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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Cable considers HBOS bankers action

Category : Business, World News

Vince Cable launches moves which could lead to three former HBOS directors being banned from serving as company bosses.

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Gold prices fall as Cyprus fears ebb

Category : Stocks

Gold prices have pulled back as Cyprus moves away from crisis mode, but it may just be a temporary blip.

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Australia home loan approvals slide

Category : World News

Home loan approvals in Australia decline for a third straight month despite moves by the central bank to lower the cost of borrowing.

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WPP’s Sorrell reignites tax row

Category : World News

As Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of advertising group WPP, moves his HQ back to London, his comments could reignite the corporation tax row

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Best and worst IPOs of 2012

Category : Business, Stocks

The 2012 IPO story was about more than just Facebook. Here are the best and worst overall performers this year, factoring in both first-day moves and 6-month performance.

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Fifteen-minute meals and breakdancing mice: the gifts of Christmas future | Charlie Brooker

Category : Business

The most popular gifts this festive season speak volumes about us as a species

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a perfunctory series of interpersonal product exchanges, and 2012 is no exception. Money itself may be having a nervous breakdown but the shops are still heaving with delighted customers, most of them experiencing a surge of capitalist euphoria so intense their faces simply can’t interpret it properly, and instead have to make do with broadcasting a frozen, bewildered expression; the face of someone quietly praying for a stun gun to the temple or some Dignitas vouchers for Christmas.

What are these people buying, what does it say about us as a species, and which of these gifts has the potential to destroy humankind? A glance at the top 10 gift lists offers a few pointers. For instance, right now, the No1 title on Amazon is Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals, which implies we have half as much leisure time as we did two years ago when his previous bestseller, 30-Minute Meals, topped the charts. Presumably he’ll continue slicing that preparation length in half until he arrives at Jamie’s 12-Attosecond Meals, the smallest possible measurement of time. You won’t have to actually cook the dishes in 12-Attosecond Meals because it’ll be printed with a new form of e-ink consisting of edible atoms of light. Simply look at the pictures and your brain instantly absorbs the meal through your eyeholes, like a sponge soaking up coloured water. That’s just dandy when you’re gazing at a lamb chop with mint sauce, but the downside to this technology is that each time you glance at the image of Jamie on the front cover you’ll absorb some of him, too. The smell of his skin. His salivating maw. Microscopic flecks of unrinsed shampoo. His earwax. You’ll unwillingly savour it all, and the aftertaste will linger on your mind’s tongue for several hours afterwards. Merry Christmas.

Many of this year’s most popular toys are too advanced for anyone over the age of 13 to process without experiencing some sort of existential vertigo. Take the Wonderbook. Have you seen the Wonderbook? Unlike the Jamie Oliver thing I just invented, it’s real, yet somehow harder to explain. It’s a hi-tech augmented reality pop-up book. Hold it in your hands and it resembles a book full of giant barcodes. However, place it on the floor and let your PlayStation peer at it (and you) through a camera, and everything springs to life on-screen, so instead of a loser with a wordless book of barcodes, you look like a magic wizard reading a magic book with all tentacles and pumpkins and lightning bolts flying out of it. Your life hasn’t really changed. You still have to go to the toilet and everything, like a basic animal. But for a few moments at least, fantasy life and real life merged into one.

It’s not fair. When I was a kid, the most advanced toy was Mouse Trap, the anti-climactic boardgame that never worked the way the advert promised it did, and was apparently designed to teach kids to distrust machinery. Plastic boots and the occasional ball bearing was as cutting edge as rodent culture got in the 70s. Today there’s Master Moves Mickey.

I recently saw Master Moves Mickey advertised on television and screamed like Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. This kind of thing has no place in our world. It’s a battery-operated breakdancing Mickey Mouse robot. I repeat: a battery-operated breakdancing Mickey Mouse robot. It talks. It dances. It does handstands while spinning its legs through 360 degrees, like a motorised whisk. If it topples over it asks nearby children for help. And it’s absolute bullshit. For one thing, Mickey Mouse has always been the least cool Disney character, the Michael Gove of anthropomorphic animals, so seeing him dressed in hip-hop gear (complete with sideways baseball cap) is disgusting on some primal level.

Furthermore, his limbs look horribly stiff, as though rigor mortis is setting in, so rather than dancing, he teeters and shudders, like an ageing b-boy practising his moves several months after undergoing a full skeleton transplant. If this is anything to go by, robots are still 1,000 years away from conquering humankind. Microwave ovens’ll get there first.

Or will they? Because another top seller is the relaunched, reinvented Furby, which has returned, smarter and more likely to claim a year-long role at the forefront of your child’s nightmares than ever. It now has animated displays for eyes and develops hilarious emotional disorders when mistreated. Leave it on a shelf where it can overhear your conversation, and it’ll gradually learn to annoy you in English. It also makes fart sounds and yells like Tarzan. It’s a wanker, basically, but an advanced one; one you “feed” using a smartphone app that lets you design custom-built sandwiches according to its whims.

You have to wonder who’s the master and who’s the slave in this relationship. And the inclusion of increasingly sophisticated personality traits is worrying, as traits can easily mutate into flaws. What happens when they create an army of future Furbies which, thanks to some hideous psychological bug, demand to be kept fully sexually satisfied at all times? Because sadly, that’s inevitable. And when it happens, it’s really going to knacker the festive mood.

Stocks fall on fiscal finger pointing

Category : Business

Investors welcome upbeat economic data and moves by global central bankers. But the stalemate in Washington over the fiscal cliff continues to weigh on the market.

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Further lettings regulation urged

Category : Business

Surveyors call for more regulation of lettings agents, following recent moves to crack down on the charging of unlawful fees.

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New driver passenger ban ‘mulled’

Category : Business

Moves to ban young drivers from carrying anyone except family members as passengers might be considered by ministers, reports suggest.

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New driver passenger ban ‘mulled’

Category : Business, World News

Moves to ban young drivers from carrying anyone except family members as passengers might be considered by ministers, reports suggest.

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