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