Media October 2013

news in brief

UBS Bank Fined

The Tokyo subsidiary of UBS bank has been ordered to pay $100mn over a recent London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) scandal, Sky News reported on 19 September.

The penalty levied on UBS Securities Japan Co. Ltd. is part of a larger settlement agreed by the parent firm last.

The US Justice Department said starting in September 2006, UBS Japan made false and misleading Libor submissions to the British Bankers Association, which publishes Libor.

It said a senior trader at UBS’ Tokyo office “orchestrated a sustained, wide-ranging and systemic scheme” to manipulate yen Libor to gain a favourable position.

Support Higher for N-Power: Poll

A survey jointly conducted by an Ibaraki body and Cardiff University reveals that British people support nuclear power slightly more than they did in 2005, the Solar Panels UK website reported on 20 September.

The survey, “Public Attitudes to Nuclear Power and Climate Change in Britain Two Years after the Fukushima Accident”, was conducted by the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan and the university.

The poll also shows that fewer people thought there had been changes in the climate than when a similar survey was conducted in 2005.

New Forex Hub

A recent survey shows that Japan has been overtaken as Asia’s largest foreign-exchange centre, while the UK retains second place, media reported on 7 September.

Singapore has risen above Tokyo in the rankings, based on a poll by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

The higher ranking places Singapore behind only the UK and the US in the worldwide currencies trading market, according to BIS. The Forex market in Singapore is one-seventh the size of that in the UK and one-third that in the US.

The BIS survey also cites the yen as having the biggest jump in recent trading activity among major currencies.

Ig Nobel Prizes Go to Studies on Opera and Cows

A Tokyo researcher and a team of scientists from Scotland were among the winners of the 2013 Ig Nobel prizes, The Guardian reported on 13 September.

Masanori Niimi of Teikyo University won the medicine prize. He found that mice that had been given heart transplants survived longer when they listened to classical music rather than other types of music or none at all.

On average, the mice lived seven days, but those that had listened to Verdi’s La Traviata survived 27 days.

Animal scientists at Scotland’s Rural College received the probability prize for their findings on cows’ propensity to stand up after lying down for an extended period.

Suntory Buys Ribena, Lucozade from GSK

The Suntory drinks group has bought the iconic Lucozade and Ribena brands from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for £1.35bn, the BBC reported on 9 September.

The Japanese group already owns drink firm Orangina Schweppes, and has said it sees an opportunity to expand the two brands’ annual sales of over £500mn. The deal should help Suntory enter and grow in new markets.

GSK decided in April 2013 to sell Lucozade, first made in 1927, and Ribena, dating back to 1938. The firm said it is refocusing its strategy to rely more on its consumer healthcare business, namely pharmaceuticals.

First Inflatable Venue

Ark Nova, a giant mobile concert hall designed in part by a British sculptor, began a tour of the regions hit hardest by the 2011 disasters on September 27, The Telegraph reported on 25 September.

The inflatable structure was designed by sculptor Anish Kapoor and architect Arata Isozaki.
Ark Nova’s public debut took place in Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture.

Events at the roving new venue will include orchestral concerts, performances by local artists and cultural workshops.

Cat Café Gets Green Light

Permission has finally been granted to open Britain’s first cat café in East London, The Independent reported on 12 September.

Once Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is built, the owner will select her “feline overlords” from rescue homes.

Cat cafes, where customers can pet their favourite feline while enjoying a coffee, originated in Japan and are also popular in Austria.

Sony Pays Jilted Intern

A 25-year-old intern at Sony Computer Entertainment in Cambridge has been paid £4,600 after filing a complaint with an employment tribunal, the BBC reported on 2 September.

New graduate Chris Jarvis began an unpaid internship with Sony in 2012 to gain experience. He was only to receive reimbursement of his travel expenses.

However, when payment of those expenses was “delayed”, Jarvis asked for the minimum wage, saying he was working the same hours as regular employees. Sony disagreed, saying he did not have to work the hours he did.

Scouser Eyes Guinness Record

A British man says he broke a world record while in Japan for making his eyeballs bulge from their sockets, The Daily Mail reported on 2 September.

John Doyle, from Rainhill, near Liverpool, first displayed his talent on YouTube and immediately became an online sensation. He has since appeared on US and Japanese TV programmes.

Now, he is seeking official recognition from Guinness World Records. He believes he broke the current eye-popping record of 12mm while in Japan, but it was hard to record due to language barriers.