Lloyds Sell London headquarters to Chinese property investment company

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 7 Dec 2017) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Lloyds Banking Group said it has sold its London headquarters to a Chinese property investment company for an undisclosed price.

Under the terms of the sale to Hengli Investments Holding, Lloyds will lease back the 25 Gresham Street building, which it has occupied since its construction, for the next 20 years. The building sits in the heart of the City of London’s financial district.

The sharp drop in the value of sterling following Britain’s vote last year to leave the European Union has lured foreign investors into the British real estate market.

That coincided with plans outlined by Lloyds in 2016 to cut its non-branch property portfolio by 30 percent as part of a cost-cutting drive. It said at the time that the initiative would result in one-off savings of 100 million pounds and an additional 100 million pounds in run-rate savings by the end of 2018.

There will be no disruption to Lloyds’ operations or staff in the building as a result of the sale, a spokeswoman said.

“The transaction enables the group to capitalise on the market conditions and realise value in its property portfolio for shareholders,” she continued.

According to Savills, a real estate agency that advised Hengli Investments Holding on the deal, the purchase of the 119,742 sq foot (11,124 sq m) building is the firm’s first purchase in the UK.

Chen Chang Wei, chairman of Hengli Investments Holding, said the firm was pleased to have reached a deal on the property in less than a month, and that it would continue to consider other investment opportunities locally.

By Emma Rumney

“Dieselgate” Volkswagen executive given seven years jail sentence

 

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VW has so far refused to pay out to drivers in the UK and in wider Europe, claiming it only broke the law in the US

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Thu, 7 Dec 2017) London, Uk – –

A former Volkswagen executive has been sentenced to seven years in jail and given a $400,000 (£300,000) fine after pleading guilty to helping the German carmaker cheat on diesel emissions tests.

The “dieselgate” scandal has cost Volkswagen as much as $30bn in fines, buybacks and settlements since 2015 when it admitted fitting 11m diesel vehicles worldwide with so-called defeat devices to suppress emissions of nitrogen oxide during tests. These allowed vehicles to cheat pollution tests.

However, Oliver Schmidt, a German national who headed up VW’s environmental and engineering office in Michigan, is only the second person to receive jail time in the US for his role in the scheme.

The first was a company engineer, James Liang, who was handed only a 40-month jail term in August for conspiracy to defraud the US government and violating the clean air act. He is appealing this.

Schmidt had been looking to limit his own sentence to 40 months in jail, with court papers filed last week showing Schmidt had said he only learnt about the scheme in the summer of 2015, at the end of the scandal.

FAQ | Volkswagen emissions scandal

What did VW do?

The company falsified emissions data on its diesel vehicles, pretending they were cleaner than they are

How exactly..?

By installing a piece of software into computers on its cars that recognise when the car is being tested – a so-called “defeat device”. This fine-tunes the engine’s performance to limit nitrogen oxide emissions. When used on the road, the emissions levels shoot back up

How widespread is the problem?

11m cars worldwide had the software installed; 1.2m of them were in the UK

Which models are involved?

The allegations, which have been admitted by VW, cover the Jetta, Beetle, Audi A3 and Golf models from 2009 to 2015 and the Passat in 2014 and 2015. Audi, Seat and Skoda cars are also affected, as well as VW vans. Some diesel and petrol vehicles also have “irregularities” around carbon dioxide emissions.

What happens next?

VW offered to fix affected models and started the recall in January 2016. It is facing investigations in over a dozen countries as well as lawsuits from motorists.

As of March 2017, the company had not reached a compensation agreement with British motorists and the transport minister was considering legal action against VW.

The EU Commission has named the UK among seven countries against which it will take legal action for their inadequate consumer protection regarding this scandal.

However, US federal officials sought the maximum sentence of seven years, saying Schmidt had played a key part in concealing the scheme from regulators given that he held a “leadership role within VW”.

“As a consequence of that role, he was literally in the room for important decisions during the height of the criminal scheme.”

They had also argued that he encouraged “key engineers” at VW to destroy documents relating to the scandal.

While VW has agreed to pay compensation to drivers in the US caught up in the scandal, it has so far refused to pay out to drivers in the UK and in wider Europe, claiming it only broke the law in the US.

However, it was ordered to recall cars in the UK fitted with defeat devices, and in September said it had fixed 775,000 of the 1.15m cars affected.

By  

Uk’s biggest train fares increase comes into effect January 2018

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Tue, 5 Dec 2017) London, Uk – –

Train fares in Britain will go up by an average of 3.4% from 2 January.

The increase, the biggest since 2013, covers regulated fares, which includes season tickets, and unregulated fares, such as off-peak leisure tickets.

The Rail Delivery Group admitted it was a “significant” rise, but said that more than 97% of fare income went back into improving and running the railway.

A passenger group said the rise was “a chill wind” and the RMT union called it a “kick in the teeth” for travellers.

The rise in regulated fares had already been capped at July’s Retail Prices Index inflation rate of 3.6%.

The fare increase is above the latest Consumer Prices Index inflation figure of 3%, which was a five-and-a-half year high.

  • Are you joining the ‘£5k commuter club’?

The chief executive of passenger watchdog Transport Focus, Anthony Smith, said: “While substantial, welcome investment in new trains and improved track and signals is continuing, passengers are still seeing the basic promises made by the rail industry broken on too many days.”

One in nine trains (12%) has arrived late at its destination in the past 12 months.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union general secretary Mick Cash said: “For public sector workers and many others in our communities who have had their pay and benefits capped or frozen by this government, these fare increases are another twist of the economic knife.

“The private train companies are laughing all the way to the bank.”

Paul Plummer, Rail Delivery Group chief executive, told the BBC’s Today programme: “We are very aware of the pressures on people and the state of the economy and are making sure everything we do is looking to improve and change and make the best use of that money.”

Mr Plummer admitted it was “a significant increase” – the highest since fares rose by 3.9% in January 2013.

Analysis: Richard Westcott, BBC transport correspondent

You might think that popularity is a good thing, but it’s causing the railways some problems.

Here’s some examples. Passenger numbers on routes into King’s Cross have rocketed by 70% in the past 14 years. On Southern trains, passenger numbers coming into London have doubled in 12 years.

That’s got to be good for easing congestion and reducing vehicle pollution… but much of our rail network is still Victorian and it’s buckling under the strain of all those extra people.

There is a push to bring in new trains, stations and better lines, but it’s difficult to upgrade things while keeping them open and it’s seriously expensive.

The money’s got to come from somewhere and in recent years it’s the fare payer that’s been asked to pick up a bigger proportion of the tab.

It means that, year in and year out, many people have seen their season ticket go up much more than their salary, if they’ve had a salary rise at all.

Investment

Figures published by the Office of Rail and Road in October showed that £4.2bn was given to the rail industry in 2016-17 – a drop of nearly 13% on the previous year, taking inflation into account.

The Rail Delivery Group said that private investment in rail reached a record £925m in 2016-17.Figures published by the Office of Rail and Road in October showed that £4.2bn was given to the rail industry in 2016-17 – a drop of nearly 13% on the previous year, taking inflation into account.

The Rail Delivery Group said that private investment in rail reached a record £925m in 2016-17.

It added that in the next 18 months, services around the country would be improved with more trains and better services and stations.

Routes to benefit include Crossrail, Thameslink, Edinburgh to Glasgow, Great Western and Waterloo and the South West while there will also be upgrades in the Midlands and the North.

Selection of new annual season ticket costs from January 2018

Brighton to London – £4,332 – £148 increase

Gloucester to Birmingham – £4,108 – £140 increase

Woking to London – £3,248 – £112 increase

Liverpool to Manchester – £3,152 – £108 increase

Maidenhead to London – £3,092 – £104 increase

 

The bespoke craftsmanship and unique design of Connor Wood bicycles

 

Source/Youtube

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Sat, 25 Nov 2017) London, Uk – –

The forerunner of the bicycle – the laufmaschine or running machine – bears only a passing resemblance to the pedal-bikes we know today.

Invented in 1817, it had no chain and was powered by the rider pushing his feet along the ground in a walking or running motion.

Even more unusually, its frame was made from wood.

Jump forward to 2017, and a crop of bike makers is turning back the clock – at least in terms of using wood as a core material.

These firms make their bicycles in part, and occasionally wholly, from woods such as ash, oak and walnut.

They are driven by a love of craft and design, the desire to use natural materials, and a passion for cycling itself.

And they have attracted a small but growing base of enthusiastic customers, willing to pay high prices for their lovingly crafted creations.

“People like having something unique, something different,” says Chris Connor, the founder of Connor Wood Bicycles.

“They also appreciate the craftsmanship. Not a lot of things are built by hand these days.”

The company was born in 2012, after the 48-year-old American decided to combine his long held passions for woodwork and cycling.

All his bikes all have wooden frames; the other parts, such as the gears and wheels, are made from steel, carbon or rubber.

Prices range from $3,500 (£2,600) to $11,000.

Sales have gradually been increasing, but it hasn’t been easy, says Mr Connor. That’s because of a perception among some cyclists that wooden bikes may break or be unsafe.

In fact, Mr Connor says wood is very durable, which is why it’s used to make tool handles, skis, boats, even light aircraft.

It also absorbs vibrations well, making cycling on bumpy roads smoother, less tiring and quieter.

“And of course, these bikes look great,” says Mr Connor, who makes his frames made from “strong but flexible” white ash or “eye candy” black walnut.

A recently published book called “The Wooden Bicycle: Around the World” features 111 companies that make bikes from wood or bamboo.

Only one, Splinterbike in the UK, sells 100% wooden models with its bikes featuring wooden gears, chains and wheels.

However, most limit their use of wood to the frame, and occasionally parts such as the handlebars and forks. Other parts will be made from materials typically associated with bikes, such as aluminium.

It is the unique design of wooden bikes, and their bespoke craftsmanship, that underpins their appeal, says Gregor Cuzak.

The Slovenian co-founded Woodster Bikes after meeting woodworker Iztok Mohoric, who had recently designed a bike with a wooden frame.

“I wasn’t interested at first, but after I saw it and took a ride, I was immediately convinced,” Mr Cuzak says. “People were watching me as if I was driving a wild sports car.”

Like other firms in the space, Woodster is targeting customers who appreciate the finer things in life. Its bike frames are made of woods such as beech and bog oak, and prices range from 2,500 euros (£2,190) up to 17,000 euros.

In addition, every customer gets a book with a story about how their individual bike was made.

“We even plant a new tree at the same location where we cut one for your bike,” Mr Cuzak adds.

Piet Brandjes, 63, who co-founded Dutch firm Bough Bikes, agrees that wooden bikes “attract attention”.

For that reason, firms in the Netherlands such as Novotel and Rabobank have bought Bough Bikes for their guests and employees to use.

By Thessa Lageman

Uber data breach of 57m users and drivers covered up

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Wed, 22 Nov 2017) London, UK —

(Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc paid hackers $100,000 to keep secret a massive breach last year that exposed the personal information of about 57 million accounts of the ride-service provider, the company said on Tuesday.

Discovery of the U.S. company’s cover-up of the incident resulted in the firing of two employees responsible for its response to the hack, said Dara Khosrowshahi, who replaced co-founder Travis Kalanick as CEO in August.

“None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,” Khosrowshahi said in a blog post. (ubr.to/2AmxlQt)

The breach occurred in October 2016 but Khosrowshahi said he had only recently learned of it.

The hack is another controversy for Uber on top of sexual harassment allegations, a lawsuit alleging trade secrets theft and multiple federal criminal probes that culminated in Kalanick’s ouster in June.

The stolen information included names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers of Uber users around the world, and the names and license numbers of 600,000 U.S. drivers, Khosrowshahi said.

Uber passengers need not worry as there was no evidence of fraud, while drivers whose license numbers had been stolen would be offered free identity theft protection and credit monitoring, Uber said.

Two hackers gained access to proprietary information stored on GitHub, a service that allows engineers to collaborate on software code. There, the two people stole Uber’s credentials for a separate cloud-services provider where they were able to download driver and rider data, the company said.

A GitHub spokeswoman said the hack was not the result of a failure of GitHub’s security.

“While I can’t erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes,” Khosrowshahi said.

“We are changing the way we do business, putting integrity at the core of every decision we make and working hard to earn the trust of our customers.”

Bloomberg News first reported the data breach on Tuesday.

Khosrowshahi said Uber had begun notifying regulators. The New York attorney general has opened an investigation, a spokeswoman said.

Regulators in Australia and the Philippines said on Wednesday they would look into the matter. Uber is seeking to mend fences in Asia after having run-ins with authorities, and is negotiating with a consortium led by Japan’s SoftBank Group (9984.T) for fresh investment. SoftBank declined to comment.

Uber said it had fired its chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, and a deputy, Craig Clark, this week because of their role in the handling of the incident. Sullivan, formerly the top security official at Facebook Inc (FB.O) and a federal prosecutor, served as both security chief and deputy general counsel for Uber.

Sullivan declined to comment when reached by Reuters. Clark could not immediately be reached for comment.

Kalanick learned of the breach in November 2016, a month after it took place, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. At the time, the company was negotiating with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over the handling of consumer data.

A board committee had investigated the breach and concluded that neither Kalanick nor Salle Yoo, Uber’s general counsel at the time, were involved in the cover-up, another person familiar with the issue said. The person did not say when the investigation took place.

Uber said on Tuesday it was obliged to report the theft of the drivers’ license information and had failed to do so.

Kalanick, through a spokesman, declined to comment. The former CEO remains on the Uber board of directors, and Khosrowshahi has said he consults with him regularly.

CRIME PAYS

Although payments to hackers are rarely publicly discussed, U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation officials and private security companies have told Reuters that an increasing number of companies are paying criminal hackers to recover stolen data.

Easyjet profits fall despite record 80.2m passenger numbers

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Tue, 21 Nov, 2017) London, Uk —

Pre-tax profits at easyJet slumped 24pc to £385m last year, despite a record 80.2m travellers choosing to fly with the budget airline.

The industry is in the middle of a price war thanks to a glut of available seats, while easyJet said it was also impacted by currency headwinds of £101m and higher staff costs.

Outgoing chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “EasyJet’s model is resilient and sustainable and we now have a huge amount of positive momentum which will enable the airline to continue to grow profitably.”

Revenues in the year to September 30 climbed 8.1pc to around £5bn, despite a fall in revenue per seat of 0.4pc to £58.23.

Easyjet said earnings had continued to climb in the first quarter of this year, “primarily as a result of some capacity leaving the market”. Its rival Monarch collapsed last month, while Alitalia and Air Berlin went into administration earlier in the year.

In October easyJet agreed a deal to acquire part of Air Berlin’s operations at Tegel airport for €40m (£35.4mn) and it is also bidding for some of Alitalia’s business.

Ms McCall will leave the airline next week and be replaced by Tui boss Johan Lundgren on December 1.

By   

Wingly the flight sharing platform

 

Business insider UK/Youtube

Wingly is a flight sharing platform which allows hobbyist pilots to share the cost of their flights with passengers.

It went from London to Le Touquet, France, from Elstree Aerodrome on a Piper Arrow II P28R-200.

The flight cost £109 per person which includes fuel, landing fees, and Wingly’s service fee.

Uber set to agree terms of $10bn stake with SoftBank investment

TechCrunch/Flickr

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 13 Nov 2017) London, Uk – –

Uber has struck a deal that could lead to a huge investment by a consortium led by Japanese conglomerate Softbank and San Francisco group Dragoneer.

The size of the potential investment has not been disclosed, but reports say it could be up to $10bn (£7.6bn).

The ride-hailing company said the money would fuel Uber’s expansion and investments in technology.

But it could transform its corporate structure and see a share listing by 2019, if the deal goes ahead.

“We’ve entered into an agreement with a consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer on a potential investment,” Uber said.

“We believe this agreement is a strong vote of confidence in Uber’s long-term potential.”

If completed, the firm plans to use the funds to expand its business further as it faces increasing competition at home and abroad.

As well as boosting its investments in technology, Uber said it would strengthen its corporate governance.

That could help bring stability to the world’s most valuable start-up after a year of scandals, infighting and the ousting of former chief executive Travis Kalanickin June.

Early adopter

Softbank, the Japanese telecommunications and technology giant, declined to comment on the potential investment when contacted by the BBC.

However, Softbank chief executive Masayoshi Son said last week that “whether we make an investment in Uber, or not, is not decided yet”.

He said a deal would depend on “pricing and the terms and conditions” as most of Softbank’s investment would be used to buy out shares from current investors.

Buying the existing shares would reportedly allow Softbank to take a 14% stake in Uber, while $1bn is said to have been set aside to buy new shares.

Mr Son added that while Uber was struggling with “management issues”, he believed it was still a “good company”.

Sources told the BBC it could take up to a month for the investment deal to be wrapped up.

Once completed, it would mark the latest in a series of overseas investments by Softbank including:

  • buying a $3bn stake in the New York start-up WeWork in August
  • buying robot-maker Boston Dynamics from Google parent Alphabet for an undisclosed figure
  • buying UK technology firm ARM Holdings for $32bn in 2016
  • buying a $22bn controlling stake in US telecoms firm Sprint in 2013

SoftBank has not revealed how much of the money to be invested in Uber would come from its technology focused Vision Fund, which has more than $93bn at its disposal.

Mr Son is known to have an eye for potentially transformative industries and trends. He was an early investor in Alibaba and owns close to 30% of the Chinese e-commerce giant’s shares.

5 Unbelievable over-the-top butler services offered by world class hotels

 

(qlmbusinessnews.com via moneyish.com – – Sun, 05 Nov 2017) London, Uk – –

At leading hotels, butlers are serving up more than just tea and crumpets.

Butlers Hotels
This is the essence of service with a smile.

If you’re willing to shell out $500 to $1000 or more a night, you can enjoy a butler for your every whim. From golf butlers to dog bulters, shopping butlers to butlers who attend to the barbecue, fancy hotels are introducing over-the-top butler services to diversify themselves in an age of tough competition between five-star market leaders.

“As consumers become more savvy, and differences among high-end hotels becomes ever narrower, hotels need to resort to whatever they can to set themselves apart,” said Pavia Rosati, founder of the digital travel magazine Fathom, in an interview with Moneyish. “That’s just a reality of this — to a certain extent, we’re going to get increasingly ridiculous specializations.”

One example: “On the ridiculous level, at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, they leave you a fruit basket and there’s a little note next to it that says, ‘Our staff will be delighted to peel and cut your fruit at your wish; kindly dial 2 for assistance,’” Rosati mused.

Here are a few of the wackiest butler services at hotels around the world:

Tartan Butler at Rocco Forte Hotels’ The Balmoral (Edinburgh, Scotland):

Tartan plaids have long had special significance to the people of Scotland, and for guests of the luxurious Balmoral Hotel, located in a large castle property, the hotel offers something special — a designated “tartan” butler who can track guests’ ancestry, order bespoke kilts made from their clan’s traditional tartan (an important standard-bearer for the Scottish), and arrange tours of the surrounding region.

Dog Butlers at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort (San Jose del Cabo, Mexico):

The five-diamond Mexican resort’s dog butlers are on hand to walk your canine, arrange special menus just for them, and give dog massages as well as lead dog yoga classes.

Golf Butlers at Rosewood CordeValle (San Martin, CA):

At this property in Northern California, the recently-launched golf butler program allows golf novices to order food and drinks, make post-game spa reservations, and arrange wine tastings at the on-site winery, all from the comfort of the course. After the game, butlers shine players’ shoes and return their clubs to their rooms.

Shopping Butlers at the Langham (Hong Kong):

In the fashionable shopping and tourist district of Tsim Sha Tsui, visitors can call upon their designated shopping butlers to provide fashion consultations, shopping tours, and personal makeovers.

BBQ Butlers at Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Plantation (Greensboro, Georgia):

Down south, you can get your hands on delicious BBQ with the help of your designated barbecue butler. At this Ritz-Carlton property, your butler will help set up and man the grill, provide tips on how to create the perfect BBQ spread at home, and serve up a great meal.

By Reed Alexander

EasyJet confirms €40m deal with Air Berlin

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 30 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

EasyJet has confirmed a €40m (£35m) deal with Air Berlin to buy part of the insolvent German airline’s operations, in a move that will secure 1,000 jobs.
EasyJet will buy some of the company’s assets at Berlin Tegel Airport, including landing slots as well as leases for up to 25 A320 aircraft.
The UK airline said it plans to take on 1,000 German pilots and cabin crew.
Air Berlin has already agreed to sell its Austrian airline Niki to Lufthansa as well as its regional carrier LGW.
The indebted Air Berlin filed for insolvency in August after its main shareholder Etihad declared it would not be providing further financial support.
A loan from the German government has enabled the airline to continue operating despite the insolvency.
EasyJet said that it will operate a reduced timetable at Tegel airport during the winter season but is planning for a full schedule for summer 2018.
It said that it “looks forward to building on the strong, customer focussed platform it already has in Berlin to fly more passengers, employ more people and support more economic growth” in Germany.
EasyJet’s share price rose by 1.32% to £12.89.

Passports the new status symbol for the ultra rich

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Sat, 28 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Ultra high-net worth individuals are turning their attention away from sports cars, yachts and designer clobber, and are instead focusing on acquiring the latest status symbol among the super wealthy: passports.

Today it is entirely possible to buy and sell citizenship, and for the ultra rich, the more passports they can get their hands on, the better.

Citizenship by investment programmes (CIPs) is a concept that began in 1984, when the two-island Caribbean nation of St Kitts and Nevis came up with the idea to encourage wealthy individuals to pump money into its economy in exchange for a passport, which gives holders visa-free access to 132 countries worldwide.

For millionaires in countries that have politically problematic or restrictive passports, such as China and some regions in the Middle East, the ability to buy a passport that offers visa-free access to a huge number of countries around the world is priceless.

While CIPs were once a niche market offered by a handful of cash-strapped Caribbean countries, a growing number of nations are launching their own programmes to appeal to the rising number of ultra-rich individuals around the world and the increasing trend of people wanting to live a nomadic lifestyle.

Two dozen countries now offer CIPs to those willing to invest in the countries’ businesses, real estate or government bonds, including Cyprus, Portugal, Moldova and Malta, while Montenegro is currently in the process of launching its own programme.

Cyprus’s CIP is one of the most popular, and expensive, on offer – giving investors visa-free travel to more than 150 countries in exchange for a €2m (£1.8m) investment in either real estate – which helps create employment in the country, further boosting the economy – or government bonds.

In Saint Lucia, a millionaire can get visa-free access to more than 120 countries in exchange for either a $100,000 (£76,000) donation to the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund, a $300,000 investment in an approved real estate development, or a $3.5m investment in an approved enterprise project.

Even Canada, the US and the UK offer their own citizenship by investment programmes, but the path to citizenship in these countries is typically more difficult and expensive.

In the UK, for example, investors must spend £2m on government gilds in exchange for a “tier-one visa”, which gives individuals residency for three years, with the option to apply for indefinite leave to remain and full citizenship after five years – but it isn’t guaranteed.

Other passports are quicker to procure and cheaper to buy, but less desirable. Nuri Katz, president of Apex Capital Partners, an international advisory firm that specialises in CIPs, said the ultra wealthy could get a passport for anything between $100,000 to $2.5m, depending on the country and the value of its passport.

He estimates that between 3,000 and 5,000 passports each year globally are acquired through CIPs. “For extremely wealthy people, having a second or third passport is important so that they can travel easily for both business and pleasure,” Mr Katz said. “And for some it’s also a status symbol, with some individuals collecting six or more passports.

“There are additional benefits to having multiple passports, such as having the ability to manage tax burdens,” he said.

The Chinese are the biggest buyers for CIPs, as their passport only allows visa-free access to 50 countries. “If a Chinese multi-millionaire wanted to fly to Paris for business, he wouldn’t be able to without first having to go to the French embassy to request a visa, which can take days or weeks,” Mr Katz said.

“Therefore, the ability to travel seamlessly between countries is invaluable to the super rich.”

Mayor Sadiq Khan’s £10 T-Charge comes into force in London

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 23 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Drivers of older, more polluting vehicles will have to pay almost twice as much to drive in central London.

Mayor Sadiq Khan’s £10 T-Charge, which mainly applies to diesel and petrol vehicles registered before 2006, has come into force.

It covers the same area as the existing congestion charge zone, bumping up the cost to £21.50 for those affected.

Opponents said the scheme would “disproportionately penalise London’s poorest drivers”.

The measure is the latest attempt by Mr Khan to improve air quality in the capital and according to the mayor’s office, will impact 34,000 motorists a month.

  • Old banger vs diesel: Which is more toxic?
  • Reality Check: Does pollution cut short 40,000 lives a year?
  • Pollution warning as London air quality alerts are issued
  • How bad is air pollution in the UK?

Speaking on the Today programme, Mr Khan said: “We’ve got a health crisis in London caused by the poor quality air.

“Roughly speaking each year more than 9,000 Londoners die prematurely because of the poor quality air – children in our city whose lungs are underdeveloped, with adults who suffer from conditions such as asthma, dementia and strokes directly caused by poor quality air.”

However, Simon Birkett, from the campaign group Clean Air London, does not believe the move goes far enough.

“The Mayor has pledged in his manifesto to restore London’s air quality to legal and safe limits and that means he has to do a whole lot more.

“We want him to take steps which are bigger, stronger an smarter.”

Mr Khan has described the introduction of the T-Charges as “part of a package of measures” being undertaken.

‘Filthy air’

Many people have taken to social media to express their views on the new levy.

Daniel McGuiness said on Twitter: “T-Charge, it’s a start but there’s still a long way to go in tackling the public health emergency that is our filthy air. #CleanAir”

What is changing?

From Monday 23 October, there will be a £10 daily fee for those who drive more polluting vehicles in the congestion charging zone, on top of the existing £11.50 congestion charge.

Vehicles that do not comply with the Euro IV exhaust standard must pay the charge.

The standard defines emissions limits for cars, vans, buses, coaches and lorries. Most vehicles registered before 2006 are likely to exceed these limits.

The zone will operate between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday.

Find out if your car is affected with TfL’s T-Charge checker.

Line Break

The T-Charge is the first of a series of new rates being introduced in London.

It is due to be replaced by a stricter Ultra-Low Emission Zone in 2020, although Mr Khan is consulting on bringing this forward to 2019.

This will mean diesel cars registered before September 2015 and petrol cars registered before 2006 will face a £12.50 charge.

  • Row over ‘pointless’ new London congestion charge
  • The Air You Breathe: Analysing the chemicals in the air we exhale
  • T-charge: Is it already changing drivers’ behaviour?
  • How toxic is your car exhaust?

The mayor hopes to expand the area covered for cars and vans up to the North and South Circular roads in 2021.

City authorities in Birmingham, Leeds, Southampton, Derby and Nottingham have also been advised to impose charges for some polluting diesel vehicles by 2020, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

To tackle air pollution, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council proposed a ban on petrol and diesel cars from travelling in the city from 2020.

Paris, Grenoble and Lyon introduced an emission sticker scheme in January which splits vehicles into six different groups depending on their Euro Emissions standard.

Vehicles deemed too polluting – which includes petrol and diesel-powered cars registered before 1997 – are not granted a sticker, banning them from driving in the city during certain times.

‘Toxic’ cars hit with new charge

Sue Terpilowski, from the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “The introduction of the T-Charge comes at a time when small and micro-businesses in London are already facing astonishingly high property, employment and logistics costs.

“There is a fear that this will be the final straw that closes businesses and takes jobs.”

Shaun Bailey, conservative environment spokesman at the London Assembly, said: “As an asthmatic I’m well aware of how critical an issue this is for London but we need policies that actually deliver progress.

“By boasting about a policy that so disproportionately penalises London’s poorest drivers and puts jobs at risk, the mayor is simply blowing more smoke into the capital’s already-polluted atmosphere.”

Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner Jenny Bates said: “Clearly the last thing individuals want is a new charge for moving around, but the grim reality is that nearly 10,000 early deaths are caused in London each year by the capital’s toxic air, so the Mayor is right to try to dissuade drivers bringing the oldest, dirtiest vehicles into central London.

“It’s only one small step towards clean air though – we urgently need a programme of meaningful financial assistance to help drivers of the dirtiest vehicles switch to something cleaner, and bold policies to cut traffic over all.”

The mayor is also seeking new powers to ban wood burning in the most polluted areas of the capital.

When asked if wood-burning stoves would be banned entirely, Mr Khan told the Today programme the problem was with the material that was being burnt and a lack of maintenance rather than the stoves themselves.

 

The stunning Colombia rainbow river

 

This is Colombia’s stunning rainbow river, Cano Crystals. The stunning footage captured by TravelDrone4K, shows the colourful river which is filled with macarenia clavigera plant. This plant changes colour depending on the light and water conditions. The plants within the river have been seen in green, orange, red, yellow, and even blue.  Cano Cristales was previously in guerrilla territory during the early 2000s, making it an area too dangerous for tourist.  Nowadays it is much safer to visit the stunning landscape.

 

Relativity the company going to space on the cheap

 

Relativity Space and its two founders – Tim and Jordan – have a plan to make rockets faster and cheaper than anyone else. To do this, they’re looking to build every part of a rocket – its engine, its fuel tanks and its body – with giant 3D printers.

Millennials discount railcard for 26 to 30-year-olds to launch early next year

(qlmbusinessnews.com via standard.co.uk — Fri, 20 Oct 2017) London, Uk —

Millennials could soon be entitled to their own discount railcard offering 26 to 30-year-olds a third off all train journeys.

Train company Greater Anglia Railways will trial a new card for young people from December before the scheme is rolled out nationally early next year, a leaked staff briefing suggested.

A document circulated on a UK rail forum, which appears to have been sent to Rail Delivery Group (RDG) staff, says that the scheme will go national in early 2018.

Greater Anglia Railways will initially offer 10,000 cards, according to Moneysavingexpert.com. The briefing document adds that this will be increased in 2018.

The unverified document also said that the new pass will be based on the existing 16-26 railcard, which gives a third off most fares, the Telegraph reported.

There is likely to be a £12 minimum fare for tickets (other than advanced fares) between 4.30am and 10am Monday to Friday – excluding public holidays and dates in July and August.

The RDG, which represents train companies, has declined to comment on plans for the wider launch, according to the Telegraph.

Similar railcards cost around £30-a-year, with frequent discounts available.

Millennials, which are the first generation to earn less than their parents, are likely to welcome the announcement.

Research published earlier this year showed men born between 1981 and 2000 earn an average of £12,500 less by the time they are 30 than the previous generation.

Millennials are said to fare significantly worse than their parents during their first years of employment, according to research by the Resolution Foundation. Young Brits earned £8,000 less during their 20s than their parents.

A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said it will be trialling the railcard from December, and said passengers will be able to sign up for it via the Railcard app on Apple or Android.

She said: “We are delighted to be at the forefront of this innovative trial, bringing better value fares and more convenience to rail passengers in East Anglia.”

By Ella Wills

The Bubble Bros van tours the UK selling prosecco on tap

 

Bubble Bros bought a vintage Piaggio van and transformed it into a prosecco wagon, which serves bubbly on tap.

The three-wheeled vehicle tours the country together with the Bubble Bike, a motorbike with a sparkling wine bar in the sidecar. Stops include weddings, private partiers, and also festivals like Glastonbury.

Bubble Bros started catering in 2015 with 1 van. They now have 5 vans and 1 motorbike which are all road legal.

Their wine comes in barrels from the DOCG region of Italy, which stands for Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin– a quality assurance label for Italian wines.

Meet the company where luxury and philanthropy go hand in hand

(qlmbusinessnews.com via livingit.euronews.com – – Sat, 14 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Want to spice up your next trip by making a contribution to the local population? You will return home with the best souvenir: the satisfaction of knowing you made a difference. An ever-growing group of socially engaged travelers has already changed thousands of people’s lives.

There is no better place to watch whales than the island where locals have strong cultural affinities with these beautiful marine creatures. In New Zeland, the indigenous Māori people have a long history with whales: local legend says that their ancestors arrived on the island on the back of a whale. The locals believe in a spiritual bond with the animals.

Today, this tribe happens to possess one of the most successful companies organizing whale watch tours, among other activities, in the local town of Kaikoura. In fact, the local community trust, founded in 1987 by four Maori families, has played a huge role in reviving the town’s declining economy. They have transformed Kaikoura into a leading eco-tourism destination and the Whale Watch Kaikoura became the largest employer of the season. The enterprise invests a huge part of their annual profit in supporting the community, education, employment, and protecting the environment.

The company offers up-close encounters with giant sperm whales and strives to minimise their impact on the environment. It also runs educational programmes on how to save the environment as well as eco-friendly activities for visitors, such as planting your own tree.

By Doloresz Katanich