WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A nonprofit group with a mission to protect democracy filed a lawsuit on Monday seeking any records of communications between the White House and the Justice Department over Walt Disney Co’s ( DIS.N ) $52.4 billion deal to buy film, television and international businesses from Rupert […]
The chief executive of Jigsaw is stepping down from the High Street fashion chain with immediate effect. Peter Ruis is leaving Jigsaw after four and a half years at the helm. He will be replaced by Jigsaw’s chairman Charles Atterton who the company said “will return to an executive role”. Last year, Jigsaw’s controlling shareholder and founder John Robinson appointed KPMG to help find a buyer for the business.
Mr Ruis, who joined Jigsaw from John Lewis in September 2013, said his decision to leave was not “taken lightly”. He said: “As I head off to my next challenge I feel immense pride in what has been achieved. The brand is well set to continue its stellar growth in the future.” Mr Atterton was previously joint chief executive of Jigsaw with Mr Robinson between 1997 and 2013, when Mr Ruis joined the group. Jigsaw said last year that it had received a number of approaches about buying a minority or majority stake in the company. A spokesperson for Jigsaw said: “On behalf of the board we would like to take this opportunity to thank Peter. He will be heading to his next career chapter with our best wishes.”
The proposed hostile takeover of UK engineering giant GKN could have “a detrimental impact” on the company’s ability to fund its pension scheme, the Pensions Regulator has warned.Melrose Industries has offered £7.4bn for the 259 year-old firm. But there are worries over the level of additional debt GKN would take on if the takeover goes ahead. Bosses of both companies are due before a parliamentary committee on Tuesday as the battle over GKN intensifies.
Ahead of the hearing, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee published a letter from the Pensions Regulator expressing concern over whether Melrose’s takeover would weaken GKN’s position in fulfilling its pension obligations. The Pensions Regulator, said: “From the outset we have been concerned that the increased leverage involved in the proposed takeover by Melrose is likely to have a detrimental impact on convenant”.
“Covenant” refers to the company’s ability to fulfil its current and future pension obligations.
Companies involved in takeovers can submit details of their plans to the Pensions Regulator and obtain clearance if the regulator is satisfied that they are putting sufficient mitigating measures in place. However, applying for clearance is voluntary.
A hundred years ago, teams of women were playing in front of large crowds and making big money. Then the Football Association banned them from its grounds. Here’s the story of the fall and rise of women’s football, told through 10 objects collected by the National Football Museum.
“Complaints having been made as to football being played by women, the [FA] council feel impelled to express their strong opinion that the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged.
“Complaints have also been made as to the conditions under which some of these matches have been arranged and played, and the appropriation of receipts to other than charitable objects.”
With these words in 1921, the FA decided to ban the playing of women’s football in FA-member grounds – which strangled the game as a successful business as the stricture remained in place for 50 years. In other countries there were outright bans on women playing. After decades in the wilderness the game as a commercial spectacle in the UK has been finding its feet again, and internationally World Cups are major sporting spectacles.
Off the playing field, the largest ever collection of women’s football memorabilia has been acquired by the National Football Museum in Manchester, in preparation for an exhibition expected to be opened this year. They highlight the growth, downturn, and revival of women’s football. Jean Williams, the University of Wolverhampton’s professor of sport has been researching the history of the women’s game for more than 25 years, and is the academic leading the project. Here Prof Williams takes us through 10 objects which show the business history and struggles of the women’s game.
Imagine being able to charge your electric car in minutes rather than hours, or your smartphone in seconds. That’s the enticing prospect being touted by researchers who reckon they’ve discovered a new material that could boost the performance of a carbon-based supercapacitor – sometimes called an ultracapacitor – a type of energy storage device that can be charged very quickly and offload its power very quickly, too.
Dr Donald Highgate, director of research at Superdielectrics Ltd, says a material he originally developed for soft contact lenses is also surprisingly good at holding an electrostatic field. Very simply, supercapacitors don’t produce electricity through chemical reactions as conventional batteries do, they create these electrostatic fields. Dr Highgate is working with Bristol and Surrey universities to develop supercapacitors using the new polymer and hopes that they could eventually rival, or even surpass, lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries – so long as they manage to replicate prototype performance on a large scale.
WeChat has hit one billion monthly users for the first time, the owner of the Chinese messaging app has revealed. The vast majority of its users are based in China, where it’s known as Weixin, and where the recent Lunar New Year boosted it past the milestone. But it is still lagging behind Facebook-owned WhatsApp which has about 1.5 billion monthly users. WeChat is the jewel in the crown of Chinese tech giant Tencent. But why is it so popular? Here are five reasons it has done so well. It’s not just about messaging.
Sure, it began as a messaging app. And it does at first glance look and feel a bit like WhatsApp and Viber. But WeChat evolved quickly, and it lets users do much more than just communicate with their friends and family. It serves as China’s biggest social network. But it’s also where people turn to book a taxi, order food, make a doctors appointment, do their banking, or find a date. And when they are playing games like the huge Tencent-owned hit Honour of Kings, WeChat is where players compare scores with their friends. WeChat has let millions of businesses get into the smartphones of customers and would-be customers. While it is making in-roads in South East Asia and South Africa, WeChat really is still all about China.
Jaguar Land Rover and Cadbury’s-owner Mondelez have both shut plants in the Midlands due to water shortages caused by burst pipes in the region. Severn Trent Water is working to fix water supply problems caused by the big thaw after recent cold weather. Mondelez said there is no water supply to its manufacturing site in Bournville but said: “Our supply of chocolate is not immediately impacted.”
Jaguar Land Rover said workers at its Solihull plant had been sent home. A spokesman for the car-maker said: “Employees are being sent home and those due to attend work on the night shift this evening are being stood down.
“We will continue to keep employees informed as the situation develops.”
BEIJING (Reuters) – China aims to expand its economy by around 6.5 percent this year, the same as in 2017, Premier Li Keqiang said in remarks prepared for delivery at the opening of the annual meeting of parliament on Monday. Labourers walk outside a construction site in Beijing’s central business area, China February 4, 2018. Picture taken February 4, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee The goal was kept unchanged even though the economy grew 6.9 percent last year, exceeding the government’s target, suggesting that Beijing is keeping its focus on reducing risks to the financial system from a rapid build-up in debt.
Sources previously told Reuters that China will maintain its growth target at“around 6.5 percent”. Economists expect growth momentum to weaken this year as the government reins in corporate debt, leading to higher borrowing costs, while a war on pollution and a cooling property market will slow heavy industries and real estate investment. Growing trade frictions with the United States have also jumped to the top of the list of risks facing China this year.
President Donald Trump announced last Thursday he would impose hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminum to protect U.S. producers, risking retaliation from major trade partners like China, Europe and neighboring Canada and sparking fears of a global trade war. Li said China opposes protectionism and supports the settlement of trade disputes through negotiation, but will“resolutely safeguard” its legitimate rights and interest.
Energy firms will be banned from charging catch-up bills for gas and electricity used more than 12 months earlier. Regulator Ofgem’s new rule, to start in May for domestic customers, should stop shock bills of thousands of pounds. Customers who pay via direct debit often receive bills based on estimated meter readings. When an actual reading is taken, the supplier “back-bills” the customer for any shortfall.
Other supposed arrears have occurred as a result of errors in suppliers’ billing systems. Ofgem said the typical back bill was £1,160 and in extreme cases they have exceeded £10,000. Most customers struggle to pay and some are driven into debt. The regulator said it was aware of 10,000 complaints in a year. The ban will start in May for domestic customers and in November for the smallest businesses. The only exception is when customers have purposefully prevented the company from taking a reading.
A voluntary agreement to stop back-billing of more than 12 months has been in place among the biggest suppliers since 2007. However, some have not fully complied and smaller firms were not signed up.
“Getting billing right is an essential part of customer service, and it’s unfair that consumers should be left out of pocket when through no fault of their own they’re issued with a shock bill from their supplier,” said Rob Salter-Church, from Ofgem.
The opening 17 minutes of the 2013 science fiction thriller film Gravity amazed cinemagoers. In one long take, it shows a Nasa Space Shuttle in mid-orbit being destroyed by a hail of space debris, sending astronaut Ryan Stone played by Sandra Bullock hurtling into space. Director Alfonso Cuaron conceived the visceral scene, but it was London-based visual effects company Framestore that did the hard graft of turning it into reality. The firm won an Oscar for its work on the movie, which took almost four years and a team of 400 specialists to complete – from animators and physicists to computer scientists.
“No one had ever really successfully portrayed zero gravity in a film, so we had to reinvent the film-making process,” says Framestore’s boss and founder Sir William Sargent.
“Many of the techniques and technologies used to create the movie simply did not exist when we started.”
Founded in 1986, Framestore has worked on a host of other big movies, including the Harry Potter series, Batman The Dark Knight, Bladerunner 2049 and the Paddington films; its annual revenues now exceed £129m. But as the strategic brains behind the business, Sir William has had to navigate a rapidly changing industry that has left some visual effects companies struggling to stay afloat.