Planet Business

This week: Football PhDs, Murdoch on Myspace and the ‘Operation’ game inventor who can’t afford surgery

This is Mexican telecoms magnate Carlos Slim, who used to be the richest man in the world, having a natter with Rupert Murdoch, who used to be one of the most powerful – alright, he still is. Indeed, we can surely expect sky-blue socks with pink spots to be all the rage among male media executives by next spring. The two men adopted matching cross-legged poses at the Wall Street Journal's WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California, on Wednesday. "We just messed it up," Murdoch said at one point of Myspace, the social network that News Corp acquired for $580 million in 2005 and sold for an embarrassing $35 million six years later. Photograph: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

In Numbers: Surgical intervention


Sum that

John Spinello

, the US creator of the popular battery-powered board game



, sold the game for to a toy firm in the 1960s. It was later licensed to the Milton Bradley Company and became a top-seller.

$25,000 Amount that friends of Spinello (77) are trying to fundraise to pay for oral surgery he now needs himself. Spinello received no royalties from his invention.

$8,000 Money that had been raised as of earlier this week, when the story went viral under headlines such as "Operation inventor can't pay for own operation". The Lexicon: Warblr Warblr is Shazam for birds. In other words, it's an app that can automatically recognise bird sounds and identify them for your ornithological pleasure. The two British scientists behind the app, which is still in development, hope to launch it in time for next spring. Bird noises are a little trickier to name than recorded music, however. "It's really surprisingly difficult to recognise automatically any particular bird, what species it is, because a single species can make a different sound, depending on the time of day, depending on how old it is, depending on whether it is mating or not," co-founder Dan Stowell told the BBC. Still, with a little fine-tuning, Warblr may eventually be the app of choice for birders. Who needs David Attenborough?

Getting to know: Vincent Tan Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan will be known to football fans as the owner of Cardiff City, which had the misfortune to be relegated to the Championship at the end of the last Premier League season. Tan now says that owning the Welsh club is "like doing a PhD in football management" and it's a decent analogy, for if there's one thing everyone doing a PhD will tell you, it is that it's a painful, drawn-out process racked with moments of despair. Tan, who also owns the side FK Sarajevo in Bosnia, has not been deterred. He plans to buy another football club in Europe and perhaps one in the US for good measure.

The list: Down-to-business countries Ireland came 13th in the World Bank's revised rankings of the easiest countries in which to do business. But where are the paradises in which red tape is not a problem? 1 Singapore: This is the ninth consecutive year in which Singapore has topped this particular World Bank poll. 2 New Zealand: The country is brilliant for starting a business and the related task of getting credit, though not so hot on "getting electricity". 3 Hong Kong: The "Special Administrative Region" of China is not great for democracy, but amazingly that doesn't trouble the corporations based there. 4 Denmark: Someone alert Enda Kenny. With a population of just 5.6 million, Denmark is officially the Best Little Country in the World to do Business. 5 South Korea: The country with the noisy neighbour was ranked ahead of Norway, the US, the UK, Finland and Australia, which comprised the rest of the top 10.