Friday 24 November 2017

The Punt: The Duke of hazards

The Duke of Edinburgh
The Duke of Edinburgh

BRITAIN'S Duke of Edinburgh has added a few more gaffes to his long list.

The Duke met a group of female community workers yesterday and put the rather undiplomatic question to them - "who do you sponge off?"

And a few moments later, he asked a professional fundraiser, "Do you have any friends left?"

Prince Philip was visiting the Chadwell Heath Community Centre during the Queen's tour of Barking and Dagenham in London.

They met Martin Shaw from the fundraising company Midas, who said: "It was quite funny because when I told the Duke I was a professional fundraiser he said 'Do you have any friends left?'.

"I said 'Not many' and he said 'I guess so'.

It comes just days after the Duke was caught on camera losing his patience with a photographer, and stating: "Just take the f***ing picture."

Carl not happy with Larry

Hands up if you like hearing about a row between two of the biggest gorillas on Wall Street?

The Punt always rushes to grab the popcorn whenever two big names square off and this week it was two of the biggest: Carl Icahn versus Larry Fink.

Icahn is one of the most notorious, and successful, activist investors of all time. Fink is head of Blackrock - one of the world's biggest asset managers.

The pair have history. Fink has previously called Icahn and his ilk "dangerous".

However at a conference in New York this week, Icahn turned the tables, calling Fink's firm "an extremely dangerous company". In Icahn's mind, Blackrock has helped contribute to a bubble in bonds and other assets because firms like Blackrock are snapping up assets and causing liquidity problems in the market.

Fink largely laughed off Mr Icahn's barbs but you can be sure that under the smiles and jokes there was a serious point. None of the "masters of the universe" like being called out in public like that.

Clearly there is still no loved lost between these two particular Wall Streeters.

That's news to the Greeks, Enda

RTE's Sean O'Rourke didn't get the scoop he might have wanted about timing of the general election or tax cuts in the October Budget when he interviewed Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday, but eagle-eared listeners did manage to pick up some dramatic news.

Eurozone finance ministers had recommended lending Greece €7bn in a bridge loan that would be formally approved within hours, Enda Kenny said on the show yesterday.

It might not have been earth-shattering news to people here, but it was news all the same because the ministers' decision had not been made public anywhere else.

Given how closely the Greece tragedy (OK farce) is followed, the Taoiseach's confirmation that a financial lifeline was being thrown to the government there was immediately picked up by newswires including Bloomberg and Reuters, and so relayed eventually to the no doubt relieved people of Greece.

Relieved as they might be, Greeks won't have been too happy to learn about the vital loan second-hand from an Irish radio interview though.

"Paddy likes to know what the story is," Enda Kenny once said. The Punt reckons Kostas might feel much the same.

Irish Independent

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