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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 2 March 2011

Rowley appointed HMV chairman

Philip Rowley who was appointed as a director of HMV three years ago, is to become chairman of the struggling music store chain. Mr Rowley, a former chief executive of AOL Europe and who has also worked for EMI, replaces Robert Swannell. MORE

Bernanke warns of oil ‘threat’ to US

Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, told Congress he saw recent oil price rises as only a temporary cause of inflation, but warned that “sustained rises in oil and other commodities would be a threat both to economic growth and to overall price stability”.

Another strike ballot at British Airways

British Airways cabin crew are to cast their fourth vote in the past two years on whether to hold a strike after the Unite union began balloting them in the long-running dispute with the airline. If the ballot backs another round of industrial action, the earliest strike would be in April. The airline said it hoped the union would settle the dispute.

SEC files charges in Galleon scandal

A former Goldman Sachs director, Rajat Gupta, faces insider trading charges in the US amid accusations from the Securities and Exchange Commission that he tipped off the founder of hedge fund Galleon Group about the bank’s earnings.

King warns of lost living standards

Britain has suffered a drop in living standards that may never be recovered as a result of the financial crisis, the Governor of the Bank of England has warned. Mervyn King also signalled he did not yet feel ready to raise interest rates, dismissing calls for a small increase in order to address rising inflation expectations. MORE

Insurers hit with gender pricing ban

Insurers will have to rethink the way they price products ranging from car insurance to annuities following a European Court of Justice ruling they may not take policholders’ gender into account in charges. MORE

Rolls-Royce shows electric Phantom

Luxury car-maker Rolls-Royce has unveiled a fully electric version of its Phantom saloon. The model is a one-off prototype on display at the Geneva motor show, but chief executive Torsten Muller-Otvos said he hoped the electric Phantom would help change attitudes. “We can’t use 12- cylinder engines for ever,” he said.

Petrol prices rise to record high

The price of unleaded petrol has hit a new record, averaging 130p per litre, Experian Catalist, the industry analyst, said. It warned that the price of petrol is now up by 6p a litre since the end of 2010, with higher VAT and fuel duty adding to the inflationary impact of the oil price spike caused by tensions in the Middle East.

Broadband deals not up to speed

Ofcom, the telecoms industry regulator, has accused many of Britain’s biggest broadband providers of failing to deliver an internet service at anywhere near the speeds advertised – and paid for by customers. Ofcom, which conducts a survey of broadband speeds annually, said standards were actually getting worse and called on advertising watchdogs to take action against companies that misled customers. MORE

Discount grocers stage a comeback

Aldi and Lidl, the discount supermarkets, are the big winners in the latest survey of grocers’ market share from Kantar, the industry analyst. It said that both had increased sales by almost 14 per cent over the past three months, twice the rate achieved by the big grocers, adding to speculation that cash-strapped consumers are seeking to save cash wherever they can. MORE

Karen Millen set to go up for sale

Aurora Fashions, the British retail group, in which Iceland’s failed Kaupthing Bank holds a majority stake, has unveiled plans to split off its Karen Millen business. Retail analysts said the move was likely to be the first step in a process that will eventually see the sale of Aurora’s largest and most profitable business.

Administration for Clinton’s Irish unit

Clinton Cards has put the Irish end of its Birthdays chain into administration. The Essex-based cards and gifts retailer said it was taking action because all 14 stores currently trading as Birthdays in the Republic of Ireland were loss making. None of its Clinton Cards or Birthdays stores in the UK are affected by the decision.

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Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment