Wednesday 21 March 2018

The Punt: Bono duets with ex-Labour MP


If he was asked last year to predict what his job would be by the end of 2015, it is probably fair to say that former UK shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander would not have put "financial adviser to Bono" at the top of his list.

Yet that's where the ex-Labour MP, who was unseated by 20-year-old Scottish National Party member Mhairi Black, appears to have ended up. According to several reports yesterday, Mr Alexander has formed an alliance with the U2 frontman in an effort to tackle global poverty.

The 'Financial Times' reports that he will work with Bono to secure investment in development in areas of poverty, particularly in Africa. Alexander, who ran Ed Miliband's election campaign, became a cabinet minister in his 30s. Since he lost his seat he has become a Fisher Family Fellow at Harvard University and also works with King's College London.

Bono first made contact in July when Alexander was on a family holiday in New York and the band were performing there. In a statement the singer said: "Music is what I do and it's given me the opportunity to do a lot of other things besides, where Douglas Alexander's experience will be of great value."

Sympathy for top executives

Senior executives at some of the top companies have long claimed that they're worth every penny they get in their usually ample pay packets.

They'll be hoping that new research published by the 'The Times' of London yesterday will go some way to ensuring the public agrees. The study claimed that the average director at one of Britain's biggest firms, listed on the London Stock Exchange, gets up at 6.30am for a 13-hour working day, with a fifth checking emails before they even get out of bed, and 18pc browsing news.

It seems most get seven hours sleep a night, but a third rated that rest as neither good nor bad.

Around half worried about unfinished work and a quarter about upcoming speeches and events, and 65pc felt pressure to work at weekends, with 92pc responding to emails or messages. The biggest fear for around 17pc was not knowing what was happening in their organisation in the evenings and at weekend.

And their health is also being affected. Meetings, flights and working dinners mean that directors often struggle to look after their health, with less than half claiming they got regular exercise but wanted more.

Will it be enough to sway an austerity weary British public to believe their bulging pay packets are warranted?


Trinity's young master inventor

Trinity has managed to perform quite a coup as one of its PhD researchers, Haytham Assem, became IBM's youngest-ever 'Master Inventor'.

Assem's achievement might be highlighted by the fact that at the end of 2014, IBM had 379,592 employees.

While researching at the ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology, the 26-year-old also works at IBM as a principle investigator churning out plenty of patents in the meantime.

Speaking about the award and inventing, Assem told of his love of creating something before anyone else.

"Getting patents is nice, but it's really the process of inventing and brainstorming with my IBM colleagues and fellow ADAPT researchers that I find most exciting and rewarding," he said.

"It's great to create something new and novel that no one has ever thought of before, which will make a real impact on our future and tomorrow's technology."

According to IBM, master inventors are role models for the technical and scientific community, actively inventing with a significant number of filed patents.

Inventing isn't exactly new to Assem. When he was doing his MSc work in NUIM he filed five patents. Not bad at all.

Irish Independent

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business