Business Daily

Business Daily

United Kingdom

The daily drama of money and work from the BBC.


Machine Learning  

Machines are about to get a lot smarter and machine learning will transform our lives. So says a report by the Royal Society in the UK, a fellowship of many of the world's most eminent scientists. Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence that's already being used to tag people in photos, to interpret voice commands and to help internet retailers to make recommendations. Manuela Saragosa hears about a new technology that's set to revolutionise computing, developed by a UK company called Graphcore. Manuela talks to Graphcore's chief executive Nigel Toon, who's taking on the AI giants. And Manuela hears how we are 'bleeding data' all the time. Dr Joanna Bryson from the University of Bath and Professor Amanda Chessell, an IBM Distinguished Engineer and Master Inventor, explain how our data is being used. (Picture: A robot pours popcorn from a cooking pot into a bowl at the Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI) of the University of Bremen, Germany. March 2017. Credit: INGO WAGNER/AFP/Getty Images)

French Election: Macron Versus Le Pen  

Centrist Emmanuel Macron will face Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election. Is it now a straight choice between globalism and protectionism? Joe Miller reports from a Macron election party in the French city of Lille, where supporters say the success of their candidate is a success for Europe. Suzanna Streeter discusses Macron's prospects against Le Pen in the final vote in two weeks' time from Paris. And Anna Stupnytska, global economist at fund managers Fidelity International, is in the studio to explain why the financial markets are so happy. Plus regular commentator Lucy Kellaway on why chatting in the office has gone out of fashion. (Photo: Emmanuel Macron, Credit: Getty Images)

French Elections: Meet the Candidates  

As France prepares for the first round of its presidential election on Sunday, Theo Leggett looks at the economic factors driving the candidates' fortunes, and the financial consequences of the outcome. On a visit to rural Provence, Theo meets the struggling farmers who feel that Marine Le Pen of the far right Front National is the only candidate who cares about their plight. Dominique Moisi of think tank the Institut Montaigne in Paris gives the run-down of what is a particularly colourful field dominated by outsiders. And James Bevan of CCLA Investment Management explains how the markets are likely to react, particularly in what for many investors would be the worst case scenario of a far rights versus far left run-off election. (Picture: A woman walks past electoral posters of French presidential election candidates; Credit: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Is North Korea Feeling the Heat from China?  

Does Beijing really have economic leverage over Pyongyang? And even if they do, are they willing to use it? Presenter Manuela Saragosa hears from one expert - Professor Stephen Noerper of Columbia University - who has his doubts. Also in the programme, how will Brexit affect the UK's all important financial services sector? Matthew Price reports from a nervous City of London on the banks, insurance companies and fund managers warily eyeing the door. (Picture: A North Korean factory billows smoke near the Yalu river on the Chinese border; Credit: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

A Snap Election in Britain  

The British Prime Minister Theresa May is proposing a general election for June 8th - and it will be a poll all about Brexit. Mrs May says political divisions are risking Britain's ability to make a success of its departure from the European Union. So will the result of the poll give the prime minister a firm mandate in her negotiations with the EU, and perhaps help her to wangle a better Brexit deal? Manuela Saragosa talks to the BBC's Dominic O'Connell who's been gauging opinion amongst business leaders, including Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of advertising giant WPP. And the ethics of digital design. Are we unable to tear ourselves away from computers and TV because we are weak - or because the digital designers are manipulating us unfairly? (Photo: British Prime Minister Theresa May, Credit: Getty Images)

What Does 'America First' Really Mean?  

How will Donald Trump set about fulfilling his pledge to "buy American, hire American"? Former George W Bush advisor Pippa Malmgren tells presenter Manuela Saragosa how much we should read into the current US President's sabre rattling over trade relations with China and other big exporting nations, as well as his plans to roll back the H-1B visa scheme used in particular to hire Indians in the tech sector. Also in the programme, the future of transport. Dave Lee reports on whether there is any justification for electric vehicle producer Tesla's $50bn stock valuation beyond founder Elon Musk's equally enormous personality. Meanwhile in China, Stephen McDonell reports on how rented bicycles are becoming so popular that they are literally piling up in the streets. Plus, Lucy Kellaway on why she has flagrantly disregarded the corporate code of conduct of her employer, the Financial Times. (Picture: President Donald Trump shows off a “Make America Great Again” cap; Credit: Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

Handmade by Hipsters  

In today's Business Daily Elizabeth Hotson delves into the secrets of the backstory. A compelling tale is now de rigueur when it comes to selling us things, especially in the food industry; whether it's a bar of chocolate or a cup of coffee, provenance is everything. We take a trip round London's trendy Shoreditch area with man about town and marketing expert, Peter York who explains why being 'handmade by hipsters' can justify sky high prices. Down in the depths of the British Library, Polly Russell tells us how the idea of the backstory came about. We take a leisurely stroll across town to London Bridge where Tom Sellers takes time out from service at his restaurant, Story, to wax lyrical about his culinary pièce de résistance - an edible candle. Steve Sutton, a Colombian in New York insists that sourcing beans from dangerous 'red zones' is vital to his coffee business, Devoción. And what do you do if you have a product to sell but no story to tell? Simon Manchipp from Shoreditch design agency SomeOne is here to help. Picture credit: Getty Images

Death on the Ganges  

In the Indian city of Varanasi, some 300 cremations are conducted each day on the "ghats" or steps leading down to the River Ganges. The BBC's Rahul Tandon meets pilgrims who spend their last days at this holy place in search of nirvana, and the businesses that thrive on their parting. We visit a guesthouse for those seeking their final check-out, and hear from foreign tourists attracted by the city's ritual and spirituality, not to mention its yoga facilities. Rahul also hears how Prime Minister Narendra Modi - who is also Varanasi's member of parliament - hopes to clean up the town, both of its pollution and of its crime. (Picture: Burning ghat in Varanasi; Credit: BBC)

Funding Africa's Growth  

Africa is the second fastest growing continent in the world, yet it only attracts a few billion dollars of private investment per year. Why is that? Dr Amy Jadesimi of Nigerian logistics firm Ladol tells presenter Ed Butler that she blames the global moneymen for having a blind spot when it comes to cashing in on the continent. Meanwhile South African tech entrepreneur Sheraan Amod, explains how he had to turn to his mother to help finance his first start-up. And Arnold Ekpe, former head of pan-African lender Ecobank, explains what can be done to overcome what he sees as the excessive caution of the continent's banks. (Picture: Kenyan farmer tends newly planted trees; Credit: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images)

Fintech Comes of Age  

In today's programme Ed Butler visits the Innovate Finance Conference in the heart of the City in Central London, where we're marking the coming of age of a new industry. Fintech as it's known has expanded from things like simple mobile payment systems to big financial players; around 8000 firms worldwide with $85billion in funding. Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO of Innovate Finance, the group that runs the annual conference, says there's a new confidence in the sector. So what about the fintech companies themselves? Blockchain creates a digital record that is inherently resistant to outside tampering. Basically, aficionadoes say, it's virtually hack-proof. Peter Randall, CEO of start-up Setl, is hoping to cash in. Cities are competing for these new start-ups' attention and although London remains perhaps the world's leading fintech hub, a close rival is Singapore; we hear from Sopnendu Mohanty, a fintech regulator with the City of Singapore and Maria Gotsch, President and CEO at the Partnership Fund for New York City. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Oil's Murky Future  

Tensions in the Middle East and protests in Russia are not just caused by internal politics and war but also, some say, the stresses of economic decline as the result of cheap oil. While the price of oil has gone up this week in response to the US military's missile attack on a Syrian government airbase, this uptick is likely, many analysts say, to be short-lived. Some experts now believe the price of oil could remain low forever. That's the view of Dieter Helm, an economics professor at the University of Oxford, who has just written a book, entitled Burn Out. Ed Butler asks Professor Helm to lay out the possible effects of a permanently lower oil price. Also in the programme, the BBC's Phil Mercer reports from Australia where renewable energy is on the rise. More homeowners are installing solar power battery systems to guarantee that the lights stay on. (Picture: A Russian LUKOIL oil platform. Credit: MIKHAIL MORDASOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Libor lowballing  

A secret recording that implicates the Bank of England in Libor rigging has been uncovered by the BBC . The 2008 recording adds to evidence the central bank repeatedly pressured commercial banks during the financial crisis to push their Libor rates down. Libor is the rate at which banks lend to each other, setting a benchmark for mortgages and loans for ordinary customers. The Bank of England said Libor was not regulated in the UK at the time. Ed Butler hears more from the BBC's economics correspondent, Andy Verity. Also in the programme, we hear from our Business editor, Simon Jack, about evidence the BBC has seen that top executives at the oil company, Shell, knew money paid to the Nigerian government for a vast oil field would be passed to a convicted money-launderer. The deal was concluded while Shell was operating under a probation order for a separate corruption case in Nigeria. Shell said it did not believe its employees acted illegally. And finally, our regular commentator Lucy Kellaway disapproves of the advice given publicly by one US corporate boss to her growing children. (Picture: The Bank of England in central London, England. Credit: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Sea Snakes and Subs  

In today's Business Daily, Zoe Kleinman visits the Ocean Business exhibition. She tries out the latest marine technology including shoals of subs, robot sea snakes and remote controlled boats. Dan Hook from ASV Global invites Zoe to remotely pilot one of its rather expensive survey vehicles. Terry Sloane from Planet Ocean gives the low down on robotic microsubs, whilst Richard Mills from Kongsberg Maritime demonstrates the results of 10 years of research into snake robots which will be used for underwater inspection and maintenance. All this cutting edge equipment needs a power source and Paul Edwards from Steatite rounds off the programme by talking about the latest in battery technology. Picture Description: C Worker 5 survey vehicle Picture Credit: ASV

Can Greece Get Back on Track?  

The daily drama of money and work from the BBC.

China's Secret Picture Book Embargo  

Hong Kong news reports suggest that Chinese publishers have been ordered to stop importing foreign picture books. But nothing's been officially announced. And if it's true, why? We hear from Sidney Leng of the South China Morning Post, and from a leading children's book buyer, Fan Xiaohong, vice-president of children's publishing at the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press in China. Also in the programme, we examine the latest frontline in China's efforts to restrict the outflows of money from the country: bitcoin. The price of the famous digital currency has spiked to record highs in the last month as Chinese in particular have been buying in bulk, it seems. Nathaniel Popper is a New York Times reporter and author of "Digital Gold, Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires a book about the online currency". He tells us about the background, and the Chinese government's efforts to clamp down on the trade. (Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Russian Hacking  

The investigation into the hacking of Democratic National Committee computers during the US election campaign continues to haunt international politics. Was Russia responsible for the hack? The US Secret Services say this is now beyond doubt. Just before he left office President Obama hit back with a series of retaliatory measures against Russia. Those measures included a range of sanctions against institutions and people: two intelligence agencies, four senior intelligence officials, 35 diplomats, three tech companies. They also targeted a man who was infamous in tech security circles. His trade name is Slavik. Ed Butler hears the remarkable story behind Slavik's years spent attacking and compromising the servers of international banks and what it all reveals about Russian cyber-espionage. (Picture: An employee walking behind a glass wall with machine coding symbols at the headquarters of Internet security giant Kaspersky in Moscow. Credit: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump vs China, Should We be Scared?  

As President Trump prepares for key talks with China's President Xi Jinping, we hear from the editor of the Financial Times, Lionel Barber, who warns that Mr Trump is threatening to go it alone in tackling North Korea, if Beijing refuses to help. Fresh from an interview with Donald Trump in the Oval Office, Mr Barber tells Ed Butler that there is cause to be concerned about the risk of US military action against North Korea. Ed also hears what to expect from the US-China trade discussions this week, with Peter Trubowitz, director of the US Centre at the London School of Economics. And Jennifer Pak reports from Shenzhen in Southern China on the Chinese 'makers', coming up with new ideas (not stolen ones). And Lucy Kellaway says sexism is never acceptable, no matter how old you are. (Picture: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, impersonated by Hong Kong actor Howard, and US President Donald Trump, impersonated by US actor Dennis, pose outside the US consulate in Hong Kong on in January 2017. Credit:ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)

Robots: Coming to an Office Near You  

Should we fear or embrace the advent of "co-bots" - robot colleagues? Ed Butler reports on the startling advances in the automation of the workplace. He encounters a veritable menagerie of automatons at London's Science Museum, where lead curator Ben Russell shows our presenter around their latest special robots exhibition, featuring everything from mediaeval clockwork mannequins to a pair of self-propelling mechanised legs. The BBC's Audrey Tinline reports from the Netherlands, where some offices are already renting robotic arms to save their human employees from incurring repetitive strain injuries. Meanwhile Ed heads to the north London offices of Shadow Robot, where managing director Rich Walker shows off his company's robotic hand. But what exactly is it for? (Picture: Baxter robot on show at London's Science Museum; Credit: Plastiques Photography, courtesy of the Science Museum)

Industrial Espionage  

From the East German Stasi to modern-day cyber hackers, Theo Leggett takes a furtive look at the people seeking to steal businesses' most valuable secrets, and what can be done to stop them. Researcher Erik Meyersson explains how, at the height of the Cold War, the DDR - with the help of a network of thousands well-placed human assets - was able to produce cheap copies of one of IBM's most advanced computers. Theo heads to Spymaster - a London high street retailer of James Bond-esque gadgets - to discover the modern tools of the trade, and to speak to Steve Durbin of the Information Security Forum, who explains how the greatest fear of big corporations that he works for is of being hacked. The most prolific modern-day cyber-thief of corporate intellectual property is China, say some experts. Theo speaks to John Carlin, formerly an attorney general at the US Department of Justice, about his efforts to fend them off. (Picture: Eye staring through a hole in a wooden fence; Credit: thornland/Getty Images)

Triggering Article 50  

British Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty today, formally beginning the UK's exit from the European Union. Manuela Saragosa speaks to British Brexit-supporting economist Ruth Lea and British member of the European parliament Richard Corbett about the challenges Britain now faces as it embarks on two years of negotiations with the EU. (Photo: Theresa May signs letter triggering Article 50, Credit: Getty Images)

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