The CEO Who Envisage One Day Sending People Into Space With High Altitude Balloons

Source: Bloomberg

Jane Poynter is CEO of World View Enterprises, a flight technology company which transports things to the stratosphere and back using high altitude balloons. One day soon, she'd like to send us all up there too. Video by Leila Hussain & David Nicholson

15 Jobs That Will Challenge Artificial Intelligence In The Future

Source: Alux

 This video we'll try to answer the following questions:

Which jobs will survive in the future? What will be the best paying jobs in the future?What are the best careers for the future?Which jobs will not be affected by Artificial Intelligence?Which jobs are safe from automation?Which will be the best paying jobs in the future?How to prepare for A.I.?What kind of jobs will people do in the future?Which are the fastest growing industries?Which industries will blow up in the future?What should you study if you want a job when you graduate?

Brexit: Branson warns UK will be left “near-bankrupt” with hard Brexit

( via – – Fri, 14th Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

Sir Richard Branson has warned that the UK will be left “near bankrupt” in the event of a hard Brexit.

He told the BBC he was “absolutely certain” that leaving the EU without a deal would lead to the closure of “quite a few British businesses”.

He said Prime Minister Theresa May had admitted that her version of Brexit was not as good as staying in the EU.

Meanwhile, a pro-Brexit business group has urged the government to adopt a “managed no-deal” approach.

‘Absolute disaster'

Sir Richard was speaking from the Mojave desert in California after attending the latest Virgin Galactic space launch.

“I think Theresa May needs to be 100% honest with the public,” Sir Richard said.

“She's admitted that a hard Brexit would be an absolute disaster for the British people.

“From our Virgin companies' point of view, a hard Brexit would torpedo some of our companies,” he said, adding that Virgin Holidays would be hit as the pound would drop to parity and fewer people would be able to afford to go abroad.

“If British business suffers, British people will suffer, and it's really really important that people realise that.”

‘Managed' departure

Sir Richard was speaking at the end of a week that saw Mrs May delay a Parliamentary vote on the Brexit withdrawal agreement, then win a vote of no confidence brought by MPs unhappy with it.

At the same time, a group of prominent Leave-supporting business leaders has called on the government to abandon Mrs May's provisional deal with the EU and focus instead on what it calls a “managed no-deal”.

John Mills, the chairman of multi-channel retailer JML, told the BBC that this would involve many small deals with the EU and others, instead of going for an overall agreement.

He said: “You need to start off having deals on aviation, and moving of drugs, and all this sort of thing, making sure the ports run as smoothly as possible, just to minimise the amount of disruption that takes place.”

This could then lead to a bigger “free-trade deal on a comprehensive basis”, he added.

Euro zone business ends 2018 on a weak note, expanding at the slowest pace in over four years – PMIs

( via — Fri, 14th Dec, 2018) London, UK —

LONDON, Dec 14 (Reuters) – – Euro zone business ended the year on a weak note, expanding at the slowest pace in over four years as new order growth all but dried up, hurt by trade tensions and violent protests in France, a survey showed on Friday.

The downbeat figures come a day after the European Central Bank decided to end its lavish asset-buying scheme but otherwise kept policy broadly unchanged, promising protracted stimulus for an economy struggling with an unexpected slowdown and political turmoil.

IHS Markit’s Flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index slumped to 51.3, its weakest since November 2014, from a final November reading of 52.7, well below even the most pessimistic forecast  in a Reuters poll where the median expectation was for a modest rise to 52.8.

“It’s a relatively gloomy picture to end the year on. It’s clear the underlying rate of growth has slowed further, and it is broad-based across manufacturing and services,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.

Williamson said the PMI indicated the bloc’s economy would expand 0.2-0.3 percent this quarter – and probably towards the lower end – slower than the 0.4 percent predicted in a Reuters poll this week. [ECB/INT]

Suggesting there won’t be much of a pick up when 2019 begins, an index measuring new business fell to a four-year low of 50.7 from November’s 52.3, skating closer to the 50 level that separates growth from contraction.

New export business, which includes trade between member countries, contracted for a third month.

A PMI for the bloc’s dominant service industry sank to 51.4 from November’s 53.4, well below even the lowest forecast in a Reuters poll for 53.5.

Slowing growth came despite service firms increasing their prices at the weakest rate in seven months. The output price index fell to 52.4 from 52.8.

Manufacturing growth also unexpectedly slowed. The factory PMI fell to 51.4 from 51.8 in November, missing the 51.9 predicted in a Reuters poll and its lowest reading since February 2016.

An index measuring output, which feeds into the composite PMI, nudged up to 51.0 from 50.7. The November reading was the lowest since mid-2013.

But with orders falling and backlogs of work being run down, optimism waned among factory managers. The future output index dropped to a six-year low of 56.0 from 56.3.

“There isn’t much to pin hopes of faster growth on,” Williamson said.

By Jonathan Cable

Theresa May, Tory win of confidence vote pushes Pound Sterling up

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( via– Thur, 13th Dec, 2018) London, Uk – –

Sterling recovers some ground as investors see the vote by Tory MPs bolstering the chances of a soft Brexit or even no Brexit.

The pound has reacted positively after Theresa May saw off a Tory vote of confidence in her leadership – but wobbled when the size of her majority became clear.

Sterling has had a rocky ride this week amid the growing political crisis over Brexit, with sharp falls first focused on the delayed parliamentary vote on the PM's Brexit deal with Brussels.

It later fell further – to fresh 20-month lows of $1.2475 – when confirmation came early on Wednesday that there was enough support among Conservative MPs to secure the confidence ballot.

But the currency rallied against both the dollar and euro later as it became clear Mrs May would see off that challenge to her authority.

It was trading at $1.2652 in the wake of the announcement that she had secured a majority – but that value briefly slipped back to just below $1.26 when it emerged that majority consisted of 83 backbenchers.

It suggested investors were less than convinced by that level of support.

The pound was also up 0.6% versus the euro on the day – representing a slight pull-back on the day's high.

The result means the PM can not face a fresh Tory confidence vote for at least another year, though she had earlier told backbenchers her time at the helm would be limited as she would not fight the next election as Conservative leader.

Traders said it left investors asking themselves what the Tory turmoil meant for the Brexit process, including whether Mrs May's victory over the hard Brexiteers in her party bolstered the chances of a ‘no Brexit' scenario.

:: Bosses ‘tearing their hair out' over confidence vote'

Commenting on the possibilities as the vote loomed Ranko Berich, head of market analysis at Monex Europe, said: “If she does survive, her situation will be marginally improved as she will be in a stronger position to argue that Parliament's options are her deal or no deal.”

He added: “Although the prospect of a marginally strengthened May removes some downside risk for sterling, any relief rally will be limited unless tonight's vote demonstrates a sudden increase in Tory support for May's deal.”

The PM had to postpone a visit to Dublin on Wednesday during which she was due to discuss “reassurances” over the backstop element of her agreement with Brussels.

While MPs were on course to reject the plan before the parliamentary vote was dramatically pulled, it had secured the tentative backing of business groups including the CBI.

They have since urged Mrs May to get on with it as the clock ticks down to 29 March when the UK is due to leave the EU.

However, there remains dissent within UK plc.

A 28-strong group of Brexit-supporting business leaders — including Sir Rocco Forte and JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin – signed an open letter on Wednesday night urging the PM to preside over a “managed” no-deal Brexit.

They argued that leaving without a deal would “give us the flexibility to embrace global opportunities, extend global trade and focus outwards.

“It would give the government the chance to run our economy and country in a way that operates in the best interests of us all,” the document said.

By James Sillars

Rolls-Royce to press ahead with plans to store parts in case of hard Brexit

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( via – – Thur, 13th Dec  2018) London, Uk – –

British aerospace firm Rolls-Royce is pressing ahead with plans to stockpile parts and move some regulatory approvals to Germany as it prepares for a possible hard Brexit.

Rolls-Royce on Wednesday said it is in talks with the European Aviation Safety Agency to transfer design regulatory approvals for large jet engines away from the UK. The company already deals with German regulators for business jet components.

Aerospace manufacturers in the UK face the prospect of their regulatory permissions on safety standards being invalidated in EU countries if there is no Brexit deal.

Rolls-Royce said the transfer was a “precautionary and reversible technical action”, and added that no jobs are expected to move as a result.

The manufacturer, which has its headquarters in London but has operations across the UK, said it had begun to “build inventory as a contingency measure”, in line with previously announced plans, in a trading update ahead of full-year results in February. Rolls-Royce said it had “the required capacity” to deal with a no-deal Brexit after speaking to suppliers and reviewing operations.

The company said: “We will continue to implement our contingency plans until we are certain that a deal and transition period has been agreed.”

Political uncertainty caused by Brexit has come as the FTSE 100 manufacturer carries out a restructuring of its business. Warren East, chief executive, seeks to cut layers of middle management in an effort to boost profitability and in June it announced 4,600 job cuts across its 55,000-strong global workforce.

East joined Rolls-Royce in 2015 from ARM, the British chipmaker, inheriting a company embroiled in scandals including a bribery charge covering six countries, which they settled for £671m.

On Wednesday Rolls-Royce reiterated earlier guidance that profits from core operations for the full financial year would be in the upper half of a range of £350m to £550m.

The guidance was in spite of disruption caused by “supply chain issues”, as well as problems with turbine blades on the new Trent 1000 engines that have grounded multiple Boeing 787 planes and that will cost Rolls-Royce billions of pounds.

Rolls-Royce’s share price rose by more than 4.5% on Wednesday after the trading update.Topics

By Jasper Jolly

Dixons Carphone report £440m loss, as share price falls

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( via – – Wed, 12th Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

Dixons Carphone sank to a huge loss in its half-year result today, as a £500m writedown in its Carphone Warehouse division weighed the company and its share price down.

The figures

Dixons swung to a £440m loss for the six months to the end of October after paying out £490m in impairment charges for a restructure of its Carphone Warehouse arm, compared to a £54m profit before tax last year.

That compares to an underlying profit before tax of £50m for the firm, down from £73m in the same period of 2017.

Revenue grew one per cent year on year, or three per cent on a like-for-like basis, to £4.89bn.

Cash flow dropped by one third to £116m however as Dixons introduced new working capital phasing, while net debt piled up, from £206m last year to £274m now.

However, investors lost 39.7p per share, a far cry from their 4.5p earnings this time last year, while the dividend fell from 3.5p last year to 2.25p this year.

Shares fell by 10 per cent in early morning trading on the news.

Why it’s interesting

Dixons’ huge one-off loss relates to its restructure as it attempts to wean itself off its reliance on the troubled high street, which failed to benefit from November’s Black Friday spending spree.

The company is taking an impairment charge of £225m on its Carphone Warehouse business, along with £113m of charges for related assets and £6m against individual Carphone Warehouse stores.

Instead, new boss Alex Baldock wants to boost activity online, as well as introducing more flexible ways to pay for shoppers through credit plans.

“We're focusing on our core, and on four things that matter most: two big profitable growth opportunities in online and credit; revitalising our mobile business; and giving customers an easy experience,” Baldock said.

“We'll deliver these through capable and committed colleagues, working in one joined-up business, with strong infrastructure.

Dixons’ travails are evidence of further high street pain, according to Ed Monk, associate director of Fidelity Personal Investing’s share dealing service.

But he added that Dixons’ restructuring plan under new boss Alex Baldock could change its fortunes.

He also pointed to an employee share scheme Dixons announced, allowing staff with a year’s service to get up to £1,000 in company shares.

“That’s a sensible move as the company looks to differentiate itself from online rivals like Amazon, with better in-store service.”

What Dixons Carphone said

Alex Baldock, group chief executive, said:

“We believe that Dixons Carphone is now on the path to sustainable success. We have set a clear long-term direction that will deliver more engaged colleagues, more satisfied customers and a more valuable business for shareholders.

“We have powerful strengths, as a growing market leader with amazing people and capabilities no competitor can match. Our plan builds on those strengths. We're focusing on our core, and on four things that matter most: two big profitable growth opportunities in online and credit; revitalising our mobile business; and giving customers an easy experience. We'll deliver these through capable and committed colleagues, working in one joined-up business, with strong infrastructure.

“We're underway and investing in all of these, including giving our colleagues at least £1,000 of shares, making every colleague a shareholder. We strongly believe aligning and energising the business behind our strategy in this way will benefit customers and shareholders.

“There are headwinds and uncertainty facing any business serving the UK consumer, we've had our own challenges, and our plan will take time. But, with this plan, we can now see the way to unleashing the true potential of this business. We believe in our plan, are underway making early progress and determined to make it a lasting success.”

By Joe Curtis

Superdry coats and hoodie retailer warns on weaker than expected profits

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( via – – Wed, 12th Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

Superdry, best known for its coats and hoodies, has warned of weaker than expected profits, saying shoppers have not bought extra winter layers this year.

It now expects annual profits of between £55m and £70m – analysts had been expecting around £84m.

Superdry's shares plunged by as much as 30% after the announcement.

The company is considering closing stores as part of a cost cutting drive to save £50m by 2022.

“Superdry had a difficult first half, impacted by unseasonably warm weather across our major markets, a consumer economy that is increasingly discount driven and the issues we are addressing in product mix and range,” said Euan Sutherland, Superdry's chief executive officer.

Underlying profit before tax almost halved in the first half of the year, to £12.9m.

The retailer is a third of the way through an 18-month strategy to re-energise the brand which includes introducing childrenswear and 100% organic cotton products.

Mr Sutherland said the firm's “over-reliance” on jackets and sweatshirts was partly to blame for flagging sales.

He will oversee an efficiency drive which will include reviewing the number and size of their stores, and exploring renegotiating rents between now and March 2019.

Superdry's shares were down by as much as 30% on Wednesday. They have lost more than 70% of their value this year.

Superdry became popular with teenagers by providing high quality sweatshirts and other casual wear with a Japanese-style branding. However it has been losing ground and was dubbed recently by the Financial Times as a brand “for cool dads”.

According to fashion retail analyst, Kate Hardcastle, the brand has saturated the market and has suffered from discount retailers producing copycat versions,

“To stay fashionable and engage with a buyer a brand has to have an air of exclusivity about it,” she said.

Superdry's founder Julian Dunkerton left the board in March. Since then he has criticised the retailer's strategy.

He said the company should focus on its core jackets and hoodies and offer a far wider range of variations online: “Superdry is a series of core products – stick with them and tweak them,” he said.

As part of its new strategy Superdry has launched a “fast-fashion” range aimed at a “younger, more fashion-driven” customer. The range mimics online retailers in going from design to delivery to consumers in six weeks and is being marketed via social media.

British workers get biggest pay rise in a decade in the three months to October

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( via — Tue, 11th Dec 2018) London, UK —

LONDON, Dec 11 (Reuters) – British workers had their biggest pay rise in a decade in the three months to October as the country’s strong labour market showed no sign of weakening ahead of Brexit, official figures showed on Tuesday.

Average weekly earnings, including bonuses, rose by 3.3 percent on the year, their biggest rise since the three months to July 2008 and comfortably beating a median forecast of 3.0 percent in a Reuters poll of economists

The Bank of England, which has said it will need to raise interest rates gradually to offset inflation pressures from the labour market, has forecast slower wage growth for the end of 2018 than Tuesday’s official figures suggest.

Total earnings, excluding bonuses, also rose by an annual 3.3 percent in the three months to October, the Office for National Statistics said, the biggest rise since the end of 2008.

With unemployment at close to its lowest level since the 1970s — 4.1 percent in the three months to October — employers have begun raising pay for staff more quickly.

The pace of wage rises remains slower than the 4 percent increases seen before the financial crisis but real earnings, adjusted for inflation, rose nonetheless by the fastest since the end of 2016, up 1.1 percent.

The number of people in work rose by 79,000 in the three months to October, more than any forecast in the Reuters poll.

 By William Schomberg and David Milliken

WPP advertising group £300m restructuring puts 3,500 jobs at risk

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( via – – Tue, 11th Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

WPP is to cut 3,500 jobs worldwide and shut or merge almost 200 offices as the embattled advertising group seeks to restructure after a torrid year that included the exit of its founder and chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell.

The restructuring, which will be revealed in full at a lengthy analyst and investor presentation on Tuesday, will include shutting 80 offices globally and combining operations of a further 100 in locations where business is slow.

The company is to cut nearly 4,000 of its 134,000 global workforce but would not say how many roles or offices would be affected in the UK. It has 400 ad businesses in more than 3,000 offices in 112 countries.

said it would hire 1,000 creative staff as part of a refocus on the group’s roots, meaning the net job losses would total 2,500.

Pushing through the changes, which are aimed at simplifying the business, will incur a £300m restructuring charge over the next three years. WPP said it would ultimately save £275m annually by the end of 2021, half of which would be reinvested in the business.

The WPP chief executive, Mark Read, who took over after Sorrell was ousted in April, said the company had become “unwieldy with too much duplication” to operate efficiently in the digital age.

“We are fundamentally repositioning WPP as a creative transformation company with a simpler offer that allows us to meet the present and future needs of clients,” he said. “The restructuring of our business will enable increased investment in creativity, technology and talent, enhancing our capabilities in the categories with the greatest potential for future growth.”

WPP shares have tumbled by 40% this year as it cut sales and profits forecasts and lost a number of key clients, most notably a swathe of longstanding client Ford’s business, which is its biggest account globally.

Read has already moved to merge some of the grandest names in traditional advertising with newer more digital and data-led WPP operations. JWT, the world’s oldest advertising agency, is being combined with Wunderman, and Y&R is merging with VML.

WPP also said it has received numerous approaches for its research arm Kantar, which is valued at about £3.5bn and which the company wants to sell but also retain a stake.

The company said so far this year it has disposed of 16 non-core investments, such data business Globant and a stake in the ad tech operation AppNexus, raising £704m to reduce debt. WPP continues to hold stakes in businesses including Vice Media.

Organic net sales, the metric most closely watched by analysts and investors, were likely to decline by 0.5% this year, WPP said, which was better than the 1% drop it predicted in October.

By  Mark Sweney

High Street retail shopping fall under pressure from online competition in the run-up to Christmas

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( via– Mon, 10th Dec, 2018) London, Uk – –

The figures come after Mike Ashley warned that the high street was facing extinction thanks to the growth of internet retail.

Shopping visits fell last month at their sharpest rate since the recession as stores face Brexit uncertainty and sustained pressure from online competition in the run-up to Christmas.

The 3.2% decline in footfall compared to the same month last year was the biggest for November, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard.

It comes after Sports Direct and House of Fraser tycoon Mike Ashley warned recently that without radical action the high street would face extinction.

Springboard also predicted a 4.2% decline in December.

The footfall figures measure shopping visits across high streets, retail parks and shopping centres.

November's data pointed to further pressure on bricks and mortar stores from internet retail as Black Friday – which a few years ago saw huge crowds flock to the shops in search of bargains – becomes an increasingly online event.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Footfall continued to decline as consumers stayed away from the high street in November.

“With one-in-every-three-pounds of non-food purchases made online last month, Black Friday accelerated the movement from in-store to online in the lead-up to Christmas.

“The Black Friday discounting period also began earlier for a large number of retailers negatively impacting footfall across a longer period over the month.

“It has been a difficult year for many retailers and the outlook remains challenging as Brexit uncertainty grows.”

Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, said: “As we head into the zenith of the retail trading calendar, both retailers and consumers alike are in the midst of the greatest degree of uncertainty in recent times.”

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

O2 ‘to seek millions’ in damages over data outage from supplier Ericsson

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( via – – Mon, 10th Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

Mobile operator O2 is understood to be seeking millions in damages from supplier Ericsson after last week's day-long data network collapse.

The total bill could be up to £100m, according to The Telegraph.

O2 smartphone users were unable to use their mobile phone data last Thursday. Ericsson blamed expired software certification for the problem.

Both firms have apologised for the issue and O2 has already set out how it plans to compensate customers.

Customers with a monthly subscription will be refunded the cost of two days' service by the end of January.

Pay As You Go customers will get 10% extra when they top up their phone in the new year or 10% off when they buy data for mobile broadband devices.

O2 said voice calls were not affected by the problem, but some customers said they could not make calls or send texts either.

The mobile phone operator is owned by Spain's Telefonica and has the UK's second-largest mobile network after EE, which is part of BT. It is the company that bills customers, so it holds the responsibility for compensation.

O2 has 25 million users and also provides services for the Sky, Tesco, Giffgaff and Lycamobile networks, which have another seven million users.

Services such as bus timetable information were also affected by last week's outage, while many businesses also faced disruption.

Telefonica's UK chief executive Mark Evans told the BBC last week it planned a “full audit” of the problem.

“What we will now do is a full audit, a thorough audit, across both organisations to ensure whatever steps can be taken will be taken to provide the continuous service that our customers expect and deserve.”

Ericsson said last week that “an initial root cause analysis” had indicated that the “main issue was an expired certificate in the software versions installed with these customers”.

“The faulty software that has caused these issues is being decommissioned,” Marielle Lindgren, chief executive of Ericsson UK & Ireland, said at the time.

Why Millennials Love Gucci and how it played a huge part of popular culture in 2018

Source: Business Insider

Gucci is a huge part of popular culture in 2018. The iconic logo is displayed across celebrity instagram accounts and featured in popular songs like Lil Pump's “Gucci Gang.” As millennials continue to make up a large portion of the consumer market, the way they spend their money has an impact. Millennials and teens might be destroying everything from Applebee’s to the napkin industry, but they are definitely willing to spend money on a Gucci fanny pack.

Brexit approach see UK house prices rise at slowest pace in six years

( via — Fri, 7th Dec 2018) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – British house prices rose at their slowest pace in six years in the three months to November, mortgage lender Halifax said on Friday, the latest sign of weakness in the housing market as Brexit approaches.

Annual house price growth slowed sharply to 0.3 percent from 1.5 percent in the three months to October, Halifax said.

Halifax’s house price index was rising by nearly 10 percent a year at the time of the 2016 Brexit vote.

In November alone, house prices fell by a monthly 1.4 percent, the third decline in the last four months and the biggest fall since April.

Halifax Managing Director Russell Galley said the slowdown in annual price growth remained within the lender’s forecast range for 2018 of zero to an increase of 3 percent.

Property analysts say the main factor preventing prices from actually falling is a shortage of homes on the market although prices in London have fallen, according to some measures.

Howard Archer, an economist with EY Item Club, said prices would probably slip modesty on a nationwide basis if Britain leaves the European Union in March without a Brexit deal.

Earlier on Friday, home-builder Berkeley Group (BKGH.L) announced a 26 percent fall in profit and it warned about uncertainty in the short term as people put off house purchases ahead of Britain’s exit from the EU.

By William Schomberg

Former GCHQ boss: Facebook could threaten democracy

( via – – Fri, 7th Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

Facebook could become a threat to democracy without tougher regulation, the former head of intelligence agency GCHQ has said.

Robert Hannigan told the BBC the social media giant was more interested in profiting from user data than “protecting your privacy”.

It comes after MPs this week accused Facebook of striking secret deals over user data.

The firm has also been criticised for its handling of fake news.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Hannigan said: “This isn't a kind of fluffy charity providing free services. It's is a very hard-headed international business and these big tech companies are essentially the world's biggest global advertisers, that's where they make their billions.

“So in return for the service that you find useful they take your data… and squeeze every drop of profit out of it.”

Asked if Facebook was a threat to democracy, Mr Hannigan said: “Potentially yes. I think it is if it isn't controlled and regulated.

“But these big companies, particularly where there are monopolies, can't frankly reform themselves. It will have to come from outside.”

Document cache

Emails written by Facebook's chief and his deputies show the firm struck secret deals to give some developers special access to user data while refusing others, MPs said earlier this week.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee published the cache of internal documents online as part of its inquiry into fake news.

It said the files also showed Facebook had deliberately made it “as hard as possible” for users to be aware of privacy changes to its Android app.

But Facebook said the documents had been presented in a “very misleading manner” and required additional context.

Mr Hannigan also downplayed concern about the Chinese telecoms company Huawei after its chief financial officer was arrested in Canada this week.

The charges have not been made public but are believed to relate to the company's violation of Iran sanctions.

However, there are concerns that China uses Huawei technology for spying and some countries have barred its equipment from their 5G mobile networks.

Mr Hannigan said: “My worry is there is a sort of hysteria growing at the moment about Chinese technology in general, and Huawei in particular, which is driven by all sorts of things but not by understanding the technology or the possible threat. And we do need a calmer and more dispassionate approach here.”

He said no “malicious backdoors” had been found in Huawei's systems, although there were concerns about the firm's approach to cyber security and engineering.

“We all know what that leads to but that is incompetence not malice,” he said.

He added: “The idea… that we can cut ourselves off from all Chinese technology in the future, which is not just going to be the cheapest – which it has been in the past – but in many areas the best, is frankly crazy.”

Huawei CFO arrested in Canada amid telecoms giant spying row

( via – – Thu, 6th Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

Canada has arrested the chief financial officer of Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant at the centre of a spying row, as US authorities seek to extradite her.

Meng  Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver on Saturday, it emerged on Wednesday night. American prosecutors are seeking to have her moved to the US as it investigates whether the company broke trade sanctions against Iran.

It comes amid deepening suspicions of Huawei in the UK and elsewhere. On Wednesday, BT said it would remove the company’s equipment from its networks within two years, after more than a decade using it.

Huawei was founded by Ren Zhengfei, a former member of China’s People’s Liberation Army, and has been consistently met with suspicion in the West. Its equipment is banned in the US and Australia and in the UK it is rigorously tested by the Government at a guarded facility.

Ms Meng is one of Huawei’s top executives and its deputy chairman, as well as Mr Ren's daughter.

Beijing on Wednesday protested the arrest of the Chinese national and urged her immediate release.

“The Chinese side firmly opposes and strongly protests over such kind of actions which seriously harmed the human rights of the victim,” a statement said.

“The Chinese side has lodged stern representations with the US and Canadian side, and urged them to immediately correct the wrongdoing and restore the personal freedom of Ms. Meng Wanzhou.”

A spokesman for Canada's Justice Department said : “Wanzhou Meng was arrested in Vancouver on December 1. She is sought for extradition by the United States, and a bail hearing has been set for Friday.”

“As there is a publication ban in effect, we cannot provide any further detail at this time.”

Earlier this week, the head of MI6 Alex Younger raised concerns about the company, saying Britain would have to make a decision about whether it was willing to have Huawei equipment in the next generation of mobile internet networks.

“We need to decide the extent to which we are going to be comfortable with Chinese ownership of these technologies and these platforms in an environment where some of our allies have taken a very definite position,” he said.

A Huawei spokesman said: “Recently, our corporate CFO, Ms. Meng Wanzhou, was provisionally detained by the Canadian Authorities on behalf of the United States of America, which seeks the extradition of Ms. Meng Wanzhou to face unspecified charges in the Eastern District of New York, when she was transferring flights in Canada.

“The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng. The company believes the Canadian and US legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion.

“Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US and EU.”

By James Titcomb

O2 mobile operator investigating reports customers facing data and voice service issues across the UK

( via – – Thur, 6th Dec 2018) London, Uk – –

(Reuters) – British mobile operator O2, which is owned by Spain’s Telefonica (TEF.MC), said on Thursday it was investigating reports of customers facing issues while using some services.

Britain's second-largest mobile operator initially said here in a tweet that it was looking into issues with data and voice service usage. It later said in a separate tweet that voice calls were working properly.

O2’s data network is down across the UK this morning, the mobile operator said, owing to a “global software issue”.

O2 is investigating reports of issues when using 3G or 4G data, adding that “voice calls are working OK”.

“We apologise for any inconvenience,” the firm said, after problems were first reported at around 5.30am.

It blamed a software problem with a third-party supplier for the issue, but gave no estimate for when engineers would resolve the outage.

“We’re aware that our customers are unable to use data this morning. One of our third-party suppliers has identified a global software issue in their system which has impacted us,” an O2 spokesperson said.

“We believe other mobile operators around the world are also affected. Our technical teams are working with their teams to ensure this is fixed as quickly as possible. We’d encourage our customers to use Wi-Fi wherever they can and we apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

Downdetector, a website that tracks digital outages, said 1,662 complaints had been made before 7am, with the outages affecting London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds and many other towns and cities.

The outage had knock-on effects for systems reliant on O2's network, such as Transport for London's electronic bus timetable, which was not working this morning.

As one of the UK's biggest mobile operators, O2 could count affected customers in the millions, with 25m relying on its own network and 32m when considering the various networks it underpins, such as Giffgaff.

Angry users took to Twitter to look for answers or to simply vent their anger.

O2 directed users to a status checker to see whether their local network was affected.

Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at, advised affected users to keep checking O2's network status tracker, and to download Google Maps on Wi-Fi in order to get around.

“O2 users affected by this mobile data outage will understandably be concerned and frustrated,” he said.

“While it's positive that voice calls are still up and running, without a projected timeframe for a fix, this is likely a worrying situation for a large proportion of O2's some 32m UK customers.

“For the millions of users who are out and about and rely on smartphone maps to get around, it's worth considering that apps like Google Maps allow customers to download maps on WIFI and view them offline.

“With little idea of when this problem will be sorted, it's worth preparing before heading out to make sure you're not caught out by this data downtime.”

It comes as BT Mobile customers also suffered a network outage. BT Mobile customers said they couldn't send or receive text messages, after first reporting problems yesterday.

By Joe Curtis