The Spectator

Barometer | 7 July 2012

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Lost and found 

A team from St Andrews University has published its attempts to map the remains of Doggerland, an area of land and later an island in the North Sea which disappeared around 5,500 bc as a result of rising sea levels after the last ice age. Some other possible lost lands:

— Atlantis. According to Plato, it was a naval power close to the pillars of Hercules at the western end of the Mediterranean that sank in a day and a night in c. 9,600 bc after a failed attempt to conquer Athens.

— Mu. Invented by a Victorian writer, Augustus Le Plongeon, who claimed to have gleaned its existence from Mayan writings. Survivors of its rapid disappearance apparently went on to found ancient Egypt.

— Lemuria. Proposed by Victorian naturalist Philip Sclater in 1864 to explain why remains of lemurs had been found in India and Madagascar but not along any current route of possible land migration. Other writers later embellished it into a land of seven-foot tall hermaphrodites.

Crime and no punishment

Barclays Bank was fined £290 million for attempting to fix the Libor interest rate. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) does not have a great record in stamping out financial crimes and misdemeanours:

September 2010 Goldman Sachs fined £17.5 million for failing to inform the FSA that one of its UK-based staff was under investigation in the US for fraud January 2009 Insurance broker Aon Ltd fined £5.25 million for failing to take reasonable care to guard against fraud

May 2010 Stockbroker Simon Eagle fined £2.8 million for his part in a share ramping scheme

February 2010 Turkish oil executive Mehmet Sepit fined £967,005 for insider dealing, after buying shares in an oil company he knew had made a big discovery

November 2011 David Mason gets two years and is banned as a company director for six years for selling shares which did not exist. First prosecution 10 years after FSA warned about the practice

Olympic dreams

A report by Lloyds Bank claimed that the Olympics would eventually benefit Britain to the tune of £16.5 billion. How have actual visitor numbers fared so far this year? Here are the figures for visitors from various regions in the three months to April:

# visitors Region % +/- on 2011
4.3m Western Europe +2%
650,000 Eastern Europe +19%
540,000 Europe beyond EU +29%
670,000 North America +2%
830,000 Rest of World 0%