May 22, 2019

TalkTalk data breach customer details found online

TalkTalk failed to inform 4,545 customers their personal information, including bank account details, were stolen as part of the 2015 data breach. The BBC consumer show investigated and found the personal details of approximately 4,500 customers available online after a Google search. The details included full names, addresses, email addresses, dates of birth, TalkTalk customer numbers, mobile numbers and bank details for thousands of customers. Whilst Alan will never know if the attacks were...

May 22, 2019

Amazon set for facial recognition revolt

Opposition to Amazon's sale of its facial recognition technology to US police forces is set to come to a head at its annual general meeting on Wednesday. Amazon had tried to block the votes but was told by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it did not have the right to do so. Amazon has urged its shareholders to vote against the proposals saying it had not received a single report of the system being used in a harmful manner. Amazon has not disclosed how many other public authorities...

May 21, 2019

Playing Tetris by committee with multiple players

How a revamped Nintendo controller allows eight people to control a game simultaneously.

May 21, 2019

Tesco Bank to pull out of mortgage market

Tesco Bank is stopping new mortgage lending and is looking for ways to sell its existing mortgage portfolio. The bank, which started offering mortgages in 2012, has more than 23,000 mortgage customers, who have total lending balances of £3.7bn. There will be no impact on customers who already have mortgages, which will continue as normal for now. If a sale does go ahead, then the bank would notify customers of any impact it would have on their accounts. "Gerry Mallon, Tesco Bank's chief...

May 21, 2019

Halfords sees profit fall, blames weather and sentiment

Halfords reported full-year profit at the bottom end of its recent guidance and said that its transformation plan would take longer than originally expected to implement. The seller of auto and bike accessories reported underlying pre-tax profit for the year to March 29 of £58.2m, a reduction of 18 per cent on the previous year. It expects profit for the current year to be "Broadly in line" with the year to March 2019, assuming average weather conditions and a consumer and economic outlook...

May 21, 2019

Tesco Bank falls victim to UK mortgage price war

Lender also actively ‘exploring options’ to sell off its £3.7bn portfolio

May 21, 2019

Instagram: Facebook probes breach of millions of influencer accounts

Photo sharing site Instagram says it is trying to find out how contact details of almost 50 million of its users was stored online in an unguarded database. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, told the BBC it was trying to find out where the data had come from. "We're looking into the issue to understand if the data described - including email and phone numbers - was from Instagram or from other sources. We're also inquiring with Chtrbox to understand where this data came from and how it...

May 21, 2019

Over The Rainbow composer sues Apple and other tech firms for piracy

The estate of Harold Arlen - who wrote such American songbook classics as Over The Rainbow and Get Happy - is suing some of the world's biggest tech firms. Benny Goodman's 1955 album Get Happy, on the Capitol Records label, is $7.99 on Google Play and Amazon, alongside a Pickwick Group copy which sells for $6.99. "It is hard to imagine that a person walking into Tower Records, off the street, with arms full of CDs and vinyl records and claiming to be the record label for Frank Sinatra, Louis...

May 21, 2019

Tesco Bank/UK mortgages: house strife

Tesco Bank, which has offered mortgages since 2012, saw "Limited profitable growth opportunities". UK challenger banks such as Tesco Bank were meant to shake up the industry. HSBC, which makes the largest chunk of its profits in Asia, increased its UK mortgage book by 10 per cent to £94.2bn in the year to December. New mortgage lending is not covering the cost of capital at most banks, reckon Barclays analysts. Higher Bank of England interest rates would do more to widen margins.

May 21, 2019

Thomas Cook pushes ahead with expansion despite market fears

Thomas Cook intends to push ahead with expansion plans despite growing doubt over the 178-year old UK travel group's ability to continue trading. The new hotel, based in Chania, Crete, will open on Saturday and be Thomas Cook's first family-focused own-brand property. Thomas Cook's shares shed more than half of their value in recent days after the group reported a pre-tax loss of £1.5bn and revealed its auditor had noted material uncertainties over the successful sale of its airline business...

May 21, 2019

On carbon emissions, BP should be as sure as Shell

BP's shareholder meeting, in Aberdeen, was surrounded by climate-change protesters demanding tough targets for carbon emissions. While Shell had set targets for cutting greenhouse gases from all its products - and linked pay to them - BP said it would only set targets for its own operations. BP refused to support a second resolution demanding targets for emissions from its products, as this would commit it to something inflexible on something unknowable: investment in a fast-transitioning...

May 21, 2019

Shoe giants urge Trump to end trade war

Some of the world's biggest footwear firms are urging Donald Trump to end the US trade war with China, warning of a "Catastrophic" effect on consumers. "It is time to bring this trade war to an end," the firms urged. Mr Trump lifted levies on $200bn worth of Chinese imports into the US from 10% to 25% more than a week ago after Washington and Beijing failed to reach a deal on trade. The footwear companies who signed the letter, including Clarks, Dr Martens and Converse, claim that while the...

May 20, 2019

Ryanair expects to win in airline 'fare wars'

EPA Ryanair's profits fell by nearly a third last year to €1bn as fuel costs rose and fares fell. Europe's biggest discount airline added that profits could be lower this year as fares continue to fall. For the current financial year, the carrier said it was "Cautious" on pricing and had "Zero" visibility for the second half of the year. The figures exclude the loss of €139m from the Austrian airline Lauda it took over last year. The craft have 4% more seats, are 16% more fuel efficient and...

May 20, 2019

Opening Quote: Low fares take their toll on Ryanair

A 6 per cent decline in fares over the past financial year was matched by a 7 per cent increase in passenger numbers, excluding Laudamotion, the Austrian airline Ryanair bought in December. Pre-tax profits for the year to March fell 30 per cent, excluding Laudamotion, or 40 per cent including the impact of the acquisition. Its financial year ends in July.Job moves. David McMillan has been appointed chief executive of esure, the insurer behind Sheilas' Wheels that was taken private last year...

May 20, 2019

Royal Mail to launch parcel postboxes

Royal Mail has announced plans for the UK's first-ever parcel postboxes. Existing letter postboxes were introduced in the 1850s and Royal Mail said the new move represented the first major change in the system since then. "The launch of parcel postboxes is also one of the biggest innovations in parcels since the launch of Parcel Post in 1883," it added. Royal Mail will be converting existing meter boxes, which it said had a larger aperture and a secure design. People will also be able to...

May 20, 2019

Thomas Cook reassures holidaymakers after shares plunge

Troubled travel firm Thomas Cook has been reassuring customers who contacted the firm with concerns about holiday trips, after its share price crashed. Its share price fell sharply at the end of last week, and it dropped a further 16% on Monday to just 10p. Thomas Cook has been reassuring people on social media, and in a statement at the weekend, telling customers that it is "Business as usual". Thomas Cook said: "We have been taking customers on their holidays with us for 175 years and we...

May 20, 2019

Greenpeace activists inside boxes block BP headquarters

Climate activists inside five large containers have blocked the entrances to BP's head office in central London. The Greenpeace protesters used cranes to transport the heavy boxes into place at St James's Square in the early hours of the morning. Greenpeace says those inside the containers have enough food and water to last them for several days. The aim is to keep BP's headquarters closed "For at least the whole of this AGM week", Greenpeace says. Greenpeace said it was carrying out the...

May 20, 2019

Jaguar Land Rover swings to profit after cost cutting

Jaguar Land Rover swung to a profit in the final quarter of its financial year, after rounds of cost-cutting at the UK's largest carmaker began to pay off. The business posted a £120m pre-tax profit from January to March, after £149m in redundancy costs, bringing to an end a streak that saw it report three straight quarters in the red. The group made a £3.6bn loss for the full year to March, in part due to a large writedown from the third quarter. The business made an annual loss of £358m...

May 20, 2019

Carmaker Ford announces 7,000 job cuts

US car giant Ford has announced it will cut 7,000 jobs globally by the end of August in an effort to save costs. The plan will reduce Ford's workforce by 10% and will be made through both voluntary and forced redundancies, according to the firm. Ford said the plan, which includes 2,300 cuts in the US, will save the company $600m a year. It is the second major US carmaker to announce redundancies, following GM which is shedding 14,000 posts.

May 19, 2019

Thomas Cook seeks to allay concerns over bookings

Thomas Cook, the UK travel group labouring under a £1.2bn debt pile, moved to win back the confidence of suppliers and customers at the weekend as fears lingered over the viability of the business. Thomas Cook customers have taken to Twitter to ask whether their holidays were protected. In response Thomas Cook sought to quell customer anxiety over the group's future. "As an Atol -protected business, all of our holidays are protected under the package travel directive, so our customers can...

May 19, 2019

Manchester Airport: Flights cancelled and delayed after fuel problem

There are delays and cancellations at Manchester Airport after a "Power issue" affected fuel supply. "A Manchester Airport spokesman said:"Due to a power issue this afternoon there is currently an issue with the fuel supply at the airport. It is believed all fuelling at the site has stopped. The airport, which is still open, urged people to check with their airline for information and updates. Of the 48 flight cancellations, 27 were arrivals and 21 departures.

May 19, 2019

Post Office past ‘tipping point’ as reinvention fails

A greater focus on banking-style services was supposed to be part of the latest reinvention of the Post Office, which traces its origin to the reigns of kings Charles I and II, pioneered innovations such as stamps and postmarks, and ran Britain's telecoms service for much of the 20th century. As a result, the Post Office essentially became a retail business: selling stamps and parcel delivery on behalf of the Royal Mail, as well as broadband access and, crucially, financial services. An...

May 18, 2019

Thomas Cook faces tough task to fly itself out of trouble

Thomas Cook celebrated its 175th anniversary three years ago by selling £175 holidays. Two questions hang over chief executive Peter Fankhauser as he aims to reduce debt and turn the company round: can Thomas Cook sell its airline at a price that will save its balance sheet and, without the airline, in what shape will the company survive? The company hopes the airline sale will clear its £1.2bn net debt, but analysts estimate bids could range from £650m to £1.3bn. One source briefed on the...

May 17, 2019

Facebook bans "inauthentic" accounts targeting Africa

Facebook has removed hundreds of social media accounts and banned an Israeli firm due to "Co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour" mainly targeting Africa. Facebook has faced rising criticism for failing to stamp out misinformation on its platform. In a blog post, Facebook said it had removed 265 social media accounts that originated in Israel and focused on Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger and Tunisia, along with "Some activity" in Latin America and South East Asia. The people behind the...

May 17, 2019

Amazon invests in Deliveroo food courier

Online giant Amazon has announced a big investment in food courier Deliveroo. The move comes as part of the delivery firm's latest efforts to raise funds, which secured $575m in total from investors, with Amazon providing a substantial proportion of this. Deliveroo said it would use the money for international expansion, improving its service and to grow its delivery-only kitchens business. Several existing US investors also contributed to the fund-raising.

May 17, 2019

easyJet blames Brexit and Gatwick drone for £270m loss

Low-cost carrier easyJet has reported a pre-tax loss of £272m for the six months to March 31 as it blamed Brexit uncertainty and the Gatwick drone incident. The company said revenue per seat at constant currency in the second half was now expected to be slightly down, a change since the April warning, indicating trading conditions have worsened. EasyJet maintained its full-year guidance for pre-tax profit. The carrier said that headline cost per seat had increased 3.9 per cent and total...

May 17, 2019

Simon Thomas sets up blood cancer fund in memory of wife Gemma

Former Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas has launched a fund to raise money for research into the type of leukaemia that killed his wife. Gemma Thomas, 40, died three days after she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in November 2017. The Gemma Thomas Fund has been set up with blood cancer charity Bloodwise, of which Thomas is a president. The Gemma Thomas Fund has been set up to invest in research projects which focus on improving understanding of AML and finding more effective...

May 17, 2019

Thomas Cook shares 'worthless', says Citigroup

AFP Shares in Thomas Cook have plunged 30% after analysts at a bank said the travel firm's shares were "Worthless". Thomas Cook's tour operations and airline are worth £738m, but its debt is around the same "And implies zero equity value", according to Citigroup. Citigroup's damning conclusion comes a day after Thomas Cook issued its third profit warning in less than a year and reported a £1.5bn half-year loss. Thomas Cook is in the process of seeking bidders for its fleet of 105 jets as it...

May 17, 2019

Amazon leads $575m funding round into Deliveroo

Amazon is making a fresh attempt to enter the food delivery market, leading a $575m funding round into Deliveroo after talks between the London-based food delivery app and Uber broke down last year. Deliveroo said on Friday that Amazon was the biggest investor in the funding round, which also saw it raise money from existing investors T Rowe Price, Fidelity and Greenoaks. The deal comes after Amazon last year shut down its own struggling food delivery service, Amazon Restaurants, in the UK....

May 17, 2019

HP buys US supercomputer maker Cray Inc

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has bought Cray Inc, maker of some of the fastest supercomputers in the world. Cray Inc's machines are capable of processing trillions of calculations per second and have been used by the UK's Met Office and GCHQ. Shares in Cray jumped by 18% after announcing the $1.3bn deal. Seymour Cray, who helped originate the company in the 1950s, is widely recognised as designing the first commercially successful supercomputer. Cray computers feature a number of times in the...