March 20, 2018 09:17:54by

EU businesses are pulling out of the UK as Brexit nears

EU businesses are pulling out of the UK as Brexit nears

One in seven businesses from European Union countries with a presence in Britain have moved parts of their business out of the country because of concerns about disruption after Brexit, according to a survey published on Tuesday.

Fourteen per cent of EU firms with assets in Britain, such as offices, warehouses or factories, have scaled back their business, the survey by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) showed.

Furthermore, 11 per cent of EU companies had moved some of their workforce out of the United Kingdom since the Brexit vote in 2016, the survey of supply chain managers showed.

The survey was conducted before Monday’s announcement of a 21-month transition deal that will leave Britain’s access to EU markets unchanged until the end of 2020.

But John Glen, an economist with CIPS, said companies were more worried about the lack of clarity about the long-term relationship between Britain and the EU.

“There comes a moment when companies need to put contingency plans into place,” Glen said. “We need to start getting real about what will actually happen.”

The survey also showed that almost one in four British firms with suppliers in the EU was having difficulties in securing contracts that run beyond Britain’s scheduled departure from the EU in March 2019.

In response, a third of British supply chain managers with EU suppliers said they were already looking for alternative suppliers inside the United Kingdom.

CIPS said nearly a third of respondents had raised their prices because of the impact of Brexit, which caused the value of the pound to fall, pushing up the cost of imported goods.

“Businesses have little choice but to pass on some of their rising costs to consumers in order to protect their profit margins,” Glen said.

CIPS surveyed a total of 2,418 supply chain managers in two rounds of questions between 6 and 19 February and 5 and 13 March.

Respondents came from a range of sectors including manufacturing, financial services, retail and construction.

Reuse content
March 20, 2018 09:17:55by

Mark Hamill returns as Luke Skywalker for new Star Wars short

Mark Hamill returns as Luke Skywalker for new Star Wars short

Following last year’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, many fans of the series are wondering whether Mark Hamillwill return once more as Luke Skywalker.

Whether the character appears in Star Wars IX remains a mystery, but that hasn’t stopped the actor returning to the famous role — this time in animated form.

Disney has continued to release small animated Star Wars films under the Forces of Destiny banner, the latest featuring a young Skywalker being trained by Yoda on Dagobah.

"Struggling with his Jedi training, Luke is grateful for master Yoda’s offer to join him on a sojourn through the trees and swamps of Dagobah, until he learns that Yoda will be riding in his backpack! Minding Yoda, Luke learns to trust what he feels instead of what he thinks he sees,” the official synopsis for ‘The Path Ahead’ reads.

Other actors from the movies to have appeared in the animated series include Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Lupita Nyong’o, and Rogue One’s Felicity Jones.

Meanwhile, Hamill recently joked about returning as Skywalker with ABC News, saying the decision to whether the character appears in Episode IX remains with director JJ Abrams. 

Reuse content
March 20, 2018 09:04:51by

Acrobat dies after falling as he performed a circus stunt

Acrobat dies after falling as he performed a circus stunt

An acrobat has died in Russia three weeks after he fell as he performed a daring circus aerial stunt with his twin brother.

Anton Martynov, 33, plunged from a height of around 20ft suffering two breaks in his spinal cord and a serious head injury.

He awoke from a coma last week and his condition was 'stable', with doctors talking about his 'rehabilitation'.

He was being prepared for a move to another hospital - but 'his heart suddenly stopped beating'.

His twin Roman and wife Anna were at his bedside.

A video showed the horrendous moment when he fell at a circus in the Russian city of Elista.

There was no safety net.

A belt used in the act had slipped out of a carabiner - a metal ring with a spring clip - causing a cable to come loose, resulting in the horrific fall, said circus officials.

He was performing with his twin Roman for the Mstislav Zapashny circus in Moscow which was on tour was the accident happened.

His brother has not spoken about the tragedy.

After the fall a doctor caring for him said: 'His condition is grave, but there is no threat to life.'

Four days before his death a bulletin said: 'His condition is stable, his temperature is normal. His mother, brother and wife are with him.

'He is under the constant supervision of doctors. Now Anton needs rehabilitation after his trauma.'

The circus owners are to pay for his funeral. 

The stuntman was performing an act he has practised 'hundreds of times' to an audience of children and their parents when he fell. He was not wearing any safety equipment when he crashed onto the hard circus floor. 

Initially, there were reports a cable had broken but it later emerged a belt used in the act had slipped out of a carabiner - a metal ring with a spring clip.   

Mr Martynov, was on tour with the Mstislav Zapashny circus from Moscow when the accident happened.

Circus tour official Parviz Gadzhiyev said: 'It was not a broken cable. It was due to a belt coming out of a carabiner.

'This can be seen even on the video. The artists were performing without safety devices. Now an investigation is underway.' 

The circus is continuing the tour.  
March 20, 2018 09:17:57by

Ryanair takes on Austria, teaming up with Niki Lauda

Ryanair takes on Austria, teaming up with Niki Lauda

Ryanair has made a land-grab for flights from Austria, Germany and Switzerland to the Mediterranean. Europe’s biggest budget airline aims to spend €50m (£44m) buying 75 per cent of LaudaMotion, the latest aviation venture of Niki Lauda.

Mr Lauda, the former Formula 1 racing driver, began his career in aviation in 1979 with an airline called Lauda Air. After it was acquired by Austrian Airlines, he launched flyNiki, which was bought by Air Berlin.

After the German airline collapsed in October 2017, Mr Lauda acquired many of the assets, including A320 aircraft, and launched a third airline, LaudaMotion.

Ryanair said it will provide financial and management support to LaudaMotion, and operate six “wet-lease” aircraft for the airline in the coming summer. It will pump in an additional €50m for start up and operating costs in the first year.

Mr Lauda will chair the board of the airline and “oversee the implementation of his strategy to build a successful Austrian low fares airline”. It is predicted to be profitable by year three, Ryanair said.

The venture marks a significant change for Ryanair which will be noted at Boeing’s headquarters. The Irish airline says it will “grow the business to a fleet of at least 30 Airbus aircraft”. The Ryanair fleet has been exclusively Boeing for 15 years.

Ryanair’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary said: “The LaudaMotion AOC [Air Operator Certificate] will support a fleet of Airbus aircraft which is something we have hoped to develop within the Ryanair Group for some years.

“With access to the Ryanair fleet and financial resources, LaudaMotion will now grow more rapidly, as it seeks to compete in a market which is dominated by Lufthansa’s high airfares with its Swiss and Austrian subsidiaries.” 

Niki Lauda said: “I have always stood up for competition and have opposed monopolies. Therefore I am thrilled that in the partnership with Ryanair, LaudaMotion will be able to establish itself as a strong competitor and to grow quickly and sustainably.

“A new player in the aviation market is born and I am looking forward to offering our passengers an extensive route portfolio at competitive air fares.”

Reuse content
March 20, 2018 10:00:12by

Katie George takes hat-trick as England's women win warm-ups against India A

Katie George takes hat-trick as England\'s women win warm-ups against India A

Uncapped teenager Katie George took a hat-trick on her first appearance for England as they cruised past India A in the second of their warm-up games for the forthcoming Twenty20 tri-series.

George, 18, ripped through the middle order, taking four wickets for six runs in three overs as the hosts could only reach 85-9 from 20 overs in Mumbai.

England eased past the target in 8.3 overs, but batted on, making 210-4.

Danni Wyatt (46) and Nat Sciver (51) both hit nine fours before retiring.

Meanwhile, Alice Davidson-Richards - in her first innings for England - hit a six in her unbeaten 26 from 11 balls at the Brabourne Stadium.

Earlier, Southern Vipers left-arm seamer George - whose chance comes after pace spearhead Katherine Brunt was rested for this tour - struck in her second over.

She bowled Dayalan Hemalatha, trapped Harleen Deol first ball and then bowled Monika Das with the hat-trick delivery, later returning to have Radha Yadav caught behind.

Monday's first warm-up game, as England beat the same opposition by 45 runs, was similarly one-sided.

Another rookie, uncapped Surrey Stars right-hander Bryony Smith, made 50 opening the batting as England hit 176-4 from their 20 overs, with Tammy Beaumont (57 not out) and captain Heather Knight (52) also in the runs.

Seam trio Anya Shrubsole, Natasha Farrant and Sciver then took two wickets each as India A were bowled out for 131.

The tri-series begins at the same venue on Thursday, with hosts India facing Australia, before England play their first match against Australia on Friday.
March 20, 2018 09:17:58by

Trey Songz turns himself in after domestic violence accusation

Trey Songz turns himself in after domestic violence accusation

Trey Songz turned himself in to the Los Angeles Police Department on 19 March to face a charge of domestic violence, according to reports.

The New York Daily News writes that Songz, real name Tremaine Aldon Neverson, was accused of striking Andrea Buera during an NBA All-Star Weekend afterparty, which took place last month at his rented home in the Hollywood Hills.

The R&B singer tweeted a message maintaining his innocence which said: ”For weeks my lawyers & [management] have asked me not to comment on this and I initially agreed but this morning I feel that my fam, the women that raised me, my friends & fans especially the youth need to hear from me. 

“I am being lied on and falsely accused for someone's personal gain.” 

According to Rolling Stone, Buera, 27, filed a police report after the alleged incident and visited the hospital to receive treatment for minor injuries. She filed paperwork for a restraining order against the 33-year-old singer on 6 March.

During a press conference with her lawyer, Lisa Bloom, Buera claimed the R&B singer, whom she had previously dated, punched her and knocked her to the ground because he was upset she was talking to one of his friends.

“While I was on the ground, he continued punching me and he did not stop until his security pulled him off of me,” she claimed. 

In her restraining order paperwork, she added, “I tried defending myself by hitting his hand off of my neck, but when I got out of the choke hold, he then started punching me in the face ... I was able to get away from him and began circling a car in the garage screaming and crying while others just watched and spread out.”

Neverson was previously arrested in Miami in 2012 for allegedly assaulting a woman with money outside a Queens, New York strip club. 

Last year, a female fan sued the singer after an alleged physical encounter at a Philadelphia strip club; claiming she attempted to take Neverson’s picture in the car park; Neverson allegedly slapped her phone out of her hand into her face, breaking her glasses.

Reuse content
March 20, 2018 10:00:14by

Miami Open: Cameron Norrie, Liam Broady & Katie Boulter win first-round qualifiers

Miami Open: Cameron Norrie, Liam Broady & Katie Boulter win first-round qualifiers

Britain's Cameron Norrie, Liam Broady and Katie Boulter are through the first round of qualifying at the Miami Open.

World number 105 Norrie was 6-1 2-0 up when his American opponent Stefan Kozlov, ranked 167th, had to retire.

Broady, the British number four, moved easily past Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland, winning 6-2 6-4 against the world number 132.

Katie Boulter, the British number four, beat American world number 100 Taylor Townsend 7-6 (7-1) 6-2.

Elsewhere in the women's draw, Naomi Broady, the sister of Liam, was frustrated by France's Oceane Dodin, losing 4-6 7-5 6-3.

British number two Heather Watson plays her first-round match at 18:00 GMT on Tuesday against Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is ranked 64th in the world.

Defending champion and British number one Johanna Konta has a bye to the second round.

Men's British number one Kyle Edmund also has a bye to the second round as he goes in search of his first win since the Australian Open.

Meanwhile, Canadian former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard beat American wildcard and world number 357 Allie Kiick 6-2 6-2 in first-round qualifying.

Bouchard, now ranked 114th, was playing her first match since a first-round loss at Indian Wells two weeks ago.
March 20, 2018 09:18:00by

Follow all the latest updates from Westminster live

Follow all the latest updates from Westminster live

Theresa May is expected to reconvene the National Security Council today to consider the UK Government’s retaliation to Moscow regarding the Salisbury nerve agent attacks.

It comes after the Prime Minister last week expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the UK in response to the attempted murder of a former Russian spy and his daughter. Over the weekend, Moscow responded to this with tit-for-tat expulsions of British diplomats. 

Ms May is also under pressure from Brexiteer MPs and several of her Scottish MPs after an agreement was reached on the transition period. 

Their main concern is fishing rights and in protest at the deal reached the Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg is due to board a boat on the Thames and throw fish into the river in protest at the “sell-out”.

Reuse content
March 20, 2018 09:35:56by

Territory farm site handed over by CLP to developer 'without final cost-benefit analysis'

Territory farm site handed over by CLP to developer \'without final cost-benefit analysis\'

Territory farm site handed over by CLP to developer 'without final cost-benefit analysis'

The NT Government controversially awarded free land to a major Darwin developer without knowing the full value of the property and without a final cost-benefit analysis for taxpayers, a report by the Auditor-General has revealed.

Northern Territory Auditor-General Julie Crisp found serious issues with the awarding of the 168-hectare former Berrimah Farm site to Halikos Group in 2015 under the Country Liberal Party, including that the valuation of the land was rushed, no cost-benefit analysis existed and financial and reputational risks were not adequately mitigated.

Ms Crisp also flagged concerns the scope of the development, dubbed Northcrest, had changed significantly behind closed doors from what was initially offered for public expressions of interest.

Halikos Group were ultimately awarded the land for free, despite another developer offering $30 million for the site.

The $300 million development, which will see 2,000 homes, a retail precinct and commercial office space, is estimated to be worth $1 billion when completed.

Ms Crisp's report questioned what benefits Territorians received from the deal.

"I was not provided with a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis demonstrating the impacts to the Territory of the options available … at the conclusion of the (best and final detail proposal) process," the report stated.

The original project offered $4 million towards the estimated $28 million in headworks on the site to the winning bidder, but changes were made to the proposal after Halikos was selected as the preferred tenderer by government, the audit report shows.

That included a $4.9 million buy-back of a section of land, as well as a government lease of office space on the site.

The report also shows a $2.9 million public bus depot that was to be built by the developer was dropped from the project, as well as other smaller requirements.

The site was independently valued at $30 million all-in and approved by the NT Valuer-General.

But Ms Crisp found the estimated figure was rushed for a "valuation of this scale and complexity".

"The valuer was unable to gain sufficient information to undertake a hypothetical cashflow analysis of the proposed development," the report read.

"Such analysis would be likely to produce a residual value which may differ significantly to the value provided."

Deal 'raises questions' about political donor influence

Independent MLA Gerry Wood said it was unclear whether Territorians received the best value in the deal.

"I'm not sure this was a normal tender (process)," he told ABC Radio Darwin.

"The Government has done negotiations with a company without knowing the value of the land.

"If you have a proposal for someone to buy Crown land, you'd expect the valuer would have time to determine what the land was worth before entering into a sale agreement."

Mr Wood said it was "not good stuff" and raised concerns "taxpayers may have lost out" on the deal.

Ms Crisp also found that one of the panel selection committee members had not filed a declaration of interests and confidentiality form on time, which she said had the potential to "compromise the integrity of the panel should a conflict exist".

However, she concluded that the release of the land did comply with the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics' systems and processes, despite the "opportunities for improvement" and crucial recommendations for better controls.

In a response included with the Auditor's report, the department said it would take Ms Crisp's recommendations on board.

It also stated departmental staff were following orders from the previous CLP government by changing the scope of the project significantly during final negotiations.

Halikos Group has attracted controversy in the past for large political donations to both Labor and the CLP.

Mr Wood said the deal raised questions about the influence of developers' on political parties.

He said he wanted to see developers forbidden from donating to political parties in the NT.

"They can make a lot of money from government decisions …. And then the public say it doesn't look so good," he said.

"The donations inquiry is reviewing this and this is a good example of (why donations should be banned)."

Halikos Group managing director Shane Dignan did not respond to a request for comment.

First posted
March 20, 2018 10:00:17by

Gareth Bale: Star Wales forward arrives for China Cup

Gareth Bale: Star Wales forward arrives for China Cup

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale is greeted by the media and autograph hunters as he joins the Wales squad for the China Cup.

With Ryan Giggs in charge for his first game, Wales face the hosts on Thursday, 22 March in Nanning before taking on either Uruguay or Czech Republic on Monday, 26 March at the same venue.

Bale trained with the squad four hours after landing in China.

Giggs has promised to give young players chances while having said Bale will play a full part in the four-team tournament.

Watch and listen to Wales' games at the China Cup on BBC One Wales and the BBC Sport website.