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tv   World Business Today  CNN  December 28, 2011 1:00am-2:00am PST

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that's been my experience. >> do you feel, for the first time, you've gone back to the joy of life you had as a young boy? >> yes. it is remarkably the same. >> kelsey, a real pleasure. thank you very much. >> thanks. >> piers, thank. i'm zain verjee at cnn here in london. here is our top story. we've been watching striking scenes of grief and mourning unfold in north korea. kim jong-il, the reclusive country's dear leader has been laid to rest in pyongyang. cnn's not allowed inside north korea. our paula hancocks is monitoring developments from soeg in neighboring south korea. she joins us now. walk us through some of the highlights of the funeral. >> reporter: well, zain, it really was a very well
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choreographed affair, as we were expecting from north korea, very similar to what we saw 17 years ago for the funeral of kim il-sun. we saw the procession. coffin going through the streets of pyongyang, 40 kilometers was the procession. and along those snow-laden streets, there were tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of mourners who had come out to pay their last respects. this was a lot of emotion. we did see at the front of these crowds a lot of wailing and weeping and beating of chests. although further back in the crowds, there were some more passive looking people paying their respects. so this is as it was expected. kim jong-un obviously now called the supreme leader according to state media was also front and center. zain? >> will anything change in north korea under kim jong-un? >> this is what everyone would like to know. at this point, the consensus
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appears to be that nothing will change in the near term. what we did see today was kim jong-un walking alongside the car carrying his father's coffin. he was walking along the front towards the right. behind him he had his uncle who we understand was promoted just a year ago by kim jong-il and is expected to help him through the first years of his reign. and then on the left-hand side, he had the head of the military and other military personnel. so they really were showing that there was unity within north korea and that the military and the political leadership was behind kim jong-un. so at this point, analysts are thinking that nothing will really change in the months ahead, possibly even the years ahead. but what could happen when kim jong-un feels like he's consolidated his power and feels a little more secure. zain? >> cnn's paula hancocks reporting. thanks, paula. that's the top story from cnn, the world's news leader. i'm zain verjee, and "world business today" starts right
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now. good morning from cnn london. i'm charles hodson. >> we'll forgive you for that, charles. good afternoon from hong kong, i'm andrew stevens. you're watching "world business today." the top stories this wednesday, december the 28th. as japan eases its self-imposed ban on weapons exports, we'll look at how its defense budget adds up. it's already been a volatile year in the euro zone. now nervous banks have deposited record sums with the yeaeuropea central bank. and today we say bye-bye to the boss. now time in the corner office is coming to an end, but not before some final questions. stock markets in asia finishing broadly lower after another day of fin trade. that followed a quiet day on wall street. and in europe where an italian
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bond auction will be in sharp focus, the open was mixed just a short while ago. let's get straight to the numbers. charles, how's europe looking now? >> well, here's the overall picture, obviously, andrew, kind of mixed, really. most of these indices are close to the flat line. certainly the ftse playing catch-up, having been closed on monday for a bank holiday. but also the paris cac, the zurich smi. the one exception is the xetra dax, off by about 0.5%. i think what we're seeing is still fears remaining over the euro zone crisis on hold at best. there's also worries about that threat from tiran regarding the oil supply out of the persian gulf. more on that later in the show. of course, the other thing that's out there that people are worried about is that people are watching the italian debt auction. there's one of those almost inevitably every week. there's one later today and even
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another one tomorrow. in terms of the yields there on italian sovereign debt, that is on the ten-year, it's hovering near 7%. worth remembering, by the way, that italy, which is constantly issuing debt, the world's third largest bond market, and i think it is clearly the bellwether for the debt crisis. it's the largest of the various euro zone nations that is in the frame in terms of perhaps not being able to keep up with its debts. let's move on and have a look at the currency markets. and not really seeing an awful lot there. if you look at the euro, significant there. kind of stable. at least a cent higher than its low in recent sessions at 1.3068. andrew. >> yeah, charles, you sort of get the impression, don't you, and as usual, it's going to be a quiet week, the week between the christmas break and the new year. finn trading can mean a bit of volatility, but certainly it's going to be difficult to read too much into these markets the
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next few days. here's what happened in asia today. as you can see, they were mostly lower. traders keeping an eye on that bond auction in italy. the euro crisis remains very much a focus. hong kong, first day back from the holiday today, down by 0.6%. a lot of investors, not to mention brokers as well still on holiday. in australia, the gold price was falling. the markets, you see, down by 1.2%. copper prices were also down. and both of those commodities dragging the mining stocks lower. the nikkei was down. we've got more on that i just a moment. first, though, i want to talk about one stock in particular, a stock we've been talking about since march of this year, tepco, down almost 12% as you see there. that's now at its lowest close this year at 186 yen. japan's trade minister urging temporary nationalizedation of tepco today. tepco is the operator of the fukushima daiichi plant which
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had the nuclear meltdown. the stock now down just a shade under 90% this year in talk of nationalization, obviously, unsurprisingly spooking investors. now, meanwhile, releasing reams of data this morning. and on the whole it paints a pretty downbeat picture for the month of november. starting with industrial production, down 2.6% in the month of november from the previous close and down 4% on the same period last year. the flooding in thailand hitting many of japan's biggest exporters in recent months. inflation was also up today, and core inflation prices which exclude the cost of fresh food fell compared to a year earlier, was in line with expectations. but it does continue to raise the issue of deflation in japan. meanwhile, the unemployment numbers were out. they remain steady at 4.5%. that, too, was in line with expectations. elsewhere, household spending fell by more than 3% from 2010.
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retail sales also fell. but charles, seeing that spending by japanese households is something that they'll obviously be worrying about. >> indeed they will. clearly as you mentioned, deflation is a worry. but one thing that might help is the fact that the country, japan still, has ended its cold war era restrictions on weapons exports. that allows japanese companies to take part in multinational weapons projects. it's expected to prop up japan's arms industry and reduce national defense spending. the government says the exported military equipment will be for nonaggressive purposes such as peacekeeping missions, andrew. >> yeah, charles. we've witnessed little fluctuation in the stock prices for the key suppliers of japan's defense industry in trading in tokyo today. those restrictions were designed to stop weapons getting into the hands of three types of countries, those with communist regimes, those subject to u.n.
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arms embargoes, and those which are involved in international conflicts. now, japan's government says the so-called three principles will not fundamentally change. and when you put japan's defense spending into context, it's clear that the country is certainly not currently at least a major player relative to its wealth. in 2011, japan set aside $61 billion for defense. in 2012, the provisional budget is awaiting approval and it's closer to $60 billion, actually going backwards. compare that with u.s. spending, it's almost 15 times more in the u.s. even the uk with an economy at roughly half the size of japan's spends more in real terms on defense. charles. >> very, very interesting, that. let's get back to stock markets and swing back across the pacific or perhaps the north pole to wall street where trading was thin on tuesday. it was their first session back after the holidays.
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when the closing bell rang on tuesday, there had been little movement on major stock markets. here's how the numbers looked. the dow and the s&p settle either side of the flat line. the nasdaq added just a quarter of 1%. investors failed to be cheered by upbeat consumer confidence figures. they showed confidence in the united states economy spiked in december to its highest level since april. the conference boards index beat wall street's estimates. let's have a look at what futures are planning to do. this is just a moment ago in premarket trade. as you can see, a little bit of a selloff there. the dow perhaps weaker than the others. continuing the trend that we saw on tuesday, off about a quarter of a percent perhaps at the open and just edging down very slightly for the nasdaq, off by about 0.13% for the s&p 500. now, a dismal holiday scene has led to more woes for sears.
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it says it will close between 100 and 120 sears and kmart stores after sales over the past two months dropped more than 5%. shares of sears holdings dropped nearly 19% after the announcement, andrew. >> okay, charles, let's take a look at what's been happening on the oil markets. and the price of crude is up this week. and reasons range from the optimistic to the ominous. now, while a rise in u.s. consumer confidence suggests a possible rise in demand for crude, events in iran could seriously dent supply. now, this is the journey of nymex futures over the past month. the prices, as you can see, has been rising steadily since the west threatened oil sanctions on iran over its nuclear program. it's currently more than $101 a barrel and tuesday's steep upward curve followed tehran's threat to close the vital strait of hormuz at the entrance to the persian gulf if those sanctions go ahead. so why does it matter?
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well, about one-third of the world's seaboard supply passes through that waterway. and iran's clearest signal yet. one energy boss gave richard quest his take. >> i am concerned because there are too many threats being issued too frequently, you know. the persian gulf's a very crowded area militarily, and we could just get in an accident. that happened with the shooting of the iranian airliner some years back. coming up on "world business today," the euro zone's economic woes took center stage in 2011. financial leaders get warning. the fate of the euro hangs in the balance. but will 2012 see the last of a push towards recovery? we'll take a closer look. and currency spat simmers between two superpowers. will china or the united states blink first? that's all ahead on "world business today." 
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you're looking there across the tallest j on the left-hand side of your screen there, the icc building here in hong kong as we head to quarter past 5:00, you'll also notice a fairly thick layer of ugly looking brown stuff. welcome back. you're watching "world business today." we're live on cnn. in this final week of 2011, euro zone banks are depositing a record amount of cash for the european central bank. the big number is $539 billion. the flood of deposits comes just days after the ecb doled out new three-year loans to banks in an effort to stave off another credit crunch. more than 500 banks took up the offer, making it the ecb's largest ever single liquidity operation. the banks just got the cash only on friday, and now some appear to be putting it right back with
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the ecb, perhaps because of continuing anxiety over the financial future. well, 2011 began with a warning from hungary's prime minister saying, quote, we have to save the euro over the next six months. but here we are, 11, 12 months later, and the single currency's fate still hangs in the balance as the new year, 2012, dawns. this year saw portugal, greece, italy and spain struggle for financial survival. athens and lisbon received bailouts in 2011, but there's no quick fix. and while the arab spring toppled some middle eastern leaders, financial woes pushed several leaders out the door. gone from power, greece's george papandreou and italy's silvio berlusconi, two big political figures. 2011 also saw summit after summit after summit. and the world watched as finance chiefs burned the midnight oil at a final summit in early december in a last-ditch effort to save the euro.
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jim boulden takes us now through the rocky year that was for the euro zone. >> reporter: the euro was in safe hands surely. by the time the irish wept to t went to the polls in february, its bailout was secure. greece was promising reform, but then events conspired to undermine the best hopes. bond yields kept rising. fear was growing aut whether portugal and spain might need a bailout. the japanese earthquake, nuclear safety and libya put the euro on the back burner at the euro zone leaders march summit. by july, italy was in the firing line. and greece was not going to be able to pay its bills. europe's leaders held a crisis summit. overnight, they agreed to give greece huge debt relief as part of a stunning second bailout.
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>> the head of states and government of the euro zone showed a real determination to defend the zone to make sure that greece was taken care of and had a comprehensive package. >> reporter: by september, the unthinkable wasn't anymore. the euro zone itself might just be in danger. people harked back to its very foundation. >> you see, when the euro was set up, a lot of people said, well, it's very good. you have a currency without a government, but actually, it's turned out to be a minus point because no one is in charge. >> reporter: by the time finance ministers met in poland in september, italy's prime minister, silvio berlusconi, was himself in the firing line with italian bond yields heading towards unsustainable levels. there wasn't enough money to bail out the zone's third biggest economy. the european central bank stepped in to the relief of
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finance ministers. >> fortunately, the european central bank has given us more time by intervening on the italian and spanish bond markets and providing a kind of protective shield. >> reporter: then acronyms hit the airwaves. the european financial stability facility, or efsf, hit the headlines when the 17 euro zone national parliaments had to vote to expand its power. to great relief, they all did. >> the facility's not going to last forever. and it should be phased out in a few years' time. so for the time being, it is the best way to escape the current crisis. >> reporter: but then a threat by greece's prime minister to let greek's vote on austerity brought down its government in november. a technocrat took over. so did one in rome. both pledged huge austerity packages. markets responded well and took off some of the heat. >> entering the critical period of ten days.
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>> reporter: then european commissioner ali rehn set the clock ticking in december. there was just ten days left to save the single currency. so now it's early december yet, another eu leader summit in brussels to save the euro. it's the third one i've been to in brussels this year alone. the question is, have they done enough this time to save the single currency? are the markets pleased? will the leaders do enough to actually put the sunshine back into the single currency? britain balked at a new treaty to enshrine fiscal discipline. the other 26 countries say they will try and agree ways to force each other to balance budgets and enforce penalties on those who don't. >> treaty change or not, i still believe that that is not really into the heart of the problem which is more related to economic problems and need reforming into countries and need increased firepower. >> reporter: after countless
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meetings, has europe done enough to restore confidence? and therefore not need more firepower in 2012? jim boulden, cnn, london. and coming up next, a spat between the world's two biggest economies continues to simmer. we'll tell you the white house's latest comments on whether china's currency is indeed undervalued. and what one of the president's political opponents has had to say about that. when i got my medicare card, i realized i needed an aarp... medicare supplement insurance card, too. medicare is one of the great things about turning 65, but it doesn't cover everything. in fact, it only pays up to 80% of your part b expenses. if you're already on or eligible for medicare, call now to find out how an aarp... medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company, helps cover some of the medical expenses... not paid by medicare part b. that can save you from paying up to thousands of dollars...
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welcome back. you're watching "world business today" live on cnn. well, europe has stolen most of this year's business headlines. a spat between the world's two biggest economies continues to simmer. china's currency, the yuan, has appreciated by 7.5% against the u.s. dollar over the past 18 months. but on tuesday, the u.s. treasury department said it remains undervalued, putting american businesses at an untenable disadvantage. the obama administration is walking a diplomatic tightrope and has again stopped short of calling china a currency manipulator. but some of the president's political opponents have no such reservations. >> one, we've got to say to china, no more of that. and we keep talking about that but not doing anything. and if i'm president, i'm going to label on day one china a currency manipulator which will allow us to apply tariffs to their products where they're
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artificially and unfairly pricing relative to their own. >> most economies estimate that the r&d is undervalued by 20% to 25%. that means our exports to china are that much more expensive, and their imports into the united states are that much cheaper. now, there's been slight improvement over the last year, partly because of u.s. pressure, but it hasn't been enough. and it's time for them to go ahead and move towards a market-based system for their currency. >> now, the slight improvemen you heard president obama refer to there can be seen quite clearly on this chart. now, since china took steps to boost flexibility in its currency last year, the appreciation of the yuan, you see clearly, has been pretty steady. but if you look from there to there, it's an appreciation of
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about 7.5% against the dollar. and that's certainly a long way off the 20% to 25% that mr. obama equates to a fair conversion. now, whether the yuan can come close to that before next year's presidential election could prove crucial to long-term trade relations. charles, and you'd have to say at this stage it's very unlikely whether we're going to see a major spurt in the chinese appreciation of the yuan. >> no, it seems hard. plenty more ahead on this program. we've got here on "world business today," we've been with them through ups and downs, but today we've reached the end with the bosses. find out what steve and sarah have learned over the year and what's next in line for the businesses that they run.
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from cnn london, i'm charles hodson. >> and i'm andrew stevens at cnn hong kong. welcome back. you're watching "world business today." let's recap now the top story we've been running here on cnn today. the funeral of the north korean former leader, kim jong-il. a little over an hour ago, the dramatic ceremony drew to a close. the so-called dear leader's son and chosen successor, kim jong-un, walked alongside a motorcade complete with a giant portrait of his father. he played a prominent role in the elaborate ceremony as north korean analysts say he tries to overcome questions about his age and experience. along the parade route, crowds of north koreans were seen wailing and tearful.
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some appeared to be in a state of near hysteria. one soldier interviewed by north korean television described the experience as heart-ripping. media were not allowed into north korea, so these images from the state-run television are the only access we have to the event. charles. let's just connect you with what's going on in europe in term s of markets. now about 92 minutes into the trading day. and kind of flat lining half an hour ago. but we are seeing some movement now with a gain of about one-third of 1% for the paris cac and zurich smi. the other markets are off by about 4%, andrew. >> not a lot of volume trading going on in asia today either. the markets did close for the most part down. the long holiday weekend didn't help things. a lot of traders still taking
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the full week off. shares for commodity firms dragging stocks lower, certainly that was the case in australia. we don't have the australian market up, but that was down by more than 1%. also concerns about economic growth generally in asia are slowing, contributing to something of a selloff there. you see shanghai was up but not by much. now, helping drag the hong kong hang seng lower, shares in china's biggest milk producer. the china mengniu dairy company, its stock tumbling 24% to 20 hong kong dollars or about $2.60 u.s. that is the steepest in three years. fueling that drop, an announcement by member mengui that it has destroyed a milk with a carcinogen. they don't believe any reached store shelves. they say cows ended up producing high levels of a toxin linked to liver cancer.
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that was the closing bell on wall street on tuesday. and all the major u.s. markets were little changed. the nasdaq up by 0.25%. the dow and s&p finish the first session after the holidays virtually flat. a better than expected consumer confidence was tempered by a disappointing report on home prices. in 20 major metro areas down 1.2% from september from the previous month. that marks the sixth straight monthly decline, showing prices may still hit bottom. they're still down from levels hit this time last year. three continents, six personalities and one thing they had in common. they were all the boss. for more than a year, we followed these business leaders trying to understand what really goes into running your own company. we've seen some bow out like michael wu and richard braddock.
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now that process is coming to an end, though richard quest still had some questions to ask them. it's time for our final appointment with "the boss." >> for more than a year, we've followed the fate of a series of executives. week after week, we've watched sarah curran, steve hindy, francis lui and shawn cornwell tackle the ups and downs of running a company. >> some issue on the hotel side that we need to solve. >> reporter: the long hours, the hefty responsibilities. >> if you think it's going to be hard, multiply that by 3 or 5x. >> reporter: and the joys that come with success. >> and the winner is my wardrobe. >> reporter: tonight, richard quest looks back at their time at the top. their life as "the boss."
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>> i wouldn't even ask. just do it. >> let us start with saun hawn london. did you have some trepidation about joining us on what we would discover about you and your business? >> i don't think i had any trepidation, richard. quite the contrary, really. i feel like we have a fantastic story to tell. you know, the e-harmony story about how we've gone international to australia, brazil, the uk, japan from our north american basin and continental europe. it might be also helpful, i think, to go through on a market-by-market basis just kind of the high-level snapshot of how each country's doing. >> sarah, you have been our longest boss on the run. and i feel i know you very well indeed from all of this. but i'm wondering, how was your year? >> oh, my goodness. it's just been a phenomenal,
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incredible year in many ways in terms of trading, in terms of personal experience, in terms of the business. you know, how we've ended the year now with the search for the new global ceo. it's really -- it's been really exciting. and it's been just so exciting also to work with you on the show. >> reporter: have you treated yourself to any little luxury that is a talisman for you of your own success? >> no. no. >> reporter: you haven't got the porsche. you haven't got the diamond bling. >> oh, i have got a porsche. >> steven, as we've watched you during the course of the year, brooklyn brewery goes from strength to strength. has the year progressed as you hoped it would? >> well, it's actually way beyond our hopes. we're going to finish the year up about 32% in sales. there are some storm clouds on the horizon. cost increases we're incurring. the increase is going to affect
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january 1st, we'll know by spring whether it's really hit our sales momentum. we took a little hit on our bottom line at the end of the year, but all in all, it was a fantastic year. >> what, francis, did you learn this year about your management style? >> i'm happy that i'm a person that has attention to detail because the devil is in the details. i think practicality wise, a couple more hooks will need to be in place. if you want to make a mega resort work, then you have to pay attention to detail. this is something i've learned, something i practice, something that has proved to be very successful in the opening of our galaxy macau this year. >> sarah the micromanager. >> yeah. well, pretty much the same in a way. i mean, attention to detail for me is so important and for the brand. i left the team with the sort of
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enviable task of doing the tasting for the canapes and cocktails and drinks, et cetera, for the event. and i am a bit of a control freak, but i left quite clear instructions even down to the size of the canapes. >> sean, how would you describe yourself as a boss? are you a throw the coffee cup across the room, or are you the quiet sheaeething type? >> i don't think i'm the quiet seething type. we're not the typical online dating site. i like to get into the detail and understand it all, but at the end of the day, it's about people executing as best as they can. and i see my job as letting them get on with it and steer the ship and course correct it when it needs to be. >> steve hindy in new york, we always said with you that one of your issues was were you able to let the baby go away, let the
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other people play with the toys that you had created? >> well, i can but i like to get down in the play pen myself and make sure they're playing nice every now and then. and i think that's important. and i think our people appreciate that when i do get out there and show them how to sell, how i sell. when i go into a place like this and our beer isn't here, i get very upset. >> finally, to each of you, what next? i know some of you are leaving your current jobs. others have got other plans. so let's start with you, sean. as we bring "the boss" to a close, what's next for you in the next 12 months? >> i think the most exciting thing coming up in the next 12 months is brazil for myself, and for, you know, our international business. >> steve, for yourself, i know there are changes in the works.
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what do you want to do? >> well, we expanded the brewery in brooklyn, and we're going to be expanding the brewery upstate in the next couple of years. so that's something on my plate. also, you know, i've got to finish this book i'm writing about my first early years in the middle east. in my past life as a correspondent. that's a personal goal. >> sarah, finally, you get the last word. you're bringing in a global chief exec. you're going to be the founder emeritus. i'm sure they'll find a posh title for you. so the question is -- >> yeah. >> -- would you ever consider becoming chief executive of another company? >> oh, man alive. i've learned to never say never, for one. and, you know, i might. i've still got a lot of work ahead of me, becoming the sort of stay in the face of the brand and working with the new ceo to take the business global. you know, i've always -- there's
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always something else i want to do. so you never know. i might be another boss somewhere else. >> good morning. how are you all? >> rock and roll. let's go. >> oh, i'm excited, ready to go. ♪ >> and that was "the boss." i hope you got a few tips to help you in your own business ventures by watching our people on "the boss." now, there may still be more than two years to go, but excitement is building in russia ahead of the 2014 winter olympic games. we're going to be hearing from the head organizer next.
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welcome back. you're watching "world business today." >> in a little over two years, the russian city of sochi will host the winter olympics. sochi is on the black sea in eastern russia just ten kilometers -- make that southern russia, actually, just ten kilometers from the georgian border. despite these times of auster y austerity, organizers say russians are fully behind the 2014 games and the legacy that they will leave. already it's bearing fruit. russia now has a new green construction code thanks to the project. organizers say the games will and already are creating profound change in russia. world sport's alex thomas spoke to the chief executive of the sochi 2014 organizing committee. >> we are finishing probably arguably the biggest construction site maybe in the world, but for sure in europe with more than 55,000 workers
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working for three shifts a day, 24/7 to deliver the most outstanding state-of-the-art infrastructure. we're in good shape. we're financially secure. we have signed already a record number of sponsorship contracts with the amount of $1.2 billion. so that we can be sure that we will deliver the wonderful games. >> how did you manage to raise that record amount of sponsorship, $1.2 billion, in such difficult global economic times? >> we found the model between our partners, and we prefer to call them partners rather than sponsors where they consider the partnership as investment. and when the investment will be returned, and we find the way when they invest into infrastructure creating marketing position, creating
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consumer based in the interim. it's a real return on investment. >> the head of sochi olympic games. coming up in 2014. of course, the excitement is already building in russia. he said more than 1.4 million votes were cast in a tv competition to select the winter games' official mascots. andrew. now, telling tales of tough times. just ahead here on "world business today," before charles dickens became a world famous author, he saw his father sent to a debtors prison. he captured his financial woes of the victorian era in many of his books. and what he said certainly may resonate even more today. stay with us. for a limited time, passages malibu
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will be giving away free copies of the alcoholism & addiction cure. to get yours, go to
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the price of gold continues to languish well below the highs it reached back in august when the euro zone crisis was deepening and investors were looking for safe havens. but still, nearly $1,585 an ounce, it's almost $200 higher than where it was at the beginning of the year, and down just $5 this wednesday. welcome back. live from cnn hong kong and london, you're watching "world business today." now we've seen it all while you were perhaps singing your christmas carol, we had bleak house price numbers from the united states and great
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expectations from consumers. and if you can't swap the common thread there, you weren't paying enough attention at school reading. charles dickens novels, there were three titles of them, charles dickens novels are all of certainly relevant in today's tough times. and exactly 200 years after his birth, nina dos santos went to find out why. ♪ >> reporter: in oliver twist and david copperfield, no one quite captured victorian life like charles dickens. well, 2012 sees the bicentennial of the prolific work of british authors. and as such, they've organized an exhibition to mark the unique relationship that charles dickens had with the british
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capital. >> some years ago, a temporary inability to sleep caused me to walk about the streets all night for a series of several nights. >> dickens really has informed how we view victorian london. he was such a great evoker of the cityscape of this period and especially at nighttime. >> i finished my education in a fair amateur experience of houselessness. >> and he must have seen lots of children, homeless children, on the streets of london. and this must have really concerned him. >> yet he really highlighted the plight of children, didn't he? he often got lost in factories and sweatshops in victorian london, and he did a lot to further their cause. >> he was marked himself by working in the blacking factory as a young boy. and it was really that that actually informed a lot of his work. >> reporter: dickens' tales were
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known for being harrowing, but they also had stories of happiness. we're off to examine that particular feature of charles dickens next. of course, dickens is really famous for "the christmas carol," isn't it? it changed the way we celebrate christmas in so many countries hooper it is. >> this is a first edition. this is a copy that charles dickens gave to his best friend, john forster. "christmas carol" was written in autumn of 1843. we know dickens writing to a friend describes how he was walking about 15 miles a night composing that book. and it's become really the most famous sort of urban fairy tale. there are a lot of things in today's society that are very, very similar to the time when dickens was writing his great works. >> so still the tale of two cities. the west being more affluent of london and the east being the less affluent areas of london. it's still like that today. >> even more obvious is the
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divide between the wealthy and the poverty in the west, the sort of very fine table. and then in the east, a very poor family. and i'm afraid sitting in that room, that's a coffin. the theme that dickens covers in his books are very relevant today. he talks about government bureaucracy. he invents the term red tape, and we're still using that today. and he talks about financial irregularities in his novel. so again, a very current theme. poor housing. they're all there in his work. >> and financial irregularities were particularly important for him because his father was sent to the debtors prison, wasn't he? >> dickens always was worried about money. so he was very, very concerned about debt, not falling into debt. all his life he strove to earn enough money to keep him in a comfortable means. >> works like "great expectations" have remained popular hundreds of years after they were originally written. the difference between then and now is that you're more likely
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to read them on one of these. what the dickens charles would have made of that, we can only imagine. nina dos santos, cnn, london. >> i'm sure he would have been delighted. quickly plug you into the markets, investors keenly watching the italian debt auction today and tomorrow. meanwhile, we're seeing gains of about 0.5% for london and paris, about one-third of a percent for paris. after a good run-up on tuesday, it's nearly off by 0.5%. >> a few more red arrows in this part of the world. the nikkei down after disappointing november numbers, a series of numbers coming out today. tepco, the reporter of the fukushima daiichi plant down on fears of nationalization by the government. and that's it for this edition of "world business today." thanks so much for joining us. i'm andrew stevens in hong kong. >> i'm charles hodson in london. you're watching cnn, the world's news leader.
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