Aug 15, 2018

South Korea to ban some BMW vehicles over engine fires

The South Korean government has said it will ban about 20,000 BMWs from its streets after a spate of the vehicles catching fire. The ban will apply to cars which have not yet been sent to BMW for safety checks under a voluntary recall. BMW has already come under scrutiny this year, recalling thousands of cars in the UK over safety issues. "The ministry will ask mayors to order owners of unchecked BMW vehicles to have their cars' safety checked or to stop driving them," Transport Minister Kim...

Aug 15, 2018

Twitter suspends Alex Jones for one week

Twitter is blocking the right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from posting to its platform for a week. The New York Times reported Mr Jones had tweeted a link to a video in which he called on his followers to ready their "Battle rifles". Mr Jones has previously been widely criticised for repeating claims that the 9/11 attacks in New York were staged by the US government. Apple's iTunes, Facebook and YouTube removed podcasts and other content by Mr Jones and InfoWars from their services...

Aug 14, 2018

Royal Mail fined record £50m by Ofcom

Ofcom has fined Royal Mail a record £50m for breaching competition law. The penalty follows an Ofcom investigation into a complaint by Whistl, one of Royal Mail's wholesale customers, and relates to changes - including price rises - made to certain contracts in early 2014. Four years ago, Whistl became the first company to challenge Royal Mail's monopoly in delivering wholesale, or bulk, mail. It was expanding its business to compete directly with Royal Mail by delivering business letters to...

Aug 14, 2018

Mike Ashley vows to keep most House of Fraser stores open

Mike Ashley has vowed to keep open the bulk of the 59 House of Fraser stores he bought last week. In the interview he told the chain's landlords: "Give us a chance and we will try to keep as many open as we can. We are here to get House of Fraser back to where it once was." Mr Ashley also owns the designer chain Flannels, which sells brands such as Burberry and Fendi, and he says he wants more luxury brands sold by House of Fraser. House of Fraser has two main types of relationships with its...

Aug 14, 2018

Homebase plans to close 42 stores and cut 1,500 jobs

DIY retailer Homebase is set to to announce plans to close 42 stores, putting about 1,500 jobs at risk. Restructuring company Hilco, which bought the DIY chain for £1 in May, is expected to confirm its plans for a Company Voluntary Arrangement on Tuesday. It bought the struggling chain from Australia's Wesfarmers after its disastrous foray into the UK market. Wesfarmers bought Homebase in 2016 and planned to rebrand the chain with its Bunnings brand. The Australian company admitted making a...

Aug 14, 2018

Homebase puts 1,500 jobs at risk with plan to close 42 stores

DIY and garden retailer Homebase is to become the latest UK retailer to resort to a controversial insolvency process to rid itself of 42 unprofitable stores, the company confirmed on Tuesday. The proposal may face opposition, given that many of the difficulties Homebase faced stem from mistakes made by its former Australian owner, Wesfarmers. Wesfarmers bought Homebase in 2016, despite being advised not to by Archie Norman, a prominent figure in British retailing. A plan to rebrand Homebase...

Aug 14, 2018

Royal Mail fined £50m for ‘serious breach’ of competition law

Britain's communications watchdog has fined Royal Mail a record £50m for a "Serious breach" of competition law, after finding the company abused its near-monopoly with price increases to penalise rivals who tried to compete in delivering business letters. At the time, Whistl was extending its own household bulk mail delivery service in certain parts of the country, but suspended the expansion after Royal Mail increased prices it would charge it in the remaining areas. "Royal Mail broke the...

Aug 14, 2018

Uber Eats cyclist pictured pedalling on M5 in Oldbury

A cyclist carrying an Uber Eats backpack has been pictured pedalling along a motorway in the West Midlands. Watch Commander at Oldbury Fire, Adam Joyce, tweeted the image urging the company to "Educate riders" so his team "Aren't lifting a HGV off them". Mr Joyce said the man was cycling along the M5 in Oldbury, near junction 2, on Tuesday morning. In response to Mr Joyce's tweet, one user said: "Wow no words". An Uber spokesperson said: "We're currently investigating this incident. All...

Aug 13, 2018

Heathrow Airport passport queues reach 2.5 hours

Delays at Heathrow Airport passport control left passengers queuing for up to two and a half hours last month, figures show. Citizens of the European Union, the EEA and Switzerland can use the electronic gates at Heathrow's passport control - but visitors from all other countries must have their passports checked by a border force official. He said "Two-hour queues are fast becoming the norm" and Heathrow has missed its target for non-EEA arrivals 6,000 times so far this year. "A Home Office...

Aug 13, 2018

Ruby Rose exits Twitter amid Batwoman casting backlash

Actress Ruby Rose has deleted her Twitter profile amid a backlash over her casting as Batwoman in a TV series. Before deleting her account, Rose dismissed the criticism as the "Most ridiculous thing". Rose said that she would be taking a Twitter break so she could focus on her work. The series, for The CW Network, will see Rose play Batwoman and alter ego Kate Kane, and is expected to air in late 2019/early 2020. Rose will make her debut as Batwoman in a crossover episode involving other...

Aug 13, 2018

Drunken Facebook message aids Llandudno man's battle

A drunken message on social media very rarely solves your biggest problems. One night Mr Evans, from Llandudno, Conwy county, posted a message to his MP Guto Bebb on Facebook after a "Few too many beers". These costs were on top of paying off Mr Evans' father's debts. "One Friday night, I'd had a few too many beers, and sent a social media message to our local MP, Guto Bebb.". Matters soon started to move more quickly, Mr Evans said.

Aug 13, 2018

Nintendo cracks down on retro games downloads

EmuParadise, an 18-year-old website offering downloads of classic computer games, has voluntarily shut down following legal action by Nintendo against two similar online portals. In its legal action, Nintendo is seeking $150,000 for each Nintendo game offered and up to $2m for each trademark infringement. "We run EmuParadise for the love of retro games and for you to be able to revisit those good times. Unfortunately, it's not possible right now to do so in a way that makes everyone happy and...

Aug 13, 2018

House of Fraser administrators defend Sports Direct sale

House of Fraser's administrators insisted on Monday that Sports Direct's offer to buy the department store chain was the "Only available offer" to keep the business afloat as further controversy swirled around the sale. Sports Direct, owned by Mike Ashley, sealed an agreement to buy the stores, stock and brand names of House of Fraser last Friday, less than two hours after the 169-year-old company had been placed in administration. "During the course of Thursday, August 9, those parties...

Aug 12, 2018

Shell hails bounceback towards deepwater drilling

Royal Dutch Shell is doubling down on drilling for oil far beneath the oceans, as the energy group eyes a cash bonanza from traditional deepwater projects despite a growing focus on new US shale investments. Y Brown, Shell's head of exploration and production, said the industry was seeing a "Bounceback" towards deepwater after a dramatic fall in investment during the market downturn. Mr Brown said that while the energy industry liked the flexibility that US shale offered, sentiment had...

Aug 10, 2018

Ryanair strike: One in six flights cancelled in pilot walkout

Ryanair pilots are striking in five European countries, forcing the cancellation of a sixth of the firm's flights during the holiday season peak. About 300 Ryanair flights were cancel in July when cabin crews in Belgium, Portugal and Spain went on strike for 48 hours. A Dutch court on Thursday evening rejected a case from Ryanair seeking to block pilots in the Netherlands from joining the strike, affecting about 22 flights. At about the same time Ryanair issued a statement saying there would...

Aug 10, 2018

Smart meter deadline 'should be extended'

The deadline for installing smart meters across the UK should be extended for another three years, Citizens Advice has said. "Citizens Advice said:"With 42 million smart meters still to be installed by 2020, we're concerned that the time pressure cause by the fast-approaching rollout deadline will lead to a poorer quality installation experience for consumers. Citizens Advice said 80% of people who had had a smart meter installed were happy with them. In 2017, its consumer helpline received...

Aug 10, 2018

House of Fraser bought by Sports Direct for £90m

Mike Ashley's Sports Direct has agreed to buy the House of Fraser department store chain for £90m. Earlier on Friday, House of Fraser went into administration after talks between the retailer and its creditors failed to reach an agreement. House of Fraser - which began trading 169 years ago - employs 17,500 people, including 11,500 concession staff. Sports Direct said in a statement: "The group has acquired all of the UK stores of House of Fraser, the House of Fraser brand and all of the...

Aug 10, 2018

Lucy McHugh murder police make Facebook access request

Murder detectives investigating the death of teenager Lucy McHugh have asked Facebook to "Preserve" information on some users' accounts. As a US-based company, access to private information on the social network must be requested through the US courts system. Last week a 24-year-old man was charged with withholding information relating the case by allegedly failing to disclose his Facebook password to police. Police are sifting through 15,000 hours of CCTV footage. The same man appeared in...

Aug 10, 2018

Sports Direct buys House of Fraser for £90m

Mike Ashley, the billionaire founder of Sports Direct, has raised his bet on the struggling UK high street after agreeing to buy the business and assets of department store chain House of Fraser out of administration for £90m in cash. The acquisition consists of "All of the UK stores of House of Fraser, the House of Fraser brand and all of the stock in the business", the group said in a brief statement. His coup marks a dramatic end to a process that began when C.banner, a Hong Kong-listed...

Aug 10, 2018

Ineos chooses Germany to develop Land Rover Defender successor

Jim Ratcliffe, the founder of Ineos and a prominent Brexit supporter, has selected German companies to develop his successor to the Land Rover Defender. Ineos wants to branch out beyond its core business in chemicals and industrials into automotive manufacturing, with plans to make a 4x4 vehicle styled as a natural replacement for the Land Rover Defender, the iconic off-roader that was retired by Jaguar Land Rover in 2014. A decision on the ultimate manufacturing location, a toss-up between...

Aug 10, 2018

Industry ponders rationale for Ashley’s House of Fraser swoop

Mike Ashley's £90m swoop on the wreckage of House of Fraser will remain controversial for years to come, and not just for the manner in which it was accomplished. The purchase of House of Fraser was secured via a pre-pack administration, a controversial insolvency procedure that allows companies to jettison pension liabilities and other claims. House of Fraser owed £60m-£70m to suppliers and concessionaires when it entered administration. In a short statement, Mr Ashley promised to turn House...

Aug 9, 2018

Ikea's plans to woo India

Swedish furniture and home accessories giant IKEA has opened its first store in India. It's located in the southern city of Hyderabad. The company has said it's investing £1.5bn in India over the next ten years.

Aug 9, 2018

New York votes to cap Uber and Lyft services

New York has become the first major US city to approve a cap on ride-hail car licences and set minimum pay conditions for drivers. Taxi drivers demonstrated in support of the bill outside the headquarters of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission this week, holding signs with the names and faces of six taxi drivers who had taken their lives since December. Lyft said the move would "Bring New Yorkers back to an era of struggling to get a ride, particularly for communities of colour...

Aug 9, 2018

G4S shares tumble as profits and revenues fall

G4S shares suffered their worst fall in a year after the security company reported half-year profits below expectations, while revenue dropped due to currency movements and the sale of business units. Revenue was down 7.5 per cent compared with the corresponding period last year at £3.67bn, while statutory pre-tax profit fell by more than one-third to £139m, as G4S made less money by selling or closing unwanted subsidiaries. Shares in G4S group sank by as much as 9 per cent on Thursday,...

Aug 9, 2018

Apple removes 'wrong apps' in gambling purge

Apple has been accused of accidentally removing apps from the App Store in a crackdown on gambling content. A message sent to affected developers said that Apple was removing gambling-related apps made by individuals in an effort to "Reduce fraudulent activity... and comply with government requests to address illegal online gambling activity". Recently, Norway succeeded in getting Apple to ban all gambling apps from its App Store in the country, although the recent removals appear to have...

Aug 9, 2018

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 alerts users to bad photos

The Galaxy Note 9 uses software to identify if the images are blurry or whether the subject is blinking, among other issues. The New York launch comes just over a week after Samsung revealed that sales of its other high-end smartphone - the Galaxy S9 - had disappointed. "For existing Note users - who are fiercely loyal to the devices - the upgrades will be seen as compelling." Samsung has shipped nearly 143 million Galaxy Note handsets since the product line launched in 2011, according to...

Aug 9, 2018

Poundworld brand could be resurrected

The Poundworld brand could be resurrected on some High Streets. A deal has been agreed in principle for Irish retail family the Hendersons to buy the Poundworld brand and the leases on some of the stores of the collapsed discount retailer. There will be no stock associated with the proposed deal, so if the stores re-open under the Poundworld brand, they would have to be re-stocked, and to hire staff. His son, David Henderson, is involved in the negotiations with Deloitte over the Poundworld...

Aug 9, 2018

Chinese 'robocall' scam hits US weather office

An unexpected message - in Chinese - has been broadcast over a public address system at a US National Weather Service office in Maryland. "Our IT team in the building worked with the phone vendor immediately to prevent all outside telephone numbers from accessing the building's PA system, to prevent this from occurring again." said a spokeswoman for the US National Weather Service. Recipients may be told they have a package to collect at the consulate, for example - this was the case with the...

Aug 8, 2018

KFC and Kellogg's broke junk food ad rules

Food giants KFC and Kellogg's have been told to remove adverts which promoted junk food to children, by the UK's advertising watchdog. The ASA found Kellogg's promoted a Coco Pops product, during a Mr Bean cartoon, likely to have been seen by children. Rules governing food advertising forbid promoting certain foods to children. The Coco Pops Granola ad appeared between episodes of the Mr Bean cartoon, during a section of programming specifically directed at children under 16. The ASA said...

Aug 8, 2018

Lego-building robot shows its skills

A robot that can build small models from Lego may be a breakthrough for automated manufacturing.