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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 20 February 2013

Amplats mines shut after strikes

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has suspended production across its South African mines after workers stayed away in the wake of violent strikes at one of its mines. At least 13 workers were injured by rubber bullets and machetes at Amplats' Siphumelele shaft after clashes between rival unions on Monday.

PM in row over Japan bank boss

The appointment of a new Bank of Japan governor has been delayed by a disagreement between the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Finance Minister, Taro Aso. The two are reported to be at odds over Japan's plans to jump-start its economy, and the right BoJ candidate to carry out the plans in Asia's second-biggest economy.

Eurotunnel casts ferries adrift

Eurotunnel could be forced to sell the ferry business it bought less than a year ago from the collapsed operator SeaFrance, after the competition watchdog ruled that its purchase would mean "prices would rise" for cross-Channel passengers and freight. SeaFrance collapsed in November 2011, and Eurotunnel bought three of its ferries.

Drax feels the chill with profits dip

The coal-fired power generator Drax has reported a 10 per cent dip in full-year profits to £298m as it plans to convert to biomass fuel and higher costs take their toll. Drax is converting to biomass as rising coal prices squeeze its profits and the Government offers subsidies to lift energy generated from renewable sources to hit EU targets.

Nearly 1,000 jobs to go at Danone

Danone, the company behind Activia yogurt and Evian water, has revealed plans to cut 900 jobs across Europe. The French food giant said it needed to cut costs to offset a "significant decline" in sales. The job losses are likely to be spread over a two-year period across 26 European countries.

Brighter outlook for Germany

Germany looks to be on track to shake off its decline at the end of last year, as analyst and investor confidence in Europe's economic engine room jumped to its highest level for nearly three years in February. The ZEW think-tank's sentiment indicator soared to 48.2 from 31.5 in January, ahead of forecasts.

IHG's Park Lane hotel on the block

The InterContinental Hotel in London's Park Lane has been put up for sale with a price tag of at least £200m. Jones Lang LaSalle has been hired agent for one of the biggest single hotel sales in London recently. InterContinental Hotel Group's profits rose by 10 per cent to $614m.

Novartis ditches 'golden gag' fee

Mounting shareholder anger over executive pay in Switzerland forced the drugmaker Novartis to scrap a £50m "golden gag" it was proposing to pay its departing chairman Daniel Vasella. He was to receive the payout to keep him from sharing his inside knowledge with rivals.

Europe's car sales heading downhill

Car sales in Europe skidded to a fresh low last month, falling 8.5 per cent below the number driven off forecourts in January 2012. That's according to the Association of European Automakers, which said registrations fell to 918,280 new cars.

Rank £205m deal for Gala approved

Britain's competition regulator today gave the green light for Rank to complete its takeover of Gala Casinos. The Competition Commission said the £205m deal could go ahead provided some changes are made to the small print.

Career Services

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Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

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Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

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Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

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As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

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Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
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Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride