This was a week of Big Arrivals -- the future King George in London and the current Pope Francis in Brazil. While the pontiff visited one of Rio de Janeiro's poorest neighborhoods, and later addressed an estimated 1 million worshippers at Copacabana Beach, the newest member of Britain's royal family had a nation wondering which day he would be born, how much he would weigh and what name his parents would bestow upon him.
Betting on a future king (or queen)
Before the birth of His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge on Monday, the British press reported that more than a half million dollars had been wagered on everything from the baby's gender, to its name and even what color dress the new mother's sister, Pippa Middleton, would wear when she first visited the baby. The pre-birth favorite was that the baby would be a princess named Alexandra, at 11-4 odds, followed by the winning 11-2 bet it would be a boy named George.
The British Daily Mail newspaper estimated that more than 250 million pounds, about $385 million U.S., would be spent on royal prince memorabilia. Beyond the usual key chains and commemorative plates, there's an iPhone cover depicting a royal baby with crown against a Union Jack backdrop for $37.95 and onesies that say, "Keep Calm and Change Me." For good measure, a couple of French electronics specialists sent the new parents a 24 karat gold baby monitor that comes equipped with a high-definition camera, night vision and alerts for noise, motion, temperature and humidity.
A real job creator
While opinions differed on whether a royal birth would boost Britain's economy, organizers of World Youth Day in Brazil estimated that the Pope's visit would create 20,000 jobs related to the event, while adding $222 million to the Brazilian economy.
Recalculating college costs
It takes a village to pay for college, it seems. Loan giant Sallie Mae says grants and scholarships now cover the largest share of the bill, followed by the parents and then student loans. Rising tuition, coupled with a troubled economy, has families more cost conscious about which universities to choose as well. The Institute for College Access and Success has reported that two-thirds of the Class of 2011 graduated with student loan debt averaging $26,600.
Steve Twedt: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1963.