Uplifting news has been at a premium this week. Whether it be the continued fallout from the horrific events that took place in Paris, the Mali siege or the tragic news of the death of arguably rugby's first global superstar, Jonah Lomu, it has been a challenge for The Weekly to deliver its aim - to provide our readers with an informative, yet light-hearted review of some of the week's news - without appearing flippant or disrespectful. However, whilst the world is still reeling from the shocking events in Paris, we should take some comfort from the the numerous scenes of solidarity displayed over the last ten days or so. Nelson Mandela famously said that "sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only repair". The sight of the England and French football teams combining for a single team photo at Wembley on Tuesday night combined with 71,233 football fans singing La Marseillaise in the background was certainly a giant step to proving that Mr Mandela was spot on.
This week saw two of the property industry's largest conferences take place. Whilst held in contrasting riviera locations (Cannes and Brighton), both Mapic and the 25th IPD Annual Conference were well attended. Mapic has become a major fixture in the conference calendar and the focus this year was on 'retailtainment' - the integration of leisure activities across shopping centres. Retail consultants frequently release new research at the conference and one particular report was published advising retailers to start 'future-proofing' their businesses in order to remain competitive and profitable over the next decade due to the expected growth of the Internet. Whilst an empty wallet and a stinking headache are 'banker' takeaways from any conference, is it too harsh to suggest that the 8,400 delegates would have perhaps been looking for something a little more insightful? Then again, delegates who attend their party political conferences every year always leave thinking the same thing!
Have you checked your numbers yet? Last night saw the 21st anniversary of the National Lottery, marked by a special draw guaranteeing ten millionaires. Twenty two million Brits watched the first ever draw in November 1994 and most of us have been on a losing streak ever since! But for any doubting Thomases out there, more than 4,000 people have become millionaires by playing the Lottery, with the Long family from Scunthorpe winning £1m twice - at odds of 283 billion to one. For those of you still ruing the amount of money you've gambled away over the last 21 years, perhaps you can take comfort from the fact that nine out of ten UK medalists at the 2012 Olympics were Lotto-funded, whilst Lotto-funded films, like Billy Elliot, have won 14 Oscars. So if you can't quit your job on the back of a life-changing Lotto win, at least you have a made a significant contribution to the UK's sport and film industries!