Soldiers from the South Korean army demonstrate their martial arts skills. (Photo: AP)


Putting the Rugby World Cup aside for a moment, there is growing discontent among fans of the round ball sport. The past week was another average one for our 'elite' English teams in the Champions League. They have so far played 8 group games of which 5 have ended in defeat. Arsenal have lost both their two games, firstly to Dino Zagreb and then to Olympiakos who, up until Tuesday night, had the exemplary record of 12 defeats from 12 games against English teams. Last season the 4 English representatives lost only 6 of the 24 group games, whilst in the years 2003/2004 to 2011/2012, the most English defeats in the group stages was 5. So what's gone wrong? Apparently the players are paid far too much and don't care! There is no winter break so the players are too tired! And the Premier League is too competitive so there are no easy games! If the English teams don't buck up their ideas, then there is a real chance that the Premier League will lose one of its current four Champion League places come the start of the 2017/2018 season. And given that Arsenal's next two games are against the German giants, Bayern Munich, the signs don't look too promising.
 
Talking of German giants, Volkswagen has had better weeks hasn't it? Whilst the impacts of their scandal are still to play out, it's obvious that they are not expecting to get away with it, having already set-aside £4.8bn to cover the anticipated costs. But what will be the impact on the automotive sector as an investment asset class? Albeit released just before the VW scandal broke, a Knight Frank report on the sector predicts that 2015 will see the largest-ever volume of automotive investment deals, with around £650m expected to transact by the end of the year. The report also identifies that operators are increasingly considering alternative ways to raise capital for expansion, by unlocking it from their real estate assets. In VW’s case, it may be to raise capital for emission fines instead.
 
Did you get out the party poppers on Thursday and celebrate? Well, 1st October was the inaugural International Coffee Day, an occasion to celebrate the drink and “support the millions of farmers whose livelihoods depend on the aromatic crop”. Whilst having an official 'day' may seem rather extreme, the importance of coffee to the global economy should not be underestimated. Coffee, after oil, is the second most valuable global commodity. In the UK we collectively drink 70 million cups a day and, on average, we each consume 2.8 kg of coffee every year. That may sound like a lot but it is far less than the world’s number one coffee-guzzling nation, Finland, where on average each person consumes 9.9 kg! Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway and Slovenia complete the top five. So when your doctor next frowns at your high level of caffeine intake, at least you can now respond by saying you are doing your bit to help improve your nation's ranking. 

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