Fire Sweeps Boat On London Duck Tours; Passengers Leap Into The Thames

Football Thursday: Can ‘Madden’ video game do more to help NFL in London than the Jaguars?

(CNN) — People had to leap into the River Thames on Sunday after the amphibious tour boat taking them around London caught fire near Parliament. “There were flames, and there was lots of black smoke,” Phil Beasley-Harling, an eyewitness, told CNN affiliate ITV. “At one point, it looked as though the boat wasn’t going to survive.” Amateur video showed several passengers jumping into the water as flames and smoke billowed out from the windows at the front of the London Duck Tours boat, a bright yellow vehicle that takes sightseers around the British capital by road and river. After reports of the fire were received late Sunday morning, firefighters, a police helicopter and paramedics rushed to the scene. Several people were pulled from the water, and the blaze was eventually extinguished. Police said all 28 passengers and two crew members on board the vessel were safe. No one was seriously injured, and three people treated at a London hospital for “minor smoke inhalation ailments” have all been discharged, London Duck Tours said. Most of the people on board the boat were foreign tourists, ITV reported. The company and the London Fire Brigade both said the cause of the blaze, which damaged one third of the vessel, was so far unknown. River tours suspended Borough Cmdr. Alison Newcomb of London’s Metropolitan Police said that the maritime coast guard is investigating. “At the conclusion of that investigation, I anticipate they will make a decision with regards to future tours,” she told ITV. London Duck Tours said it has stopped operating tours on the river until the reason for the fire has been established. “Should technical or safety modifications be required to our fleet, these will be introduced prior to the service recommencing,” Duck Tours said, stressing that it “operates to the highest safety standards.” “London Duck Tours operates a fully modernized fleet of nine vehicles that have been completely rebuilt and refurbished between 2002 and 2012,” it said.

There were trailers selling American burgers, a spot where old men dressed like Elvis square danced to techno pop, not to mention a television blaring the Jaguars’ 2012 highlights, and a booth for the City of Jacksonville as if to say: we’ll give you our team if you come visit our miles of beautiful beaches. . Tim Tebow’s popularity extends to Europe, at least for this fan. (Y Sports) “People will say, ‘Oh wait a minute this is supposed to be a sport but it’s not about the sport, it’s about the advertising,'” said Riki Samuel, Gur’s father, as he and his son waited to enter Wembley on Sunday. “‘How do you stop a game to show an advert?’ People actually say this.” When Gur Samuel tries to recruit friends to watch NFL games, he often loses them at the change of possessions when the ads come on in the U.S. Since British channels don’t sell many of the commercial breaks, they fill the void with endless five-minute cuts to studio shows, where one or two analysts sit around small tables with hosts and talk about the previous handful of plays in a tedious exercise. “People don’t want their attention broken up by adverts,” he said. This is an issue for an NFL that desperately wants to reach young people in the UK. It figures it can only do so much with people over the age of 30. Those fans have their sports and their teams, and the NFL believes they aren’t going to be as open to accepting the NFL as younger people who might be willing to embrace an American sport. It’s a risk.

Goodbye London, hello Gaborone: De Beers sales head to Africa

The 2011 decision to move – which will cost more than $120 million, including shiny new offices in Gaborone – follows years of negotiations between Anglo-American-owned De Beers and Botswana, the largest producer of gem diamonds and home to mines like Jwaneng, the world’s richest. The move secured a new 10-year contract for the sorting, valuing and sales of diamonds from the Botswana mines run by Debswana, a 50:50 joint venture between De Beers and the southern African country’s government – the longest sales contract agreed to date between the two sides. It will shift more than $6 billion of annual rough diamond sales from an international financial center to a comparative backwater with a population of 230,000, in one of the most dramatic examples of a producing country battling successfully to keep value and profits from the raw materials at home. The change will test Botswana’s ability to develop skills and services, lower an unemployment rate stuck at roughly 18 percent and diversify an economy still dependent on diamonds for more than 80 percent of exports. By separating sales from corporate headquarters, the move is also arguably the biggest challenge De Beers has faced to the way it does business since the current sales model was set up nearly a century ago to secure its then-dominant position. END OF AN ERA The shift south, long expected in one form or another, raises practical questions – visa difficulties, a lack of direct flights and suitable hotels – but has also sparked a debate around the future of De Beers and its role in the gem market. Still the world’s largest producer by value, De Beers was taken over by Anglo American in a deal completed last year which bought out the Oppenheimer family, cutting direct links to the dynasty that ran the firm for almost a century. “It is what you would call the end of an era, but it should not be seen as a negative, it should be seen as the natural progression of the industry,” Kieron Hodgson, an equity analyst at Charles Stanley in London. Others are less sanguine. “I don’t think any of them really want to be (in Gaborone), but they don’t have a choice as the diamonds are in the ground there,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Des Kilalea. “It is akin to saying we won’t have an London Metal Exchange, you’ll have to go to Chile to get your copper. It is blatantly inefficient – though in terms of politics and development, if I were president I’d do the same.” De Beers has already moved its diamond sorting and aggregation businesses – the operations that sift through the production from each mine and bring the gems together before they are allocated to buyers – to Gaborone.