uk

The Royal Baby By the Numbers

The royal baby is just a day old, but he's already joined the family business. Here's a glimpse at some fascinating facts and figures about William and Kate's bundle of joy.

Why Sony 'Accidentally' Gouged Whitney's U.K. Fans

The death of Whitney Houston found nostalgic fans rushing to buy the music icon's catalog of digital works, which means a bittersweet payday for her label Sony Music. But a gaffe overseas is making Sony out to look like a greedy opportunist.

GE Agrees to Buy Wellstream for $1.3 Billion

General Electric Co. (GE) will buy Wellstream Holdings Plc (WSM), a British oilfield-services provider focused on the Brazilian market, for 800 million pounds ($1.3 billion). The deal is worth 786 pence per share of Wellstream, including a 6 pence special cash dividend, Bloomberg News reported. That%u2019s 29% higher than the stock%u2019s closing price on Sept. 20, the day before Wellstream said it had received approaches.

U.K. Banks Face Government Levy

Five U.K. banks may have to pay hundreds of millions of pounds in a levy that aims to charge them for the risks they pose to the country%u2019s economy. The planned bank levy will raise a total of 2.5 billion pounds ($3.59 billion) a year from 2012 onwards, The Wall Street Journal said.

Rolls-Royce Shares Continue Slide on Airbus Concern

Rolls-Royce shares dropped further on Monday as investors fretted about the impact of problems with Rolls-Royce engines on Airbus A380s. Last week, a Rolls-Royce engine exploded during a Qantas Airways (QUBSF) flight from Singapore to Sydney, forcing an emergency landing in Singapore. Today, Qantas said it found oil leaks in the engines of some of its grounded A380s.

Investigators Probe Cause of Qantas Engine Failure

Airbus SAS and Rolls-Royce Group launched an investigation into why an engine on a Qantas Airways (QUBSF) A380 exploded while the plane was in the air, forcing an emergency landing in Singapore. Investigators from aviation authorities in France, Australia and the UK will all join the investigation, Bloomberg News reported.

HSBC May Consider Buying Northern Trust

HSBC (HBC) may be considering a bid for Northern Trust (NTRS), a California-based financial services group, The Daily Mail said. Northern Trust has more than $643 billion of assets under management and counts more than 20% of the wealthiest families in the U.S. among its clients.

U.K. Economy Beats Estimates, Grows by 0.8%

The U.K. economy grew 0.8% in the third quarter, twice as fast as expected. The construction sector helped drive the economy in the third quarter, enjoying its second straight quarter of strong growth, Reuters reported.

UK Unemployment Rises Most in Eight Months

British unemployment claims rose by the most in eight months in September as the economic recovery slowed. Jobless benefits claims rose by 5,300 to 1.47 million, Bloomberg News reported.

U.K. Economy Retreats in Third Quarter

The U.K. economy slowed considerably in the third quarter, following an unusually strong expansion in the second quarter, the British Chambers of Commerce said. To avoid a double-dip recession, the government needs to take further fiscal and monetary actions, the group said.

Increased Government Spending Fuelled UK Economic Growth

A jump in government spending helped fuel the UK%u2019s economic growth in the second quarter, the country%u2019s Office for National Statistics said. Government spending grew 1% in the quarter, the fastest rate in over a year, Bloomberg News reported. This contributed to economic growth of 1.2% for the quarter.

Virgin Group to Enter Hotel Industry

Virgin Group Ltd, founded by U.K. tycoon Richard Branson, plans enter the hotel industry. Virgin will spend as much as $500 million on high-end hotels aimed at "high income, well-educated, metropolitan 'creative class'" customers, Bloomberg News said. The company is scouting for locations in cities including New York, San Francisco and Miami.

Moodys: U.K. Credit Rating Is Safe

The U.K.'s triple-A credit rating is safe, thanks to the government's austerity measures and a flexible economy, rating agency Moody%u2019s said.

UPS Launches Marketing Campaign to Promote Logistics Business

Package-delivery company United Parcel Service (UPS) is launching its largest ever marketing campaign to promote its logistic business to small and medium- sized companies looking to export their products. Print, TV and digital-media ads in the U.S., China, Mexico and the UK will promote UPS logistics with the slogan "We [Heart] Logistics" The Wall Street Journal reported.

London Subway Strike Cripples City Transport

Londoners were forced to take buses, boats and taxis to work as a strike by subway workers crippled service. About 40% of London%u2019s subway trains ran this morning, with one line completely out of service, Bloomberg News reported. The city added about 100 extra buses and a boat with room for 500 people to help alleviate traffic congestion.

HSBC Chairman Will Step Down to Become UK Trade Minister

Stephen Green, the chairman of British bank HSBC (HBC), will step down to become the United Kingdom%u2019s new Trade Minister, BBC News reported. The appointment will be announced later today, BBC News said without naming its sources.

British Economy Grew More Than Estimated in Second Quarter

The British economy grew more than previously thought in the second quarter, boosted by a strong showing in the construction sector. The UK economy grew 1.2% from April through June, the fastest quarterly expansion in more than nine years, the country%u2019s Office for National Statistics said. The previous estimate was growth of 1.1%.

Fear of Higher Taxes Sends More Americans Abroad

Three times as many Americans renounced their citizenship in 2009 as in 2008, and so many are eager to do so for tax reasons, that in some U.S. embassies there's a waiting list to escape from the clutches of Uncle Sam.

UK Taps American Banker to Help Sell Stakes in Lloyds and RBS

The British government hired American investment banker Jim O%u2019Neil to help it manage and sell its stakes in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Lloyds Banking Group (LYG). O%u2019Neil will join United Kingdom Financial Investments (UKFI) in October, The New York Times reported. He is currently head of corporate finance outside the Americas at Bank of America Merill Lynch. He will report to UKFI%u2019s chief executive, Robin Bundenberg.

U.K. Budget Would Levy New Tax on Banks, Hike VAT

In laying out a new budget to tackle Britain's fiscal mess, newly appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has proposed a multibillion-pound bank levy, which will apply to the balance sheets of U.K. banks, as well as a hike in the value-added tax.

Is Facebook Really To Blame for STDs?

Facebook, already blamed by the media for causing divorces, Internet addictions and other social ills, now is being unfairly singled out for contributing to rising cases of syphilis. While the social network is far from perfect, blaming it for rising STDs will only distract people from attacking the root causes of the problem.

S&P Warns Japan of a Downgrade

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's says it may downgrade Japan's current AA sovereign debt to AA-. S&P has officially changed its outlook on Japan's debt from stable to negative. And Japan is a canary in the credit coal mine for the U.S. and U.K.