15 Best Luxury ACCESSORIES to Own and Why

Source: Alux

This Alux video we'll try to answer the following questions: Which are the best luxury accessories to own? Which brands have the best accessories? What fashion accessories should I get? What's a good fashion style? What makes a brand luxury? What are the top 10 designer brands? Is Tommy Hilfiger a luxury brand? What brands are better than Gucci? What should every woman own? What should I own by 30? What every classy woman should have? What a girl should have in her bag? What every 40 year old woman should own? What every girl needs from Amazon? What is the cheapest luxury brand? Is Zara a luxury brand? Is Fendi better than Gucci? Is Calvin Klein a luxury brand? What's the most expensive brand? What should every man carry? What every 40 year old man should have? What every home needs? What's the most expensive luxury brand? Is Kate Spade a luxury brand? What brands do the rich wear? Which is more expensive Gucci or Louis Vuitton? What's the most expensive brand in the world? What's the most expensive brand? Is Proenza Schouler a luxury brand? What is true luxury? Is Tommy Hilfiger high quality? Why is Tommy Hilfiger so expensive? Is coach a high end brand? Where are luxury brands made? What are the top luxury brands? What is the new luxury? What is the most popular fashion accessory? What are the top trends for 2020? What accessories are trending 2019? Are headbands in style for 2020? What shoes will be popular in 2020? Are scarves out of style 2020? What are the new colors for 2020? Are skinny jeans still in style 2020? What is the color for spring 2020? What crafts are trending for 2020? What fashion trends are out for 2020? What is the hottest trend right now? Are leggings Still in Style 2020? What should you not wear after 50? Is Boho Still in Style 2020?

Hospitality chain The Restaurant Group expect one in 10 of their outlets will not reopen this year

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Fri , 10th July 2020) London, Uk – –

Owner of chains including Frankie & Benny’s hopes to open most by end of September

The hospitality chain the Restaurant Group (TRG) has said that one in 10 of its restaurants and pubs will not reopen this year, with the sector struggling to recover after the coronavirus lockdown.

The owner of chains including Wagamama, Frankie & Benny’s, and Garfunkel’s has reduced its overall business to about 400 locations, down from more than 600 at the start of 2020.

The group said it had secured additional funds and would prolong executive pay cuts to weather the crisis. TRG said it had taken £50m from the government’s coronavirus large business interruption loan scheme, allowing it to extend its credit facilities. Directors will take a 33% pay rise this month from their reduced lockdown levels, but still receive 20% below their normal basic salary while some of TRG’s 15,000 staff remain furloughed.

It said one in four restaurants would reopen by the end of the month, after the UK government revised its lockdown rules to open up dining from last weekend. About 60% would be open by the end of August, with most of the remainder reopened by the end of September, TRG said.

However, it said the last 10% were not expected to reopen in 2020 at all because of “considerably weak” footfall – particularly in its airport locations.

The pandemic has hastened plans by TRG to reduce its restaurant portfolio, with the casual dining sector already feeling the chill winds across empty tables in recent years. While Wagamama, which TRG bought in 2018 for £559m and has been operating for delivery during the lockdown, appears to be relatively secure, other brands in the group have been harder hit.

In March, as virtually all restaurants were closed because of the Covid-19 outbreak, TRG issued a profit warning and said that 61 – more than three in four – branches of its Tex-Mex Chiquito restaurants would stay closed, along with its 11 Food & Fuel pubs in London, with the loss of 1,500 jobs.

Last month it announced 3,000 more jobs would go with another 120 permanent restaurant closures, primarily hitting its Frankie & Benny’s Italian-American outlets.

TRG had signalled last September it would be trimming its leisure division by closing some Frankie & Benny’s, Garfunkel’s and Chiquito branches over a six-year period. However, it told managers this year that the branches were no longer viable, once coronavirus had joined the headwinds of rising costs and changing consumer habits fuelled by companies such as Deliveroo.Advertisement

Last week TRG’s rival Casual Dining Group, which owns Café Rouge and Las Iguanas, went into administration, closing 91 restaurants and making 1,900 staff redundant.

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, this week launched a meal-deal voucher scheme to whet public appetite to return to restaurants, with up to £10 per head off for diners from Monday to Wednesday during August.

By Gwyn Topham

Aerospace engineer Rolls-Royce burns through 3 billion pounds, expects more cash outflows

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 9th July 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Aerospace engineer Rolls-Royce (RR.L) burned through 3 billion pounds ($3.8 billion) in the first half as the hours flown by its engines halved due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and said it expected a further 1 billion pound outflow in the second half.

The British company, which makes engines for the Boeing 787 and Airbus 350, said flying hours fell 75% in April, May and June, and it had only seen a marginal improvement since.

Chief Executive Warren East said Rolls had started reviewing options for strengthening its balance sheet, and it had 8.1 billion pounds at hand even after the first-half outflow.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a shock across the entire civil aviation industry,” East told reporters on Thursday.

“Across the first half of this year, widebody engine flying hours, which we get paid for under our servicing contract, were half of what they were last year.”

Rolls has announced at least 9,000 job cuts, mainly in its civil aviation business, which has born the brunt of the coronavirus impact. Its defence business had been resilient, East said, while power systems had been impacted in part.

East said sites could be cut as well as jobs.

He said the restructuring would drive a recovery in free cash inflow to at least 750 million pounds in 2022.

Its shares, which are down 58% since the start of the year, were down 8% at 265 pence at 0821 GMT.

Analysts at JP Morgan, who have argued that Rolls needs to issue 6 billion pounds of equity to ensure its future, said the trading update was “materially worse” than its expectations.

“If there is a second wave of COVID-19 or a slower than hoped for recovery then it is very possible, in our view, that the UK government will need to step in to save Rolls-Royce,” they said.

The first-half outflow included a 1.1 billion pound fall in engine flying hours receipts and deliveries and a 1.1 billion pound hit from the voluntary end of invoice factoring, which it used to align cash receipts with deliveries, Rolls said.

($1 = 0.7911 pounds)

Reporting by Paul Sandle

Uber join forces with Thames Clippers London to launch commuter boat service

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Wed, 8th July 2020) London, Uk – –

US firm will buy naming rights for fleet and piers, and users can book journeys on its app

Uber is to extend its reach in London by taking to the water, with the Thames Clippers commuter service to be rebranded Uber Boat and bookable through the US company’s app.

A formal partnership will be launched this summer, allowing Uber users to book a Thames river journey through the app, and board using a QR code on their phone. Uber will buy the naming rights for the 20-strong fleet of river boats and Thames Clipper’s piers from Putney to Woolwich, in a rolling contract expected to last for at least three years.

A move into fix-scheduled commuter boats is a first for Uber. Users will still pay the same price and although there are hopes for an integrated service, for now they will not be able to book an end-to-end journey with a connecting car. Thames Clippers tickets will still be available to buy elsewhere and the boats remain part of the Oyster network.

Sean Collins, Thames Clippers’ co-founder and chief executive, said: “In our 22nd year of operation it is key that we continue to support London and its commuters with the ease of lockdown and return to work. The new partnership will allow us to link the two travel modes of river and road, providing Londoners and visitors with even more options to commute, visit, explore and enjoy our city by river.”

Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, Jamie Heywood, said: “Many Londoners are looking for new ways to travel around the city, particularly when they start commuting back to work.”

The boat service resumed on 15 June after being closed when the coronavirus outbreak took hold. It has reduced capacity and passengers must wear face masks, in line with Transport for London (TfL) guidance. Last year 4.3m passengers used the Thames Clippers service, which remains majority-owned by AEG, the owner-operators of the O2entertainment venue.

TfL has yet to renew Uber’s licence to operate private hire cars in London. Uber’s application for a new licence was rejected in November because of safety fears after some drivers were found to have faked their identity. It has been allowed to continue operating pending an appeal – which was originally due to have been heard in a magistrate’s court this week. However, because of the impact of the pandemic on TfL’s resources, the hearing has been postponed until September.

TfL said it granted licences to river operators such as Thames Clippers “who comply with our high safety standards” but played no role in any partnerships with other businesses and organisations.

By Gwyn Topham

How Nintendo Switch became one of the most popular consoles on the market

Source: CNBC

Over the last 40 years, Nintendo has provided countless hours of video gaming entertainment. But with the rise of the Switch, the company took a huge step forward. And during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, finding one was harder than finding toilet paper. Here’s how the Nintendo Switch took the gaming world by surprise and became one of the most popular consoles on the market.

Three of Europe’s biggest airlines end legal challenge to UK’s quarantine policy

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Fri, 3rd July 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Three of Europe’s biggest airlines said on Friday they would end a legal challenge against the British government after it scrapped its quarantine rule for travellers coming from some of the most popular tourist destinations.

The government said the policy would be ended for English holidaymakers to countries such as France, Spain and Italy, although it would be maintained for the United States.

The policy announcement coincided with a planned court hearing for a legal challenge to the measures by British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair.

The airlines heavily criticised the government’s introduction of a blanket rule that all travellers arriving from abroad must self-isolate for 14 days on June 8, saying it jeopardised the industry’s recovery from the crisis.

However, they agreed to end the legal challenge after the government said it would publish a list of countries to which the rules would not apply.

“The blanket quarantine introduced by the UK Government on everyone entering into England was irrational and has seriously damaged the economy and the travel industry,” the airlines said in a statement.

“Today’s publication of a list of countries is a first step. We look forward to the publication of the rationale behind the decision-making and the continued lifting of the quarantine from safe countries.”

Tom Hickman, representing the airlines, had earlier argued that the restrictions on travellers were stricter than those imposed at the height of the coronavirus lockdown, and that the rate of infection in different countries should be taken into account.

The government said the policy was a crucial step to avoid a second wave of COVID-19, and their lawyers said that the measures had been justified and proportionate.

By Alistair Smout

A full list of countries for which quarantine will not apply published, for those arriving back in England

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 3rd July 2020) London, Uk – –

A full list of countries for which quarantine will not apply to people arriving back in England has been published.

Countries including Greece, Spain, France and Belgium are on the list, which comes into effect from 10 July.

But countries such as China, US, Sweden and Portugal are not, meaning arrivals from those have to isolate for 14 days.

Scotland and Wales are yet to decide whether to ease travel restrictions and described the changes as “shambolic”.

The quarantine rules will also remain in place in Northern Ireland for visitors arriving from outside of the UK and Republic of Ireland.

The restrictions came into place in early June in a bid to stop coronavirus entering the country as the number of cases was falling.

Speaking at the Downing Street press briefing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Instead of quarantining arrivals from the whole world, we will only quarantine arrivals from those countries where the virus is sadly not under control.”

People travelling from the 59 places and 14 British overseas territories on the list will not have to quarantine on arrival in England unless they have travelled through a place which is not exempt.

Passengers will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in England.

Some of those on the list include popular short-haul destinations such as Turkey and Cyprus, as well as long-haul locations including Australia, Barbados, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Vietnam.

However, some countries will require visitors to isolate on arrival or will bar them from entering at all, such as New Zealand.

The Foreign Office is expected to update its travel guidance on Saturday, including naming which countries will have a reciprocal arrangement with the UK and not require British visitors to quarantine on arrival.

A proposed traffic light system, which would have seen countries marked as red, amber or green depending on the prevalence of the virus, has been dropped, the Department for Transport confirmed.

A list of countries which will be exempt from the Foreign Office's advice against “all but essential travel” from Saturday has also been published.

The advice has been lifted for Portugal but only for the Azores and Madeira.

Portugal's Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva told BBC Radio 4's PM programme: “We are very disappointed with the decision of the British authorities. We think it is senseless and unfair.

“It is quite absurd the UK has seven times more cases of Covid-19 than Portugal so we think this is not the way in which allies and friends are treated.”

His prime minister, António Costa, tweeted comparing the UK's number of coronavirus cases with that of the Algarve, a popular holiday destination, saying: “You are welcome to spend a safe holiday in the Algarve.”

The government said information for travel into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be published in due course by the devolved administrations.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said finalising the list of countries had been delayed – after scrapping the quarantine was announced last week – in the hope that the four UK nations could reach a joint decision.

He said there was “still an opportunity” for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to co-ordinate and therefore make the changes more simple.

But the first ministers of both Scotland and Wales have criticised the government, with Nicola Sturgeon saying Scotland could not be dragged along by the UK government's “shambolic decision making”.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said the approach had been “utterly shambolic”.

However, he added it was likely the Welsh government would impose the same measures as in England, provided the chief medical officer for Wales gave approval.

Mr Johnson said in a televised coronavirus briefing from Downing Street that the nations of the UK were following “very similar paths but at different speeds”.

Asked if a family from Scotland could drive to England and fly out and back from an overseas country to get around different quarantine rules the prime minister said that while he knew the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales had a “slightly different take” on it the “convoy is very much going in the same direction”.

“I'm sure we'll get there together and common sense will apply.”

The introduction of the quarantine on 8 June was met with criticism from the travel, tourism and hospitality industries and the easing of restrictions on arrivals from some countries has been welcomed.

A statement on behalf of airlines Ryanair, easyJet and British Airways said the move to quarantine people had been “irrational” and had seriously damaged the economy and industry.

It added the carriers wanted clarification on how countries included on the lists were selected.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of industry body Airline UK, said the lists gave “a clear path to opening further predominantly long-haul destinations in the weeks ahead”.

TUI UK and Ireland managing director Andrew Flintham said the company was pleased the government had confirmed “summer holidays are saved” and said it was a “significant step forward” for the industry.

The chief executive of Booking Holdings, which owns the brands Booking.com and Kayak.com, called for a coordinated effort from governments around the world to set out principles as to why someone can travel from one country to another.

Glenn Fogel told BBC World News current measures were “totally chaotic” but he welcomed England's announcement saying the UK is “an important part of the global tourism industry”.

VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said the lifting of travel restrictions for some of the “largest and most valuable visitor markets” was a “timely boost” for the industry.

Pilots union, the British Airline Pilots Association, said it was an important first step and said it was working with authorities to make sure the return to operations would be safe for pilots, passengers and crew.

An Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) spokeswoman said there was likely to be a strong demand for holidays and it was important people considered how this might affect their plans.

“It is especially important that customers also check the latest Foreign Office travel advice before booking, to establish if there are entry restrictions or self-isolation procedures on arrival, or any other measures they need to comply with, in the destination they are planning to visit,” she said.

A High Court challenge by British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair against the government's 14-day quarantine is set to be withdrawn, their barrister Tom Hickman QC said.

Dozens of countries exempt from UK travel quarantine from Monday

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Thur, 2nd July 2020) London, Uk – –

Dozens of countries will be exempt from a travel quarantine from Monday, UK government sources have indicated.

Currently, most people arriving into the UK from anywhere apart from the Republic of Ireland have to self-isolate for two weeks.

Ministers had previously indicated they were working to establish a relatively small number of travel corridors.

Travel and tourism companies have been calling for urgent clarity over the corridors amid rising bookings.

Last weekend, the government said it would relax its advice on travel abroad and would rate countries as either green, amber or red, depending on the prevalence of the virus.

Now government sources have indicated that a very long list of countries is likely to be published by the end of this week.

It is possible that up to 75 countries deemed low or very low risk will be exempt from the UK's quarantine from Monday, 6 July.

Some of the countries on this new list do still have restrictions on people travelling in the other direction, from the UK.

Other higher-risk countries, such as the US, will be categorised as red.

Analysis: Tom Burridge

So the government is about to announce something which aviation bosses, many MPs and some scientists have advocated from the beginning – a targeted quarantine which only impacts people arriving into the UK from high risk ‘red' countries.

It is the opposite of the government's blanket-style approach which has been in place for less than four weeks.

You could call it a ‘U-turn'.

For days, if not weeks, the government has indicated that it wanted a relatively small number of bilateral-style ‘travel corridors', namely with European nations, where the virus is under control.

It appears that approach hit a number of hurdles.

Some countries, like Greece, weren't willing to reciprocate in the short-term.

While there was nothing to stop people travelling into the UK from a higher risk country, via a lower risk one to avoid the quarantine.

The optics concerning Portugal are illuminating. First it seemed to be top of the list of exemptions. Then last week sources indicated it was off the list. The situation regarding Portugal now is unclear.

The process was further complicated by both the Welsh and Scottish governments saying they might follow a separate approach.

Travel companies will be pleased about a much longer list of exemptions but they've been pulling their hair out over the confusion, and the delay in making a final announcement, which is now expected by the end of this week.

And critics will question why the government did not go for a more nuanced approach in the first place.

Presentational grey line

It seems that agreeing a small number of travel corridors with specific countries was fraught with risk. The Scottish government has expressed concern about plans to relax the quarantine and it is still in discussion with officials and politicians in Westminster.

Travel companies have called on the government to publish its list as soon as possible, to end the confusion.

George Morgan-Grenville, chief executive of travel company Red Savannah and long-time critic of the quarantine rules, told the BBC he was “very encouraged” by news that a clarification was imminent.

He said the restrictions had been “a disaster for the industry, which had been prevented from getting back on its feet”.

Your travel rights

Most people intending to travel overseas when restrictions are lifted may find their travel insurance does not cover every risk created by coronavirus.

A number of new policies will now cover medical treatment for Covid-19 which has been caught while in a resort.

However, people who need to cancel a holiday because they develop symptoms before going away, or are told to self-isolate at home, might not be covered.

People who bought an annual policy before the outbreak could have greater protection, depending on the terms and conditions of the cover.

Those on package holidays will get a refund or can rebook if travel restrictions are re-imposed but, as with new travel insurance, most will not get their money back if they pick up symptoms or are told to self-isolate just before they are due to travel.

Why The New Media Loves Fortnite

Source: Alux

This Alux video we'll try to answer the following questions: What is Fortnite? How do you spell Fortnight? Why the new media loves fortnite? Why do guys like fortnite so much? Why is fortnite so bad? Why fortnite is good for your brain? Why is fortnite addicting? Is fortnite a sin? Does fortnite make you dumber? Is fortnite ok for 10 year olds? Should fortnite be banned? Is fortnite OK for 7 year old? Can fortnite damage your brain? Is fortnite OK for 9 year olds? Does fortnite make you smarter? Is fortnite OK for kids? Who is the best fortnite player? How long should you play fortnite a day? Why is fortnite bad for kids? What game is the most addictive? How do I quit fortnite? Is fortnite dying? Is fortnite game Dangerous? s Minecraft better than fortnite? What does fortnite stand for? Is fortnite suitable for 12 year olds? Is fortnite appropriate for 11 year olds? Why is fortnite so successful? Is Roblox bad for kids? Why is fortnite a 12? What is the concept of fortnite? What is the point of fortnite? Is fortnite OK for kids? What kind of game is fortnite? Should a 7 year old play fortnite? Is fortnite shutting down in 2020? Why is fortnite so addictive? Is fortnite dying? How do you get free V bucks? Is fortnite good for your brain? Why is fortnite shut down? What does whisper mean in fortnite? Is Roblox better than fortnite? Why is fortnite a 12? Is Roblox bad for kids? Is fortnite OK for 9 year olds? What is fortnite's birthday? How can you tell a fortnite bot? Is Ninja still good at fortnite? How much does Ninja make a year? How much is the Ninja skin on fortnite? What is Ninja's fortnite name? Who is best fortnite Player 2020? Does Fortnite pay ninja? Who is the richest gamer? Who is the highest paid gamer? How much is Ninja worth? Is Ninja still making money? How much did Microsoft pay for ninja? Who is the best fortnite player? Is fortnite losing popularity? Does Ninja play warzone? What team is Ninja on in fortnite? Why is fortnite banned in China? What country is fortnite banned in? Who has the most kills in fortnite?

This Spectacular 700-square-foot FLOATING HOME is Self-Built and Fully Off-Grid

Source: Exploring Alternatives

This stunning 700-square-foot, self-built float home is fully off-grid with solar power, a pellet stove, a composting toilet, and an evaporation grey water system that ensures nothing is dumped overboard! It has an open concept kitchen, living and dining space, a master bedroom and bathroom on the main floor, two bedrooms on the second floor, and the wraparound deck up top gives 360 degree views.

Marks & Spencer and Next vying for control of British operations of Victoria’s Secret

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 26th June 2020) London, Uk – –

Sky News has learnt that the pair are interested in becoming Victoria's Secret's parent company's new UK franchise partner.

Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Next, Britain's two best-known clothing retailers, are vying to take control of the British operations of Victoria's Secret, the lingerie brand.

Sky News has learnt that the two high street giants are among the parties interested in becoming Victoria's Secret's parent company's new UK franchise partner.

At least one other unnamed party is also understood to have expressed an interest in a deal with Deloitte, which was appointed as the chain's administrator earlier this month.

News of the talks has emerged on the same day that Victoria's Secret is reopening roughly a third of its 25 UK shops following the three-month coronavirus lockdown.

Industry sources said that any bidder wanting to franchise the Victoria's Secret brand in the UK and retain a physical footprint would seek fundamentally restructured rental terms from any ongoing stores.

The Victoria's Secret shops which reopen on Friday are said to have struck revised rent deals with their landlords.

The interest from M&S and Next effectively sparks a bidding battle between the two most prominent clothing retailers in Britain.

M&S's involvement is likely to be of particular interest to retail analysts.

At its recent full-year results, the company said it would open its digital platform and largest stores “to complementary guest brands to broaden appeal and increase online growth”.

M&S already controls 27% of the UK lingerie market, with 36% of the market for bras, so it is unclear whether any franchise deal could attract interest from competition watchdogs.

Analysts suggested that Next was a more likely franchisee for the Victoria's Secret brand, owing to its success selling third-party products from the likes of Abercrombie & Fitch, Boss and Under Armour.

The sale process, which is at an early stage, was triggered last month when one of the world's most prominent women's underwear groups announced that its UK arm was pursuing a ‘light touch' administration – a process that allows its existing management to remain in control of the business while offering protection from creditors.

The insolvency only affects the UK operations, and has no impact on its presence in the US or other markets.

Victoria's Secret's parent company, L Brands, had been in discussions about being taken over by Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm, before the talks were abandoned last month.

Despite its profile, Victoria's Secret has struggled financially in the UK, making an operating loss of £170m in the year to 20 February.

Uncertainty over the future of its UK outlets underlines the broader trend in British retailing, which has seen vast numbers of chains refusing to pay their full rent bills for the third quarter, with footfall and sales at a fraction of the usual levels because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Analysts believe that the pandemic has accelerated a structural shift across the industry, with clothing retailers such as Cath Kidston, Debenhams, Laura Ashley and Monsoon Accessorize among those to fall into administration since March.

Some have emerged to resume trading, but with drastically reduced physical footprints.

At the time of Deloitte's appointment as administrator, Rob Harding, a partner at the firm, said: “This is yet another blow to the UK high street and a further example of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the entire retail industry.

“The effect of the lockdowns, combined with broader challenges facing bricks and mortar retailers, has resulted in a funding requirement for this business, resulting in today's administration.”

M&S and Next declined to comment, while a spokesman for Victoria's Secret UK said: “We continue to work closely with Deloitte to review a range of possible outcomes.”

‘The money’s gone’: Wirecard collapses owing $4 billion

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 25th June 2020) London, UK —

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Wirecard (WDIG.DE) collapsed on Thursday owing creditors almost $4 billion (£3.2 billion) after disclosing a gaping hole in its books that its auditor EY said was the result of a sophisticated global fraud.

The payments company filed for insolvency at a Munich court saying that, with 1.3 billion euros (£1.2 billion) of loans due within a week its survival as a going concern was “not assured”.

Wirecard’s implosion came just seven days after EY, its auditor for more than a decade, refused to sign off on the 2019 accounts, forcing out Chief Executive Markus Braun and leading it to admit that $2.1 billion of its cash probably didn’t exist.

“There are clear indications that this was an elaborate and sophisticated fraud involving multiple parties around the world,” EY said in a statement.

EY said while it was completing the 2019 audit, it was provided with false confirmations with regard to escrow accounts and reported them to the relevant authorities.

Wirecard declined to comment following EY’s statement.

The financial technology company is the first member of Germany’s prestigious DAX stock index to go bust, barely two years after winning a spot among the country’s top 30 listed companies with a market valuation of $28 billion.

“The Wirecard case damages corporate Germany. It should be a wake-up call for reforms,” said Volker Potthoff, chairman of corporate governance think-tank ArMID.

Creditors have scant hope of getting back the 3.5 billion euros they are owed, sources familiar with the matter said. Of that total, Wirecard has borrowed 1.75 billion from 15 banks and issued 500 million in bonds.

“The money’s gone,” said one banker. “We may recoup a few euros in a couple of years but will write off the loan now.”

‘TOTAL DISASTER’

The collapse of Wirecard, once one of the hottest fintech companies in Europe, dwarfs other German corporate failures. It has shaken the country’s financial establishment, with Felix Hufeld, the head of regulator BaFin, calling the scandal a “total disaster”.

Wirecard shares, which were suspended ahead of an earlier announcement that it would seek creditor protection, crashed 80% when trading resumed. They have lost 98% since auditor EY questioned its accounts last Thursday.

EY, one of the world’s “Big Four” accountancy and consulting firms, faces a wave of litigation in a debacle that has drawn comparisons with Arthur Andersen’s disastrous oversight of U.S. energy company Enron.

German law firm Schirp & Partner said that with Wirecard now effectively sidelined, it would file class actions against EY on behalf of shareholders and bondholders.

“It is frightening how long Wirecard AG was able to operate without being objected to by the auditors,” partner Wolfgang Schirp said.

Wirecard’s new management had been in crisis talks with creditors but pulled out on Thursday morning “due to impending insolvency and over-indebtedness”.

The insolvency filing did not include its Wirecard Bank subsidiary, which holds an estimated 1.4 billion euros in deposits and is already under emergency management by BaFin.

‘COMPLETE VINDICATION’

A second source close to talks with creditors said although the company had a healthy core, it had faked two-thirds of its sales. This meant there was no way it could repay all its debt, notwithstanding all the legal challenges it will face.

The ascent of Wirecard, which was founded in 1999 and is based in a Munich suburb, was dogged by allegations from whistleblowers, reporters and speculators that its revenue and profits had been pumped up through fake transactions.

Braun fended off the critics for years before finally calling in outside auditor KPMG late last year to run an independent investigation.

KPMG, which published its findings in April, was unable to verify 1 billion euros in cash balances, questioned Wirecard’s acquisition accounting and said it could not trace hundreds of millions in cash advances to merchants.

“Today is a complete vindication for those that exposed the fraud,” said Fraser Perring, who bet on a fall in Wirecard’s shares and co-authored a 2016 report that alleged fraud.

The Munich prosecutor’s office, which is investigating Braun on suspicion of misrepresenting Wirecard’s accounts and of market manipulation, said: “We will now look at all possible criminal offences.”

Braun was arrested on Monday and released on bail of 5 million euros a day later. Former chief operating officer Jan Marsalek is also under suspicion and believed to be in the Philippines, according to justice officials there.

By Arno Schuetze, John O'Donnell, Additional reporting by Joern Poltz, Hans Seidenstuecker and Edward Taylor

Mercedes-Benz cars struck a deal with Nvidia to produce cars from 2024 with a chip and software platform

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 23rd June 2020) London, UK —

(Reuters) – Semiconductor maker Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O) said on Tuesday it struck a deal with Germany’s Daimler Mercedes-Benz (DAIGn.DE) to provide cars produced from 2024 with a chip and software platform that can eventually be used for autonomous driving functions.

“We intend to join forces to create a software-defined vehicle and deploy this across the entire next generation’s fleet,” Nvidia Senior Director of Automotive Danny Shapiro told reporters.

Shapiro declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal. The deal covers chips and software for the vehicle system.

The new partnership followed Daimler’s move last week to pause a development alliance with rival German luxury carmaker BMW in the area of automated driving.

Shapiro said the high-end Nvidia Drive AGX Orin Platform – an autonomous vehicle processor – would be standard in every Mercedes-Benz vehicle. With that in place, consumers will be able to update the car’s software the way smartphones are updated today.

Asked how the Mercedes-Benz partnership will affect Nvidia’s decade-long collaboration with Audi AG (NSUG.DE), Shapiro said neither arrangement was exclusive. With Mercedes-Benz there is “a huge dedication, huge energy, huge investment from both companies to bring this to market,” he said.

Mercedes-Benz sold 2.39 million cars worldwide in 2019. The two companies have been working together on autonomous driving and artificial intelligence car technology for over five years.

Reporting by Jane Lanhee Lee

Will Rishi Sunak cut shop prices to boost the High Street?

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 22nd June 2020) London, Uk – –

“Timely, temporary and targeted” was the advice given to the Treasury Select Committee on stimulating the economy by the former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers in the depths of the 2008 financial crisis.

These words found their way into the pre-Budget documents to describe the immediate 13-month VAT cut from 17.5% to 15% announced by then Chancellor Alistair Darling.

The same phrase was used by current Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his Budget in March to describe the first steps in pandemic support packages. And, following Germany's temporary 3% cut in VAT, the prospect of a similar tax cut is again up for discussion in the UK.

The policy is certainly timely, because it can be enacted with immediate effect. And because it is reversible, it serves as a temporary stimulus.

Stimulus

In 2008, it was argued that a general VAT cut was targeted because it was aimed at supporting consumer confidence. But that is far more debatable. It certainly was expensive, though. The upfront cost was £13bn over two years, amount to half of the Darling stimulus package.

Most of this shifted spending in time into the cheaper VAT period. The net impact? A 1% increase in retail sales, just shy of the 0.5% overall boost to consumers predicted by the Treasury at the time, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The argument floating around government earlier in the month was that there was little point in stimulating shops, restaurants and pubs that were not open. Physically enabling trade would be a prerequisite.

The thinking in Germany was to incentivise spending and consumer confidence as soon as retail reopened, rather than see those who could not physically spend during lockdown, and were so forced to save, choosing to maintain high savings.

Consumer confidence

The point about the temporary cut is to get money flowing in the economy quickly. It has some interesting quirks as a policy. Back in late 2008, 43% of local shops only changed their prices at the till, leaving shelf prices unchanged. It is a considerable logistical cost to do so.

However, the impact on consumer confidence was marked. There was a significant rise in sentiment towards both buying household goods and making major purchases, according to the Nationwide consumer confidence survey.

The major purchases index went above boom time levels and continued even after VAT went back up, but then fell sharply when VAT was increased again under the Coalition in January 2011.

The considerations here are whether the Treasury chooses to make this truly targeted on particular sectors – such as pubs and restaurants, rather than pass further boost to say mainly online retailers.

The cost may be less than normal, too, given VAT revenues are in any case going to be sharply down. But it is still pricey.

Also, it is unclear how much additional difference a 2.5% cut in prices will really achieve on top of already anticipated reopening sales and price cuts?

Wherever things go, a clear decision will be needed quickly. Speculating that VAT will be cut in the near future will simply serve to delay purchases, as consumers wait for an anticipated saving.

By Faisal Islam

The Real Reason The Aunt Jemima Brand Is Changing Its Name

Source: Mashed

On June 15, 2020, Miami-based singer-songwriter Kirby Maurier posted a TikTok video called “How Not to Make a Racist Breakfast” that drew attention to the fact that many brands' logos and images, like Aunt, are still deeply rooted in offensive stereotypes. As the video quickly went viral, it drew a lot of attention from both social and mainstream media, with Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian tweeting in disbelief, “How is Aunt Jemima not canceled?”