The Boutique Evolution of JD Luxe Mobile Fashion ‘truck’ and mortar store


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This office is not like the others! Check out the mobile boutique evolution of JD Luxe & hear how this stylish entrepreneur followed her dream of starting a ‘truck' & mortar store out of a 1976 van!




Costco’s 5 Dollar Rotisserie Chicken will Surprise you



It's not uncommon for a “quick trip” to Costco to turn into an hours-long adventure, so it's understandable if you've grabbed one of their $5 rotisserie chickens on the way out the door for a quick and healthy dinner. Plus, they're delicious — and it's a lot better than swinging through the drive-through, right? Yes and no.





Lego tower in Tel Aviv set to be a record breaker at 36-metres tall


A 36-metre tall Lego tower has been erected in Tel Aviv in memory of a young cancer victim.

“Omer Tower” is named after 8-year-old Lego fan Omer Sayag who died in 2014.

The multi-coloured structure, which was completed on Wednesday (December 27), took two weeks and more than 500,000 plastic blocks to build.

Now standing in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, the tower was constructed using cranes and the help of thousands of volunteers under a project launched by Omer’s teachers just over a year ago.

The structure is still awaiting Guinness World Records verification, but at a reported 36 metres, it is expected to be confirmed as the world’s tallest lego tower.

The very rare and expensive £538,000 Astronomia Sky watch


The Astronomia Sky is a £538,000 watch made by luxury watch brand Jacob & Co. With only 18 being produced worldwide and costing more than half a million pounds, it's a very rare and expensive watch – so what makes it so special? Jacob and Co watchmaker, Luca Soprana says: “The Astronomia is a very, very delicate piece. Every component needs to be perfectly balanced so we need to use very special materials – like titanium – that are very delicate. The idea is really to come with a watch that is three dimensional and the watch has to be spectacular.” “What really makes the piece special is really the technique. The complexity of how it works, and to have an equilibrium of all the components.”




Airbus ends the year with $60bn orders for its A320 airliners

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( via – – Fri, 29 Dec, 2017) London, Uk – –

Airbus has ended the year with a near-$60bn rush of orders for its bestselling A320 airliner, announcing 100 new orders and confirming details of a massive sale revealed last month.

On Friday, China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings agreed a deal to acquire 50 A320neo jets worth $5.4bn at list prices.

A day earlier, Toulouse-based Airbus said Dutch leasing company AerCap had ordered another 50 A320neos.

Also on Thursday, Airbus finalised a deal announced last month with no-frills airline owner Indigo Partners for a total of 430 of A320neos and its larger sister aircraft the A321neo.

The pan-European plane-maker said the Indigo order – which will see jets go to budget carriers Wizz, Frontier, JetSMART and Volaris – was its largest deal ever, and was worth $49.5bn at list prices.

However, the scale of all the orders means that the buyers are likely to be able to negotiate substantial discounts.

The A320neo – a modernised version of the A320, equipped with more efficient engines – has proved a huge hit with customers. Airbus has so far taken orders for 5,800 of the aircraft, with the company claiming to have a 60pc market share, something strongly disputed by US rival Boeing whose 737 airliner is a direct competitor.

Wings for the A320 family are built at the Airbus plant in Broughton, North Wales, and the aircraft are assembled at plants in Toulouse, Hamburg, Tianjin in China and also Mobile, Alabama.

John Leahy, Airbus’s legendary head of sales and who is retiring to be replaced by Rolls-Royce civil aerospace chief Eric Schulz, called the latest sales: “a great endorsement for our A320 family of aircraft”.

The rush of good news from Airbus came amid growing talk that its A380 superjumbo could be axed unless it agrees a new order from Emirates, the biggest operator of the double-decker airliner.

Airbus called reports of jet's potential demise “speculation” but the company has failed to land any orders for the A380 for two years and is slowing the production rate to just six a year.

The company had been expected to reveal at November's Dubai airshow that Emirates was buying 36 more A380s, adding to the 142 it has in service or on order.

By Alan Tovey



Workplace automation will bring greater inequality IPPR warns


( via – – Fri, 29 Dec 2017) London, Uk – –

The rise of the robots will bring with it greater inequality rather than mass unemployment, according to fresh research.

Fears of automated machines replacing humans have led to many predicting that humans will become obsolete. But analysis by the IPPR think tank warned that it is more likely to increase pay inequality and that less well paid low skilled jobs are more likely to be automated.

“Despite the rhetoric of the rise of the robots, machines aren’t about to take all our jobs. While technological change will reshape how we work and what we do, it won’t eliminate employment,” said IPPR senior research fellow Matthew Lawrence.

“A bigger challenge is arguably the effect of automation on inequality in the UK. Managed badly, the benefits of automation could be narrowly concentrated, benefiting those who own capital and highly skilled workers.”

It estimates that jobs with wages worth £290bn a year – a third of all earnings in the economy – are at risk of automation. This may be offset by a rise in wages elsewhere due to higher output and productivity, which it predicts to grow by between 0.8 per cent and 1.4 per cent annually while boosting GDP by 10 per cent by 2030

But the think tank warned that these rewards must be distributed fairly.

“To avoid inequality rising, the government should look at ways to spread capital ownership, and make sure everyone benefits from increased automation,” said IPPR research fellow Carys Roberts.

By Lynsey Barber



Mortgages in November the lowest for over a year


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( via – – Thur, 28 Dec 2017) London, Uk – –

The number of households taking out new mortgages in November was the lowest for over a year, according to official figures.

UK Finance said High Street banks approved 39,507 mortgages during the month, the lowest since August 2016.

The figure represents a 5% fall on the same month a year ago.

November was the month when the Bank of England announced its decision to increase base rates to 0.5%, the first rise in a decade.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said housing market activity may have taken a dent as a result of the Bank of England move.

“While the increase was only 0.25%, and mortgage rates are still very low, there may have been a significant impact on potential buyers' psychology,” he said.Many banks also increased the cost of fixed-rate mortgages before the announcement, which may have discouraged some buyers.

But mortgage rates remain at historically low levels.

Towards the end of November Stamp Duty was abolished for first-time buyers on properties worth up to £300,000.

So it is possible that the number of mortgage approvals may recover once December's figures are published.

Mr Archer added that 2018 would be a very challenging year for the housing market, with activity likely to be “lacklustre” and house price rises limited to around 2%.

By Brian Milligan



Lloyds Bank UK’s biggest corporate taxpayer shells out £2.3bn in 2016

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( via – – Thur, 28 Dec 2017) London, Uk – –

Lloyds Banking Group was the UK’s biggest corporate taxpayer for the second year running last year, after paying £2.3bn in taxes for 2016.

The high street bank stumped up £500m more to the Treasury than the previous year, according to an analysis of Britain’s top companies’ tax records by consultancy PwC.

Lloyds topped the rankings despite it lying 12th in the FTSE 100 index of Britain’s biggest companies, although its nearest blue chip rivals are less ­focused on the UK and boast much larger international operations.

In a tax strategy report to be published tomorrow, the bank will say it believes paying a fair share of taxes is in the “public interest”.

The report will say: “As a responsible business, we share public interest that ‘big business’ contributes its fair share to the UK’s prosperity, which is why we aim to be open and transparent about our approach to tax – including our overall strategy and payments.”

Lloyds’ comments come after ­another year of big tax controversies, with tech giants Google and Apple facing renewed criticism for paying just £36m and £8m in taxes respectively on £1bn-plus UK revenues.

Its £2.3bn tax bill exceeds its main rivals HSBC, Barclays and RBS, who each paid £1.7bn, £1.4bn and £1.3bn in UK taxes in 2016 according to their ­annual reports.

By Iain Withers


Uk office provider International Workplace Group shares get a boost on takeover approach


( via – – Wed, 27 Dec 2017) London, Uk – –

Shares in serviced office provider International Workplace Group jumped more than 27pc after the company received a takeover approach.

The FTSE 250 listed company formerly known as Regus said on Dec 23 it had been approached by Canadian private equity firm Onex and Brookfield Asset Management. The consortium has until Jan 20 to either announce a firm intention to make an offer for IWG, or say that it does not plan to make an offer.

Shares in IWG were up 27.4pc at 255.10p in morning trade.

IWG's share price fell by 36pc in October after it warned on profits. The company said it expected group operating profit for 2017 to come in at between £160m and £170m, “materially below market expectations”. This was a result of weaker than expected sales, preventing it from making up a 1.9pc fall in revenues announced earlier in the year.

At the time of the profit warning, Mark Dixon, IWG's chief executive, said that the company's markets had “blipped” in the third quarter of the year, and that the effect had been exacerbated by hurricanes in the US and an earthquake in central Mexico in September. IWG has almost 3,000 centres in 115 countries.

The company has faced competition from newer rivals such as WeWork, which target start-ups with trendy office spaces.



The chimes of London’s Big Ben, rang out for the festive season

( via – – Wed, 27 Dec 2017) London, Uk – –

The chimes of London's iconic bell, Big Ben, rang out once again on Saturday.

Beginning at 9am the great clock's bongs will carry on tolling throughout the festive period.

Big Ben was silenced in August to allow for restoration work to Elisabeth Tower which houses it.

Authorities in the Palace of Westminster had said it was not safe for contractors to carry out repairs next to such a loud bell.

Exceptionally reactivated for Remembrance Sunday last month, Big Ben is set to fall silent once more at 1pm local time on New Year's day.



One in three Britons expected to shop in today’s record-breaking Boxing Day sales

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( via – – Tue, 26 Dec 2017) London, Uk – –

One in three Britons will shop in today's record-breaking Boxing Day sales, as retailers reduce pieces so low that many are set to make a loss.

Analysts at Barclaycard said 34 per cent of Britons will go to the festive sales, up by nearly 50 per cent from 23 per cent last year.

Discounts seen in stores are expected to be up to 90 per cent of their original price, as desperate retailers attempt to convince consumers to part with their cash.

This is despite most large retailer's profit margins sitting at 50 per cent or lower.

It comes after consumer appetite for the post-Christmas sales period fell last year after an extended period of discounting that began well before November's Black Friday.

Barclaycard's poll found months of “feeling the squeeze” this year is resulting in many consumers looking forward to the sales to ease their budgets.

VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research also predict that the Boxing Day sales will attract more than a third of the UK's population, expecting them to spend a record £4.3 billion – a 12 per cent rise on 2016.

Boxing Day discounts in some stores are expected to far exceed those offered on Black Friday. for example Debenhams cutting the price of a sequin cape sleeves dress by 84 per cent, down from £99 to £15.

In addition children's toy shop the Entertainer is cutting prices by up to 80 per cent.  Fashion retailers including Topshop, River Island and Anthropologie are offering items with up to 70 per cent off.

Meanwhile premium brands like Le Creuset will offer record discounts of up to 40 per cent on

Bargain-hunters were expected to have queued for sales from midnight on Christmas Day night.

Sales start in stores at 6am at Next, 8am at Sainsbury’s and 9am at most retailers.

Security guards were on duty all night for queues, with in-store staff at work as early as 3am.

Paul Lockstone, managing director at Barclaycard, said: “Last year, Black Friday overshadowed Boxing Day sales as many retailers struggled to maintain consumer interest in what has become a month-long discounting event. “This year, however, value-seeking consumers appear to be more eager to buy cut-price items across both sales periods as they try to combat rising prices.”

Richard Perks, director of retail research at consumer analyst Mintel, said: “Boxing Day will be frantic, with almost all retailers on sale. That certainly brings out the shoppers.

“People may well spend all their budgets. Homewares and electronics will be popular.”

“Shops said Boxing Day last year was the best day ever – even better than forecast – and the day gets bigger and bigger every year.”




Uk textile cotton back in production in Manchester after £6m investment

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( via – – Tue, 26 Dec 2017) London, Uk – –

Long before Manchester had football, it had cotton.

The city and surrounding region was built on the success of spinning and sewing during the industrial revolution, giving rise to its catchy nickname, Cottonopolis.

But as production slowed, moved off shore and we began to import, the beautiful red brick mills in the North West fell silent.

Now, ending a 40-year hiatus, cotton is once again back on the production line.

After a £6m investment, textile manufacturer English Fine Cottons has started spinning cotton imported from the sunny fields of southern California to here in Greater Manchester, producing yarn that's being used across the region in a newly reopened supply chain.

“It's really re-engaged the weavers and the finishers and the dyers to pull together and forge those chains back again, and there's an enormous appetite for provenance and British made and the quality that we're making here as well,” says Tracy Hawkins, managing director of English Fine Cottons.

Spin cycle

We decided to follow the supply chain from bale to rail, challenging businesses in the North West to make a garment from cotton in its rawest form, all the way through to a shirt.

So with a bobbin of freshly spun Manchester cotton in hand, we headed 45 miles north to Blackburn.

We arrive and hand across our yarn. Colour is the next stage of the process.

“We're going to take this into our dye house, we're going to load it onto a dye stand, we're going to bleach it, we're going to dye it and we're going to dry it,” says Anthony Green, managing director of Blackburn Yarn Dyers. “The whole process should take about eight hours.”

Our bobbin then joins scores of others and is submerged into a huge boiling kettle of dye. A short while later, it reappears from behind clouds of steam as newly dyed pink cotton yarn.

Good yarn

After a trip through a huge dryer, our bobbin is fresh and dry, then we're back in the car and heading up the road to Burnley.

Debbie Catterall is the boss of John Spencer, a sixth-generation family weaving business run by the great-great-great grandson of the original founders. The mill is the last remaining traditional cotton weaver in Burnley.

“Our order book is really healthy,” she says. “The number of developments that we're doing have huge potential, so the next six months' forecast is looking great.

“So much so that we're having to put on extra shifts and recruit additional staff to fulfil that need.”

It's a story that's reflected nationally by the UK's fashion textile manufacturers.

BBC News and the trade body Make it British surveyed 90 businesses in the industry. Almost 50% said they have increased their turnover in the last year, while 30% are exporting a higher volume of Made in Britain goods.

Stitched up

We hand over our pink bobbin and it's mounted on to the loom. Within moments, the loom gets to work and at rapid speed, the yarn is interlaced and a woven pink fabric begins to appear. We can see the emergence of a garment we could wear.

It's 25 miles back down the M66 to Manchester for the last stage of this reconnected supply chain. With pink cloth in hand we arrive at Private White VC, another factory that has survived the turbulent changes of clothing manufacture.

At the peak of the industry, an estimated eight billion yards of cloth were produced in 1912. Today we're making a shirt from little more than two yards. But it is British spun. British dyed. British woven – and now British stitched.

James Eden is the boss at Private White VC: “I don't think we'll ever see a return to those halcyon days of Cottonopolis, of regional manufacturing and textiles.

“However, certainly on a global scale, there's huge opportunities for businesses and brands like ours to create sustainable viable and ultimately very profitable businesses by making things here again in the UK and selling to an international marketplace.”

After a 100-mile round trip across the North West, we've seen the rawest of materials become the finest of garments, cutting out garments travelling from China, Bangladesh or Vietnam.

In an area rooted in centuries of textile history, expertise and resounding pride, the cotton process has slowly been sewn back together.

By  Simon Browning



The New 2018 Mercedes S Class Coupe


2018 Mercedes S Class Coupe

New 2018 Mercedes S-Class Coupé will soon benefit from the same extensive innovations that have just been introduced on the saloon. These include new or functionally considerably extended driving assistance systems, the modern control and display concept with Widescreen Cockpit and new generation of steering wheels, integrated ENERGIZING comfort control and the latest infotainment generation. Exclusive to both of the two-door models and part of the standard equipment specification are innovative OLED tail lamps. The new V8 biturbo engine in the S 560 Coupé is even more dynamic. It develops 469 horsepower (345 kW) with a peak torque of 700 Nm. The Coupé with V6 petrol engine and a rated output of 367 HP (270 kW) is now called the S 450 The new S63 AMG 4MATIC+ coupé develops 612 HP (450 kW) and 900 Nm of torque and the V12 engine under the hood of the S65 AMG develops 630 HP (463 kW) and 1000 Nm of torque.