The Punt: Piketty moves to London School of Economics
Thomas Piketty is on the move, and is taking up a new post in the UK.
The famous economist, who shot to fame and topped bestseller lists last year with his controversial book on wealth and inequality, is joining a new institute investigating global inequality set up by the London School of Economics (LSE).
The LSE has announced that Piketty has been appointed centennial professor at its International Inequalities Institute (III).
"I am thrilled by my appointment to work in LSE's new International Inequalities Institute.
"Rising inequalities is one of the great challenges of our time, which we desperately need to address," Piketty said.
"We have a unique opportunity at LSE to create a truly dynamic and exciting inter-disciplinary centre which will make a real difference to our understanding of the causes and consequences of inequality."
Earlier this year France's star economist declined the country's highest award, the Legion d'Honneur.
Together with Nobel Economics laureate Jean Tirole and Nobel Literature prize winner Patrick Modiano, Piketty was named on Wednesday on a list of new recipients of the Legion d'Honneur, awarded by President Francois Hollande.
But he said he was refusing it because he didn't think it was up to the government to say who was honourable.
The Frenchman was once close to France's ruling Socialist party, but has become very critical of President Hollande.
Holy smoke! Church's £6.7bn
Don't ever underestimate the power of prayer. The Church of England's portfolio hit £6.7bn last year. Its a big turnaround from 2008, when the Church was forced to raise the retirement age for its clergy.
The 'Financial Times' reports that a UK property boom handed the CofE a return of 14.4pc for 2014.
The Church has masses of property, and not just churches - it's the largest private owner of forests in Britain, and its property portfolio has grown 27pc to reach £2bn.
"It was a good year," said Tom Joy, the Church Commissioners' head of investments.
"The key thing about property is that we have a lot of it - so when it performs well it is a strong contributor."
Noell ditches mansion lift
Readers of the Irish Independent may have noticed just over a week ago an article about the US owner of Ardbraccan House in Co Meath, Charles Noell.
He bought the huge 120-acre estate in 2013 for almost €5m.
It had been superbly restored by its previous owner, who had even gone as far as having new chimney pots specially cast for the place.
Noell had applied recently to Meath County Council for permission to install a lift in the house.
His planners pointed out that there are a total of 82 steps on various stairs in the house.
This, they argued, meant the owners' elderly parents couldn't come to stay.
Without a lift to enable the proper function of the property as a modern house, the planner also warned that Noell's plans to develop a major equine business at the estate could be in jeopardy.
The council didn't like the idea of a lift being installed in the stately home and said it intended to refuse permission. Noell took the fight to An Bord Pleanala.
But the Punt sees that the businessman has now had second thoughts.
An Bord Pleanala notes that the planning application by Noell has now been withdrawn. Perhaps he's going back to the drawing board altogether. Perhaps he also wasn't keen on the publicity he got.