Chinese Billionaire Plans To Rebuild London’s Crystal Palace

London Whale Lifts U.K. Regulator to Highest Fines in a Decade

Credit: Reuters/Shadi Bushra By Shadi Bushra LONDON | Thu Oct 3, 2013 1:48pm EDT LONDON (Reuters) – A Chinese billionaire said on Thursday he planned to spend 500 million pounds ($810 million) rebuilding London’s Crystal Palace, a huge glass and steel building that captivated the world before it burned down almost eight decades ago. Ni Zhaoxing, chairman of the ZhongRong Group real estate investment firm, hopes to recreate the 19th century palace that was the world’s largest glass structure before it was destroyed in a fire in 1936 that could be seen across London. The original Crystal Palace was designed by Joseph Paxton to host the 1851 Great Exhibition, held when Britain sought to awe other nations with spoils from its empire and the wonders of industrialization. Originally located in Hyde Park, it was moved to south London in 1854, and Ni now wants to build a replica there to the original dimensions of about 500 meters (1,640 ft) long and 50 meters high. “This is going to recreate a 21st century version of the palace,” London Mayor Boris Johnson told reporters. “This isn’t an act of nostalgia. It is looking forward and it is about adorning our city with a world-class structure.” The 180-acre park, where the palace once stood and includes the original terraced steps, is currently home to an amphitheatre that once hosted reggae singer Bob Marley, a national sports centre and a collection of giant dinosaur sculptures, which also date from the 1850s. If the proposal goes through, it would be another example of China’s growing appetite for investments in Britain. A Chinese firm signed a deal this year to convert London’s Royal Albert Docks into the city’s third financial district. “London is renowned across the world for its history and culture,” said Ni, who says he was tied to Britain through his English-educated daughters and love of British art. “This project is a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring its spirit back to life by recreating the Crystal Palace and restoring the park to its former glory,” he said. The Chinese company, which says the project would create 2,000 jobs, is seeking to profit from its investment by drawing tourists and using the area to host international exhibitions. Residents of the surrounding area have rebuffed numerous development efforts in the past, including proposals to build a cinema, a new sports centre and housing developments.

The benchmark FTSE 100 index edged up 4.84 points or 0.08 percent to 6,453.88 points, but down from last Friday’s 6,512.66 points close. Key US non-farm payrolls data had been scheduled for publication on Friday afternoon, but the shutdown has prevented the Labor Department’s data collection and release. “Without the non-farm payroll data this afternoon, markets look likely to meander into the close as we await news over the weekend as to when an end to the impasse might come,” said CMC analyst Nick Dale-Lace. Fund manager Standard Life led the gainers, climbing 2.52 percent to 354.10 pence, while engineering group GKN added 2.44 percent to 352.90 pence. State-rescued Royal Bank of Scotland rose 1.77 percent to 373.20 pence and Loose Women broadcaster ITV put on 1.71 percent to 178.50 pence. B&Q owner Kingfisher tumbled 2.89 percent to 369 pence, topping the decliners’ board, while temporary power specialist Aggreko sank 2.50 percent to 1,442 pence. Barclays eased 0.60 percent to 271.35 pence as the bank announced it has sold nearly all of the shares in its A5.8 billion rights issue. On the currency markets, the pound weakened to $1.6052 at 5:26 pm from $1.6169 on Thursday evening and retreated to 1.838 euros from 1.1859 the previous night. Investment & Company Information NYPD Cop Was with Motorcyclists Who Beat SUV Driver in NYC ABC News WASHINGTON (AP) A man set himself on fire on the National Mall in the nation’s capital as passers-by rushed over to help put out the flames, officials and witnesses said Friday afternoon. Associated Press Washington (AFP) – Republicans launched a furious counter-attack on the White House as the US government shutdown drags into a fifth day with no end in sight. AFP53 mins ago

London shares flat as US shutdown drags on

Regulator to Highest Fines in a Decade By Suzi Ring – 2013-10-04T15:11:31Z The U.K. finance regulator recorded its largest month of fines in more than a decade in September, buoyed by a 137.6 million-pound ($221.2 million) penalty against JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) over the London Whale debacle. Industry fines totaled 169.5 million pounds last month and brought total penalties from the Financial Conduct Authority in 2013 to 339.5 million pounds, according to statistics published today by Wolters Kluwer NV (WKL) , Europe s largest tax and legal publisher. The year-to-date total is larger than any other full year since 2002. The regulator fined JPMorgan as part of a probe into losses exceeding $6.2 billion on a derivatives position built by a trader who came to be known as the London Whale because his bets were so large. The past year has also seen the regulator punish banks embroiled in the scandal over rigging of the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor. The FCA is endeavoring to keep up with the international trend towards greater levels of fining and is continuing the trajectory started in the U.K. by the Financial Services Authority in its latter years, said Barnabas Reynolds, a London lawyer at U.S. law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP. The FSA became the FCA in April this year. FCA fines increased considerably last year hitting 313.4 million pounds at the end of 2012 compared with 66.1 million pounds in 2011.

Fire sweeps boat on London Duck Tours; passengers leap into the Thames

River tours suspended Borough Cmdr. Alison Newcomb of London’s Metropolitan Police said that the maritime coast guard is investigating. “At the conclusion of that investigation, I anticipate they will make a decision with regards to future tours,” she told ITV. London Duck Tours said it has stopped operating tours on the river until the reason for the fire has been established. “Should technical or safety modifications be required to our fleet, these will be introduced prior to the service recommencing,” Duck Tours said, stressing that it “operates to the highest safety standards.” “London Duck Tours operates a fully modernized fleet of nine vehicles that have been completely rebuilt and refurbished between 2002 and 2012,” it said. “This includes new, purpose built hulls, new engines, computerized systems and steering equipment.” The company said it was fully cooperating with investigators and regulatory authorities. Previous problems Amphibious tour vehicles have run into trouble in the past. In June, a duck boat sank in the British city of Liverpool. Twenty-seven people were taken to the hospital for shock and exposure after that incident. It was the second time the Liverpool tour company, The Yellow Duckmarine, had had a problem with a vehicle — one of them sank in March without any passengers in it. The Yellow Duckmarine, whose passengers have included the Queen and Prince Philip, is not running any tours at the moment, according to its website. Reports said it went into administration and had its road license revoked after the June sinking. London Duck Tours said it had higher safety standards than The Yellow Duckmarine, which it described as “a totally separate company.” In Philadelphia, two people died after a 250-foot sludge barge pushed by a tugboat overran a disabled 33-foot amphibious tour boat on the Delaware River in 2010.