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The Punt: The old ones are the best?

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Targeted at professional investors, the portal was developed in partnership with FundConnect

Targeted at professional investors, the portal was developed in partnership with FundConnect

The Punt likes a joke as much as the next man or woman. The same seems to be true of the rest of the financial community.

The traders, investors and punters who use Reuters usually favour stories about the G20 and Ukraine, US government warnings on iPhone bugs and the Eurozone economy, which all made the top four most read stories on the Reuters website yesterday.

Bread-and butter stories in other words, but at number one was an irresistible story about the world's oldest recorded joke.

The Punt could not resist and learned that humour has not changed much down the ages. It seems that experts at the University of Wolverhampton have traced the oldest joke to 1900BC. It is a saying of the Sumerians, who lived in what is now southern Iraq and in case you are wondering, it goes: "Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap."

A 1600BC gag comes second. "How do you entertain a bored pharaoh? You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish." Ha ha.

Flanagan's UK-EU plea

Too often, given that we are a small, neutral country with little international clout, speeches by Irish Foreign Affairs Ministers overseas are largely ignored. It's not helped by the fact they can be couched in the careful, ambiguous language of diplomacy.

But Charlie Flanagan's address to the European Council on Foreign Relations in London yesterday, covered in this newspaper, focused on a crucially important issue to this island - whether the UK will remain in the EU.

There was no ambiguity. Mr Flanagan made a forceful argument, albeit from the standpoint of Ireland's self-interest, for Britain to remain.

"While I'm fully respectful of and sensitive to the internal democratic reflection under way within the UK, I cannot shy away from this debate. The UK's continued membership of the EU is hugely important to us and there is too much at stake to remain on the sidelines," he said.

He spoke of the islands' shared values and vision, and how we "view with dismay" the prospect of a UK exit. The minister offered "honest advice", suggesting Britain would find little support for plans to overhaul free movement rules. And he warned that an EU exit could end up pulling Ireland and Britain away from each other, despite improving relations.

Will it have an impact? Who knows. Businesses in the UK are pro-European, but the political rhetoric, fuelled by the pressure on the Conservatives from the likes of UKIP, has an increasing us-against-them stance. It's not yet clear whether a referendum will even take place.

But if it does, it's difficult to call at this point whether sense will prevail.

Reputation pays off with prize

PR firm The Reputations Agency has strengthened its own reputation after bagging 'Sponsorship Team of the Year' at the Irish Sponsorship Awards on Thursday night.

The agency's team - headed by associate director Sarah Brewer - won the award for its work on music, sport and corporate social responsibility sponsorships.

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In recent years The Reputations Agency has worked on Bacardi's sponsorship of the Electric Picnic and Indiependence music festivals, Eircom's sponsorship of Special Olympics Ireland and the GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, and Mazda's official car sponsorship of Connacht Rugby.

The agency's clients, Eircom and Bacardi, were also among the award winners. Bacardi won 'Best Entertainment Event Sponsorship' and 'Best Use of Experiential Marketing in Sponsorship Activation' for its sponsorship of Electric Picnic, and Eircom triumphed in the category of 'Best Cause (Charity and Community)' for its sponsorship of Special Olympics Ireland.

Other winners included Heineken, with 'Sponsorship of the Year' and 'Best Arts Sponsorship' for its efforts with the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival. Muller Corner won 'Best Media Sponsorship' for its work on RTE's 'The Voice of Ireland', while An Post won 'Best Grass Roots Sponsorship' for its Cycle Series.


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