September 5, 2021
  • 10:08 am Telegraph may hide content behind paywall
  • 10:06 am US companies tweak CEO pay packages ahead of shareholder scrutiny
  • 10:06 am Eurozone rescue fund plans debut bond issue
  • 10:05 am Blacks calls off takeover talks
  • 10:05 am US factory and spending data see solid growth

first_img Read This Next’A Quiet Place Part II’ Sets Pandemic Record in Debut WeekendFamily ProofNew England Patriots’ Cam Newton says no extra motivation from Mac Jones’SportsnautHiking Gadgets: Amazon Deals Perfect For Your Next AdventureFamily ProofBack on the Rails for Summer New York to New Orleans, Savannah and MiamiFamily ProofYoga for Beginners: 3 Different Types of Yoga You Should TryFamily ProofAmazon roars for MGM’s lion, paying $8.45 billion for studio behind JamesFamily ProofIndian Spiced Vegetable Nuggets: Recipes Worth CookingFamily ProofTortilla Mango Cups: Recipes Worth CookingFamily ProofWhat to Know About ‘Loki’ Ahead of Disney+ Premier on June 9Family Proof Share by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeMisterStoryWoman Files For Divorce After Seeing This Photo – Can You See Why?MisterStoryTotal PastThe Ingenious Reason There Are No Mosquitoes At Disney WorldTotal PastMoneyPailShe Was The Dream Girl In The 90s, This Is Her NowMoneyPailSerendipity TimesInside Coco Chanel’s Eerily Abandoned Mansion Frozen In TimeSerendipity TimesPeople TodayNewborn’s Strange Behavior Troubles Mom, 40 Years Later She Finds The Reason Behind ItPeople TodayMagellan TimesThis Is Why The Roy Rogers Museum Has Been Closed For GoodMagellan TimesElite HeraldExperts Discover Girl Born From Two Different SpeciesElite HeraldHealthyGem”My 600-lb Life” Star Dropped 420 Pounds, See Her NowHealthyGemZen HeraldNASA’s Voyager 2 Has Entered Deep Space – And It Brought Scientists To Their KneesZen Herald Telegraph may hide content behind paywall whatsapp KCS-content whatsappcenter_img Telegraph Media Group could soon hide its free online content behind a paywall.Executives at the Telegraph publisher are drawing up plans to follow Rupert Murdoch’s News International in charging for online content.It is understood the Telegraph will offer a combination of free and paid-for content, although no final decisions have been made.The Telegraph currently hosts the third most popular newspaper website in the UK, with 33.9m unique users a month, compared to 50m at the Daily Mail and 37.5m at the Guardian.A Telegraph Media Group spokesperson said: “Like all publishers, TMG continually evaluates the developments in the digital sector. No decisions have been made on the introduction of a paid-content model.”The Times newspaper last month announced it had taken 105,000 digital sales of its online content since it erected its controversial paywall in July.The number includes a series of heavily discounted “early adopter” offers and day passes, as well as iPad and monthly subscription sales. Show Comments ▼ Tuesday 30 November 2010 8:18 pm Tags: NULLlast_img read more

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first_imgWednesday 5 January 2011 2:59 pm US companies tweak CEO pay packages ahead of shareholder scrutiny whatsapp alison.lock LARGE US companies are taking pains to show how compensation is linked to performance as they prepare to present lucrative executive pay packages to shareholders.Nearly half of US firms surveyed by consulting firm Towers Watson were adjusting their pay-setting process ahead of the spring votes required at least every three years under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.The “say-on-pay” votes are non-binding and come after a strong rally in shares and two years of improved corporate earnings, perhaps blunting shareholder anger at packages that averaged $9.25m (£5.95m) for CEOs at S&P 500 companies in 2009. That is 263 times the average worker’s pay, according to AFL-CIO data.But advocates of the measure and some compensation experts say a number of pay packages are likely to be rejected by shareholders, putting pressure on boards to improve compensation practices for chief executives and other top officers.“There’s a very strong awareness in the boardroom that shareholders are going to be paying attention to pay for performance,” said Doug Friske, global leader of compensation at Towers Watson.Some companies had already allowed advisory votes on pay as part of their annual meetings, but the Dodd-Frank law that was enacted last year ensures wide use.Though many companies have already improved compensation practices, they are paying more attention to how they explain their pay policies and taking a second look at the link to performance, according to the survey by Towers Watson.Visa Inc , Johnson Controls and Monsanto Co, for example, have all said they ended or limited some tax gross-ups, which are reimbursements for taxes paid on perks or so-called golden parachutes.Visa also said it ended purely personal use of its corporate aircraft by top executives, a trend seen at many other large U.S. companies in recent years. Show Comments ▼ Tags: NULLcenter_img by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeMisterStoryWoman Files For Divorce After Seeing This Photo – Can You See Why?MisterStoryTotal PastThe Ingenious Reason There Are No Mosquitoes At Disney WorldTotal PastSerendipity TimesInside Coco Chanel’s Eerily Abandoned Mansion Frozen In TimeSerendipity TimesBrake For ItThe Most Worthless Cars Ever MadeBrake For ItBetterBe20 Stunning Female AthletesBetterBeAlphaCute30 Rules That All “Hells Angels” Have To FollowAlphaCuteDefinitionDesi Arnaz Kept This Hidden Throughout The Filming of ‘I Love Lucy’DefinitionTaonga: The Island FarmThe Most Relaxing Farm Game of 2021. No InstallTaonga: The Island Farmthedelite.comNetflix Cancellations And Renewals: The Full List For 2021thedelite.com whatsapp More From Our Partners Police Capture Elusive Tiger Poacher After 20 Years of Pursuing the Huntergoodnewsnetwork.orgFans call out hypocrisy as Tebow returns to NFL while Kaepernick is still outthegrio.comRussell Wilson, AOC among many voicing support for Naomi Osakacbsnews.comAstounding Fossil Discovery in California After Man Looks Closelygoodnewsnetwork.orgKansas coach fired for using N-word toward Black playerthegrio.comNative American Tribe Gets Back Sacred Island Taken 160 Years Agogoodnewsnetwork.orgFort Bragg soldier accused of killing another servicewoman over exthegrio.comBrave 7-Year-old Boy Swims an Hour to Rescue His Dad and Little Sistergoodnewsnetwork.orgColin Kaepernick to publish book on abolishing the policethegrio.comBiden received funds from top Russia lobbyist before Nord Stream 2 giveawaynypost.comMan on bail for murder arrested after pet tiger escapes Houston homethegrio.comSidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin are graying and frayingnypost.comPorsha Williams engaged to ex-husband of ‘RHOA’ co-star Falynn Guobadiathegrio.comSupermodel Anne Vyalitsyna claims income drop, pushes for child supportnypost.comLA news reporter doesn’t seem to recognize actor Mark Currythegrio.comInside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ not-so-average farmhouse estatenypost.comA ProPublica investigation has caused outrage in the U.S. this weekvaluewalk.comI blew off Adam Sandler 22 years ago — and it’s my biggest regretnypost.com Sharelast_img read more

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first_imgMonday 17 January 2011 2:03 pm Share whatsapp Show Comments ▼ alison.lock Eurozone rescue fund plans debut bond issue by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeMisterStoryWoman Files For Divorce After Seeing This Photo – Can You See Why?MisterStoryMoneyPailShe Was A Star, Now She Works In ScottsdaleMoneyPailTotal PastThe Ingenious Reason There Are No Mosquitoes At Disney WorldTotal PastSerendipity TimesInside Coco Chanel’s Eerily Abandoned Mansion Frozen In TimeSerendipity TimesBrake For ItThe Most Worthless Cars Ever MadeBrake For ItBetterBe20 Stunning Female AthletesBetterBeautooverload.comDeclassified Vietnam War Photos The Public Wasn’t Meant To Seeautooverload.comElite HeraldExperts Discover Girl Born From Two Different SpeciesElite HeraldZen HeraldThe Truth About Why ’40s Actor John Wayne Didn’t Serve In WWII Has Come To LightZen Heraldcenter_img THE European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF), the eurozone’s sovereign bailout fund, has appointed the lead managers for its first bond sale, expected next week.Citibank, HSBC and Societe Generale will lead manage the transaction, expected to be a five-year bond sized at between €3-5bn (£2.5-4.2bn).The benchmark issue is part of the financial assistance programme for Ireland, the EFSF said in a statement.“Over 2011 and 2012 EFSF will raise up to €26.5bn in the capital markets as part of the Irish support programme, which will include two further benchmark bonds of €3-5bn per transaction in the current year,” it said.EFSF is rated triple A by the three major rating agencies, Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.“The first EFSF issue is an important transaction for markets and for the euro zone,” the fund’s CEO Klaus Regling said in the statement.“I am confident that the strong position of these highly regarded global institutions in the market will ensure the success of our first issue, helping to restore stability to the sovereign bond markets and protect the euro.”Based in Luxembourg, the EFSF was introduced last year by the European Union to provide a financial safety net for euro zone countries in economic strife.Eurozone finance ministers are discussing an increase to the fund’s effective lending capacity, though France has said it would be March before a firm plan was in place. whatsapp More From Our Partners A ProPublica investigation has caused outrage in the U.S. this weekvaluewalk.comKiller drone ‘hunted down a human target’ without being told tonypost.comAstounding Fossil Discovery in California After Man Looks Closelygoodnewsnetwork.orgInside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ not-so-average farmhouse estatenypost.comPolice Capture Elusive Tiger Poacher After 20 Years of Pursuing the Huntergoodnewsnetwork.orgBiden received funds from top Russia lobbyist before Nord Stream 2 giveawaynypost.comBrave 7-Year-old Boy Swims an Hour to Rescue His Dad and Little Sistergoodnewsnetwork.orgRussell Wilson, AOC among many voicing support for Naomi Osakacbsnews.comNative American Tribe Gets Back Sacred Island Taken 160 Years Agogoodnewsnetwork.org Tags: NULLlast_img read more

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first_img Blacks calls off takeover talks KCS-content whatsapp Show Comments ▼ Tags: NULL whatsapp Share OUTDOOR clothing retailer Blacks Leisure called off talks with potential suitors yesterday, saying none of the proposals were “sufficiently compelling” to take to shareholders. The owner of the Blacks Outdoor and Millets chains said its board would instead focus on supporting the firm’s budding turnaround and opening additional stores. Interested parties were said to include Argos owner Home Retail Group, Lloyds Development Capital and Lion Capital. Blacks shares lost nine per cent yesterday to close at 35p. Read This Next’A Quiet Place Part II’ Sets Pandemic Record in Debut WeekendFamily ProofHiking Gadgets: Amazon Deals Perfect For Your Next AdventureFamily ProofAmazon roars for MGM’s lion, paying $8.45 billion for studio behind JamesFamily ProofIndian Spiced Vegetable Nuggets: Recipes Worth CookingFamily ProofYoga for Beginners: 3 Different Types of Yoga You Should TryFamily ProofBack on the Rails for Summer New York to New Orleans, Savannah and MiamiFamily ProofChicken Bao: Delicious Recipes Worth CookingFamily ProofNew England Patriots’ Cam Newton says no extra motivation from Mac Jones’SportsnautCheese Crostini: Delicious Recipes Worth CookingFamily Proof Wednesday 26 January 2011 9:10 pmlast_img read more

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first_imgMonday 31 January 2011 11:22 am whatsapp US factory and spending data see solid growth Show Comments ▼ Factory data for the US midwest rose to a 22 and a half-year-high in January on strong orders and employment prospects, adding to hopes the US economy will stay on a solid growth path this year.A second dataset has also shown that consumer spending ended 2010 on a firmer footing, a trend expected to continue as the labour market recovery gains traction. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago business barometer rose to 68.8 in January – the highest level since July 1988 – from 66.8 in December. “The manufacturing sector appears to have weathered the slowdown in the middle of last year and growth is now accelerating back towards the pace seen last spring,” said Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics.Economists had expected the index, which gives a first look at the manufacturing sector, to slip to 65.0. A reading above 50 indicates economic expansion. The index was lifted by jump in measures for new orders and employment throughout January.“The factory sector news is an important positive omen for the broader economy, because increased production will yield significant income generation, which in turn will fuel stronger household consumption,” said Joseph LaVorgna, chief US economist at Deutsche Bank Securities in New York.In a separate report, the Commerce Department said spending rose 0.7 per cent in December for the sixth straight month, after rising by 0.3 per cent in November.Wall Street responded positively to the news, with all major indices gaining as investor sentiment improved. “Investors were heartened by solid US consumer spending figures confirming the sixth straight month gains as households delved into their pockets over the Christmas period,” said Giles Watts, head of equities at City Index.Economists had expected spending, which accounts for about 70 per cent of US economic activity, to increase 0.5 per cent last month.Spending in December came as incomes increased 0.4 per cent, in line with economists’ expectations, and savings dropped to their lowest level since March.Savings fell to $614.1bn (£387bn) from $634.4 billion in November. Share whatsapp by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeMoneyPailShe Was A Star, Now She Works In ScottsdaleMoneyPailTotal PastThe Ingenious Reason There Are No Mosquitoes At Disney WorldTotal PastSerendipity TimesInside Coco Chanel’s Eerily Abandoned Mansion Frozen In TimeSerendipity TimesBrake For ItThe Most Worthless Cars Ever MadeBrake For ItBetterBe20 Stunning Female AthletesBetterBeLuxury SUVs | Search AdsThese Cars Are So Loaded It’s Hard to Believe They’re So CheapLuxury SUVs | Search Adsautooverload.comDeclassified Vietnam War Photos The Public Wasn’t Meant To Seeautooverload.comElite HeraldExperts Discover Girl Born From Two Different SpeciesElite HeraldDrivepedia20 Of The Most Underrated Vintage CarsDrivepedia Tags: NULL alison.lock last_img read more

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first_img Share KCS-content BOPARAN’S takeover of Northern Foods was all but sealed yesterday, as rival Greencore walked away from making a counter bid. Ranjit Singh Boparan, who gatecrashed Greencore’s planned merger with Northern last November, bought Northern shares in the open market yesterday while the share price lingered below his 73p offer price, taking the chicken producer’s share up to the maximum 24.99 per cent. His BH Holdings vehicle owned or had approval from 48.25 per cent of Northern Foods’ shares at 1pm yesterday, ahead of a second acceptance cut-off and well before the 60-day takeover deadline. Hedge fund managers GAM International and Crispin Odey are believed to be among those who sold out to Boparan yesterday. Several sources said yesterday that Greencore, which had teamed up with an unnamed private equity player in a bid to better Boparan’s bid, failed to agree with Northern’s pension trustees about tackling its gaping deficit, which runs up to £500m under some measurements.AVI GOLDBERGROTHSCHILD BOPARAN’S bankers were cautious yesterday after the path was cleared for their client’s £342m takeover of Northern Foods. “We hope that this is the end, and that people will now accept the offer,” was one banker’s response to Greencore’s departure from the race, though the news represents the end of an ambitious gatecrashing of what was seen by many in the City as a done deal. Leading the charge for Boparan was Rothschild managing director Avi Goldberg, an M&A veteran with 25 years’ experience in the City. Goldberg is mooted to be the banker behind Duke Street’s expected £215m purchase of noodle chain Wagamama, announced yesterday. Goldman Sachs was added to Boparan’s advisory team mid-way through the negotiations thanks to a quiet word between Goldberg and Goldman’s UK co-head Michael Sherwood, insiders say.TIME LINE | NORTHERN FOODS16 NovemberNorthern Foods and Greencore announce plans for a £510m all-paper merger to create a new firm named Essenta.21 DecemberNorthern reveals an initial approach from Boparan, who starts to build his stake from six per cent to around 11 per cent.21 JanuaryTwo hours after a Takeover Panel deadline, Boparan offers 73p per share, or £342m, which the Northern board accepts.25 JanuaryGreencore hints that it will come back with a new, cash-sweetened offer, sending Northern shares up 17.5 per cent.10 MarchGreencore, after trying to mount a bid with an unnamed private equity partner, decides to walk away, leaving Boparan in the clear. Northern Foods fight over Wednesday 9 March 2011 8:24 pm center_img Tags: NULL Show Comments ▼ whatsapp whatsapplast_img read more

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first_imgThursday 10 March 2011 11:48 am Share alison.lock Show Comments ▼ whatsapp Spain’s Supreme Court barred the head of Santander from working as a banker for three months in an embarrassing blow to 68-year-old Alfredo Saenz and the eurozone’s biggest lender.The ruling is the culmination of a long-running case, centred around a conviction for false accusations against debtors when Saenz headed Santander-owned bank Banesto in 1994.Saenz will appeal against the ban, Santander said, and it expressed confidence that he would stay at the helm of the bank, where he has been for the past nine years.“I don’t think this is going to kick off any change in the top management structure for the time being. Things looked a bit bleaker for Saenz actually a few months ago when the news first came out,” Caja Madrid analyst Javier Bernat said.Saenz’s reputation as a top banker was sealed when he took over the helm of Banesto, the first Spanish bank to be bailed out by the Bank of Spain, turning it around to become one of Spain’s best regarded mid-sized banks.In an unprecedented move, Saenz will ask the government to intercede with the Spanish courts to seek a suspended sentence, Santander said.Saenz had originally been sentenced to six months and one day of prison in 2009. He has since made several appeals.The new ruling confirms that earlier verdict, though in less harsh terms, and Santander said Saenz would seek the suspension of his sentence with the Barcelona court that handled the original case as early as next week.One of the five judges involved in the case had called for Saenz to be absolved.Markets have largely ignored the case, and while Santander’s shares, down 2.4 per cent, were underperforming the European bank sector, analysts said the fall was largely due to a downgrade of Spanish sovereign debt by credit rating agency Moody’s.Santander has aggressively ramped up its size through a slew of acquisitions over the last decade, and Saenz is widely seen as a good complement to flamboyant chairman Emilio Botin, the driving force behind the acquisitions. center_img Tags: NULL whatsapp Santander chief Saenz to fight banking ban last_img read more

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first_img whatsapp Share TOP LAWYERS CALL FOR QUOTAS TO BOOST WOMEN IN THE BOARDROOM SOME of the UK’s most high-powered female lawyers convened at the Southbank Centre on Saturday afternoon to debate the “chronic inequality” at City law firms.The panel, chaired by Denise Jagger from legal practice Eversheds, which organised the event, contained some of the most high-powered women in the industry (pictured right), including Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, deputy vice president of the Law Society; Dame Janet Gaymer, former senior partner of Simmons & Simmons; and Kim Hollis QC, incoming chair of the Bar Council’s Equality and Diversity Committee.The fearsome legal eagles didn’t mince their words, reminding a rapt audience of high-flying female contemporaries that just 15 per cent of High Court judges are women, and only one female judge sits on the Supreme Court.“It’s a disgrace,” thundered Ingrid Simler QC, current chair of the Bar Council’s Diversity and Equality Committee. “The only way to address [the inequality] is by using quotas. If that means women getting jobs because they are women then so be it. Men have been getting appointed because they are men for years!”That’s one step ahead of the coalition government’s Equality Act, which will allow City bosses to discriminate positively towards minorities from next month.However, the majority of the panel were in favour – if only to prevent top lawyers jumping ship due to City firms’ “long hours culture”. Sandie Okoro, general counsel at Barings Asset Management, noted: “Many good female lawyers are leaving law firms before achieving partnership and heading for industry, where diversity has progressed further.”DIFFERENT CLASSHAVE you ever wondered how Secrets, London’s largest table-dancing chain, got its name? Well, as owner Stephen Less told The Capitalist, it is because he was watching the Mike Leigh film Secrets & Lies in the kitchen of his Hammersmith home when his business partner rang asking him to confirm the name of the enterprise.So all eyes should start scanning the TV schedules for clues as to what Less will call his next entertainment launch: a cocktail bar for City boys that will attract a “classier” crowd than his table-dancing haunts.Less has yet to negotiate a deal for the venue, set to open next year, but he is looking at four locations in the West End and two round the corner from the Bank of England – although he has ruled out 14 Cornhill, home of Green’s oyster bar and Aviva Investors.“There are a few reasons why that wouldn’t work for me,” he said. One of them being the fact the building is owned by Libya’s sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority, and Less’s new club would become a tenant of Gadaffi? “I couldn’t possibly comment.”WHO DARES WINSTHE City and horse racing have long enjoyed a close relationship, but today the two worlds moved even closer with the launch of the first-ever tie-up between an old-school bookmaker and a financial spread-better.Bringing the Square Mile to Mayfair is Fitzdares Financial Spreads, a partnership between private bookmaker Fitzdares and Financial World Spreads that will allow Fitzdares’ members to bet on 3,000 City markets alongside the existing spread-betting and sports services. “This is all about enabling those with a taste for risk to exercise it wherever they want,” said Conor Foley, chief executive of World Spreads, on the “one-stop betting environment”. Cheltenham will never be the same again. Sunday 13 March 2011 9:59 pm by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeMisterStoryWoman Files For Divorce After Seeing This Photo – Can You See Why?MisterStoryMoneyPailShe Was A Star, Now She Works In ScottsdaleMoneyPailTotal PastThe Ingenious Reason There Are No Mosquitoes At Disney WorldTotal PastSenior Living | Search AdsNew Senior Apartments Coming to Scottsdale (Take A Look at The Prices)Senior Living | Search AdsSerendipity TimesInside Coco Chanel’s Eerily Abandoned Mansion Frozen In TimeSerendipity TimesBetterBe20 Stunning Female AthletesBetterBeHistorical GeniusHe Was The Smartest Man Who Ever Lived – But He Led A Miserable LifeHistorical Geniusmoneycougar.comThis Proves The Osmonds Weren’t So Innocentmoneycougar.comautooverload.comDeclassified Vietnam War Photos The Public Wasn’t Meant To Seeautooverload.com whatsapp Show Comments ▼ KCS-content Tags: NULLlast_img read more

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first_img Tags: NULL Spring in the air at Bellway as profits rise Share whatsapp More From Our Partners A ProPublica investigation has caused outrage in the U.S. this weekvaluewalk.comAstounding Fossil Discovery in California After Man Looks Closelygoodnewsnetwork.orgFlorida woman allegedly crashes children’s birthday party, rapes teennypost.comBrave 7-Year-old Boy Swims an Hour to Rescue His Dad and Little Sistergoodnewsnetwork.orgMark Eaton, former NBA All-Star, dead at 64nypost.comPolice Capture Elusive Tiger Poacher After 20 Years of Pursuing the Huntergoodnewsnetwork.org980-foot skyscraper sways in China, prompting panic and evacuationsnypost.comRussell Wilson, AOC among many voicing support for Naomi Osakacbsnews.comNative American Tribe Gets Back Sacred Island Taken 160 Years Agogoodnewsnetwork.orgBill Gates reportedly hoped Jeffrey Epstein would help him win a Nobelnypost.comMatt Gaetz swindled by ‘malicious actors’ in $155K boat sale boondogglenypost.comInside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ not-so-average farmhouse estatenypost.comI blew off Adam Sandler 22 years ago — and it’s my biggest regretnypost.comBiden received funds from top Russia lobbyist before Nord Stream 2 giveawaynypost.comConnecticut man dies after crashing Harley into live bearnypost.com‘Neighbor from hell’ faces new charges after scaring off home buyersnypost.comKiller drone ‘hunted down a human target’ without being told tonypost.comSupermodel Anne Vyalitsyna claims income drop, pushes for child supportnypost.com Show Comments ▼ BRITISH homebuilder Bellway expects its profits this year to grow by a third after a strengthening spring market gave encouragement for an increase in sales.Posting a 26 per cent jump in first-half profits yesterday, the company said site visitors and reservations have returned to the pattern of a “traditional spring market” in spite of economists’ gloomy housing market forecasts.“Expectations for this financial year are that profits will grow by a factor of maybe a third,” finance director Alistair Leitch said.Bellway, the UK’s fifth largest housebuilder by market value, said that consumer confidence remained fragile but it was well positioned to increase returns through rising volumes, growing average sales prices and improving margins.Bellway reported a £24m pre-tax profit for the six months to the end of January, up from £19m in the same period a year earlier. It raised its interim dividend by 12 per cent to 3.7p. Wednesday 30 March 2011 7:32 pm whatsapp KCS-content last_img read more

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first_img Clarion conference producer Conor Mulheir contemplates the origins and applications of artificial intelligence and in part one of this two-part feature asks where it all began.When American mathematician Claude Shannon published his paper Programming A ComputerFor Playing Chess in 1950, it would have been difficult to imagine the sophistication of today’s artificial intelligence (AI) and its seeming omnipresence in our business and personal lives.He demonstrated extraordinary foresight with regards to the possibilities this technology would bring to the world.Introducing the potential of a chess playing computer, he said at the time: “Although perhaps of no practical importance, the question is of theoretical interest, and it is hoped that a satisfactory solution of this problem will act as a wedge in attacking other problems of a similar nature and of greater significance”.He went on to outline several potential applications for the technology:1. Machines for designing filters, equalizers, etc. 2. Machines for designing relay and switching circuits. 3. Machines which will handle routing of telephone calls based on the individual circumstances rather than by fixed patterns. 4. Machines for performing symbolic (non-numerical) mathematical operations. 5. Machines capable of translating from one language to another. 6. Machines for making strategic decisions in simplified military operations. 7. Machines capable of orchestrating a melody. 8. Machines capable of logical deduction.Looking back at his technological forecast from a modern perspective, it’s clear Shannon was a true visionary, with many of his predictions having long since been brought to fruition.The chess test In 1997, IBM’s Deep Blue became the first computer system to defeat a reigning world champion in a chess match, beating Garry Kasparov before being retired by its development team.The complexity of chess and its seemingly infinite number of possible moves made this a watershed moment for AI, and one that was hard-won: almost half a century had elapsed between Shannon’s original conception of a chess-playing computer and Deep Blue’s eventual triumph.Of course, the computers of Shannon’s day were incapable of dealing with the quantities of data we’re accustomed to now, and learning to intelligently play chess required systems to deal with an almost endless number of variables.Shannon calculated a conservative lower bound of the game-tree complexity of chess, that is the number of distinct games which could conceivably be played, of 10^120, or 1 followed by one-hundred-and-twenty zeroes.For comparison, there are generally estimated to be around 10^80 atoms in the observable universe. Clearly then, building a computer able to consider even a fraction of these variables was a monumental challenge, and the forty-seven years which elapsed between the publishing of Shannon’s paper and Kasparov’s defeat should be considered relatively rapid progress.In fact, Deep Blue’s developers, among others, were laying the foundations for an ultra-accelerated technological boom this century, during which the capabilities of AI would be compounded and increase exponentially.Building on the chess success Chess is an extremely sophisticated game, but in recent years computer programmers have overcome many even greater challenges.The apparent simplicity of ancient Chinese board game Go, which doesn’t have a range of pieces moving in different ways like chess, may lead some to believe this would be an easier game to programme a computer to play.However, Go is estimated to have a game-tree complexity of around 10^360, meaning there are some 10^240 times as many possible games as in chess.Clearly then, Go was a worthy challenge for Google’s DeepMind developers, whose programme AlphaGo in 2015 became the first computer to beat a human professional player without handicaps on a full-sized 19×19 board.In under 20 years, developers had gone from a computer mastering chess with its game-tree complexity of 10^120, to mastering Go with its complexity of 10^360.The number of variables that AI is finding its way around is increasing exponentially, and shows no sign of slowing down.The DeepMind team has suggested that AlphaGo is a step towards creating algorithms that can intelligently tackle some of today’s greatest scientific challenges, from designing new medicines to accurately modelling the effects of climate change.Bots n’ big blinds Last year, an AI-based computer programme named Libratus was able to beat some of the world’s top pro poker players, prompting one to claim he felt the machine “could see my cards”.This achievement involved further layers of complexity when compared to chess and Go, due to the inherent characteristics of poker.Firstly, chess and Go are both skill-based games with minimal elements of chance, whereas poker is a much subtler mix of the two.In chess and Go, both players also have access to complete information about the game – what pieces their opponent has, what moves they have already played, what moves are available to each player, and so on.In Texas Hold’em, the information offered to both parties is incomplete, and while they can both see what’s on the flop, turn and river, the lack of information about your opponent’s hand is what makes the game worth playing (thanks, Captain Obvious).Furthermore, when considering the use of bluffing and elements of randomness in both betting strategy and cards dealt, we can begin to imagine some of the problems developers have faced in creating a poker-playing bot that can keep up with human play, let alone that of a top-rated professional.Libratus’ success was made possible through machine learning, the process by which the bot is able to ‘practise’, playing against itself and refining its strategies.Clearly, the millions of simulated hours the machine dedicated to this were enough to outsmart even the world’s most formidable players.Machine learning allows AI systems to constantly adapt to new information, change their strategies and effectively analyse action that has already taken place.In fact, it may have been Libratus’ continual learning between games, and its analysis of information from the tournament’s first few days which allowed it to refine its strategies and emerge victorious in the end.Read part two at igamingbusiness.com tomorrow. Topics: Tech & innovation Tags: Online Gambling AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Clarion conference producer Conor Mulheir takes a deep dive into artifical intelligence  Tech & innovationcenter_img 30th August 2018 | By Hannah Gannage-Stewart How many bots does it take to change an industry? (Part 1) Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Email Addresslast_img read more

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