Facebook going to do more to prevent fake news stories

Facebook has said it is going to do more to prevent fake news stories from spreading on the social media website.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg admitted recently that it needs to improve monitoring and policing of content but said it was a “crazy idea” that fake or misleading news on Facebook had helped swing the US presidential election in favour of Donald Trump.

The FCA to revamp the way Financial Services Compensation Schemes are funded

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Thu, 15 Dec, 2016) London, Uk – –

 

British banks
Michael Duxbury/flickr.com

Riskier firms will shoulder bigger contributions into the UK's £3.5bn financial compensation fund under a radical overhaul put forward by the City regulator, which has proposed lifting the cap on some claims to £1m.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has laid out a raft of measures to revamp the way the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is funded and to broaden the industries it covers.

The scheme pays compensation to consumers when financial services firms fail. It paid out £271m in the year to the end of March and received more than 46,000 new claims.

The FCA is now acting in response to concerns that levies have climbed “sharply” for some firms who are covered by the FSCS.

“This has caused concern about the unpredictability of the levies, and led to calls for a re-think of FSCS funding,” the FCA said. “Additionally, in some sectors, a relatively small number of firms have been responsible for a large proportion of FSCS compensation claims.”

While the FSCS should be a last resort, the City regulator is worried the scheme “has increasingly taken on the role of ‘first line of defence’ when a firm fails”.

As part of a sweeping revamp, the watchdog has proposed adopting the principle that the “polluter pays”, meaning those companies that sell products or undertake activities that the regulator deems to be riskier than others pay higher levies.

“Our aim would be for a greater proportion of the cost of the FSCS to be borne by those firms most likely to incur it,” the FCA said.

A so-called risk-based levy differs from the current FSCS funding model, in which the scale of the levies paid by firms are mainly based on their size.

Under the plan put forward by the FCA, firms whose “behaviour reduces risk” would be eligible for discounts on their levies. It wants to start collecting more data from companies about their higher risk products to measure the potential impact of the new model.

In what represents an extensive overhaul of the FSCS, the regulator has also proposed hiking the compensation cap for investments from £50,000 to £1m, as well as lifting the £50,000 limit on pension and life products, in the wake of the recent overhaul of the pensions market.

Furthermore the FCA wants to broaden the compensation scheme to cover some parts of the fund management industry and debt management firms. It has suggested that a company that provided products to an intermediary that subsequently fails should contribute to the fund.

It has also proposed that the Lloyd’s of London insurance market starts paying into the scheme and is examining whether professional indemnity insurance (PII) should be improved, as well as whether buying cover should be mandatory for financial adviser firms.

This would help to relieve pressure on the FSCS by ensuring PII acts as “front stop” when a business is failing before claims are made to the compensation scheme.

A consultation on the FCA’s proposals closes at the end of March and the watchdog aims to issue its new rules next autumn.

By Ben Martin

Britains Jobless rate unchanged, employment falls, wages rise – economy

Some signs of weakness are emerging on the jobs front in Britain.

For the three months to October the unemployment rate stayed at 4.8 percent of the workforce and basic pay rose but the number of people with jobs fell for first time in more than a year.

The total was down by 6,000 at 31.76 million – the first decline since the second quarter of last year.

That suggests the labour market is slowing following the referendum vote for Britain to leave the European Union.

Make sure business gets the maximum access to the European Union’s single market -Brexit minister

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com – – Wed, 14 Dec, 2016) London, UK – –

Brexit Vote
Rareclass/flickr

British Brexit minister David Davis said on Wednesday the government would do all it could to make sure business gets the maximum access to the European Union's single market while minimising disruption in its talks with the bloc.

Davis also said the government was still doing policy work to prepare for the negotiations with the EU and had yet to take all of its decisions, but did not rule out the possibility of a “transitional arrangement” to help business avoid a cliff edge after two years of talks.

“Whatever the transitional arrangement is, we need to know where we're going before we decide on the transition,” he told members of parliament at a question-and-answer session.

“It seems to me that it will be perfectly possible to know what the end game will be in two years.”

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper

Snapchat ‘Spectacles’ used by Doctor for the first-ever lifestream surgery

A London based doctor performed surgery in real time on Snapchat. Dr. Shafi Ahmed used ‘Spectacles’ to give a first person view of a hernia repair surgery at London Independent Hospital. He captured the surgery on $130 Spectacles providing an in-depth look at the procedure and offered insight on what he was doing.

Dr. Ahmed believes in using the tools, from phones to apps, to go beyond the limits and reach more people. According to Ahmed, 150 to 200 medical students tuned to his Snapchat Story.

In April, Ahmed set up a 360-degree camera to document a removal of tumor from patient’s colon. It was the first virtual reality medical film.

Dr. Ahmed is going to publish results of his Snapchat experiment in the coming weeks. He is confident he will continue to use Spectacles in his practice with the hopes of reaching people all around the world.

Apologises for Christmas travel chaos amid RMT and Aslef strikes by Southern rail boss

One of the bosses of GTR, who run under-fire rail company Southern, has apologised for the travel chaos commuters will face throughout December. The RMT and Aslef unions have called for a number of strikes across the month over a long-running dispute about the changing role of conductors on trains. Alex Foulds, the deputy chief operating officer for GTR, also called the Southern service “very poor” and said it was “not good enough”.

Argos delivery drivers preparing to go on strike days before Christmas

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com- – Tue, 13 Dec, 2016) London, Uk – –

The walk-out adds to a wave of industrial action with strikes also hitting the Southern rail network and the Post Office.

Argos Strike
Scott Lewis/Flickr

Drivers who deliver goods for Argos are set to go on strike just days before Christmas in a dispute over pay.

The Unite union said the three-day walkout from next Tuesday threatened “mayhem” for Christmas deliveries.

Argos said it had contingency plans in place and was working to prevent deliveries from being disrupted.

Members of Unite employed by Wincanton – a separate company – at a national distribution centre in Staffordshire are engaged in a dispute over holiday back pay.

Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “This strike by our members will cause havoc and mayhem to deliveries to Argos shoppers in the run-up to Christmas.

“There will be a lot of very unhappy Argos customers, if they don't receive the iPhones, TVs and white goods that they have ordered as presents for relatives this Christmas.”

He said strike dates were only being announced as a last resort and that “Unite's door is open 24/7 to try and settle this long-standing dispute”.

Argos said: “We would encourage both sides to keep talking with the aim of coming to a swift resolution.

“We also have contingency plans in place and can reassure customers we're working hard to ensure this will not impact our deliveries this Christmas.”

The strike adds to the industrial chaos in the run-up to 25 December with hundreds of thousands of passengers being hit by action on the Southern rail network and Post Office workers planning a walkout next week.

Unite said the dispute centred on how holiday pay is calculated after legal cases established that overtime and extra shift payments should be taken into account.

It said managers at Wincanton had offered to backdate additional pay to April, while it maintains this should go back at least two years, and that each driver is owed an average £700.

Wincanton said: “We are disappointed with Unite's announcement given that at Unite's request we already have a meeting scheduled tomorrow morning with ACAS to resolve the issue.”

It said it had already agreed to change holiday pay calculations in a way that exceeds its obligations in line with recent rulings and guidance.

The company added that it was committed to ongoing dialogue with the union.

Crowdfunding faces crackdown by Watchdog

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Tue, 13 Dec, 2016) London, Uk – –

Crowdfunding platforms need tougher rules and restrictions in order to protect investors, the Financial Conduct Authority has said.

The financial watchdog has raised concerns about loan-based businesses, which allow borrowers and lenders to join up without involving banks, and investment platforms, through which members of the public invest in a business or campaign directly.

The FCA said it was difficult for investors to compare crowdfunding investments with other assets given it was often unclear exactly what was being offered.

As a result, investors struggle to assess the risk and returns of giving their money to crowdfunding platforms, and there were some conflicts of interest that were not being managed properly.

Additionally, crowdfunding schemes did not always meet the FCA’s requirements to be “clear, fair and not misleading”, it said.

Firms’ plans for winding down in the event of their failure were also insufficient to allow for repayment of loans, it warned.

According to research by AltFi Data released last month, there have been just five successful ‘exits’, where investors’ capital was returned plus a premium, out of 955 funding rounds across 751 companies and six platforms analysed.

The FCA said it would consult on strengthening rules for wind-down plans, and tighten restrictions on cross-platform investment.

For loan-based platforms, the FCA said it would look to impose standards currently applied to mortgage lending in order to more tightly monitor the conditions in which loans are made.

Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the FCA, said: “Our focus is ensuring that investor protections are appropriate for the risks in the crowdfunding sector while continuing to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers. Based on our findings to date, we believe it is necessary to strengthen investor protection in a number of areas.”

Mr Bailey said the FCA planned to consult next year on new rules to address the problems it had found.

It is the second market intervention by the FCA in a week, after it announced major plans to crack down on spread betters amid fears ordinary investors are losing money. Shares in spread-betting firms – which sell so-called contracts for difference that allow people to trade on price movements in financial markets – slumped after the announcement.

By Rhiannon Bury

Post Office workers prepare for strike action before Christmas

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com- – Mon, 12 Dec, 2016) London, Uk – –

Post Office
Barry W./flickr.com

Post Office workers are to stage five days of strikes in the week leading up to Christmas.

The industrial action next week comes amid a dispute with management over job losses, the closure of a final salary pension scheme and branches being shut.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said the walkout will include Christmas Eve.

A spokesman defended the decision to strike, saying the union feared the Post Office “as we know it” will cease to exist unless “we stand up now”.

The Post Office claimed if the strike action goes ahead then at least 97% of its 11,600 branches will not be involved and it will be “business as
usual in almost all of our network”.

It said over the last four years it had dramatically cut its losses and modernised almost 7,000 post offices, adding more than 200,000 extra opening hours each week.

Kevin Gilliland, the Post Office's network and sales director, said: “Just today, we agreed with the CWU that we would resume talks, which have been ongoing throughout the summer, on Wednesday.

“We are extremely disappointed that they prefer to resort to calls for strike action and we will be reviewing our position in light of this development.

“Our focus must be on supporting our customers, who rely on us at Christmas more than ever.”

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “Our members are being forced into fighting to save their jobs and this great institution from terminal decline.

“We didn't want to be in this position…We are defending the very future of the Post Office in this country.

“We want a Post Office that works for everyone, for communities, for small and medium-sized businesses, and for the people who serve them – our hard-working members.

“But the people running the Post Office have no serious plan other than further closures and managed decline and we won't accept that.”

He added: “We will be making a firm proposal for meaningful talks to establish a vision for the future and, if the company respond to that positively, then this dispute can be avoided.”

CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey said: “All of the blame for this unfortunate turn of events is 100% down to the intransigence of the company.”

He claimed the Post Office had “launched an unprecedented attack on the jobs, job security, and pensions of thousands of hard-working and loyal Post Office workers”.

Virgin Media preparing to launch a new budget broadband brand

Virgin Broadband
Rastin Mehr/flickr.com

Virgin Media is preparing to launch a new budget broadband brand as it expands the coverage of its cable network next year, a move that would open a new front for TalkTalk in its battle to retain market share.

The plans are understood to be at an early stage and under secret development at Virgin Media under the codename Project Prosecco.

If launched, Project Prosecco would represent an unprecedented move downmarket. Sources said Virgin Media was likely to offer significantly lower internet speeds to protect its premium customer base.

BT does something similar with its Plusnet brand, positioned to compete directly with TalkTalk for more budget-conscious households.

Sources said the operator is working towards a potential launch in 2017, although no final decisions have been taken. The initiative is part of a wider effort by Virgin Media to capitalise on the ongoing £3bn investment by its parent company, pan-European operator Liberty Global, in expanding Britain’s cable network.

Coverage is scheduled to increase from around half to two thirds of homes by 2020.

Asked whether Virgin Media would launch a budget broadband, Tom Mockridge, it’s chief executive, said: “There are a lot of people down in the more economic sector. But we think there is room for everyone in this market.”

The move will nevertheless be seen as a threat to TalkTalk. Its share of retail broadband has slid by 10 percentage points since 2010 to just 13pc, and the arrival of a cable budget competitor to target its core market would add to the gloom at TalkTalk, which has lost three fifths of its value in 18 months. A Virgin Media spokesman declined to comment on its plans.

By Christopher Williams

The David Rubenstein Show: Features Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates

The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations” explores successful leadership through the personal and professional choices of the most influential people in business. Renowned financier and philanthropist David Rubenstein travels the country talking to leaders to uncover their stories and their path to success. The first episode features Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

Possible future for 3D printed cars

At the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago, Local Motors 3D printed a plastic car called the Strati.

Local Motors printed the car's chassis and body all in one piece, and also printed the fenders separately. The first phase of the process took just 44 hours.

Then the non-printed components (engine, seats, steering wheel, etc.) were attached in the last stage of the assembly.

“A 3D printed car like ours will only have dozens of components,” Local Motors engineer James Earle told Business Insider. In the near future, he says, it could cost only about $7,000 to manufacture, perhaps the start of what will become a niche market for customized cars.

Coca-Cola announced CEO Muhtar Kent will step down from that role in 2017

On Friday, Coca-Cola announced that its CEO Muhtar Kent will step down from that role in 2017 and be succeeded by the beverage company's No. 2 executive, COO James Quincey. Quincey, who's worked with Coca-Cola for nearly two decades, has led the company's recent drive to cut down sugar in its drinks. In an announcement Friday, Quincey claimed that he'll continue to follow that same as CEO. Wall Street analysts said they had expected Quincey to be promoted to the top job, but originally predicted that it would be announced early next year. Quincey is expected to begin his tenure as CEO on May 1, 2017.