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Macro Chatter: UK slips back into recession

Around the world today in business and economics. Need to know, want to know, and strange but true.
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Moviegoers at a multiplex cinema in Beijing in February 2009. China is a lucrative market for US film studios, and the US is investigating whether a handful of Hollywood studios may have bribed Chinese officials to get ahead. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Need to know:
The UK's economy shrunk last quarter, making it the 11th member of the European Union to have slipped into a recession as the continent continues to battle a debt crisis. 

The UK's gross domestic product shrank 0.2 percent, the latest government data show

"This is the worst recession/recovery cycle of the last 100 years," Citigroup economist Michael Saunders, told Dow Jones Newswires

Want to know:
It's been a a really, really good record-breaking year for Apple. The world’s most valuable company made a record profit of $11.6 billion in its fiscal second quarter. But nearly doubling its profit was just the start.

Here’s a look at a few other eye-popping numbers from Apple’s stellar quarter:

Number of iPhones sold: 35.1 million
Number of iPads sold: 11.8 million
Number of iPads sold since launch two years ago: 67 million
Number of years it took to sell 67 million Macs: 24

Dull but important:
The Federal Reserve isn’t much for surprises, and it isn’t expected to rock the boat with its interest rate announcement this afternoon.

Most everyone expects the Fed to stick with its plan to keep interest rates hovering around zero until 2014. And it looks like QE3 also might be off the table.

The Fed likely won’t embark on any bond-buying sprees until it gets a clearer picture of what’s happening with inflation and employment, the Wall Street Journal said

Just because:
Wal-Mart may not be the only one with foreign bribery scandal on its hands.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into whether major US movie studios may have bribed government officials in China, Reuters reported.

China is a lucrative market for moviemakers but tight government restrictions have made it harder for Hollywood studios to profit and easier for pirated DVDs to proliferate the market. 

Disney, 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation are among the studios facing questions from the SEC about their dealings with certain Chinese government officials, Reuters said.

Strange but true:
London is about to get the world’s biggest McDonald’s.

McDonald’s is opening a store half the length of an American football field in London for six weeks this summer. The store is expected to employ more than 2,000 people and serve up more than 50,000 Big Macs, some of which may actually get eaten by real Olympic athletes. 

McDonald’s has been the official restaurant of the Olympics for nearly a decade.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/macro/macro-chatter-0425