7 billionaires in UK’s top-25 richest hedge fund managers’ list

LONDON (Reuters): Britain’s top-25 richest hedge fund managers’ wealth rose by 1.8 billion pounds ($2.70 billion) to 14.8 billion pounds over the past year, the Sunday Times Rich List showed. Hedge funds typically charge 2 percent for management and take 20 percent cut in performance generated, making hundreds of millionaires every year in the $3 trillion industry. Alan Howard and Michael Platt, founders of Brevan Howard Asset Management and BlueCrest Capital Management, topped the sector list, each with 1.5 billion pounds. While Platt’s fortune remained unchanged over the period, Howard’s wealth declined by 100 million pounds, it showed.

The hedge fund list was released on Friday ahead of a 128-page special edition of the Sunday Times Magazine that each year reveals the wealth of the 1,000 richest people in Britain.

Crispin Odey and Nichola Pease of Odey Asset Management had 1.1 billion pounds and added 580 million pounds to their wealth, the most by any hedge fund manager in Britain.

In all, seven hedge fund managers, including CQS founder Michael Hintze and Winton Capital’s David Harding, had wealth of 1 billion pounds or more, the list showed.

James Vernon, co-founder of Brevan Howard with 250 million pounds and Chris Rokos, the former Brevan Howard star trader with 400 million pounds, registered the biggest jump in their wealth ranking over the past year, it said.

France increases Reunion shark fishing after surfer death

PARIS (AFP): France said Friday it has approved increased fishing of tiger and bull sharks in the marine reserve of its African island territory of Reunion after a teenage surf star was killed. Visiting the Indian Ocean island, the minister for overseas territories, George Pau-Langevin, said the government was launching eight initiatives to reduce shark attacks following the death of 13-year-old Elio Canestri on April 12. The plans include increased surveillance and protection nets, as well as a 50 percent boost in authorised shark-fishing trips.

“In no way does this mean eradication - that is unrealistic and would be contrary to France’s commitments to biodiversity,” said Pau-Langevin.

The government said it will also boost funding to scientific projects aimed at monitoring shark movements and populations around Reunion, which lies off the coast of Madagascar.

Canestri, one of the island’s most promising young surfers, ignored an official ban on swimming in the east coast area of Cap Homard and went surfing with friends.

He left a note for his mother saying “don’t worry”, but was dragged off his surfboard by a 2.5 metre (eight feet) bull shark.

He was the seventh person to be killed by a shark following a resurgence in attacks since 2011.

Once a mecca for the sport, Reunion has seen the number of licensed surfers fall from 1,600 to 400 since bodyboard champion Mathieu Schiller was killed in 2011, and the number of surf schools drop from 14 to one.

Two hundred mourners went to the government office following Canestri’s funeral last week and tipped red paint on the road to protest against the lack of official action.

Since 2013 when another leading local surfer Fabien Bujon had his hand and right foot torn off by a shark, the authorities have banned swimming and water sports outside of monitored areas.

Princess Alice? British punters place bets on royal baby name

LONDON (Reuters): Princess Alice maybe? Or how about Prince James? British punters are rushing to place wagers on the royal baby’s name, gender, weight and precise birth date in the countdown to the arrival of the second child of Prince William and his wife Kate. With the baby expected in late April - no due date has been given - bookmakers say thousands of wagers have been placed on virtually everything connected to the baby who will be fourth in line to the British throne. Bookmaker William Hill said the bulk of bets were for a girl. “I don’t genuinely believe that they know themselves but I think everyone expects them to be the perfect family,” said Rupert Adams, spokesman for William Hill.

“We’ve had two bets of 500 pounds both on the name being Alice and this is massive, massive bets for us. The average bet on this type of market is about three to five pounds so a bet of this size is unheard of.”

The odds on the baby being called Alice are now 6/4, followed by Charlotte and Elizabeth at 11/2, according to William Hill on Friday. Diana, after Prince William’s late mother, is at 16/1.

If it is a boy, James leads at 8/1. Other popular names include Arthur and Alexander.

Kate gave birth to her first child, Prince George Alexander Louis, in July 2013 at London’s St Mary’s hospital to a worldwide media fanfare. She is expected to have the second child there too.

Royal enthusiasts have already begun camping outside the hospital, setting up Union Jack flags, blue and pink balloons and banners reading “It’s a Princess” and “It’s a Prince”.

“I think it will be a little girl and I like Charlotte Elizabeth Diana,” royal fan Maria Scott, wrapped up in a Union Jack flag, said. “I think that’s a lovely name.”

The baby will be fourth in line to succeed Queen Elizabeth, who turned 89 this week, behind grandfather Prince Charles, father William and elder brother George.

Injured Kenya pedestrians threatened with prison

NAIROBI (AFP): Kenyan road safety authorities have threatened to charge injured pedestrians with attempted suicide in a bid to halt a rise in road accidents in the east African nation. The warning came as police revealed road fatalities were up 10 percent this year, with jaywalkers accounting for nearly half those killed. “We are contemplating harsher sentences for pedestrians who cross roads at undesignated places, including charging them with attempted suicide,” Kenyan road safety chief Francis Meja was quoted as saying by the Nation newspaper. Attempted suicide is a crime in Kenya and punishable by up to two years in prison, a fine, or both.

Kenya’s accident black-spots are around the capital Nairobi, mainly on the increasingly congested major highways leading into the capital. Meja admitted the biggest causes of fatalities were “speed and inadequate pedestrian facilities”.

New York’s Times Square news ‘zipper’ stuck on replay for days

NEW YORK (Reuters): The scrolling Times Square “zipper” has served like an electronic town crier for generations of New Yorkers, breaking such historic news as the end of World War II, a headline that sent a nurse into a sailor’s arms for a world-famous kiss. But this week, the news has gone a bit stale. For days, the same headlines have been looping around the landmark electronic billboard that sits on top of 1 Times Square. “It’s a technical glitch,” said Ashley Huston, spokeswoman for Dow Jones, the News Corp unit that has operated the illuminated display, also known as the “ticker,” since 1995. On Thursday the zipper was showing days-old headlines such as “US couple convicted in Bali suitcase murder” and “H.P. to sell Snapfish photo storage to District Photo.” Dow Jones did not answer questions about what caused the problem. When the zipper made debut in 1928, it was one of the world’s first real-time news displays. Today, with state-of-the-art digital displays lighting Times Square and up-to-the-second news on computers and cellphones, it’s a beloved relic of a bygone age when the world moved at a slower pace.

The high-rise building displaying the zipper was once the New York Times’ headquarters, after which Times Square was named. The zipper, located above the ground floor, was the first to send headlines flashing around the tower.

The building is well known for the ball that descends along a pole mounted on its roof every Dec. 31 to mark the beginning of the New Year.

The zipper’s earliest bulletins included Herbert Hoover’s victory over Al Smith in the presidential election on Nov. 6, 1928.

Thousands of people jamming Times Square on Aug. 14, 1945, looked up to read “***Official Truman Announces Japanese Surrender***” and burst into cheers. In the crowd a photographer caught a sailor as he spontaneously embraced a young woman in a kiss that has come to symbolize the end of World War Two. Other news organizations that have leased the zipper included Life magazine and New York Newsday.

American art gets new home with opening of Whitney Museum in NY

NEW YORK (Reuters): The Whitney Museum of American Art will open up its new home in downtown New York City on May 1 with an exhibition that details the history of art in the United States from 1900 to the present day. The show, “America is Hard to See,” will be the first in the museum’s new location in Manhattan’s meatpacking district on the lower Westside in the nine-story building designed by architect Renzo Piano. “It’s quite an amazing experience,” said Adam Weinberg, the director of the museum. “It’s very rare that you open a ground-up museum in the city of New York. The museum moved into the new building, which features outdoor galleries and terraces that will showcase large-scale pieces, after 50 years uptown in Manhattan. “It’s often that there are renovations or wings added, but this is the first time, I think probably in quite a long time, that there has been a building designed where you basically started from scratch,” Weinberg added in an interview.

When it opens next Friday the space will feature the largest column-free museum exhibition space in New York which is designed to give artists and curators extraordinary freedom, according to the museum.

The Whitney’s collection includes 22,000 works of art, with masterpieces by artists ranging from Edward Hopper to Jasper Johns. More than 600 pieces will be on view.

“America is Hard to See” will focus on themes, ideas, and beliefs of artists with familiar and unknown works.

“I think one of the great things of this exhibition is that people are going to see the things they know well, ‘Calder’s Circus,’ Edward Hopper’s ‘Early Sunday Morning,’ Georgia O’Keeffe. But then they are also going to see many things they haven’t seen before. Actually some of them are things we haven’t seen for a very long time,” said Donna De Salvo, the chief curator and deputy director for programs.