UK government prepares to renationalise failed Northern franchise

( via – – Mon, 27th Jan 2020) London, Uk – –

Transport secretary due to announce this week decision to terminate Northern’s franchise

Ministers will pledge to reopen closed rail lines in the north this week as the government prepares to renationalise the failed Northern franchise.

The promise of hundreds of millions in investment to restore some lines axed in the Beeching closures in the early 1960s will come at about the same time as the expected announcement of the termination of the Northern franchise, operated by Arriva.

Blyth Valley, a former Labour stronghold in the north-east that turned Conservative in the election and presaged the collapse of the “red wall”, is likely to be among the first places to benefit from the reopening of passenger services.

The decision to renationalise Northern, which the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, is due to deliver by Thursday, is likely to be welcomed in the north, but it represents another embarrassing failure of the privatised rail system.

Northern politicians and transport bodies said a possible short-term management contract for Arriva – still yet to be officially ruled out by Shapps – would be unacceptable, leaving it almost certain that it will become the second major franchise to be renationalised by the Conservatives in less than two years. The state-owned “operator of last resort”, which has run LNER since June 2018, would take over the running of Northern.

The franchise was awarded in 2016, but plans to improve services have foundered on the back of delays to infrastructure, including track electrification, and a long-running dispute with unions leading to widespread strikes. Punctuality and reliability collapsed around the introduction of the May 2018 timetable and have largely failed to recover.Advertisement

The results of the national rail passenger survey, due on Tuesday morning, are – despite official questions over its statistical relevance – likely to highlight increasing dissatisfaction with the Deutsche Bahn-owned train operator, as well as widespread discontent around the network.

But in an effort to regain political impetus, and following the promise of “levelling up” the regions post-Brexit, the Department for Transport will this week set out details of lines that could be reopened.

Earlier this month, Shapps visited Blyth, where he discussed a £100m council blueprint for the reintroduction of passenger services on a Northumberland rail line linking Newcastle to Ashington via Blyth, currently partly used for freight services. He said there was £500m set aside for reopening lines.

A project to restore the line linking Blackpool to Fleetwood, visited by Boris Johnson in November on the election campaign, is also likely to be a prime candidate for funding.

It could be the second time in a little over two years that the government has talked of reversing Beeching cuts to mask the collapse of a rail franchise. In November 2017, the plan to reopen old lines was announced by Chris Grayling, the then transport secretary, on the same day the government published plans to rip up the Virgin-Stagecoach East Coast rail franchise – which was eventually nationalised in June 2018.

Grayling invited proposals from local partners to pitch for funds to reopen lines where there was a strong business case.

More than 4,000 miles of track were removed from the British railway – about a third of the entire network at the time – on the guidance of the reports by Richard Beeching in the 1960s.

Labour’s shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, said: “The Tory claim to be reversing the Beeching cuts is risible. Passengers haven’t forgotten that this is a government which has cut hundreds of millions of pounds of rail investment.”

Meanwhile, there are fears in the north that it could be the victim of cuts to the HS2 high-speed rail network, as the government considers whether to proceed with the full route. Forecast costs are now reported to be estimated as high as £106bn in the Oakervee review, and the second phase north of Birmingham would be easier to cut.

By Gwyn Topham

How Aramco Became Saudi’s $2 Trillion Cash Cow

Source: Bloomberg

The world’s most valuable company is not Apple, Amazon, or Google. That crown instead belongs to Saudi Aramco. This is the story of how an oil company that started out as an American dream became Saudi Arabia's cash cow.

HS2 high-speed rail project complex and risky from the start, says watchdog

( via – – Fri, 24th Jan 2020) London, Uk – –

No-one took full account of how complex and risky the HS2 high-speed rail project was likely to be, the government spending watchdog has said.

The Department for Transport (DfT) and HS2 Ltd did not allow for all uncertainties when estimating initial costs, the National Audit Office (NAO) said.

In 2015, HS2 was due to cost £56bn.

Earlier this week, however, a leaked government-commissioned review suggested the total could reach £106bn.

The findings of the independent review, conducted by former HS2 Ltd chair Doug Oakervee, have not yet been officially published.

The government will use the report to inform its final decision on whether to give the go-ahead to the HS2 project, and has said a final decision on whether to continue with it will be made in February.

In its progress update, the NAO said that the DfT and HS2 Ltd “have not adequately managed risks to taxpayer money”.

This led to the project being over budget and behind schedule, it added.

“Significant challenges to completing the programme and delivering value for taxpayers and shareholders remain,” the NAO report said.

Lessons to learn

The first phase of the project, between London and Birmingham, is due to open at the end of 2026, with the second phase to Leeds and Manchester expected to be completed by 2032-33.

Despite concerns about the rail link, Europe's largest infrastructure project, work is not on hold and the project currently gets through about £250m a month.

Gareth Davies, the head of the NAO, said: “There are important lessons to be learned from HS2, not only for the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd, but for other major infrastructure programmes.

“To ensure public trust, the Department and HS2 Ltd must be transparent and provide realistic assessments of costs and completion dates as the programme develops, recognising the many risks to the successful delivery of the railway that remain.”

A DfT spokesperson said: “The department has supported this review and is already acting on many of its recommendations. To ensure transparency around the project, we have worked closely with the NAO to provide information on the latest cost and schedule estimates for HS2.

“We recognise that there have been significant underestimations of both the cost and schedule of HS2 in the past, which is why we commissioned the Oakervee review to provide advice on whether and how to proceed with HS2.”

Employers' organisation the CBI said that whatever the misgivings, the project should go ahead.

Matthew Fell, the CBI's chief UK policy director, said: “HS2 is an ambitious project and the National Audit Office's report usefully highlights the challenges of delivering large-scale infrastructure. But what is clear to the CBI, and business generally, is the colossal cost of not delivering HS2.

“If the government truly believes in levelling up the regions, especially the Midlands and the North, it should deliver HS2 in full.

“It is exactly the post-Brexit project the government should be championing.”

Analysis: Tom Burridge

This is a slap on the wrist for HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport.

When you consider the massive overspend on HS2, headlines about underestimating the scale of the project and not acknowledging associated risks are hardly surprising.

As the government decides the fate of the project, there are a few interesting nuggets.

The report paints a picture of a high speed line like no other in Europe. HS2 plans 18 trains per hour. Other lines in Europe typically run between two and six trains an hour.

The incredibly high spec justifies the high price tag, supporters say.

Critics say it's one reason why the project is flawed.

The government's review of HS2 has looked at a series of options, like reducing the spec of HS2.

But as this report acknowledges, civil servants have looked at ways of making the project more affordable before.

In short, tinkering with aspects of this project, like reducing the very high speed of the trains, wouldn't save huge amounts of money.

There is a stark contrast in its assessment of the two phases.

Although it criticises the substantial overspend on phase one – London to Birmingham – the National Audit Office does now believe that the costings on that part of the project are “robust”.

Inevitably phase two – Birmingham to Manchester and Birmingham to Leeds – which is at a very early stage, is in a very different position.

In fact phase two is at such an early stage that this report concludes that no assessment for the overall cost of HS2 can be made with any real certainty.

We visited two vast construction sites at Curzon Street in Birmingham and in Solihull.

When you see the scale and type of work underway, like moving a bridge over a motorway, then it is hard to imagine that the government will pull the plug on phase one.

Given the scepticism of some figures within government and recent leaks in the media, the future of phase two is less certain.

Ritz – The Epitome of Luxury Hotels

Source: wocomo Travel

Cesar Ritz’ story is one of personal drama: a man who has it all and finally collapses. He loses everything in the end, his family, the hotels, and his mind. Only his brilliant opus survives. Ritz’ genius consisted in captivating every novelty in record time and in transforming it into his world of hotel business almost instinctively. The technical progress was the main inspiration of the ingenious inventor. Cesar Ritz was every bit like the fuming and effervescing locomotives of his time that pulled him across Europe, from capital to capital, to the hotels of the Ritz Company, resembling themselves huge machines.

British Airways-owner IAG lifts ownership restriction for non-EU investors boosting shares

( via — Fri, 17th Jan 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – British Airways-owner IAG (ICAG.L) lifted a restriction on non-EU investors’ ability to buy its stock, helping boost its share price by more than 5%.

Last February, IAG, which also owns Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus, set the maximum level for ownership of its shares by non-Europeans at 47.5% in a bid to maintain its status as a European-owned airline.

IAG said on Friday that non-EU ownership had dropped to 39.5% and as such it was removing the cap which had been in effect for 11 months.

Shares in the company rose 5.3% to 672 pence at 0858 GMT, their highest level since September 2018.

Bernstein analyst Daniel Roeska said the change meant a large overhang had now gone. “We view this news very positively,” he said.

Reporting by Sarah Young

Flybe boss Mark Anderson ‘focused’ on turning airline around

( via – – Mon, 13th Jan 2020) London, Uk – –

Flybe boss Mark Anderson has told staff that he and the management team remain “focused” on turning the airline round.

Mr Anderson's comments came in an email to staff following reports that the airline is in crisis talks in an attempt to put together a rescue deal.

According to Sky News, Flybe, which has already been bailed out once, has been struggling to secure fresh finance.

In his email, Mr Anderson stressed that Flybe was continuing to operate as normal.

“All my energy, and that of our Leadership Team, is very focused on continuing to turn Flybe, soon to be Virgin Connect, around and deliver the heartfelt service that our customers expect,” he said.

“I do appreciate that the headlines some of you have already read are disturbing but I want you to know that we are determined to do everything we can to make this work.”

He told staff he was “extremely grateful” for their hard work and commitment.

In an earlier statement, Flybe said it was focusing on “providing great service and connectivity for our customers, to ensure that they can continue to travel as planned”.

Flybe, the UK's biggest regional carrier, added: “We don't comment on rumour or speculation.”

The reports come a year after Flybe was bought for £2.8m by a consortium including Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group.

Since then, the consortium has invested tens of millions of pounds in the troubled carrier, but losses have continued to mount.

Tourism adviser and researcher Prof Annette Pritchard, of the Welsh Centre for Tourism Research in Cardiff, commented on Twitter that Flybe provided “a vital social and cultural link for many marginal economies”.

Based in Exeter, Flybe carries about eight million passengers a year from airports such as Southampton, Cardiff and Aberdeen, to the UK and Europe.

Its network of routes includes more than half of UK domestic flights outside London.

If the business collapses, more than 2,000 jobs will be at risk.

Worried travellers

Matthew Mills, a graphic designer based in Shropshire, recently booked flights for his family to Germany with Flybe.

He is also one of the 10,000 consumers still waiting to receive a refund from collapsed travel firm Thomas Cook on a holiday that was meant to take place in November.

“You don't know whether to laugh or cry,” he told the BBC. “We've used Flybe quite a bit in the past because we have family in Germany and we don't have many alternatives in the UK – if Flybe goes under, we'd be looking at 50% more in prices on flights to Germany, easily.”

Worried Flybe customers have taken to Twitter to express their concerns, saying they are still waiting for information on whether their flights will go ahead.

Union ‘appalled'

The BBC understands that EY has been lined up as administrators if Flybe were to go under.

Brian Strutton, general secretary of pilots' union Balpa, said: “I am appalled that once again the future of a major UK airline and hundreds of jobs is being discussed in secret with no input from employees or their representatives.

“According to reports, the airline could have collapsed over the weekend, which would have been devastating news.”

Mr Strutton called on Flybe's owners and the government to talk to the union, saying staff had a right to know what was going on.

Analysis: Simon Gompertz

As long as Flybe carries on flying, there is no need to worry and certainly no reason to try to get your money back.

If the airline was to fail, however, all flights would most likely be cancelled. Those with paid-for bookings could find they lose their flights and their cash.

If your flight is part of a package deal covered by the ATOL scheme, then you should be protected and have the right to a re-booking or refund.

Otherwise you can try to retrieve the money from your credit card company, if that's how you paid. There is also a debit card chargeback scheme which can help.

Many travel insurance policies are not much use in these situations, unless you stumped up extra for the Scheduled Airline Failure option or something similar.

Those stuck overseas might be left hoping that the government will direct the CAA to step in, as it did when Monarch and Thomas Cook went under, to bring back stranded passengers for free.

Prof Loizos Heracleous, an aviation industry expert from Warwick Business School, said it would be “no easy task” for Flybe to attract new finance.

He added: “The aviation industry is an unattractive industry in terms of performance and returns on investment at the best of times.

“It is saddled with high-cost assets, namely planes, and key costs that fluctuate uncontrollably, mainly fuel, which accounts for around a third of total airline costs.

“On top of that, they face high regulation, often aggressive unions, low barriers to entry that increase competition, and high bargaining power of buyers.”

Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter, said Flybe provided “valuable connectivity throughout the UK” and called on the government to intervene. He called Flybe “a strategically important business”.

The industry regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, said: “We do not comment on the financial situation of any of the organisations we regulate.”

Travelex foreign currency firm services begin again after ransomware cyber-attack

( via – – Mon, 13th Jan 2020) London, Uk – –

Foreign currency firm restores some systems after £4.6m demand from hackers

The foreign currency firm Travelex says it is making good progress in recovering from an attack from ransomware hackers and is starting to switch its systems back on again.

As of noon on Monday, however, its global websites, including those aimed at UK and US customers, were still offline, as were the online travel money services of companies that use Travelex, including Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Tesco Bank and Asda.

Travelex was forced to take its websites offline after discovering the cyber-attack on New Year’s Eve. It later emerged that the ransomware gang responsible, Sodinokibi, had demanded £4.6m and was threatening to release customers’ personal data – including dates of birth and payment card information – into the public domain unless the company paid up.

Travelex said it had contained the virus and that its investigations showed that no customer data has been breached to date. It is in communication with the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – which is part of GCHQ – and the Metropolitan police.

Tony D’Souza, the chief executive of Travelex, said: “We continue to make good progress with our recovery and have already completed a considerable amount in the background.”

He said the firm was now in a position to start restoring functionality at its partner and customer services, and that it would provide more information in the coming days.

With its online travel money service out of action, Travelex staff have been forced to use pen and paper to serve customers. Nor is the company able to sell or reload its travel money cards online.

D’Souza said: “We are confident, based on our efforts to date, that we will be able to restore our services and ensure the integrity and robustness of the network.”

The firm said it would start restoring customer-facing systems, beginning with those that allowed it to process orders electronically with banking partners and in its own stores.

“This follows the restoration of many of the internal capabilities necessary to support partner and customer services, which has been in progress since the beginning of last week,” it said.

By Rupert Jones

Jaguar Land Rover show signs of recovery after sales dip in 2019

( via — Fri, 10th Jan 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) posted a 6% fall in full-year sales on Friday after a challenging year in which its performance was hit by the weakening Chinese autos market and falling demand for diesel vehicles in Europe.

Retail sales stood at 557,706 vehicles in 2019, hit by a 13.5% slump in China, but in the last six months the firm reported double-digit growth in the country, with overall company sales up 1.3% in December.

“2019 was a year of two halves,” said Chief Commercial Officer Felix Brautigam.

“Over the last six months we saw a marked improvement in China, where intensive work with our retailers, combined with significant process and product improvements are starting to gain traction.”

At the start of 2019, JLR announced plans to cut around 10% of its workforce and it has been pursuing measures to reduce costs and improve cash flows by 2.5 billion pounds.

The company, owned by India’s Tata Motors (TAMO.NS), returned to the black in the three months to the end of September 2019, posting a 156 million-pound profit.

JLR, like much of the car industry, has also faced the challenge of stepping up investment in zero and low-emissions vehicles as regulations tighten while simultaneously dealing with a drop in demand for some conventionally-powered models.

It has paired up with BMW (BMWG.DE) to jointly develop electric motors, transmissions and power electronics which should allow it to share some of the high costs of advancing the green technology.

Reporting by Costas Pitas

British Airways Boss Willie Walsh to step down

( via– Thur, 9th Jan 2020) London, Uk – –

The 58-year-old former pilot, who was appointed boss of BA in 2005, will step down from his role leading IAG in March.

Willie Walsh, the British Airways boss who orchestrated its merger with Iberia to create International Airlines Group, is retiring.

The company said the 58-year-old would step down as chief executive of IAG in March – to be replaced by Luis Gallego, who currently runs Iberia.

Mr Walsh, a former Aer Lingus pilot, took over at BA in 2005, later becoming leader of the wider group – which today also includes the Irish carrier as well as low-cost brands Vueling and Level.

IAG chairman Antonio Vazquez said: “Under Willie's leadership IAG has become one of the leading global airline groups.”

Mr Walsh said: “It has been a privilege to have been instrumental in the creation and development of IAG.”

The announcement comes amid a dispute between BA and pilots' union Balpa.

Over the past year, BA has also been dealing with the fallout from a 2018 data breach affecting hundreds of thousands of customers that saw the UK information regulator propose a £183m fine.

Mr Walsh made his name standing up to unions and cutting costs – firstly at Aer Lingus where he took over in 2001.

He led British Airways into its merger with IAG in 2011.

The group is due to publish full-year results.

It warned in October that industrial action by BA pilots, together with other disruption, hit profits by €155m (£132m) in the third quarter of 2019.

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

Train operator Northern to be stripped of its rail franchise as fares across UK rise by 2.7%

( via– Thur, 2nd Jan 2020) London, Uk – –

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said “frustrated commuters will not have to wait long” before action is taken.

Train operator Northern is to be stripped of its rail franchise, the transport secretary has announced, as fares across Britain rose by an average of 2.7%.

Grant Shapps has said “frustrated commuters will not have to wait long” before action is taken, after the chaotic introduction of new timetables in May 2018 saw up to 310 trains a day cancelled.

Punctuality and reliability problems continue to blight the network.

Office of Rail and Road figures show just 55.6% of Northern trains arrived at stations within one minute of the timetable in the 12 months to 7 December, compared with the average across Britain of 65.3%.

German-based Arriva holds the Northern franchise, which is due to run until March 2025.

Mr Shapps described services on the route as “really bad” and claimed passengers have “had a nightmare on that line” since 2016.

When asked if the firm would be stripped of its franchise, he replied: “The simple answer to the question is yes, it is going to be brought to an end.

“It's partially a legal process but frustrated commuters will not have to wait long”.

David Brown, Managing Director at Northern, said: “It's on record that the Northern franchise has faced several material and unprecedented challenges in the past couple of years, outside the direct control of Northern.

“The most significant of these is the ongoing, late delivery of major infrastructure upgrades.”

The announcement comes after the average cost of tickets across the UK rose by 2.7% from today.

Some commuters face a rise of more than £100 for annual passes despite fewer than two-thirds of trains being on time last year.

Fewer than half of passengers are satisfied with the value for money of train tickets, according to the latest survey by watchdog Transport Focus.

Robert Nisbet, spokesperson for industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said rail companies have held average fare increases below inflation for the third year in a row “while continuing to deliver investment in new trains and extra services that will improve journeys for customers”.

He added that 2020 will see 1,000 extra weekly services and 1,000 more carriages added to Britain's rail fleet.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced a new fund will be created to support trials of more flexible fares across the country as part of improvements focused on “putting passengers first”.

But Labour's shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald accused the government of failing to support public transport or tackling climate change, road congestion and air quality.

He said: “Today's average fare increase means ticket prices have risen by 40% since 2010.

“In contrast, rail fares in Germany were cut by 10% yesterday. Labour pledged to cut rail fares by 33% to encourage people to get out of their cars and get on the train.”

Bruce Williamson, of pressure group Railfuture, claimed fares are “outstripping people's incomes”.

He said: “Welcome to another decade of misery for rail passengers.

“How on earth is the government going to meet its climate commitments by pricing people off environmentally-friendly trains and on to our polluted and congested roads?”

Among the routes where the price of annual season tickets has increased by a three-figure sum are:

  • Reading to London (up £132 to £4,736)
  • Gloucester to Birmingham (up £118 to £4,356)
  • Glasgow to Edinburgh via any permitted route (up £116 to £4,200)

Passengers buying tickets for day trips have also been hit by the fares rise.

An off-peak return ticket from Dundee to Edinburgh has increased in price by 50p to £29.40, while an anytime return ticket from Gillingham to London via the HS1 route is up £1.20 to £45.40.

The increase in around 45% of fares, including season tickets, is regulated by the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments.

This is predominantly capped at July's RPI inflation figure, which was 2.8%.

Other fare rises are decided by train companies.

Volkswagen starts settlement talks with German consumer groups over diesel scandal

( via — Thur, 2nd Jan 2020) London, UK —

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) on Thursday said it was in talks to discuss a settlement with German vehicle owners who are suing the carmaker over excessive pollution caused by VW’s diesel cars.

In 2015 the carmaker admitted to using manipulated engine management software to mask excessive pollution levels in its diesel cars, sparking a raft of prosecutions and lawsuits that have led to at least 30 billion euros in legal costs and fines.

“Volkswagen and the Federation of German Consumer Organisations vzbv have agreed to enter into discussions regarding a possible settlement,” the carmaker said.

“The discussions are at a very early stage, and there is no guarantee that they will result in a settlement. Both parties have agreed that the discussions should remain confidential.”

German consumers have had less success than vehicle owners in the United States in securing compensation from VW because German cars did not lose their road worthiness certification in the wake of the diesel scandal.

In Germany VW’s diesel vehicles retained their road worthiness certification if customers agreed to an update of vehicle engine management software, leading VW to take a different approach to compensating consumers.

Reporting by Edward Taylor

15 Jobs That Will Thrive in the Future (Despite A.I.)

Source: Alux

This video well 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?

Tesla deliveres its first cars made in China

( via – – Mon, 30th Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

Tesla has delivered its first cars made in China, marking a major milestone for the electric vehicle maker.

Fifteen Model 3 sedans were handed over at the company's so-called “Gigafactory” near Shanghai.

It comes as Elon Musk's company aims to secure a significant slice of the world's biggest car market.

Tesla's move into the country comes as the trade war has forced other American companies to shift production out of China.

During a ceremony at the company's multi-billion dollar plant in Shanghai, 15 of its employees received cars they had purchased.

The event means deliveries of cars have started a little over a year after construction of the factory got underway.

California-based Tesla said that it wanted to start handing over vehicles before the Lunar New Year beginning on 25 January, and now plans to scale up deliveries from the start of 2020.

The Chinese-made Model 3, priced at $50,000 (£38,000) before subsidies, will compete with local electric car makers, including NIO and Xpeng Motors, as well as global brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

US technology giants Apple, Google, HP, and Dell have all reportedly started the process of moving production from China to other Asian countries.

That's as US tariffs on Chinese-made goods make them more expensive when they are imported into America, or companies have to absorb the cost themselves.

It also comes after intense pressure from US President Donald Trump for American companies to bring back manufacturing to the US. In August Mr Trump issued a demand for all US firms to move production out of China.

However, Tesla doesn't plan to export the cars it makes in China to the US, where they would be hit with tariffs. Instead it wants to sell the cars in China itself.

Previously Tesla was exporting all of the cars it sold in China from the US, which meant they were hit with tariffs in China.

The company isn't just expanding its manufacturing into China. In November, it revealed plans to build a huge European production facility on the outskirts of Berlin in Germany.

15 Steps to Become a Billionaire

Source: Alux

This video well try to answer the following questions: How to get rich? How do you get rich? How do people invest? How to invest? What are the steps to getting rich? Why some people get rich and others don't? What are some proven ways of getting rich? How to make money? How to build wealth? How to create a business? How to start a business? How to get rich quick? How to get rich without being lucky? How to get rich book How to Get Filthy Rich Quick? How to get rich fast? What is the most effective yet efficient way to get rich? What is the easiest yet the most respectable way to become rich? What are the best legal ways to get rich? How long does it take to get rich? How do rich people make money? How do rich people get rich? How to get rich from zero? How to get rich starting with nothing? How to become a millionaire? How to become a billionaire? How could I get rich? I am desperate to get rich, what can I do? How can I get rich while I am still young? What are the fastest ways of getting rich? How to get rich without money? How to get rich when you're a teenager? What is the best way to get rich?

In The Era of Electric Cars Why Don’t We Have Electric Planes Yet?

Source: CNBC

Electric planes could revolutionize flight, from commuting in air taxis to making regional flights more affordable and long-haul flights more environmentally friendly. So in the era of electric cars, why are planes so far behind?

Travis Kalanick Uber co-founder to step down from board

( via – – Wed, 25th Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

Uber's co-founder Travis Kalanick is to step down from its board at the end of the year.

The 43-year-old ousted the ride-hailing firm's original chief executive within a year of its creation, but was himself forced to stand down six-and-a-half years later in 2017 after a number of scandals.

He had, however, remained involved as one of its nine directors.

Mr Kalanick also recently sold off most of his shares in the company.

In the past two months he has liquidated about $2.5bn (£1.9bn) worth of stock, representing more than 90% of his earlier stake in the business.

“At the close of the decade, and with the company now public, it seems like the right moment for me to focus on my current business and philanthropic pursuits,” said Mr Kalanick in a statement issued by Uber.

“I will continue to cheer for its future from the sidelines.”

Mr Kalanick currently heads up City Storage Systems. The Los Angeles-based start-up buys up land and establishes kitchens for use by delivery-only restaurants, which operate via apps including Uber Eats.

‘Profound' legacy

The entrepreneur had previously declared: “I love Uber more than anything in the world.”

However, investors pressured him to step aside in the run up to the company's flotation following a series of controversies.

  • a report that another executive had obtained the medical records of a woman who was raped by an Uber driver in 2014, and then shared them with Mr Kalanick among others
  • hundreds of complaints from staff about harassment and bullying
  • a legal dispute with Google's parent company Alphabet over the alleged theft of trade secrets related to driverless cars
  • an argument between Mr Kalanick and one of Uber's San Francisco drivers over fares, which was filmed and released to the media

Mr Kalanick had also repeatedly clashed with regulators, which had helped Uber overcome and sometimes ignore restrictions that would have otherwise prevented it entering some markets.

But there was a perception that the company's image had been tarnished as a consequence, and that his replacement – Expedia's former chief Dara Khosrowshahi – would be seen as a less risky bet by the markets once the firm had listed.

But Mr Khosrowshahi has paid his own respects following the latest announcement.

“Very few entrepreneurs have built something as profound as Travis Kalanick did with Uber,” he said.

“I'm enormously grateful for Travis' vision and tenacity while building Uber, and for his expertise as a board member.”

Mr Khosrowshahi has faced issues of his own, including one of Uber's test self-drive cars killing a woman, and Transport for London (TfL) deciding not to renew the company's licence to operate in the capital.

Boeing boss ousted days after 737 MAX production grounded

( via– Tue, 24th Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

All 737 MAXs were grounded in March after a plane crashed in Ethiopia, five months after another came down near Indonesia.

Boeing has ousted its boss six days after the company said it was suspending the production of 737 MAX aircraft following two fatal crashes.

The aerospace giant said Dennis Muilenburg had resigned as chief executive and board director with immediate effect.

Reuters news agency reported that Mr Muilenburg may be eligible for nearly $39m in severance. Boeing decline to comment on the figure or whether he would accept it.

Announcing the chief executive's departure, the company said: “The board of directors decided that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the company moving forward as it works to repair relationships with regulators, customers, and all other stakeholders.”

It follows a year of intense scrutiny and industrial setbacks triggered by the two crashes, the company said.

Chairman David Calhoun will serve as chief executive and president from 13 January, it added.

Last Tuesday, the US aircraft maker announced that it would temporarily halt production of the grounded 737 MAX aircraft in January.

The decision was widely seen as a humiliating admission that the fleet's fate lies in the hands of regulators after its own timetable to return the planes to service dragged by months.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said last week it would not grant clearance for the planes before 2020.

All versions of the 737 MAX were grounded worldwide in March – days after an Ethiopian Airlines plane came down outside Addis Ababa, and five months after a Lion Air flight suffered a similar fate near Indonesia.

A total of 346 people died in the crashes.

Mr Muilenburg has led the company since 2015 but his position has come under increasing pressure following the disasters and in October he was stripped of his role as chairman while remaining as chief executive.

Shares in Boeing rose after the announcement that he was departing.

Boeing has been working with US regulators to ensure the 737 MAX aircraft are safe – with modifications focusing on an anti-stall device called the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) in the hope of returning the 737 MAX to service.

After announcing the suspension of the aircrafts' production, the company said it did not expect any job losses “at this time”, leaving the company under pressure to save costs elsewhere as it grapples a growing bill – last put at $9bn (£6.8bn).

That sum is expected to rise significantly.

Boeing has continued to produce 737 MAX jets at around 42 per month, while also purchasing parts from suppliers at a rate of up to 52 units per month.

Deliveries have been frozen until regulators approve the aircraft to fly commercially again, leaving the company scrambling to find space to store hundreds of planes.

Thomas Cook staff felt let down by benefits system

( via – – Mon, 23rd Dec 2019) London, Uk – –

When Thomas Cook collapsed three months ago, staff like Betty Knight, who had worked as cabin crew for 12 years, thought they'd be able to fall back on the welfare system.

But she was left bewildered. When she needed help she struggled to get it. Her application for job seeker's allowance was repeatedly declined.

She's one of dozens who have contacted the BBC in the same situation.

“I've worked hard. I've done everything expected of me to contribute to our society, but when I needed the Department for Work and Pensions, I haven't been able to access that. It left me reeling.”

After being out of work for 11 weeks, Betty has now received around five weeks' of benefits.

Lots of her former Thomas Cook colleagues are in worse situations, telling us they have received nothing and have been poorly advised by their job centres. It stems from confusion over whether they are entitled to job seeker's allowance or universal credit as the tour operator's administration process remains ongoing.

Take Ian Begg who worked as a cabin manager for 14 years. “When we lost Thomas Cook we were just left to go out to pasture,” he says. “My treatment by the job centre has felt like I've been thrown out again. They made me feel not worthy of benefits.”

He was initially told to claim for universal credit which would have a five week processing time. During that five week period, he travelled to Manchester from his parents' house in Scotland for a weekly appointment at the job centre.

However, a day before the first payment was due, his claim was cancelled because he had received a one-off payment from the liquidators of Thomas Cook. He was then advised he should have applied for job seeker's allowance.

Mistakes mean claims being cancelled and long waits to recoup missed payments.

Other former staff have worse stories to tell but are afraid to speak out in case it affects their benefits claims.

Ian has worked all his life and, like Betty, expected to be able to access state support after he was made redundant. He's now given up, and is using his savings and support from his family to live on, before he starts a new job with another airline in 2020.

Rebecca, another former Thomas Cook worker, was heavily pregnant when the firm collapsed. Any prospect of receiving maternity benefits from the company vanished, so she applied for state support.

Eight weeks after applying, however, the claim was cancelled because she'd been sent the wrong paperwork. She's now waiting for a new application to be processed.

“Due to the stress of everything, and the lack of help, I have found myself on anti-depressants and unable to enjoy Christmas and time with my baby,” she says.

‘The system has failed us'

Ian Begg says he too suffered mental health problems following the firm's failure. “For about two weeks after the collapse, I couldn't even get dressed. I couldn't face the world and stayed indoors. I had anxiety and was depressed.”

Ian is managing to slowly move forwards, but many of his former colleagues are still having a tough time, he says, and the difficulties around accessing welfare support have made it worse. “It's wrong, the system has failed us.”

Betty Knight is in contact with hundreds of former colleagues through Facebook and WhatsApp support groups. They are a close-knit community.

One friend and her partner who both worked for Thomas Cook, say they were kicked out of their flat because the landlord knew they would struggle to pay the rent. They are now using their redundancy money to pay for a B&B. Betty says they feel trapped, unable to secure new accommodation or work.

She reports other cases of former colleagues made homeless and living in shelters after landlords refused to allow them to stay on while they tried to find new employment.

Some former Thomas Cook employees have fared better. Ian Houlihan was a Thomas Cook pilot for more than 20 years. “I've been lucky, my job centre in Chorley has been great. I've had access to training. But my other colleagues have been treated appallingly.”

Lots of staff talk about the huge disparities between what is on offer between different job centres.

Adele (not her real name) worked as cabin crew for 20 years. When she lost her job at Thomas Cook she was offered the opportunity of a job at Jet2, last week voted one of the UK's best airlines by Which? Magazine readers.

But, in line with its recruitment policy, Jet2 charges the applicant £700 to train on a four-week Jet2 course. Trainees don't receive any pay while on the course and the applicant fronts all costs. They then have to pass exams at the end to be guaranteed a job.

In some instances, job centres have given applicants £700 to complete this training but in other cases they have refused to pay. Adele says her job centre told her to borrow the money. “How can I?” she says. “I've been out of work for 12 weeks.”

Jet2 said this was its standard recruitment process and would not comment further.

The Department for Work and Pensions has apologised. “We are sorry if people have experienced delayed payments and urge them to stay in contact with their job centre so we can urgently fix their claims.

“We know that losing a job is a distressing time for people. When Thomas Cook collapsed we were ready on day one to help the 11,000 people who lost their jobs.

“Our dedicated staff have helped thousands of those affected, including through home visits to those unable to reach the job centre and by fast-tracking applications so people are supported to find new work or training as soon as possible.”

By Simon Browning