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From the internet to Islam

How do you keep 2,500 family shareholders in touch with each other, informed of necessary financial information, and to act like, well, a family? Twenty-five hundred family members is one big hotel and a whole lot of appetizers for your family reunion.

It's also quite a lot of extra company reports to print come reporting time. But the next gens of the Solvay family are bringing the wonder of online social networking to their relatives.

This latest internet phenomenon, epitomized by the omnipotent Facebook, has powerful uses for business-owning families, according to editor Marc Smith, who spoke to two members of the family and the co-founder of a new company devoted to bringing relatives together with the relative ease of their own personal intranet.

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Recent events in Mumbai shook the world to its core and reminded us of the plain truth that we live in risky times. As always, family businesses were hit hard and our hearts go out to the many families that lost loved ones, colleagues and employees.

Our special report this issue looks at the problem of risk specifically non-business risks such as climate change and terrorism and how to mitigate it across your business. Darrell Delamaide reports on the threats posed by a new generation of terrorists and analyses the best uses of security precautions that you can take.

Our investigation into climate change shows that the real risks it poses to businesses, in the short term at least, is as likely to come from changes to the legislative framework as it is changes in the weather. But threats to your business do not need to be anywhere near as dramatic as terrorist attacks or hurricanes. Your internet connection could be the easiest avenue criminals have to access your personal details, reports Gavin Knight.

Finally, we explore the world of Islamic finance, providing you with insight into how the system works and what it has to offer. And in these troubling times we reveal that the West could learn some lessons from this complex, yet elegant system for organising finances.

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