Planet business



The list: Olympic no-nos 

Like the school uniform police you knew and loved from your teenage years, London 2012 organisers Locog sent ticketholders a list of items banned from its army-patrolled venues. So what should be left at home?

1 Excessive amounts of food: Define excessive, please.

2 MasterCard plastic: You can bring your MasterCard with you, but the look on your face when you try to pay for something with it may well indeed be priceless.

3 Oversized hats: A cruel, cruel restriction.

4 Boxy handbags: Leave your hard-sided mini-suitcase-style handbags to Alexa Chung and other accessory experimenters, as only one 25-litre “soft-sided” bag is allowed.

5 Vuvuzelas: On behalf of the entire television audience of London 2012, let’s just say Locog have our full support on this one.

The lexicon: The White List

The “white list” is the group of countries that are recognised as financially transparent when it comes to money laundering – “white list” countries tend to frown on that kind of behaviour. The Vatican is now desperately trying to get itself on the European Union’s “white list”, but a report by Moneyval, the European body that vets banks, gave the Vatican Bank a negative grade on seven out of 16 key areas and says it needs to show itself to be a lot keener in reporting those suspicious transactions.

Image of the week

After a lifetime of banqueting, Queen Elizabeth has had enough of all that endless etiquette, speechifying and small talk and now just wants to get down to business with a Quarter Pounder and perhaps a McFlurry to wash it down.

This is her not-so-subtle way of letting her subjects know – or maybe she just happened to be arriving to the City of Varieties Music Hall in Leeds yesterday and royal photographer Arthur Edwards seized his chance. Either way, it’s good news for everyone’s favourite Olympic sponsor.

In numbers: Scorched earth


The number of years since the drought in the US midwest’s crop belt has been as bad as it is this summer, wilting crops and sending corn and soy prices to record highs.


The temperature in Celsius in Iowa on Wednesday, with no rain. The build-up in heat continues to cause crop losses, with the damage spreading to 70 per cent of the nine-state midwest region.


The percentage climb in corn prices on the Chicago Board of Trade over the past six weeks, as global stockpiles depleted.

Getting to know: David Wild

David Wild is a man whose corporate demise this week should strike fear into the hearts of any business owner or executive who has to do nothing more than take a brief glance at the sky to get depressed. Wild has been undone by the weather – wet and wild weather, appropriately enough. The chief executive of British bicycle retailing chain Halfords has quit after “appalling” rain decimated sales of its bike and, um, camping products by 10 per cent. In the language of company management statements, rubbish weather translates into “uncertain trading conditions”. Wild is now seeking “fresh challenges elsewhere”.