Apr 17, 2021

Facebook board delays decision about Trump's possible return

Facebook's Oversight Board has delayed its decision regarding former US President Donald Trump's possible return to Facebook and Instagram. The 20-member committee, established by Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, is often referred to as "Facebook's Supreme Court". An Instagram post of eight photographs of breast-cancer symptoms should not have been removed - by Facebook's automated moderation system, only to be restored before the board's decision - for breaking adult-nudity rules. According to...

Apr 16, 2021

Colin the Caterpillar cake row: Judge Rinder gives his verdict

Marks & Spencer has begun legal action against Aldi, arguing the retailer's Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake infringes its Colin the Caterpillar trademark.

Apr 16, 2021

Ocado in self-driving vans push with £10m stake in Oxbotica

Online grocery retailer Ocado has unveiled a major push into autonomous driving technology. As part of the deal, Ocado has bought a £10m stake in Oxbotica. Kroger's delivery vans also use software developed by Ocado to plot the most efficient routes. Ocado's £10m stake is part of that funding round, and will give it a seat on Oxbotica's board. In its announcement, Ocado tempered expectations and said that getting permission from regulators to operate autonomous vehicles on public roads -...

Apr 16, 2021

Facebook faces mass legal action over data leak

Facebook users whose data was compromised by a massive data leak are being urged to take legal action against the tech giant. Facebook denies wrongdoing, saying the data was "Scraped" from publicly available information on the site. He added: "The laws are there to protect consumers and their personal data and it's time these technology giants wake up to the reality that protection of personal data must be taken seriously." DRI claims Facebook failed to protect user data and notify those who...

Apr 15, 2021

Deliveroo takes ‘prudent’ approach in maiden trading update

Cryptocurrency exchange listing, is Tesco a takeover target?

Apr 15, 2021

Facebook urged to scrap Instagram for children plans

A group of public health advocates from around the world wants Facebook to scrap its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children. "Kids are already online, and want to connect with their family and friends, have fun, and learn. We want to help them do that in a safe and age-appropriate way, and find practical solutions to the ongoing industry problem of kids lying about their age to access apps," the social media giant told the BBC. "We're working on new age verification methods to...

Apr 15, 2021

Tipping Point: Woman has voice reconstructed thanks to ITV show appearance

A Scottish woman who lost her speech after developing motor neurone disease has had it reconstructed using sounds from her appearance on the ITV gameshow Tipping Point. Engineers took the 76-year-old's TV appearance and used it to build her voice into a computer aid. Ms Whitelaw of Glasgow has thanked them for "Giving me back my voice". Speaking to Tipping Point host Ben Shephard on Good Morning Britain on Thursday, her daughter Gillian Scott said it was "Just the best" to be able to hear her...

Apr 15, 2021

Amazon's Bezos: Union defeat does not bring 'comfort'

EPA. Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has said the company's recent victory in defeating a high-profile unionisation drive in the US did not bring him "Comfort". The comments follow a year of blistering global criticism of Amazon's work practices during the pandemic. In the letter, Mr Bezos said he was proud of the work environment at Amazon, which employs 1.3 million people globally and hired 500,000 people in 2020 alone. In his new role, Mr Bezos said, he would devote some of his attention to...

Apr 15, 2021

Barclays criticised for underwriting US private prison deal

Bank said two years ago it would not finance the controversial sector

Apr 15, 2021

Puberty blockers: NHS to set up independent review group

A new independent review group will assess the prescription of puberty blockers for under-16s, NHS England has announced. NHS England said its new processes were being introduced on an "Interim basis" while it awaits the outcome of a review into gender identity services. In such cases there would need to be "Full agreement" between the child, parent(s) and clinical team as well as support from the new review group. Treatment will not be withdrawn for existing patients until the review group's...

Apr 14, 2021

Toshiba president steps down amid $20bn buyout bid

Toshiba's chief executive resigned on Wednesday amid controversy over a $20bn buyout bid from private equity firm, CVC Capital Partners. In a meeting following the announcement, Toshiba's chairman Osamu Nagayama said CVC's bid was unsolicited and lacking in substance, and requires cautious consideration. Toshiba shares were up more than 6% in Asian morning trading on Wednesday following media reports of potential rival bids for the company from rival bidders. The Japanese conglomerate said on...

Apr 14, 2021

James Dyson says Brexit has given him 'freedom'

Brexit has given the UK back its independence and boosted innovation, inventor Sir James Dyson has said. The interview came as Dyson announced plans to create 200 new jobs at its research facilities in Malmesbury and Hullavington, Wiltshire. Sir James said the end of the UK's transition period with the EU, had enabled Dyson to hire the engineering talent it was lacking in the UK. "We have 60 different nationalities on this site. I employ them from all over the world." Sir James said the...

Apr 14, 2021

Tesco forecasts ‘strong’ recovery after £900m pandemic hit

Tesco said it expects a "Strong recovery" in profits in the current year after almost £900m of additional costs related to the Covid-19 pandemic held back its performance. "Whilst we expect some of the additional sales volumes we have gained this year in our core UK market to fall away as Covid-19 restrictions ease, we expect a strong recovery in profitability and retail free cash flow as the majority of the additional costs incurred . . . in the 2020/21 financial year will not be repeated,"...

Apr 14, 2021

Tesco counts cost of Covid trading as profits drop

The UK's largest supermarket saw full-year sales soar but the pandemic hit its bottom line.

Apr 14, 2021

Tesco predicts ‘strong recovery’ after pandemic hits profits

Tesco's full-year results beat recently upgraded earnings forecasts, with the grocer saying it expects a "Strong recovery" in profits in the current year as pandemic-related costs reduce. "Whilst we expect some of the additional sales volumes we have gained this year in our core UK market to fall away as Covid-19 restrictions ease, we expect a strong recovery in profitability and retail free cash flow as the majority of the additional costs incurred . . . in the 2020/21 financial year will...

Apr 14, 2021

HSBC relocates top leadership from London to Hong Kong

HSBC will move four of its top executives to Hong Kong from London, one more than had been anticipated, as the bank continues to accelerate its strategic shift to Asia. HSBC had signalled earlier this year that the executives were likely to head to Hong Kong, the 156-year-old lender's historic base. Relocating those four executives means that divisions that account for almost all of HSBC's global revenue will be run out of Hong Kong. The decision also has symbolic importance considering the...

Apr 14, 2021

Hundreds lose job in British Gas contracts row

Engineers are taking strike action as part of the dispute over "Fire and rehire" changes to contracts that give less favourable terms. British Gas owner Centrica said the contract changes are "Reasonable" and engineers are choosing to leave. British Gas said on Wednesday that it expected fewer than 500 engineers "To choose to leave", which represents a bit more than 2% of the workforce. Wednesday is the 43rd day of strike action taken by thousands of engineers since the dispute started more...

Apr 14, 2021

Virgin Media and O2 'blockbuster' merger provisionally approved

A £31bn merger between mobile networks Virgin Media and O2 has been provisionally approved by the UK's competition watchdog. O2 has about 34 million mobile phone users, while Virgin has about six million broadband and cable TV customers, and another three million mobile users. As well as having its own subscribers, O2 provides the network for Tesco Mobile, Giffgaff and Sky Mobile. "The deal is unlikely to lead to higher prices or a reduced quality of mobile services - meaning customers should...

Apr 14, 2021

Facebook faces investigation over data breach

The Irish Data Protection Commission is to launch an investigation into a data leak in which the details of hundreds of millions of Facebook users were published online. The dataset of 533 million people from 106 countries was published on a hacking forum earlier this month, although the data had initially been scraped from Facebook some years earlier. Although not every piece of data was available for every user, the large scale of the leak was a cause for concern among privacy experts. In a...

Apr 14, 2021

Crypto firm Coinbase valued at more than oil giant BP

The price of Bitcoin surged more than 300% last year - and has climbed even higher in 2021 - as firms including Tesla, Mastercard and BlackRock unveiled plans to incorporate digital currencies into their businesses. Less well-known digital currencies have also made gains with Dogecoin, which was created as a joke, rising more than 70% to more than 13 cents. Founded in 2012, Coinbase had more than 56 million users across more than 100 countries and held some $223bn in users' assets at the end...

Apr 14, 2021

To thrive from here, cash cow Tesco needs to keep delivering

The most eye-catching figure in the report was £1.2bn, the annual free cash flow, which in spite of Covid-19 costs had hardly budged on an underlying basis from the previous year. Ken Murphy, Tesco's newish chief executive, has made clear a commitment to delivering predictable cash returns rather than promising growth. Upward re-rating of the stock based on reliable cash flows requires confidence that cash flows are reliable. With its strategy of consistent cash returns Tesco wants to be more...

Apr 13, 2021

AstraZeneca: Irish health body recommends vaccine restriction

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be limited to over-60s, the Republic of Ireland's National Immunisation Advisory Committee has said. The body oversees the Covid-19 vaccine rollout programme in the Republic. "As the risk/benefits of vaccine may vary by age and as alternative Covid-19 vaccines are available, NIAC has revised the recommendations for use of this vaccine." "A high uptake of vaccine in every age group is needed if Covid-19 is to be controlled, so that public health...

Apr 13, 2021

JD Sports expects profits this year to beat pre-pandemic levels

Federal stimulus programmes help sports retailer’s US businesses

Apr 13, 2021

Brexit prompts JD Sports to open Dublin warehouse

Goods which JD imports from East Asia to GB now incur tariffs when they are distributed onward to its stores across Europe. To deal with this JD has already opened a warehouse in Belgium but says it needs a specific facility for Ireland. The company says the Irish facility will become operational in the second half of this year. In a trading update the firm said: "We continue to review opportunities for a larger permanent facility in Europe which can process substantially all of the volume...

Apr 13, 2021

Ville de Bitche: Facebook mistakenly removes French town's page

Facebook has been criticised for temporarily removing the official page of the small French town of Bitche. Bitche's mayor said the Facebook page of the town was removed on 19 March for violating site rules. "On 19 March, Facebook informed us that our page, Ville de Bitche, was no longer online, on the basis that it was 'in violation of conditions applying to Facebook pages'," the town's mayor, Benoît Kieffer, said in a statement. After the page was removed, the town hall had to create a new...

Apr 12, 2021

Homebase to put mini garden centres at Next stores

That's what Homebase is banking on, as it stakes out new plots at six of Next's stores. Home improvement stores have done better than many shops, as locked-down consumers turned to DIY projects. Homebase staff will also be available in these Next stores to offer advice. "It's all part of our wider commitment to make shopping with us easier and provide even more inspiration and expert advice," said Homebase's chief executive Damian McGloughlin. "We're a great nation of gardeners, with more and...

Apr 12, 2021

Mike Lynch-backed Darktrace sets out plans to list in London

Hammerson in talks to sell shopping centres, Microsoft eyes AI company

Apr 12, 2021

NHS Covid-19 app update blocked for breaking Apple and Google's rules

An update to England and Wales's contact tracing app has been blocked for breaking the terms of an agreement made with Apple and Google. NHS Covid-19's users have long been able to scan a QR code when entering a shop, restaurant or other venue to log within the app the fact that they had visited. Depending on the thresholds set - for example, how many infected users registered having visited the same place on the same day - other app users would then have been told to either monitor their...

Apr 12, 2021

Shoppers rush back as High Streets reopen in England and Wales

There were queues outside branches of Primark, JD Sports and TK Maxx on Monday as non-essential shops reopened in England and Wales after more than three months. Shoppers began queuing at 7am at Primark shops in London's Oxford Street and Birmingham as the fashion retailer reopened 161 stores across the country. Julian Metcalf, chief executive of sushi chain Itsu, said he was hopeful demand would pick up as shoppers returned to the High Street but said he felt "Hesitant, a bit nervous". "Dr...

Apr 12, 2021

Love Island: Could Tinder find the show's first gay couple?

ITV. The ITV reality series Love Island has proved successful in helping singletons to find romantic partners since it returned to our screens in 2015. The programme-makers noted that islanders in previous series had identified as bisexual, and that the show's stance on same-sex partnerships has not changed from previous years. Love Island will return this summer, nearly 18 months after it was last on air ITV confirmed last month. Last year's series was torpedoed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and...