U.S. economy cools in the fourth quarter, but consumer spending shines

Reuters UK Business News - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 17:40
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. economic growth slowed sharply in the fourth quarter as weak business spending and a wider trade deficit offset the fastest pace of consumer spending since 2006.

GALLERY: Traffic chaos in Wisbech as CCTV pin points up to 50 vehicles in first day ignoring new one way traffic flow

Ely Standard - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 17:31

A revised one-way system introduced in Wisbech yesterday (Thu) is causing mayhem, according to a shop owner who said CCTV spotted at least 50 vehicles travelling in the wrong direction.

Categories: Local Press

FTSE closes lower, still posts best month in nearly a year

Reuters UK Business News - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 17:25
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's top share index posted its strongest monthly performance in almost a year in January, although a fall in BT pushed the market lower on Friday.

Shell corrects fourth quarter results, earnings unaffected

Reuters UK Business News - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 16:48
(Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell said on Friday it had overstated its fourth quarter results by $178 million (118.44 million pounds) due to an error in the valuation of its fuel inventory.

Deutsche Bank London arm under extra scrutiny by watchdog - source

Reuters UK Business News - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 16:44
LONDON (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank's London office is under enhanced supervision by Britain's financial regulator due to concerns about the German bank's governance and controls, a person familiar with the matter said.

Mattel removes CEO, warns of fifth straight fall in quarterly sales

Reuters UK Business News - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 16:40
Mattel Inc removed Chief Executive Bryan Stockton after another disappointing holiday shopping season for the maker of the ageing Barbie doll.

Spanish growth accelerates but domestic banks lag

Reuters UK Business News - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 16:24
MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's economic turnaround accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2014 and growth hit pre-crisis levels as oil prices tumbled, although an enduring lending crunch signals the recovery may still take time to feed through to struggling families.

Surgeons amputate 20 year-old Billy’s leg after removing a tumour the size of a tin of baked beans - now he needs £70,000 for a bionic limb to help him lead a normal life

Ely Standard - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 16:16

A £70,000 appeal has been launched to fund a bionic leg for a 20 year-old trainee electrician who lost a limb to cancer.

Categories: Local Press

Alstom wins 2 billion euros Paris metro train deal

Reuters UK Business News - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 16:12
PARIS (Reuters) - Alstom said it won a contract worth more than 2 billion euros (1.50 billion pounds) over 15 years to provide up to 217 trains for public transport in the Paris region.

Government action group stage first meeting over future plans for RAF Mildenhall

Newmarket Journal - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 16:10

The first meeting of a Government action group aimed at countering the impact from the closure of three American airbases has been held at the Forest Heath District Council (FHDC) office in Mildenhall.

Categories: Local Press

Opening of latest solar farm in Fens boosts Cambridgeshire numbers to over 40 - enough to power 185,000 homes every year

Ely Standard - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 16:06

Opening of a 22 acre solar farm this week in the Fens brings to over 40 the number now operational or in the pipeline across Cambridgeshire – enough to power 185,000 homes each year.

Categories: Local Press

Alex Hope jailed for seven years for FX investment fraud in UK

Reuters UK Business News - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 16:00
LONDON (Reuters) - Alex Hope has been jailed for seven years for defrauding investors of five million pounds to help fund his lifestyle, Britain's Financial Conduct Authority said on Friday.

BMW fixes security flaw in its in-car software

Reuters UK Business News - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 15:21
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German luxury carmaker BMW has fixed a security flaw that could have allowed hackers to unlock the doors of up to 2.2 million Rolls-Royce, Mini and BMW vehicles, it said on Friday.

Sainsbury’s passes first test with flying colours for revised application for new store at Whittlesey

Ely Standard - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 15:17

Sainsbury’s passed a critical first test after it won unanimous approval from Whittlesey Town Council for its revised plans for a superstore and country park in Eastrea Road.

Categories: Local Press

Qatar Airways takes 1.15 billion pounds stake in British Airways-owner IAG

Reuters UK Business News - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 14:45
LONDON/BERLIN (Reuters) - Qatar Airways has bought a stake worth about 1.15 billion pounds in the owner of British Airways and Iberia, aiming to forge closer links to a group with two major European hubs and strong transatlantic networks.

McDonald's franchisees to new CEO: back-to-basics, fast

Reuters UK Business News - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 14:44
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - McDonald's franchisees have a fast order for the fast food giant's new CEO - get back to basics. In interviews franchisees and advisors to restaurant owners say they hope the new chief will clean up a huge menu to focus on burgers and fries.

Markets brace for rocky ride after ECB plays last card

Reuters UK Business News - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 14:43
LONDON (Reuters) - The European Central Bank's quantitative easing programme may prove to be major central banks' last salvo in their post-crisis battle to revive growth, heal the financial system and kill off the threat of deflation.

Riverside Guided Walk - 15th February 2015

Events - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 12:31
Date:  Sunday, 15 February 2015 - 11:30am - 12:30pm Riverside Guided Walk - 15th February 2015

Enjoy a Guided Walk taking in Ely's City Centre as well as its beautiful waterside. Learn about the drainage of the Fens, the life of the Fen folk and how the river serves visitors and residents today

Pre-booking advisable



Contact:  Ely Tourist Information Centre Telephone:  01353 662062 Email: Website:  Visit Ely Location Ely Tourist Information Centre 29 St Mary's Street Ely CB7 4HF United Kingdom See map: Google Maps

Police and crime commissioner Sir Graham Bright explains increases in Cambs violent crime and sexual offences

Ely Standard - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 12:23

Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright took to the airwaves on Friday to explain why Cambridgeshire has experienced large increases in violent crime and sexual offences.

Categories: Local Press

Body clock may have effect on sporting peak performance

NHS Choices - Behind the Headlines - Fri, 30/01/2015 - 11:40

"Our internal body clock has such a dramatic impact on sporting ability that it could alter the chances of Olympic gold," BBC News reports.

This headline comes from a study of 20 female athletes, which showed their peak performance on a fitness test was strongly linked to what are described as "circadian phenotypes".

These phenotypes were assessed using a questionnaire that looked at issues such as the time people tended to wake up and what times of the day they felt most active.

Depending on the results of the questionnaire, they were then classified into one of three groups: morning types (larks), intermediate types (let's call them "afternooners"), and evening types (owls).

They were then asked to take part in a fitness test known as the bleep test at different times of the day to see if there was a pattern in terms of peak performances.

And there was: the larks peaked around 12:00, the afternooners peaked around 16:00, and the owls peaked around 20:00.

Despite media reports to the contrary, this study wasn't saying anything about whether exercising at different times of the day is better for your health.

As an aside, there is a theory these results could explain the historical underachievement of the England football team.

Their body clocks have been set to play at 15:00 on a Saturday afternoon, but most World Cup games take place around 17:00 or 20:00. This is pure speculation at this stage, but good ammunition for post-match punditry.

Any form of exercise, whatever time of the day, brings important health benefits.


Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Birmingham. No funding source was mentioned in the publication.

It was published in the peer-reviewed science journal, Current Biology.

The reporting on the BBC and Mail Online websites was generally accurate, and included a lot of comment from the study authors about the possible wider implications of their research, such as how Spanish footballers may have an advantage in the UEFA Championship League because they are more used to playing in the evening.

However, both of the news sources' headlines were misleading. The BBC said that, "Bedtime 'has huge impact on sport'," but the research wasn't concerned with when people went to bed: it focused on whether people were generally morning or evening types.

The Mail, on the other hand, said: "Morning jog? Leave it until noon" – but this advice only applies to larks, and only really if they are aiming to set a new personal best.


What kind of research was this?

This was an experimental study looking at how peak athletic performance is related to the time of day and people's individual circadian rhythms.

Circadian rhythms are biological cycles in the body related to the time of day. They are sometimes referred to as "the body clock", or as the body's "individual biological timing".

Historically, people have been categorised as "larks" or "owls". Larks – morning people – rise early, are most active in the morning, and feel awake shortly after they get up. However, they feel tired come late afternoon or early evening.

By contrast, owls – or evening types – don't feel fully awake until many hours after they get up. They remain somewhat tired during the morning hours, but become active and switched on in the evenings.

The researchers tell us circadian rhythms have been linked to athletic performance in past research, alongside many other factors.

They also tell us athletes appear to perform at their best in the evening. They wanted to explore whether this held true if you took account of whether people were larks or owls, or somewhere in the middle.

The study was small and designed to test a new hypothesis: a proof of concept study. It was not designed to provide definitive proof athletic performance is affected by the time of day, or is related to a person's biological clock. It was not large enough or diverse enough to achieve these aims.


What did the research involve?

The Birmingham study team recruited 20 competition-level female hockey players and asked them to perform their best at the bleep test.

This is a test of cardiovascular fitness involving a series of 20m runs in shorter and shorter times. Researchers performed the test at six different times of day between 07:00 and 22:00 to see how their performance varied.

Meanwhile, the women completed a new questionnaire specifically designed to study sleep/wake-related parameters, training, competition, and performance variables in athletes.

The team used the answers to categorise the women into:

  • early circadian phenotype – "larks"
  • late circadian phenotype – "owls"
  • intermediate circadian phenotype – people more in the middle ("afternooners")

The analysis was pretty straightforward and appropriate.


What were the basic results? Analysis by time of day, ignoring circadian phenotype

Overall, the results showed peak performance on the bleep test was in the late afternoon, around 16:00 and 19:00. Performance was lowest at 07:00. The variation between the best and worst performance throughout the day was 11.2%.

Analysis by time of day, taking circadian phenotype into account

When the team looked more closely at peak performance, they found it was significantly influenced by circadian phenotype. They found:

  • larks peaked around 12:00
  • intermediate types peaked around 16:00
  • owls peaked around 20:00

The gap between the best and worst performance, when separated out by circadian phenotype, was 26% in the owls. It was less in larks (7.6% variation) and intermediates (10.0%)

To put this into context, the researchers reported the variation in time performance between first and seventh place at the 2012 London Olympic Games 100m sprint men's final was less than 5%.

They found peak performance was more related to the time people got up – specifically, the delay between that and competition – than the actual time of day.

Again, this varied a lot by circadian phenotype. Owls needed much longer after waking (around 11 hours) than larks before peak performance could be produced.


How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers stated the highlights of the research were findings that:

  • athlete performance shows significant daytime variation
  • personal best performance times differ significantly between circadian phenotypes
  • internal biological time is the most reliable predictor of peak performance time
  • daytime performance variations can be as pronounced as 26% in the course of a day

They concluded circadian rhythms, or internal biological time, are major determinants of athletic performance at different times of the day.



This study of 20 female athletes showed peak performance on a fitness test was linked to underlying biological timing, or what is called circadian phenotype. This was a better predictor of peak performance than the actual time of day.

The possible implications of the results were discussed widely in the media. Opinions ranged from a possible explanation for why Spanish teams do well in the Champions League (they must be full of evening types, which helps them perform best in the evening matches), to advice not to jog in the morning. A lot of this was speculative, so should be taken with a pinch of salt for now. 

There is also potential confusion about what this means for people currently exercising and wanting to keep healthy. For clarity: this study didn't say exercising at different times of day is better for your health and fitness.

It says if you are competing, you may perform your best at different times of day, and this depends on whether you are more of a morning or an evening person.

Advice to ditch the morning jog until noon espoused in the Daily Mail doesn't really follow from this research, unless the aim of your morning jog is to break a personal best.

Similarly, this study isn't particularly relevant for people exercising to lose weight. It's more useful for athletes and coaches looking to optimise competitive performance.

The study authors advise internal biological time is more important than time of day, and we should listen to and understand the body clock more.

It would be interesting to know whether the circadian phenotype can be changed so, for example, athletes can prepare their bodies better for competition at a set time of day, even if this doesn't naturally fit with their lark/owl status. This study didn't address this question, but other related research might.

The study was small, only included women, and was designed mainly to show proof of concept. A larger, more diverse group (including men, for example) would need to be studied for us to be confident these results are applicable to the majority of athletes.

Analysis by Bazian. Edited by NHS Choices. Follow Behind the Headlines on Twitter. Join the Healthy Evidence forum.

Links To The Headlines

Bedtime 'has huge impact on sport'. BBC News, January 30 2015

Morning jog? Leave it until noon: Performance does not peak until several hours after a person has woken up. Mail Online, January 30 2015

Links To Science

Facher-Childs E, Brandstaetter R. The Impact of Circadian Phenotype and Time since Awakening on Diurnal Performance in Athletes. Current Biology. Published online January 29 2015

Categories: NHS Choices