Idea Group teams with Tarigo to bring Cloud based product management tool to market

Idea Group, innovators and developers of automated financial messaging and communication products and services for the investment management, pension fund and hedge fund communities today launched Prodigy, their new product management workflow and management tool, designed by product managers for product managers.

Idea Group teamed up with consultants, Tarigo, the leading provider of best practice Product Management training and consultancy services to develop a tool that would meet the requirements of product managers in the financial services sector, and beyond. The product is built on a secure hosted platform, embracing Cloud for affordable and effective deployment and ease of management.

Today, in this fast paced business environment, financial services organisations are seeking a more structured approach to product management

  • a clearer overview of their product suite
  • more clarity and consistency in their product process
  • move from paper based processes for efficiency and reduced risk
  • a flexible system allowing freedom to adjust parameters
  • ability to share real-time access to information across the enterprise
  • a tool that was easy to use and avoided the complexity of a technology project

Prodigy delivers on all these requirements.

Using Cloud technology, Prodigy delivers a host of features, functions and benefits for users, it is cost effective, scalable as the organisation grows and removes concerns of costly IT maintenance.

Every aspect of the organisation benefits from this new product management platform and in particular it delivers quantifiable benefits for product managers, line managers, senior management and related third parties.

“We are delighted to bring Prodigy to market. The demand for improvements to the product management lifecycle is high on the agenda of most forward thinking organisations. Time is of the essence in business today, but there needs to be a robust platform upon which financial products can be created, managed, enhanced or retired. The ability to maximise the connectivity to big data, to track and analyse performance for the improvement of product management performance, and to also provide flexible management information are significant benefits of Prodigy. To date the product has received a very enthusiastic response.” Comments Bill Gourlay, CEO, Idea Group.

For further information regarding the product, pricing, implementation and training please contact Idea Group at (marketing@ideagroup.co.uk) or refer to our dedicated website www.prodigyproduct.com

 

Biletu

FinanceNews Fintech One to Watch: Biletu

Biletu is your new way to organise events and share the expenses between friends and pay for it using your smartphone.

All-in-one, state-of-the-art app to join events, chat, gamification, mobile payments and social networks together in a simple way. Biletu is a new, simple way to allow users to connect and for companies to engage innovatively with targeted users.

Background

Web: biletu.com
Twitter: @biletu
Phone +56977904706
Email hello@biletu.com
Founded 11/2011

Office
Av. Providencia 229, Providencia, CHL

Felipe Millan CEO
Jeremias de Isquilla CTO
Carlos Croquevielle CFO

Biletu received $40k in Seed funding. (12/16/11)
Posted 2/1/12 at 5:26am via startupchile.org

Biletu added Jeremias de Isquilla as CTO. (11/1/11)
Posted 2/1/12 at 5:27am

Biletu added Felipe Millan as CEO. (11/1/11)
Posted 1/31/12 at 6:47am

Biletu added Carlos Croquevielle as CFO.(11/1/11)
Posted 2/1/12 at 5:27am

Backbase

FinanceNews Fintech One to Watch: Backbase

Backbase is a software company, founded in the Netherlands in 2003, which has offices in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, New York, United States, Moscow, Russia and Singapore. The core products of Backbase are Backbase Portal and Backbase Forms.

Backbase was founded in 2003 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands by Jouk Pleiter and Gerbert Kaandorp to develop an AJAX framework using HTML, Javascript and CSS. Backbase used the term Rich Internet Applications to classify its software. In February 2005, Jesse James Garret coined the term AJAX, after which classification “Ajax-based Rich Internet Applications” was adopted. In May 2005, the Backbase Community Edition (CE) was launched, supported by the Backbase Developer Network.[1] The Backbase CE was a framework for developers and companies to build Rich and Web 2.0 Internet applications.

In 2008, Backbase decided to develop its own Portal Software. Backbase had made a 180-degree turn in its focus based on a shift it saw in the market with company Marketing Departments beginning to take over responsibility from IT Departments for the customer-facing part of their web sites. Quality Open Source frameworks were also beginning to emerge and in 2009 Backbase released Backbase Portal 4. In May 2011, Backbase released Backbase Portal 5, with a total focus on widgets.

At the beginning of 2011 Backbase opened an office in North America, in New York City, to better focus on its US customer-base.

Press Coverage

Backbase Wins ‘Best Of Show’ at Finovate Europe 2014 For Its New Omni-Channel Digital Sales and Enrollment Module

Out of the 67 companies that presented, the audience voted for Backbase as Best of Show. With its newly launched digital sales module, Backbase helps banks and insurers increase their online revenue by improving the customer onboarding experience across devices and channels.

Backbase, the makers of the Backbase Customer Experience Platform (CXP), launched their new Digital Sales and Enrollment Module at Finovate Europe 2014, the leading fintech conference in London, United Kingdom. The demo, which showed a streamlined, omni-channel loan application process, was voted ‘Best of Show’ by the audience of banking professionals.

The key features in the newly launched module include advanced targeting and segmentation rules within the Backbase digital marketing engine, which will help digital marketers at financial institutions optimize their digital sales campaigns. Also included are new out-of-the-box enrollment and origination capabilities that cover the entire digital application process, utilizing device specific features, like employing the camera on mobile devices to take pictures and using character recognition (OCR) to automatically pre-fill forms. The enrollment process is completely omni-channel ready; its possible to start an application on one device and continue on any other device, or in any other channel with a seamless handover and orchestration between channels.

Read More: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/backbase-wins-best-of-show-at-finovate-europe-2014-for-its-new-omni-channel-digital-sales-and-enrollment-module-245347131.html

Azimo

FinanceNews Fintech One to Watch: Azimo

Azimo is a UK-based financial services company whose website and mobile applications enable users to send money to 125 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Founded in 2011, by Michael Kent, Ricky Knox and Marek Mawro, Azimo announced a £300,000 angel investment round in January 2013.[3] The company raised an additional $1 million in September of 2013.[4] Azimo is headquartered in London and was included in the Wonga Future 50 UK Businesses for 2012

Azimo allows users to send money directly to a bank account, top up a mobile phone or send cash for collection at one of 150,000 global cash pay-out locations. Consumers pay for Azimo money transfers using funds from their UK bank account, a debit card or by depositing cash with one of the company’s banking partners. The money transfers are paid out in either U.S. dollars (USD), Euros (EUR), Sterling (GBP) or in local currency.

Azimo now provides money transfer services to 195 countries including Poland, Argentina, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Lithuania, Brazil and most recently New Zealand and South Africa.

Azimo gives customers the option to donate a portion of the money they transfer to charities working in developing countries and has active partnerships with charities, including Operation Smile.[9] It has pledged to donate 10% of annual profits to charities that it supports.[6] Staff members are offered a free day every quarter to allow them to get involved with work in the community and Azimo also provides non-profit organisations that have operations in the developing world with cost price access to its money transfer services.

Press Coverage

UK-based start-up adds fourth European market to online money transfer operation

Azimo has stepped up its aggressive European expansion with the launch of its online international money transfer business in Austria.

Austria will be the company’s fourth market since Azimo launched in 2012 and it follows successful fast-growing operations in the UK, Ireland and Germany.

The service gives Austrian residents a simple and cost-effective solution to sending money to 190+ countries across the world and is available in 12 different languages.

To mark the new launch, Azimo Austria will be waiving all fees for the first 90 days, saving customers up to €15. The site will continue to offer market-beating exchange rates on all transactions.

The expansion means the low-cost international money transfer service is now available to over 160 million people across Europe. It also opens up a market worth €4 billion annually, meaning Azimo has potential access to over €30 billion of money transfers every year.

Read More: http://www.businessrevieweurope.eu/technology/azimo-kicks-off-2014-expansion-with-austrian-launch

Akamai

FinanceNews Fintech One to Watch: Akamai

Akamai is a leading cloud platform for helping enterprises provide secure, high-performing user experiences on any device, anywhere.

At the core of the company’s solutions is the Akamai Intelligent Platform providing extensive reach, coupled with unmatched reliability, security, visibility and expertise. Akamai removes the complexities of connecting the increasingly mobile world, supporting 24/7 consumer demand, and enabling enterprises to securely leverage the cloud. To learn more about how Akamai is accelerating the pace of innovation in a hyperconnected world, please visit akamai.com or blogs.akamai.com, and follow @Akamai on Twitter.

How they describe their product/innovation: Akamai’s Kona Site Defender is the first cloud-based Web security solution to help financial services institutions protect against both large scale denial of service and sophisticated application-layer threats seeking to compromise their brands, applications and associated data. Web based attacks have been on the rise, with Financial Services being one of the primary targets of criminal, political, and chaotic actors. These attacks can cost institutions millions in lost transactions and business productivity each year, and even higher losses in their brand value and reputation. With the introduction of Kona Site Defender, real-time web security monitoring, adaptive rate controls and other powerful features are bundled into a single, always on, cloud-based solution that can protect an institution’s most critical online business functions.

In a unique demonstration, Akamai will command agents and attack servers across the Internet to launch attacks commonly directed at financial services sites (including SQL injection, slow HTTP post, and denial of service attacks) at a pair of live demonstration banking sites on the public Internet ­ one in the clear, and one protected by Kona Site Defender. The demonstration will show how these attacks can compromise an unprotected site and how Kona Site Defender is able to detect and mitigate these attacks automatically, live, in real-time. The demonstration will feature innovative adaptive rate control and real-time Web security monitoring security technologies.

Press Coverage

This $10 Billion Company You’ve Never Heard Of Is The Reason Your Internet Is Fast

If you’ve been watching the Olympics online, you’ve got one company to thank for the quality of your stream.  It isn’t NBC or your cable provider. It’s a company based out of Massachusetts with a funny-sounding name that few outside of tech have heard of: Akamai — which is Hawaiian for “intelligent,” in case you were wondering.

In essence, what it does is simple: it makes everything you do on the Internet faster by putting content onto servers that are physically closer to the people accessing it. The company operates what’s known as a content delivery network, and Akamai’s is the largest in the world, serving up as much as 30% of all Web traffic (PDF).

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/akamai-dominates-internet-infrastructure-2014-2#ixzz2tbkgfatY

Additiv

FinanceNews Fintech One to Watch: Additiv

Additiv is a Swiss software company providing bank 2.0 solutions based on its superior add.direct platform. add.direct was awarded the Banking IT-Innovation Award 2012. It allows customers and banks to handle and manage banking business faster, easier and cheaper.

How they describe their product/innovation: With add.direct we solve two major issues in banking today:

  1. Costs! add.direct allows for a major step in the industrialisation of banks by automating the mid- and front-office processes. It enables a true end-to-end business process along the complete customer journey.
  2. Differentiation in the marketplace: add.direct allows for a highly improved customer experience along all touchpoints and is the basis for serious 2.0 banking.

TraitWareID

FinanceNews Fintech One to Watch: TraitWareID

TraitWareID is a patent pending process that authenticates the identity of an end user and certain digital personality traits on their mobile device.

This provides real-time, in-transaction authentication of the person and device. Combined with PhotoAuth, our patent pending image-based activation method, ease-of-use and heightened security allow only the registered user to access sensitive data, or initiate financial transactions.

TraitWareID simplifies and secures access to protected web sites and applications by employing the user’s mobile device as a login token, eliminating the use of inconvenient and problematic usernames and passwords. TraitWareID does this with patent-pending technology, which begins with user authentication, then binds the user’s identity to their device. TraitWareID utilizes digital identity mapping to analyze the user-created content of the authentication device.

Press Coverage

Acuity Systems is unveiling a software platform called TraitWareID that authenticates a person’s identity with the help of a mobile phone.

The Visalia, Calif.-based Acuity Systems started life in 2008 as a video analytics software company in video surveillance. The recession and the collapse of that market forced the company to pivot into identity and access management, using mobile platforms. Heightened fears about mobile hacking and device theft have prompted companies to pay more attention to authenticating employees when they access company information using phones. On top of that, authentication is more important as mobile commerce takes off.

TraitWareID authenticates who a person is with a few questions and then associates that user with a specific mobile device and its digital characteristics. That provides enhanced security as well as a seamless customer experience, making transactions on mobile devices safer. The content that we keep on our phones distinguishes us from other people, so the chances of someone else having the exact same mobile device data is 1 in 360 billion…….

Read More http://venturebeat.com/2012/10/03/acuity-systems-traitware-authenticates-mobile-device-users/

Global Study Shows British Workers Have Worst Retirement Futures

A new global study by HSBC shows that Britain is the country in which those who are soon to retire have the worst financial prospects.

Among other things, the study found that a fifth of Britons in their late 50s and early 60s now expect to never be able to retire.

Fifteen countries where studied by HSBC, whose Future of Retirement report polled more than 16,000 people. The range of countries was varied, with both ‘developed’ economies such as the US and France, and quickly growing emerging market nations such as Brazil, India and China.

Majority of Retirement Unfunded

The report found that workers in the UK can expect, on average, a 19 year old long retirement. However the study also found that on average, savers are only prepared to support themselves financially for the first 7 years, leaving the average future retiree with a 12 year long shortfall period.

Future pensioners in the US seem to be more well prepared, as their savings will on average last them 14 years in retirement, twice as long as their British counterparts and the highest number of any country covered by the survey.

Fortunately, there are some steps being taken to close the gap between low savings levels and long expected retirements. A year ago the Government’s auto-enrolment initiative kicked in, prompting the largest employers in the UK to automatically enroll their staff in a company pension scheme.

Already, auto-enrolment has pushed over one million people to save for their retirement for the first time in their lives. Some of them were not able to save into workplace pensions before the reform, and some simply chose not to opt in to their employer’s pension scheme. When you instead have to actively opt out, more people continue saving.

Problem Solved?

However warnings have been raised about auto-enrolment giving savers a false sense of security, as the levels of savings in the default plans may not be enough for everybody, especially those on lower salaries or who are older but have not started saving yet.

Poor return on savings and low annuity rates means it’s more important than ever to properly save for a financially stable retirement.

When Brits who were already retired were polled on how long their savings would last them, the average answer was 13 years – almost twice of what today’s 55-64 year olds — the future generation of pensioners — can expect.

France: Challenges For New President Francois Hollande

France has voted for change in their national elections, removing Nicolas Sarkozy from his top spot and replacing him with  Francois Hollande. He takes the role at a time when the eurozone is facing a host of problems, with the obstacle requiring the most urgent attention being the economy.

Much of the concern over the eurozone is due to the chaos that has engulfed Greece, but there are doubts over the new president’s plans with and worries that his policies could send the eurozone back into debt crisis. The effects of a slumping eurozone economy have hit the UK economy hard, causing stock market upheaval and thwarting attempts to get the UK out of recession.

Concerned traders

57-year old Hollande has put the Socialist party in control, ousting the right-wing Sarkozy. He will not be taking up the role until May 15, but when he does he will juggling a packed calendar and numerous international summits.

The news of the new president saw stocks fall in Asia; they opened lower in France before recovering later in the day. With the developments in the eurozone being watched warily, the euro also took a beating while the gap between French and German bonds yields widened.

Traders had big concerns that wins for Hollande in France and the opposition party in Greece could begin a backlash against austerity measures, which were originally designed to cut public deficits in the eurozone.

The worry for those focused on dealing with the eurozone crisis has stemmed from a remark made by Hollande early in his campaign, where he said that the world of finance was France’s enemy. However, very quickly after he was victorious he started consultations with his allies in Europe. This even included a telephone conversation with Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor.

Hollande has promised to slow the pace of public spending that existed while Sarkozy was in charge, and will be renegotiating the EU fiscal pact. It was under this very pact that signatories agreed to negotiate measures in order to reduce their deficits.

Tough negotiations

While they are offering to negotiate a separate deal on growth, Germany will not be making any alterations to the original agreement, clearly signifying that the French president is looking at some tough negotiations before his Government is even in place.

The economic strategy put forward by Hollande will replace many of Sarkozy’s cost-cutting plans with higher taxes on the wealthy.  He is still planning on providing a balanced budget by 2017, even including a increase in education-related hiring and a return to a retirement age of 60.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Trailer Released

Activision have unveiled the trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, going on to declare that the game will be the ‘most groundbreaking and visceral Call of Duty experience ever.’ The gaming industry has made big gains in regards to technology. Though there is still plenty of room for improvement, newly-released games are now run with such strong engines that the experience is as fluid and immersing as ever.

The first Black Ops game made £1 billion in sales, selling 25 million copies all over the world. The latest game could break that record, since there is more interest in the title than ever.

David Goyer, game writer

The game, which is set to release on November 13th, will be the ninth title in the successful first person shooter franchise. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will follow on the record smashing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and will be set in 2012, adding a futuristic twist to the game series.

Centred around a cold war between the USA and China, the storyline has once again been written by David Goyer, the screenwriter for Batman Begins. The game propels the players into a global conflict that features advanced weaponry and robotics. The inspiration for these stunning weapons animations came from the real-life headlines of today.

Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg spoke about the release, saying that the latest installment of the game will be the most ambitious ever. Hirschberg also says that Activision were intent on bringing disruptive innovation to the franchise, pushing the boundaries not only technologically and graphically, but from a more narrative and gameplay perspective as well. He went on to say that they need to stay true to the realism, authenticity and cinematic action that players of the game are use to.

Studio Head of Treyarch, Mark Lamia, spoke about giving the fans what they want, saying that the Call of Duty: Black Ops II team are creating an experience of the franchise that fans have never seen before. He said that they endeavour to create thought-provoking storylines that introduce branching stories and meaningful choices that impact the narrative.

Multiplayer engine

He also went on to say that running the game in the multiplayer engine for the first time will give the players a much larger set of gameplay experiences as well as new ways to wage war with the undead.

The multiplayer mode also allows players to embrace all skill levels and play all styles, which will give them the experience of the best Call of Duty game they have played and the best Call of Duty game that’s been made.

The November release of the game means it will go head-to-head against the release of Microsoft’s biggest selling franchise of Halo 4.

Diamond Jubilee: Cake Portrait For Queen’s 60-Year Rein

To celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year on the throne, her majesty will be celebrated by 3,120 little cakes being placed together to form a cake portrait. This will be the larger version of the cake, with a smaller version of the portrait being made with only 500 cakes.

Both will be presented during a festival in Battersea Park, south-west London, on June 3rd. The minds behind the interesting tribute is German born baker Gerhard Jenne from Konditor & Cook. Jenne said that he was looking to create a digital portrait of the Queen, to celebrate the digital age.

Diamond shaped biscuits

The cakes are being made using lemon Victoria sponge which will be covered with apricot jam, marzipan and icing. It will be framed using fruit cake that will be decorated with diamond shaped biscuits.

In total 1,000 eggs, 52kg of butter, 150 bags of sugar, as well as 36kg of marzipan will be used. It will cover nine square metres when it finally gets finished and laid out. Those celebrating the Jubilee at the Battersea festival will be able to purchase one of the cakes from the portrait. Any profits that will be made will be given to charity.

The Diamond Jubilee river pageant will sail past Unilever offices close to Blackfriars Bridge, allowing employees of the company to enjoy one of the best views of from their rooftop terrace. They will be taking advantage of the Queen’s 60th anniversary by releasing a product being called Ma’amite.

The company, who made profits of £4 billion last year, have stated that they will not be providing any financial help to the event taking place on the Thames. They are one of many blue-chip firms who have refused to ease any of the £10.5 million burden of hosting the event, which is set to be attended by every Royal family member.

Fundraising

A spokesman for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Foundation have said that it is a shame to see that these companies do not feel the need to contribute to the celebrations, even though many of them will be hosting their own corporate events on the river on the same day.

The implication of this has been that the responsibility of fundraising the event has had to be met by private individuals from the UK and from other countries around the world. It is these benefactors who have kept fund-raising on the right lines.

Roy Hodgson: Surprise Choice For England Manager

England were approaching the summer and the European Championships without a manager for the senior international team, prompting lots of speculation as to who would be stepping into the hot seat. The position left many frustrated and disappointed.

There was much talk suggesting that Harry Redknapp would be coming to the rescue; even fans had got behind the idea that their England team may stand a good chance of competing at a top level at the championship instead of just turning up and crumbling under the pressure.

Management experience

The appointment of Roy Hodgson has caught everyone by surprise. He will taking the role once he finishes the domestic season with West Bromwich Albion. But even his extensive management experience will be stretched as he takes over the reins to what is a troubled England side.

One of the first things that needs to be addressed is the animosity between Rio Ferdinand and John Terry. These two provide so much experience at the back that success in the championships will depend on these two  being able to play together harmoniously.

Then there is the small task of finalising a squad of players which is capable of winning the European Championships, the first major competition for the England team since the 1966 Football World Cup.

Once these tasks are completed there will be the remaining hurdle of winning the hearts of a nation of supporters, who will need convincing that the self destruct button will remain off.

Hodgson has been given a four-year contract, which will cover these championships, the next World Cup, and the European Championships in 2016. This will give him time to put his stamp on the direction of the England team after the championships, which may see him turn to a different set of players if the current batch fail again.

Younger players

It is likely that the likes of Terry, Ferdinand, Lampard and Gerard will be making their last appearances in England shirts if they fail to perform. This will pave the way for some of the younger players to take their spots.

On his appointment Hodgson has said he is prepared for the scrutiny and criticism that will be directed towards him, as it has been to all the previous England managers. He went on to say: “I’m hoping everyone in England gets behind their football team, because we want to give this country the successful football team we’ve been waiting for since 1966.”

The Scream: Painting By Edvard Munch Sells For Record Price

One of the most recognised artistic masterpieces in history has sold for a record breaking price of $119.9 million at auction. It has now become the most expensive piece of artwork to be sold at auction. The piece was bought by a telephone bidder who will remain anonymous.

The hammer came down at the auction at Sotheby’s in New York, and it surpasses the previous record which was held by Pablo Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust. In May 2010, this piece was sold for $106 million at the auction held at Christie’s in New York.

Ten minutes of bidding

Before the auction there were hints that The Scream would sell for more than $80 million, with the auction house hoping that it would smash the current record. Sotheby’s would have been very happy with the price that it finally sold for, putting them firmly in the spotlight once again for high a profile and record breaking sale. The auction house only recently sold a rare royal diamond.

On Wednesday night last week in New York, The Scream was finally sold. The price started at $40 million, which was followed by  ten minutes of bidding from interested potential buyers. The battle was between two telephone bidders, who went head to head once the price had increased to $80 million.

There was a chance that the artwork was going to sell for $105 million, but there was a late intervention. Bidding then resumed at $107 million, and when the buyer’s premium was included the total amount grew to $119,922,500.

The haunting artwork was put on the market by its Norwegian owner, Petter Olsen, who is a businessman. His family once knew Edvard Munch, and they have had the painting in their possession since the 1930s.

Best out of the four

In total there are four versions of The Scream, the other three kept safely in museums. Two had been stolen, but they were recovered. The version that was sold last week was the only one still in private ownership, and it is believed to be the most sought after of all four.

The reason that so much attention has been given to this version is because it contains a poem about the work on the frame, that was written by the artist himself.

The painting has had a strong cultural influence after it inspired tributes from artists such as Andy Warhol. It also gave rise to the Scream horror films, the first of which made an international gross of $172,363,301.

Madeleine McCann: Parents Hopeful Daughter Is Alive

It has been five years since Madeleine McCann disappeared  in Portugal, but even though there have not been any strong leads, Scotland Yard have stated that the hunt for her is not over. A photo has been released, giving an impression of what Madeleine would look like now. The heartbreaking picture looks like a school photo that would be framed by parents and put on display.

Age progression photo

The picture still looks similar to the older version of the photo, the image that was once in international circulation. There has been no confirmed sighting of her since May 2007, and the ‘age progression’ photo, which has been manipulated using modern technology, is the only possible link from the girl everyone recognised in the past to what she may look like now.

There is even an image of what she would look like now if she was living in a hot country, which would cause to her have a tan and possibly darker hair.

The image was produced after close examination of many pictures of Madeleine herself and the McCann family. She should be celebrating her 9th birthday, and even though she vanished with no trace five years ago, there is still hope that she is alive and well. In a big effort, the Met are also urging the Portuguese to reopen the investigation into her disappearance.

The investigation was shut in 2008, fifteen months after the start of the missing persons investigation. Authorities have said that they would only open the investigation again if there were new evidence coming from a serious and authoritative source.

Last week Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood from the Met said that they believed Madeleine McCann was still alive. He went on to say that his open minded investigation was also considering the possibility that Madeleine could be dead.

He wants the case to be reopened because his team of 37 detectives and staff have been making their way through a large amount of material gathered by British and Portuguese police in a thorough fashion.

Sighting in Spain

Figures have shown that the investigation has already cost around £2 million; the McCann’s themselves have put in more than £3 million from public donations and libel settlements to the investigation.

There is some hope with one British expat saying that she had seen a small girl with a strong resemblance to Madeleine playing on the Penoncillo beach in the Spanish resort of Nerja last summer.

Dark Shadows: Tim Burton And Johnny Depp Team Up Again

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp have joined forces once again to bring another strange story to the masses, this time with the gothic world of ‘Dark Shadows’. Burton is back to his best with this movie, where his imagination has had room to run free, with Depp providing another very unique character for audiences to sink their teeth into.

Vampire

Johnny Depp plays the character Barnabas Collins, a vampire who was sent into a deep sleep in the 1700s. He awakes to the much more modern 1972, and he decides on returning to the Collins Estate in New England which is where the main story begins.

The movie has been inspired from the show with the same name, and the Depp’s character was originally played by Jonathan Frid. With the movie just about to be released, those who were inspired by the story would be sad to hear that that the Frid passed away at the age of 87. He played a cameo in the movie which is set to hit theatres this month.

Johnny Depp admitted that Frid was the reason he would run home from school so that he could watch ‘Dark Shadows’. The story and the movie fit perfectly in the Depp-Burton formula, which has proven to be hugely successful.

Dark Shadows will include an all-star cast, including Michelle Pfieffer and Eva Green, while not forgetting the other Burton regular Helena Bonham Carter. It has been revealed that Pfieffer begged for the role in the movie, as the show was one of her favourites too. She got the part after making a phone call to Burton, the man behind movies like Sweeney Todd, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Batman Returns.

The movie had a budget of $105 million, and if Burton’s history is anything to go by then it will surely make a huge return. In 2007, when Sweeney Todd was released, it was made with a small budget of $50 million, but it returned $152,523,164 in the box office.

Billion dollars worldwide

As a director, Tim Burton has become one of the most successful in his generation, with movies such as Beetlejuice, Ed Wood and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure all becoming cult hits. His remake of Alice in Wonderland was one of the highest-grossing movies of 2010, and it is the tenth-highest grossing movie of all time after making more than $1 billion worldwide.

It is already clear that fans of dark and quirky stories will enjoy Dark Shadows, and it may even reignite interest in the show which can still hold its own in today’s TV.