News

The City had its eye on the break-up of consumer goods giants yesterday as Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser were in the spotlight.

Arts community unites to call for release of dissident Ai Weiwei

A global campaign was gathering pace last night for the release of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who was detained by authorities on Sunday while attempting to board a flight from Beijing to Hong Kong.

Businesses urged to 'radically change' way they promote women

The Davies report calls on leading firms to fill one in four board positions with women by 2015 – or face compulsory quotas

Investment Column: GSK is healthy, and it's not just the drugs

Unilever; RPS Group

PG Tips maker agrees to halt animal tests on its tea

The maker of PG Tips has agreed to stop testing its teas on animals, after activists threatened to launch a name-and-shame publicity campaign to highlight the company's experiments on rabbits, rats and pigs.

Nudge or fudge? Public health fears as Lansley retreats from regulation

Tougher regulation of junk food, smoking and cheap alcohol cast aside as Government prefers to ‘encourage’ better public health

Cash Ventures: Oxfam chief in talks to raise a 'fund of funds'

Dame Barbara Stocking, chief executive of Oxfam GB, is in talks with European financial services groups about creating a "fund of funds". This would raise capital to invest directly in projects to help would-be entrepreneurs in some of the world's poorest regions.

Business Diary: Amazon's promo for Poundland

Much sound and fury already about Amazon's "lightning deal" pre-Christmas promotions that require you to have the reaction times of an Olympic athlete on your mouse if you want to get the really good prices. We'd advise anyone unhappy with the promotion to follow the advice of one customer, which was prominently displayed on the main deal page. They were highlighting the place to get real bargains from: Poundland. Funny how the post didn't last terribly long but we were tickled by a couple of alternatives that popped up yesterday: "Wowee, something I actually wanted," said one, along with, "What a load of cr*p". So they're not silencing all the critics just yet.

Veteran comic – and Albania's favourite – Sir Norman Wisdom dies, aged 95

Charlie Chaplin called him his "favourite clown," and generations of British filmgoers would have wholeheartedly agreed.

Quorn sale to carve chunk out of Premier's debt

Premier Foods yesterday said it was considering offers for its meat substitute business including "Quorn". The company said it had "received approaches" for the business – which could be worth up to £250m – and was now considering a possible sell-off.

Unilever takes fight to P&G with Alberto Culver deal

Unilever has agreed a $3.7bn (£2.3bn) deal to buy the personal care company Alberto Culver, in a move that will see it overtake Procter & Gamble (P&G) as the world's leading manufacturer in the hair conditioning market.

Why your sustainable fish may not be as guilt-free as you think

Since its establishment more than a decade ago, the reputation of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has been as spotless as the consciences of shoppers who buy fish bearing its blue "tick" logo in the expectation it has been sustainably caught. Until now.

Rising costs at Unilever

The consumer goods giant Unilever has missed its second-quarter targets on sales and margins and warned that it expects slow economic growth to continue in developed markets.

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