Average fuel consumption of new US cars has risen by a quarter over the past seven years to just over 25 miles per gallon, which is well below the average for Europe which is closer to 50 mpg.

 

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The UK’s information technology sector could be about 40 per cent bigger than previously though, with at least 70,000 more ICT companies in operation.

That’s according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research who have come up with a pretty novel way of measuring the size of Britain’s tech sector using one of the industry’s most hyped concepts ‘big data’.

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Keith Fray

 

Ed Milliband, leader of the UK Labour party, has the lowest voter satisfaction rating this close to an election of any opposition leader in the past 40 years, according to Ipsos Mori. In this period, Margaret Thatcher had the lowest rating of those who became prime minister.

 

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Europe’s producers of pears are leaving crops to rot because of retaliation by Russia, the biggest buyer of European pears, against sanctions.

Many growers say it is cheaper not to harvest any but the most perfect fruit in a year when, according to Mintec, the commodities research and data group, overall production in Europe is estimated at 2.27m tonnes, down 2 per cent year-on-year from high output levels of 2013. Read more

 

Countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development spend, on average, 22 per cent of GDP on social expenditure, which includes transfers in cash, such as pensions and in-kind, such as education. North and western Europe tend to spend the most: the east and anglophone countries, the least.

 

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In the aftermath of the financial crisis the world saw an increase in the number of street protests. Many inspired by perceived connections between the political elite and business interests; Occupy Wall Street and Los Indignados in the west to the Arab Spring and the protests against Victor Yanukovich in Ukraine. A new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research presents evidence on their power.

Daron Acemoglu, Tarek Hassan and Ahmed Tahoun examines the correlation between street protests in Egypt and the stock market returns for firms connected to former president Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP), the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian military. Read more

 

The fashion for craft beer and artisan products has led to an explosion in the number of microbreweries. Since 2008 their number has more than doubled in the European Union to 3,616 and almost doubled in the US to 2,768 at the last count.

 

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goal scorers, Champions League and European Cup

By Wednesday night it is almost certain there will be a new name atop the goal scoring charts of European club football’s elite competition.

Lionel Messi currently sits level with former Real Madrid star Raul on 71 goals, and behind them is Cristiano Ronaldo on 70. Either Messi or Ronaldo could become the outright leader when their sides play on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

And the fierce competition between Messi and Ronaldo may even be ushering in a new higher scoring era. The goals-per-game ratio across all players declined steadily from four per match in the late 1950s to settle around 2.5 in the past decade, but has jumped back up to three in the past five seasons.

Looking back across the Champions League and its predecessor the European Cup, the 100 highest scoring players are packed with modern greats. And this is no coincidence – there are 126 matches in the current format, excluding qualifiers, up from fewer than 60 in the early years of the European Cup.

But that hasn’t stopped some of the greats of yesteryear breaking into the upper echelons of that top 100.

Alfredo di Stefano – one of 22 Real Madrid players on the list – scored 49 goals in the 1950s and 1960s, placing him sixth in the all-time rankings. Portugal and Benfica star Eusebio is two places behind on 46. So what happens when we adjust the absolute goal tallies for the number of matches each player took part in?

Eusebio tops the rankings, followed by former Manchester United forward Ruud van Nistelrooy. Messi, Raul and Ronaldo complete the top five, and then Ronaldo’s team mate Karim Benzema is sandwiched between two men who stopped playing before he was born – di Stefano and the Hungarian Ferenc Puskas. Read more

Global consumption of farmed fish and seafood is set to exceed that of wild fish this year, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. With the total traded fish market worth $136bn in 2013, this turning point for the industry ensures a more stable food supply but it also carries environmental risks.

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The countries in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries rely on their foreign reserves to insulate them from a decline in oil prices. The four-month decline in the price shouldn’t affect Saudi Arabias public finances too badly — it has reserves of $739.5bn — Venezuela may have a tougher time with only $21.2bn.

 

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Emily Cadman

The central banks might be keeping us guessing, but businesses have no doubts where they first expect interest rates to rise.

Forty-nine per cent of respondents to the latest FT/Economist Global Business Barometer said that the US Federal Reserve would be the first to raise rates, with the Bank of England a distant second with a 14 per cent share. Read more

 

Europe is divided by the manner in which it likes drink alcohol: the north tends to prefer beer, the south, wine. And further east spirits are more popular.

 

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Sally Gainsbury

The amount the NHS spends per patient will fall by at least £98 by 2020 under funding pledges made by each of the main political parties, figures based on NHS England’s internal calculations reveal.

The figures show that despite the current “ring fence” which protects the NHS budget in England from inflation, spending measured on health officials’ preferred measure – estimated patient numbers, which take account of the fact that as people age, they get sicker – has already dropped by £50 per patient since 2009. Read more

Manufacturing and technology giants Samsung, Hyundai, SK and LG are examples of chaebol – multinational Korean conglomerates with labyrinthine ownership structures, often controlled by the founding family. Use our interactive graphic to explore the relationships between companies in each chaebol Read more

Migration from the European Union is a pretty controversial issue in Britain. Particularly in politics: the strength of the anti-EU UK Independence Party and the anxiety it causes for the two major parties is thought to be linked to public antipathy towards the high-levels of migration that followed the accession of eight eastern european countries to the EU in 2004 (EUA8).

Others have pointed out that perhaps something else is going on. The British public tend to overestimate the proportion of the country who are migrants and have been in favour of lower levels of migration for the past 50 years, even when the country was experiencing net emigration. So perhaps migration is just a vehicle for other concerns.

So I thought I would look at the relationship between the number of migrants in an area and public opinion about migration. Read more

 

Ordinarily, nominal gross domestic product grows faster than real GDP, but the deflation that followed Japan’s lost decade reversed this and led to both a fall in private consumption and a rise in the country’s public debt.

 

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In the aftermath of the financial crisis most major developed economies embarked on a programme of austerity, with mixed success. Ireland stands out — it has managed to reduce its deficit from 29 per cent of GDp to 4 per cent.

 

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That might be changing. The British government and a few others including Canada, Costa Rica, Colombia and Paraguay are working towards opening up the information about public procurement through an ‘open contracting data standard’.

The first version is launched today and sets out a technical standard for the data and documents that ought to be published at each stage of the contracting process, from the invitation to tender through to completion. Read more

 

At least 10 million people around the world are not recognised as nationals by any country, many are members of minority ethnic groups who have been denied citizenship by the countries in which they live.

 

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Yesterday the first ever man made object landed on a comet. The robot Philae travelled 6.4bn kilometres before touching down on the surface of comet 67P. So far in human history the moon has been the most popular destination for trips off planet with six manned landings.

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