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UK exports of cakes and biscuits increased significantly in 2008, according to the latest report by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). The data, supplied by Leatherhead Food International, showed exports of UK biscuits shot up by 15% to £204 million and cakes weren’t far behind, up 12% to £156.5m. Canada, Australia and The Netherlands were some of the biggest importers of sweet biscuits, with the UK seeing export growth of 36%, 39% and 27% respectively. Exports to Ireland accounted for 57% of all UK cake exports, up 5.8%. However, exports to The Netherlands and France saw some of the strongest EU cake export growth, up by 26% and 35% respectively. Bulgaria and Poland have both significantly increased their imports of bakery, cakes and biscuits, by 302% and 226% (£3.6m) respectively.The FDF said that total exports of food and non-alcoholic drinks “hit record levels”, with an overall increase of 19.6% – to reach a value of £9.2 billion.The popularity of British products in central regions has underpinned the overall growth, with demand strong in the former Eastern Bloc countries, it added. For the full story, see next week’s issue of British Baker – out 19 June.
Actor and beloved comedian John Belushi would have celebrated his 68th birthday today. Best known for his tenure as an original cast member of Saturday Night Live and his roles in iconic films like Animal House and The Blues Brothers, Belushi was one of the most magnetic personalities of his generation, even attracting the likes of the Grateful Dead, particularly drummer Bill Kreutzmann.Kreutzmann recounts in his 2015 book Deal: My Three Decades of Drumming, Dreams, and Drugs with the Grateful Dead the great friendship and some of the wild times he shared with Belushi when the Dead used to get out to New York City. One such instance occurred the Dead’s opening night at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ on March 30, 1980 when Belushi got it into his head that he wanted to sing backup with the band on “U.S. Blues” during the encore. However, met with some resistance from the band, Kreutzmann had to nix Belushi’s wishes. Belushi had other plans.Kreutzmann writes:I had a really good show that night, and the entire band played well. We encored with “U.S. Blues” as planned and, right before the chorus, Belushi took everyone by surprise by cartwheeling onto the stage. It was a comedic ambush. He had on a sport coat with small American flags stuffed into both of his breast pockets and he landed his last cartwheel just in time to grab a microphone and join in on the chorus. The audience and everyone in the band – except for Phil – ate it up. It couldn’t have been rehearsed better. Belushi had impeccable comedic timing, musicality, balls, the works. And apparently, he didn’t take no for an answer.Take a listen to the Dead’s entire March 30, 1980 performance with Belushi helping out on vocals during the “U.S. Blues” encore:
FREEHOLD – The Monmouth County Department of Consumer Affairs wants every county resident to be aware of “smishing,” the latest attempt to steal information from unsuspecting cellphone users.“As we rely on technology and our cellphones more, thousands of people are using the same technology to target and take advantage of cellphone users,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the department. “Residents need to be aware of new attempts to commit fraud and identity theft.”Smishing is similar to the email technique “phishing,” except that it takes information from cellphones. It looks legitimate, but tricks victims into submitting their information, which is then used to steal identities. The term refers to the abbreviation for text messaging, SMS or Short Message Service. Smishing is sometimes referred to as “vishing.”Typically, a criminal begins by setting up an automated dialing system to text or call people in particular area codes or regions. Sometimes, they will use customer phone numbers that were stolen from banks or credit unions.After collecting your information, the criminal can drain bank accounts, steal identities, charge items with the credit card numbers or set up more accounts that only the criminal can access.Consumers are already aware of phishing emails, such as the Nigerian prince asking for money or winning money from the Canadian Mounted Police and other lottery schemes. Because consumers feel safe using cellphones, they are at an even greater risk of falling prey to smishing. Most of the messages cause a sense of alarm, using trigger words such as problems with bank or credit cards that people are more likely to click or call without thinking it is a scam.“Be vigilant,” said Annmarie Howley, director of the Monmouth County Department of Consumer Affairs. “Identity theft rates continue to rise at an alarming rate, and consumers must be aware of new scams. Smishing scam artists are very difficult to track, because they often operate in foreign countries. This means consumers must hesitate to click on links and call numbers they have never seen before.”If you get a text alert or email about a bank account or some other account, do not respond before you verify that it is a legitimate text alert. Keep the phone number to your bank or credit card agency in your phone’s list of contacts. That way you can easily verify that the number in the text message is the correct number and not a scam.
Piksel’s Daniel Thunberg talks about the relaunch of the company and the challenges and opportunities facing service providers launching OTT services.
Planet Earth IIBBC Worldwide and Blue Ant are rolling out the BBC Earth channel in Canada.The commercial arm of the UK pubcaster and the Canadian programmer and channel operator will launch the high-end factual net on January 24.The launch line-up will include hit series Planet Earth II and The Hunt.The HD net will replace Blue Ant’s adventure-themed radX specialty service in Canada, which is carried on cable and satellite.“We’ve found a kindred spirit in Blue Ant Media – they are the perfect partner for our premiere BBC Earth channel, which will showcase a stellar collection of the BBC’s unparalleled natural world programming,” said Ann Sarnoff, president BBC Worldwide North America.“We know that the BBC brand and content resonate with Canadians, so we’re looking forward to BBC Earth becoming an important part of the television landscape in Canada.”BBC Earth is one of Worldwide’s core channels and has a raft of blue-chip BBC doc specials and series. Blue Ant, meanwhile, produces and distributes docs and runs the LoveNature SVOD service.“BBC Earth and its iconic, world-class programming are a perfect complement to Blue Ant Media’s suite of premium factual channels,” said Raja Khanna, CEO, Television & Digital, Blue Ant Media.“Our partnership with BBC Worldwide underlines Blue Ant Media’s on-going commitment to invest in premium brands and bring the world’s best content to Canadians from coast to coast.”Planet Earth II will go out on the new channel in Canada on Saturday, January 28, day-and-date with the US premiere on BBC America.
Amazon is reportedly testing a smart TV set in the UK, which will mark its latest push into the video streaming market.Amazon Fire TVAccording to a report by UK paper The Telegraph, the smart TV was developed alongside a group of Chinese manufacturers and is being tested by the DTG.The Telegraph claims that Amazon’s UK-targeted TV set will include a Freeview tuner and have Prime video built in.The DTG is the UK’s self-funding centre for innovation in digital media technology. It also produces test reports, white papers, best practice guidelines and the d-Book list of specifications for UK digital TV.The news comes after BT last month become the first UK pay TV provider to offer Amazon Prime Video access via its set-top box.In Amazon’s home market of the US, the e-retail giant also unveiled in June the Fire TV Cube, a hands-free 4K Ultra HD streaming media player that incorporates the same Alexa voice controls found in its Echo devices.