Panda-monium in Washington as investor fuels bearish boom

BILLIONAIRE private equity investor David Rubenstein, co-founder of Carlyle Group, has added another string to his bow – as panda godparent.

On Monday, Rubenstein got the latest return on his investment in the form of a new giant panda cub called Mei Xiang, which was born thanks to techniques developed at a facility in Washington funded by Rubenstein.

Rubenstein, a well known philanthropist who has made a number of donations to good causes over several years, donated $4.5m to a panda fertility research at the National Zoo in Washington late last year.

The facility, now called the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat, helped deliver little Mei Xiang, which means “beautiful fragrance”, earlier this week.

Proud panda parents Tai Shan and Tian Tian will no doubt be in Rubenstein’s debt.

■ INSURER Aviva has been digging through the archives and found the most unusual cases in its history, proving that dubious car insurance claims are nothing new. Back in 1911 there was the case of the farmer who said “his horse died from shock at the sight of a passing motor car” while one 1934 case involved an elephant from a passing circus that smashed a windscreen in an attempt to reach the car driver’s lunch. Meanwhile one 1950s claimant, asked for the purpose of the journey when his accident occurred, replied caustically: “For pleasure. Attending mother-in-law’s funeral.” But spare a thought for the 1938 personal injury claim from a man who had “struck a match to endeavour to discover a petrol leak”. Ouch.

■ IT seems there’s no time for just slobbing round the photocopier if you work for Apogee digital office solutions – at least not if you sign up for their super fit charity team. Team Apogee’s members, fresh from rowing the 21-mile Great River Race from Docklands to Richmond on Saturday, are donning their bike helmets today for the 300-mile London to Paris bike ride in aid of Capital FM’s charity “Help A Capital Child”. And the gang of seven, which has already raised £40,000, vowed to keep up the fitness regime with further challenges. It’s enough to make you feel tired just thinking about it. To sponsor the team visit www.justgiving.com/apogee-­‐corporation.