the population of the EU almost seven times that of the UK, Japan is unlikely to want to offer a more favourable trade deal to the latter, meaning negotiators may be having nightmares over this blue cheese wedge for some time yet.

Getting to know: Scott Tracey

Australian BP employee Scott Tracey was fired in 2018 for sharing a version of the much-parodied Downfall bunker scene – the one where Hitler gets a bit upset – mocking the energy giant’s approach to pay negotiations. After initially losing his unfair dismissal case, an appeal tribunal agreed he hadn’t actually been comparing his bosses to Nazis, so Tracey went back to work at a BP refinery near Perth earlier this year. This week, despite its best arguments, BP was told it must pay Tracey his full earnings, bonuses and pension payments for the lost work period. Describing the episode as “a truly unedifying chapter for BP management”, his union representative said an honest worker had been dragged through almost two years of stress “all because a few stuffed shirts didn’t get a joke”.

The list: Highest earning actors

How are the rich and successful doing? Wealth-tracking magazine Forbes has released its list of the best-paid actors, with its big headline being how much those Netflix cheques are worth nowadays.

5. Vin Diesel. Edging Bollywood star Akshay Kumar into sixth place, Diesel pulled in $54 million despite the postponement of Fast and Furious instalment F9.

4. Ben Affleck. The 1990s survivor raked in $55 million in the year to June 2020, apparently.

3. Mark Wahlberg. Another guy who has been around for what seems like forever, the Spenser Confidential star earned $58 million, according to Forbes.

2. Ryan Reynolds. The Netflix darling made $71.5 million, which really just goes to show... something.

1. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. With $87.5 million added to his bank balance, Johnson’s second consecutive year at the top is a victory for consistency in a world gone mad.

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