Facebook pledged to hire 800 new staff in the UK over the next year

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Mon, 4 Dec 2017) London, Uk – –

Facebook has opened a new office in London and pledged to hire 800 new staff in the UK over the next year.

The social media giant said the seven-storey building in central London, one of a number of offices it has opened in recent years, would make the capital its largest computer engineering base outside of the US.

In a first for the company, it is also promising to house technology start-ups in the new building, running an “incubator” designed to foster young companies.

Facebook, which has been criticised over its UK tax arrangements, has often highlighted its investment in staff. It opened its first office in London 10 years ago and will employ 2,300 in the UK by this time next year.

The 247,000 sq ft building in Rathbone Place, off Oxford Street, designed by Frank Gehry, the architect, will house developers and sales staff. Services developed in the UK include Workplace, its office communication tool, and part of Facebook’s Oculus virtual reality team.

The start-up incubator, called “LDN LAB”, will mark the first time that Facebook has housed start-ups in its offices. It will not take equity in the companies but a spokesman said it would share “expertise and mentorship” and that it would be looking for companies dedicated to Facebook’s mission of “building communities”, suggesting the lab could be a pre-cursor to acquisitions.

“Today’s announcements show that Facebook is more committed than ever to the UK and in supporting the growth of the country’s innovative start-ups,” said Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “This country has been a huge part of Facebook’s story over the past decade.”

The move is the latest commitment to the UK from a large Silicon Valley company. Google, Apple and Snap have all expanded in London since last year’s Brexit vote.

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, said: “The UK is not only the best place to start a new business, it’s also the best place to grow one. It’s a sign of confidence in our country that innovative companies like Facebook invest here, and it’s terrific news that they will be hiring 800 more highly skilled workers next year.”


Bitcoin hits $10,000 valuation for the first time


(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Tue, 28 Nov 2017) London, Uk – –

A single Bitcoin has hit $10,000 (£7,495) for the first time despite fears of a bubble.

The cryptocurrency hit $5,000 (£3,750) for the first time in October and in the brief period since then has doubled in value again.

It traded at $10,009 on the CEX exchange on Tuesday morning before dropping back down.

Over this calendar year, the digital cash has increased 1,000% in value and is continuing to attract investors.

Despite concerns that a bubble in the cryptocurrency’s value has been driven by increasing investment from those who fear they are missing out, investors continue to buy in to the digital means of exchange.

Bitcoin has surged through a number of symbolic milestones in recent weeks, showing an exponential curve on value-tracking charts.

However, as the World Coin Index image chart below shows, the volume of Bitcoin transactions has not grown at a similar pace to Bitcoin’s value – suggesting that many of those buying it are speculating on its value rather than using the currency to buy goods.

Despite volatility prompting severe drops at times, it has gained serious interest from financial institutions, with CME Group announcing its plans to launch a futures market in Bitcoin by the end of the year.

Onlookers have suggested that CME’s entry into Bitcoin could lure in more cautious investors.

CME Group’s contracts will be settled in cash, meaning that investors would not receive Bitcoin at a lower (or higher) rate, but the difference in price in dollars.

Sebastian Purcell, an assistant professor at SUNY Cortland in New York, wrote that he believed CME’s futures market would boost Bitcoin’s price – but ultimately “spells the end of Bitcoin mania”.

In a market outlook piece written for Seeking Alpha, Mr Purcell said: “These capital flows from institutions will temper volatility. This will make Bitcoin undesirable for traders, since volatility is critical for a good trading vehicle.

“These points mean that the gold-rush is over, but perhaps they also mean that Bitcoin could finally serve as a digital currency.”


Tech giants to face renewed crack down over tax avoidance

(qlmbusinessnews.com via independent.co.uk – – Thur, 23 Nov 2017) London, Uk – –

‘Multinational digital businesses pay billions of pounds in royalties to low-tax jurisdictions where they are not taxed,’ the chancellor said

Tech giants like Google and Amazon who legally shift profits into tax havens will face a renewed crackdown, the Chancellor announced on Wednesday.

“Multinational digital businesses pay billions of pounds in royalties to low-tax jurisdictions where they are not taxed,” Mr Hammond said in his Budget speech.

He said that from 2019, companies will have to pay income tax on any royalties relating to UK sales that they funnel through tax havens. The tax will apply regardless of where the payer is located.

But Mr Hammond admitted the so-called ‘Google Tax’ would not solve the problem of tax avoidance and would bring in just £200m per year. That compares to Amazon’s UK sales of £7.3bn last year, on which it paid £7.4m in tax.

The notes released to accompany the Budget show that the Treasury thinks revenue raised from the tax will fall rapidly from £285m in its first year to less than half that amount four years later – possibly an admission that companies will quickly find ways to avoid paying.

Mr Hammond recognised that he is unable to tackle the “tax challenge posed by digital economy” on his own and said that international co-operation was needed, though he assured the nation that the UK is “leading the charge” on that front.

“We will continue to work in the international arena to find a sustainable and fair long-term solution that properly taxes digital businesses that operate in our cyberspace,” Mr Hammond said.

He also said he would make online marketplaces liable for VAT paid on goods. MPs have accused companies like Amazon and eBay of failing to combat VAT fraud taking place on their platforms, meaning that sellers from overseas can offer an effective tax cut of up to 20 per cent by not charging VAT. The Treasury estimates that this kind of VAT fraud costs taxpayers £1.2bn per year.

Digital platforms will likewise be asked to play a “wider role in ensuring their users are compliant with the tax rules”, according to this year’s Budget, with the Government set to publish a call for evidence in spring 2018 to explore what more can be done by digital platforms.

By Ben Chapman

Uber data breach of 57m users and drivers covered up

Wikimedia Commons

(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.


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.

Robotics firm Boston Dynamics real backflip gymnast AI



Not content with simply walking or carrying objects, Atlas, made by the robotics firm Boston Dynamics, can now jump across gaps, jump and spin 180°, and – most impressive of all – it can backflip, even using its arms to balance after landing just like a real gymnast

Channel 4 to compete with digital ad giants Facebook and Google

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Tue, 14 Nov, 2017) London, Uk – –

Channel 4 has teamed up with three European commercial broadcasters to book pan-European advertising campaigns, allowing it to take on digital ad giants Facebook and Google for the first time.

The European Broadcaster Exchange, which comprises of Channel 4, Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1, France’s FT1 and Mediaset, which operates in Italy and Spain, will launch early next year.

Each of the parties will hold a 25pc stake in the new joint venture, which will compete for pan-European digital advertising campaigns, running those campaigns across their “on-demand” online streaming services.

Channel 4 said the venture allows it to “enter the pan-European digital ad sales market for the first time”.

The broadcaster, home to The Great British Bake Off and First Dates, last year saw its digital revenues rise 25pc on 2015. It said its on-demand platform, All 4, now had 16m registered viewers, of which more than half are in the 16-34 age category.

However, as both Facebook and Google continue to eat up more of the digital advertising market, currently accounting for more than half the UK’s market, more traditional media players are seeking new ways to attract advertisers.

Research from eMarketer in September showed the Silicon Valley firms were together expected to attract £6.3bn of UK advertising spend this year, and even more next year.

However, in recent months, both Facebook and Google have been subject to criticism for running adverts paid for by Russian agents to influence the US presidential election. Earlier this year, a number of brands pulled adverts from Google’s YouTube video site after their ads appeared alongside extremist content.

Speaking about the new venture, Channel 4’s head of digital & partnership innovation, Jonathan Lewis said the “demand for multi-territory digital ad campaigns in brand safe and transparent environments is increasing as the programmatic video ad market continues to grow exponentially across Europe”.


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


(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.

Here is what’s on the uber rich wish lists this Christmas


(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Sat, 11 Nov, 2017) London, Uk – –

Christmas is the one time in the year when families have an excuse to splurge on each other, but the uber rich go one step further and indulge in exceptionally extravagant spending, often buying gifts costing £1,000 or more.

So what items are on the Christmas wish lists of the uber rich this year?

According to John Lewis, its standout luxury items for this festive season include a DJI Mavic drone, which captures images and video footage from up high with a range of 4.3 miles. It costs just shy of £1,300 and is every gadget geek’s dream.

Coffee lovers will no doubt gratefully receive a £1,999 coffee machine by Sage, which features everything necessary for a professional, barista-style brew. The machine’s touch-screen enables users to choose what type of coffee they want, and each selection can be saved as personalised coffees for each member of the household.

Luxury department store Fortnum & Mason also has a number of top picks for the ultra rich this Christmas.

Its famous hampers cost from £65 to a whopping £6,000. The Imperial hamper includes Champagne, red and white wine, a Fouseca 40-year-old Tawny Port, truffles, Christmas puddings, macarons, Christmas crackers, a tin of Beluga Caviar, a tea set, a 2.5kg bone rib of beef, and more.

Fortnum & Mason is also selling a £2,295 Passavant and Lee No 25 Briefcase, which is formed from aircraft-grade aluminium and covered in vegetable-tanned leather. Perfect for any high-flying businessman or woman.

One of Selfridges’ big-ticket items this festive season is this £3,600hand-sewn, life-size animated unicorn (the same size as a small pony) for children, which can move its head and mouth, and has a soft, glittery mane. The toy’s creator, Hansa, also sells an animated standing leopard for £2,400.

Harrods is selling this hand-painted chess set, which will set you back just under £5,000, while music fans can pick up a signed Jay Z The Black album cover for £1,295.

Feeling even more lavish? This Jaeger LeCoultre watch is on sale at the department store for £56,000. Inspired by the Art Deco movement of the Twenties and Thirties, the timepiece has an 18-carat rose gold bracelet strap with a total of 460 diamonds embedded in it.

Harvey Nichols, on the other hand, is selling a Jack Daniels bespoke personal collection that costs £14,000. Whiskey fans can choose a barrel of their choice, which is shipped in six personalised bottle cases, along with a crystal decanter and glasses, while a certificate of recognition is placed in the Jack Daniel’s Personal Selection Room in Lynchburg.


Householders to get automatic compensation from telecoms providers for poor service


(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 10 Nov 2017) London, Uk – –

Householders who receive poor service from their telecoms provider are to get automatic compensation, the regulator Ofcom has announced.

From 2019 they will get £8 a day if a fault is not fixed, paid as a refund through their bill.

This is less than the £10 that was proposed when Ofcom began its consultation earlier this year.

Providers will also have to pay £5 a day if their broadband or landline is not working on the day it was promised.

If an engineer misses an appointment, they will have to give £25 in compensation.

Ofcom has estimated as many as 2.6 million people could benefit from the new rules.

£142m pay-outs

The agreement covers consumers who have contracts with BT, Sky, Talk Talk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet – which make up around 90% of telecoms customers in the UK.

Plusnet and EE are expected to join the scheme at a later date.

“Waiting too long for your landline or broadband to be fixed is frustrating enough, without having to fight for compensation,” said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director.

“So providers will have to pay money back automatically, whenever repairs or installations don’t happen on time, or an engineer doesn’t turn up.

“People will get the money they deserve, while providers will want to work harder to improve their service.”

In total, customers can expect to get £142m in pay-outs every year, according to Ofcom’s estimates.

By Brian Milligan

How millennials in flexible organisations are shaping today’s offices


(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Sun, 5 Nov, 2017) London, Uk – –

Meeting the needs of today’s younger workers is more likely to involve an offer of collaborative technology rather than gadgets and gimmicks

When it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent, millennials are surely high on the target list for most organisations. Largely defined as those born between the early 1980s and late 1990s, this group of twenty- and thirty-somethings makes up a substantial proportion of the current and future workforce.

In many cases, these millennials have different expectations from their job compared with previous generations, which means companies hoping to attract this talent need to look at what they can offer them.

Location, location, location

A core element of the workplace for any millennial is flexible working opportunities. According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017, millennials believe that flexible working arrangements support better productivity and staff engagement, while enhancing well-being, health and happiness.

And it seems this push for flexibility is already having a profound impact on the office as we know it. Of the almost 8,000 millennials Deloitte questioned across 30 countries, 84pc said their employer offered some degree of flexible working, while 39pc said their organisation offered a highly flexible working environment.

Hot-desking and shared spaces with work benches, touchdown points or social hubs, where staff can work in a group or on their own in a more informal setting, are more attractive to millennials than old-fashioned rows of desks with fixed computers and telephones.

It appears those businesses that have made the effort to offer these kinds of work set-ups to staff will be reaping the rewards, as the study revealed that millennials in highly flexible organisations are much more loyal to their employers.

For those businesses that prefer to stick with a more traditional office layout, flexibility comes outside the building, by allowing staff to work from home or remotely.

The most forward-thinking firms will also start considering roles and functions in their organisation that could be appropriately served by employees working their own chosen hours – whether that’s compressed hours, weekend or night-time working, or term-time shifts – rather than the set 9-5, five-days-a-week pattern.

No gimmicks

One of the perceptions about keeping millennials happy at work is that they need to be supplied with fun distractions to encourage their creative juices to flow. Free after-work drinks, table football, or slides rather than stairs to get to different floors of the office, have all been mooted as great ways of attracting talented people from younger generations.

Actually, the opposite is true. Research in 2016 from the Harvard Business Review revealed that creativity and fun are “extremely important” criteria to more baby boomers than millennials when applying for a job.

Millennials will be much more interested in seeing evidence of technology that enables collaboration and contact with colleagues from any location. So think less ping pong and beer, and more Slack and Trello.

Similarly, millennials will expect to use high-quality, reliable and covetable products at work to match their home devices. If your business provides its staff with a five-year-old mobile phone and clunky laptop, don’t be surprised to find these abandoned in a drawer as your millennial employees instead choose to bring in their own favoured, newer and higher performing smartphones and laptops to use at work.

It might sound obvious, but top-notch Wi-Fi is also a must for millennials, who will expect high-speed connectivity anywhere they choose to work, whether that’s at a set workstation, from a hot desk, outside in the grounds or in a meeting room.

Take responsibility

Another core area for millennials is corporate social responsibility (CSR). According to a survey carried out by Cone Communications, 75pc of millennials would take a pay cut to work for a responsible company, compared with a 55pc average across all ages; while almost two-thirds would not accept a job from a company without strong CSR practices.

“Millennials will soon make up 50pc of the workforce and companies will have to radically evolve their value proposition to attract and retain this socially conscious group,” says Alison DaSilva, executive vice-president of CSR Research & Insights at Cone.

“Integrating a deeper sense of purpose and responsibility into the work experience will have a clear bottom line return for companies.”

This interest in CSR among millennials has a two-fold benefit for companies. First, they get to use any CSR initiatives as bait for attracting top talent; and second, they get an additional avenue for positive reputation-building. The Cone research found that 76pc of millennials want to share photos, videos and information about their employer’s CSR efforts over their personal social media channels, compared with an average of 52pc across all age groups.

“Millennials view social media as a place to curate and share content that reflects their values – and this generation is enthusiastic about showing how their work is making an impact in the world,” says Ms DaSilva

By Madeline Bennett

Thousands of free-to-use cash machines could be axed from UK’s high streets


(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com- – Wed, 01 Nov 2017) London, Uk – –

Network operator LINK says cash use is falling but the machine owners say many, especially the vulnerable, still rely on them.

Thousands of free-to-use cash machines could be axed from Britain’s high streets under plans to cut the fees they receive, the ATM industry body has warned.

LINK, the UK cash machine network behind the plan, said its proposals came because of an expected sharp fall in consumers’ demand for cash as people increasingly use contactless and online payments.

 It has published plans to reduce so-called interchange fees charged to card issuers from 25p to 20p per withdrawal, over the next four years.

But Ron Delnevo, executive director of the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA), said thousands of free-to-use cash machines could go – with some starting to charge customers and others disappearing completely.

LINK said there would still be an extensive network of free cash machines and that any reduction would likely be in areas where there are currently a number of them close together.

It said the number of cashpoints was at near-record levels, with more than 70,000 across the country, of which 80% are free to use.

LINK chief executive John Howells said: “Free access to cash is vital for UK consumers and LINK intends to maintain this for many years to come.”

But the network pointed to figures from UK Finance predicting that over the next 10 years, the number of cash payments would fall by 43% to 8.7 billion payments.

Mr Delnevo said there were 22,000 independently operated free-to-use machines, many of them already operating very efficiently.

“These kind of cuts will make a lot of these services uneconomical,” he told Sky News. “In theory, all of these are at risk.”

He rejected the idea that machines would only be lost in areas that were already well served – citing as an example high streets that have a number of bank branches, which he said were unlikely to close their machines.

Mr Delnevo was also sceptical about the idea that Britain is heading for a cashless society – pointing to data showing that three quarters of transactions in convenience stores are still made using cash.

The ATMIA said cash remained a vital part of the economy and many people, especially the most vulnerable, depended on free access to it.

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

This architect firm unveiled plans to build Europe’s first underwater restaurant


Underwater Restaurant In Norway Looks Like It’s Right Out Of Science Fiction
A Norwegian architecture firm has unveiled plans to build Europe’s first underwater restaurant, complete with a massive panoramic window.


J.K Rowling the highest-paid celebrity in Europe this year

Wikimedia Commons

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Sun, 29 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

J.K Rowling named the highest paid celebrity in Europe in 2017 – who else made the cut?

With earnings of $95m (£72m) over the past 12 months, Harry Potter author J.K Rowling is the highest-paid celebrity in Europe this year.

Almost half of the enormous sum earned, which doesn’t take into account taxes or management fees, comes from her co-writing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a two-part stage play that sold 1.3m copies in 2016, and has been showing in theatres in London and New York.

Not only is Rowling the highest-paid celebrity in Europe, but she is also the world’s highest-paid author and third highest-paid celebrity in the world, according to Forbes.

Its list of the 20 highest-paid European celebrities in 2017 reveals that collectively they earned $1.06bn over the past 12 months, before taxes or agent and management fees.

Twelve of these famous faces are from Britain, including celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey (with earnings of $60m) and Simon Cowell ($43.5m). Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland each claim one entry in the top 20 list.

Professional athletes account for half of the wealthiest European celebrities with three footballers, three racing drivers, two tennis players, one golfer and one mixed martial artist making the grade.

Cristiano Ronaldo ranks in second place with earnings of $93m this year, thanks to his contract extension with Real Madrid, his CR7 brand and various endorsement deals, with the likes of Tag Heuer and Nike.

Irish UFC star Conor McGregor, who came second to last in the list, with earnings of $34m, will rise near the top of next year’s list due to his multi-million dollar fight with Floyd Mayweather in August, Forbes said.

Aside from Rowling, only one other woman made the 20 highest-paid European entertainers; singer Adele, who has earned $69m over the past 12 months.

U2, The Rolling Stones and One Direction all ranked among the 10 richest European celebrities in 2016, but no longer earn enough to make the grade.


AOL: The Rise and Fall of the First Internet Empire


AOL was one of the early pioneers of the Internet in the mid-1990s, and the most recognized brand on the web in the U.S

It originally provided a dial-up service to millions of Americans, as well as providing a web portal, e-mail, instant messaging and later a web browser following its purchase of Netscape.

At the height of its popularity, it purchased the media conglomerate Time Warner in the largest merger in U.S. history. AOL rapidly declined thereafter, partly due to the decline of dial-up to broadband.

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.

Amazon and eBay warned over VAT fraudsters by MP


(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 18 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Amazon and eBay are profiting from sellers who defraud UK taxpayers by failing to charge VAT, according to a report by MPs.

The report estimates up to £1.5bn has been lost from third-party sellers on online marketplaces not charging the tax on sales they make in the UK.

MPs in the Public Accounts Committee criticised HMRC for being “too cautious” in pursuing the “fraudsters”.

Amazon and eBay said they were working with HMRC on the issue.

Labour MP Meg Hillier, who chairs the committee, called online VAT fraud “hugely damaging” for British businesses and taxpayers.

She added that “the response of HMRC and the marketplaces where fraudsters operate has been dismal”.


The fraud has increased because foreign firms selling goods to UK shoppers – usually via online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay – are keeping some of their stock in UK warehouses to provide next day delivery.

If items are dispatched from UK soil, the sellers have to charge VAT at 20%.

But many have not been, so undercutting genuine UK suppliers and reducing tax revenue, the committee’s report found.

Brexit will make the issue more complicated because of uncertainty over trading and customs, it added.

Both Amazon and eBay told the committee they took action to remove “bad actors” from their sites.

But the report said it was “bewildering that these big companies have taken such little action to date”.

It added that Amazon and eBay, amongst other online marketplaces, “continue to profit from fraudulent activities taking place on their sites” by charging the sellers a commission.

In the hearings a pack of lightbulb socket converters and a hose for a Dyson vacuum cleaner were held up as examples of products sold without VAT.

‘Above and beyond’

The report’s conclusions include:

  • The UK’s tax agency, HMRC, should set up an agreement with online marketplaces by March next year to tackle the issue
  • The websites should require non-EU sellers – which dispatch goods already in the UK – to provide a valid VAT number
  • HMRC should “inject more urgency” by making more extensive use of its existing powers

HMRC said it had introduced new rules last year to hold online marketplaces liable for unpaid VAT by overseas sellers, leading to a ten-fold rise in the number of sellers registering for VAT.

“The new reforms will secure an extra £875m in tax to help pay for vital public services,” an HMRC spokesman said.

In a statement Amazon said it was reviewing the report and supported efforts to ensure sellers across all marketplaces were VAT compliant.

An eBay spokesperson said it was going “above and beyond” HMRC’s requirements to provide a “fair marketplace for all our buyers and sellers”.