News Cecil Martin, former AFL star

Premier League footballers are not doing enough to help disadvantaged young people, according to the American sportsman recruited by Boris Johnson to mentor London’s teenagers.

Lucky escape for the diamond company

A SENIOR executive of De Beers, the diamond company, has recently been trying to persuade the vicar at his Surrey church to pray for peace in Angola. Every Sunday, the congregation currently prays for Botswana because some parishioners have connections with an aid project there.

Out of Russia: A frozen asset that only the rich may endure

YAKUTSK - When Pyotr Beketov seized this particular patch of permafrost - three times the size of France - with 30-odd Cossacks in 1632 he reported his dismal conquest back to the tsar: 'I shed my blood for you, Sire, and defiled my spirit and ate mare's meat and roots and fir bark and all kinds of filth.'

Russian diamond threat to De Beers

DE BEERS, the South African diamond group, has blamed unauthorised sales of Russian stones for a predicted sharp drop in rough diamond sales over the second half of the year.

De Beers protects its diamond cut

DESPITE achieving record rough diamond sales in the first six months of this year, the De Beers- controlled Central Selling Organisation has decided against boosting quotas for producer countries.

Art Market: Ascot of the antiques set: The socially aspiring Grosvenor House fair is 60 this year. Geraldine Norman reviews its troubled history

NEXT Wednesday, the Princess Royal will open the Grosvenor House Art and Antiques Fair at the lavish hotel in Park Lane from which it takes its name. It's the biggest event of the year in the British antiques trade. Dealers who take stands in the hotel ballroom like to suggest that it rivals Ascot and Henley as a magnet for the social elite.

BOOK REVIEW / Cruelty under a bright blue sky: 'Innocents in Africa' - Drury Pifer: Granta, 15.99

In 1932 two youthfully idealistic people left an America bludgeoned by the slump, and set sail for Africa. Both had struggled up from poor backgrounds. Both had fought to get educated. She was a librarian. She loved poetry and the arts. He had become a mining engineer because of an attraction for metals. A passage in Spengler's The Decline of the West expressed him, he felt. 'The early artificers, in particular the metal smiths, appeared to those around them as somehow uncanny . . . The primary trade of all is the metal trade. On this foundation arise the techniques of higher cultures.' The pair had so little money they could not meet the immigration requirements of South Africa, but a Rand engineer who admired Gus Pifer backed him.

De Beers enjoys retail boost

DE BEERS, the South African mining group, saw 1993 pre-tax profits rise 21 per cent from dollars 491m to dollars 595m on the back of rising diamond jewellery sales, Reuters reports.

God and Mammon vie in the heart of darkness: Diamonds and religion keep Kisangani alive, Richard Dowden writes from a Zaire town whose history is steeped in blood

KISANGANI is a dead town with bad dreams. I spend my nights with God but I eat with Mammon. I sleep at the Catholic mission but during the day I wander up the street to the diamond-buying office owned by De Beers. God and diamonds are the only things which generate activity in this town. I suppose the only other thing they have in common is that both are based on faith - religion and the value of diamonds are all in the mind; they have no practical use.

Commodities: Rock of ages, value changeable

THIS may be the year that you decide to buy a significant piece of jewellery for a loved one, or for yourself. But once you've made the decision to part with the money, selecting jewellery is not as straightforward as it might seem.

Profile: The beast beneath the sea: Sir Alastair Morton, abrasive Channel tunneller

SIR Alastair Morton, chief executive of Eurotunnel, the Channel tunnel operator, ought to be a heroic figure. It is, after all, largely thanks to him that Britain finds itself physically reunited with the Continent for the first time since the Ice Age. From this summer, Paris will be a mere three-hour train journey from central London and Calais a 33-minute hop from Folkestone.

Russians accused of breaking diamond agreement

THE CENTRAL Selling Organisation, the De Beers-owned group that controls nearly 90 per cent of the world's diamond sales, has accused Russia of breaching its agreement with the CSO to sell all Russia's gem quality diamonds.

Pembroke: Token gestures are heap good sense

IMI, the Birmingham metal- basher, continues to benefit from an unlikely source: casinos built on American Indian plantations. IMI has developed a flourishing business making the tokens that gamblers slot into one-armed bandits. And it spent dollars 3m buying another token company yesterday.

Cricket: Steps toward a team of many colours: Glenn Moore reports from Johannesburg as South Africa awaits its first black Test player

THE hunt is on in South Africa for the first black Test cricketer. Will it be Walter Masemola, the fast bowler from Alexandra, the Sowetan batsman Geoffrey Toyana or the Port Elizabeth all-rounder Kenneth Mahuwa?

BOOK REVIEW / Crystalline romance, or just a form of carbon?: The Last Empire - Stefan Kanfer: Hodder & Stoughton, pounds 19.99

THERE must have been a time when everybody knew a De Beers story. My grandfather has often told one about a boyhood friend who was famous in the diamond business as the only man who did De Beers down over a trade. The name was surrounded by such mystique that even without knowing anything about De Beers, this sounded like a formidable achievement.
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