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Davos 2020: Javid, Merkel and Soros in spotlight – business live | Business






Mnuchin slaps down Thunberg’s fossil fuel concerns





Mnuchin and Javid to discuss Huawei this weekend





Ross: EU auto tariffs are still an option

Updated





Mnuchin on US-French tax row









Introduction: Brexit and trade worries





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Labour leadership contest: who are the runners and riders? | Politics


Rebecca Long-Bailey

Rebecca Long-Bailey

Rebecca Long-Bailey

A close ally of the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, Long-Bailey has been groomed as a potential leftwing contender for the top job, who launched a slick video about her backstory during the campaign. The Salford MP and shadow business secretary performed well as a stand-in for Corbyn in leadership debates.

During the election campaign, Long-Bailey spearheaded promotion of the party’s plan for a green jobs revolution and was forced to tackle tough questions over its decision to soften its stance on hitting net-zero carbon emissions.

Her father was a Salford docker and trade union representative, and she worked in several service industry jobs before qualifying as a solicitor. But given her close alliance with Corbyn and the left, and the rejection delivered by the electorate on Thursday, members may be nervous.

Emily Thornberry

Emily Thornberry,

Emily Thornberry,

The shadow foreign secretary had a quiet election campaign, which was viewed in some quarters as a sign she would run for leader if Labour lost the election. Others believed she was being kept quiet due to her remain position. She has been faultlessly loyal to Corbyn, despite not always having been on his leftwing side of the party. As a “girly swot” she believes she is good at taking on Boris Johnson. In her acceptance speech in Islington South and Finsbury, she said: “The real fight has to begin now.”

Thornberry will have to fight allegations of being part of the “metropolitan elite”. The image has plagued her ever since she tweeted a picture in 2014 of a house in the Rochester and Strood constituency adorned with three flags of St George and the owner’s white van parked outside, provoking accusations of snobbery. She resigned her shadow cabinet position shortly afterwards.

Thornberry’s formative years may have informed her politics. Her parents divorced when she was seven years old and she moved into a council house with her mother. She and her siblings took free school meals. But her politics remain elusive. She voted against her own government under Blair and Brown but backed Yvette Cooper in the 2015 leadership campaign. As shadow foreign secretary, she has always trodden a careful line that does not stray too far from the leadership on issues such as Russia, Israel and Trident.

Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer

The ambitious former director of public prosecutions has led the charge for remain in the shadow cabinet. He has held his Holborn and St Pancras seat since 2015 and been instrumental in shifting Labour’s position towards backing a second Brexit referendum. The party’s stance on Brexit has been blamed by some for the staggering defeat suffered by Labour on Friday. This means Starmer’s ownership of the direction taken could prove problematic if he tries to convince the membership to appoint him as their leader.

Away from Brexit, his politics are less clear. Prior to taking the role of DPP, he worked as a defence lawyer specialising in human rights issues. The Human Rights Act and the broader aspects of the constitution in the UK are in the sights of the Conservative government so his expertise in this area could be a strong sell.

Starmer is the only male runner on this list. There have long been calls for the next Labour leader to be a woman, including most recently from John McDonnell, the party’s shadow chancellor. McDonnell himself, once considered to be a potential candidate, has ruled himself out, as has Richard Burgon, the shadow justice secretary. The Conservatives frequently dig Labour over the fact the party have never had a woman as leader and the Tories have had two female PMs.

Angela Rayner

Angela Rayner

Angela Rayner

The shadow education secretary, a close friend of Long-Bailey’s, said in recent days she would like to support a Labour Brexit deal. She is regarded as a powerful public speaker and was praised for her interventions during the campaign. Some senior Conservatives said they would fear her as an adversary.

On her policy brief, her most controversial moments focused on private schools, which she believes should no longer be subsidised through charitable status.

Rayner’s life is often described as inspirational. She grew up on a council estate in Stockport; had a mother who couldn’t read or write; left school without any qualifications; got pregnant at 16 and left home to bring the child up alone. She qualified as a social care worker and became Unison’s most senior official in the North West region. She describes herself as “soft left” and backed Andy Burnham in the 2015 leadership election.

Jess Phillips

Jess Phillips

Jess Phillips

The MP for Birmingham Yardley is a strong media performer who has built up a significant public profile from the backbenches. Her fiery speeches and witty barbs aimed at the Conservatives, including the prime minister, frequently go viral online. She is also considered a passionate advocate for her constituency and issues on the ground therein.

Corbyn-supporting Labour members are likely to be deeply suspicious of her, as she has frequently been critical of his leadership and the party’s approach to antisemitism.

She has not formally announced her candidacy but wrote a piece for the Observer after the election, which many have viewed as the start of her bid for leadership. The piece discusses the issues of trust with Labour on the doorstep and the challenge of bringing back working-class voters.

Lisa Nandy

Lisa Nandy

Lisa Nandy

The Wigan MP has said she is seriously thinking about running for the leadership. In a piece for the Guardian, Nandy said she believed that, taken individually, many of the policies in Labour’s manifesto were popular with the public and that the election was not won due to any real affection for Boris Johnson and what he stands for.

Nandy has built a reputation as a campaigner for her constituency and others like it, many of which have fallen to the Tories. She helped to create the Centre For Towns thinktank and called for compromise over Brexit.

A soft-left candidate, she resigned from the shadow cabinet in 2016 over Corbyn’s leadership and handling of the EU referendum. Like Phillips, she may be viewed with suspicion from Corbyn supporters.

Yvette Cooper

Yvette Cooper

Yvette Cooper

Yvette Cooper ran against Corbyn for the leadership in 2015 and is viewed as a centrist. Therefore, she would be likely to face an uphill battle to convince the party membership she is the right person for the job.

After losing the leadership election, Cooper focused on becoming a prominent figure on the backbenches, delivering scathing blows to the government in the Commons and has mastered the policy detail on Brexit and home affairs, the latter of which she scrutinises in her role as chair of the home affairs select committee.

She has been an MP since 1997 and held positions including chief secretary to the Treasury and secretary of state for work and pensions when Labour was in government.



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Women injured after double stabbing in Hindley | UK news


One woman has been seriously injured in a double stabbing in Greater Manchester, while another has sustained minor injuries.

Emergency services were called to the incident in Hindley at about 10.30am on Saturday.

A North West ambulance spokeswoman confirmed that two air ambulances were sent to the scene and the women, both believed to be in their 20s, were taken to hospital. One of the women had since been discharged with minor injuries while the other was still receiving treatment, police said.

Greater Manchester police said they were not looking for anyone else in connection to the attack, which it added was not being treated as terror related.

Photos circulating on social media showed a police cordon in place while emergency services worked at the scene.

Yunus Mulla
(@yunusmulla)

Two women stabbed and seriously injured in #hindley . Road closed . [email protected] pic.twitter.com/Kq5LYrUMmC


December 14, 2019

Atherton Road, where the attack occurred, was closed for a few hours, but had since reopened.





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House goes on sale for £100,000 – but you can’t look inside before you buy it


Buyers could snap up this two-bed home in Leicestershire for as little as £100,000 – but there’s a catch.

The two bedroom terraced house in Hinckley is currently being rented out for £500 a month but it has been listed for auction with SDL Auctions.

It is one of nearly 150 similar properties in the area that have gone for an average price of £161,059 in the past 12 months, according to Rightmove.

House coulup selling for tens of thousands less than the average, reports the Leicester Mercury .

However, there is one catch that buyers will have to contend with.

Prospective buyers will be unable to see inside the property before they buy.

A description of the property reads: “Please note, no internal viewings will take place. The auctioneers have not inspected the property internally.”

Prospective buyers will be unable to see inside the property before they buy

Auctioneers believe the property to comprise of a lounge, dining room, and kitchen on the ground floor.

While the first floor comprises two bedrooms and a bathroom.

Outside, there is a small garden to the front and further garden to the rear.

The description continues: “Currently let out at £500 PCM / £6,000 per annum. The property is situated close to the town centre and its many shops.

“The train station is 5 minutes walk away giving access to London in an hour.

The property is situated close to the town centre and its many shops

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“Well situated with a network of road communications including the A5 and M69 and M1 motorways.

“Hinckley has recently undergone new regeneration having a new cinema, new leisure centre and The Crescent comprising of shops, bars and restaurants. Queens Park is also close by.”

The property will feature as Lot no 6 at SDL Auctions’ Leicester auction this month.

It takes place in the Keith Weller Suite, King Power Stadium, on Tuesday, December 17.





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UK weather forecast: Chilly and damp day across the country as voters go to polls


The country is set for a cold and damp day as voters prepare to go to the polls in the general election .

It will be unsettled across the UK with temperatures getting colder as votes are cast on Election day.

There wll widespread showers and motorists have again been told to be on their guard with challenging windy conditions expected on roads for a second day.

The Met Office has issued four weather warnings as an icy snap is forecast.

Temperatures could go as low as -4 in northern parts of Scotland with frost expected.

The Met Office said surfaces and roads could be slippery, and advised people to take care when walking or driving, as voters prepare to head to the polls.

It’s a huge day across the country as the nation goes to the polls

“We have showers passing through many parts of the UK today, and there’s a risk of that turning to ice and there could be some snow in parts of Scotland,” said Met Office spokesman Oli Claydon.

Mr Claydon explained that wintry showers were only expected in areas above 200m, and said: “We are not expecting they will cause any real disruption.

“That is why it is an ice warning, rather than a snow warning.”

The two yellow weather warnings are in place from 6pm on Wednesday, overnight to 10am on Thursday.

The larger warning in central Scotland includes large parts of one of the closest election fights in the country – Perth and North Perthshire, where the SNP is defending a majority of just 21.

Ice is expected and weather warnings have been issued

The problem places where it will be very cold

Steven Keates from the Met Office told Sun Online: “It is going to be a bit of a miserable sort of day.

“Most people will see some rain, it is going to be quite breezy as well.

“If you are going out to vote take a brolly.

“The rain will be quite widespread tomorrow, with the wettest areas parts of south and western Britain.”

Mr Corbyn urged voters to end nine years of Conservative rule
Mr Corbyn urged voters to end nine years of Conservative rule

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Five day forecast

Thursday:

Colder with rain. In the evening, rain will affect most areas but clear spells and showers are likely in Wales and south-west England. Snow is likely at times over northern hills. Through the night, rain will slowly clear eastwards, but Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern and eastern England will remain wet. Windy

Friday:

It will be mostly cloudy with outbreaks of rain and hill snow in the north and east. It will be dry and bright for a time in Wales and southern England before outbreaks of rain spread into the south-west during the evening. There will be a brisk westerly breeze. Temperatures slightly below average

Weekend:

On Saturday it will be bright with showers. The showers will be heaviest and most frequent in the west, some of which may be wintry. Strong south-westerly winds. Sunday is forecast to be cloudy with rain in southern parts of England and Wales. It will be bright with wintry showers in the north

Monday

More rain is expected but it should be milder. It will again be cold is Scotland.





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Saudi Aramco becomes world’s biggest listed company as shares surge 10% – business live | Business


A screen advertising Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Aramco with Arabic reads, “promising future” in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this week

A screen advertising Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Aramco with Arabic reads, “promising future” in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this week Photograph: Amr Nabil/AP

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

It’s a massive day on the Saudi stock market as oil giant Aramco finally makes its debut — becoming the biggest listed company in the world.

Saudi Aramco is floating today, after raising $25.6bn through its sometime troubled IPO. That valued the company at $1.7trillion – even more than Apple ($1.2 trillion).

The opening auction on the Tadawul is underway as I type, so we’ll soon know if the float is a success.

If Aramco’s shares rally today, then the $2trillion valuation craved by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could be in sight again.

But it’s an usual float – just 1.5% of Aramco’s stock is actually floating. The rest is owned by the Saudi state.

That scarcity could help push the stock higher, after international investors proved reluctant to back the IPO.

Human rights concerns, the climate crisis, and corporate government concerns all forced the Saudis to rein in their ambitious plans for the float, and restrict it to Middle East investors.

As my colleague Jillian Ambrose explains:


It was originally expected to sell about 5% through a dual-listing on the Saudi market and on a major international stock exchange.

The IPO lost the support of international investors, which are sceptical of the company’s valuation. Investors are also wary of Aramco’s close ties to the Saudi regime, which is embroiled in geopolitical conflict and whose behaviour has raised human rights concerns.
Among local investors demand for Aramco shares was almost three times oversubscribed after the Saudi government encouraged Middle Eastern investors and wealthy Saudi families to support the IPO.

Aramco’s shares were sold at 32 riyals each. The stock should start trading soon, so we’ll see if it spikes or slides…..

Also coming up today

The City is becoming more anxious about tomorrow’s general election.

A closely-watched poll from YouGov showed Boris Johnson’s likely majority has narrowed – from 68 seats to just 28. A hung parliament is still a real possibility, which knocked sterling a little last night.

The pound is trading around $1.3135 this morning, having hit $1.32 last night (before YouGov hit the wires).

Plus, America’s central bank is holding its last (scheduled) meeting of 2019, but we’re not expecting fireworks.

The agenda

  • 12.30pm GMT: US inflation: Expected to rise to 2.0% per year, from 1.8%
  • 3.30pm GMT: US weekly oil inventories
  • 7pm GMT: US Federal Reserve decision: expected to leave interest rates unchanged



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Elon Musk found not guilty of defaming British cave explorer | Technology


Elon Musk did not defame British cave explorer Vernon Unsworth by calling him a “pedo guy” on Twitter, a Los Angeles jury found Friday.

The case has pitted a 64-year-old financial adviser earning a salary of about £25,000 ($33,000) against one of the richest and most famous men in the world. The dispute stems from the Tesla and SpaceX chief’s ancillary involvement in the Tham Luang cave rescue in June and July 2018, which saw 12 young football players and their coach successfully extracted from a flooded cave system by a team of British cave divers.

On 13 July 2018, after the successful completion of the rescue, Unsworth said in an interview with CNN that the rescue pod Musk had delivered to the cave site was a “PR stunt”, adding that he should “stick his submarine where it hurts”. A video clip of the interview went viral, drawing the ire of Musk.

The billionaire entrepreneur responded in a series of tweets on 15 July, suggesting that Unsworth’s presence in Thailand was “sus[picious]” and calling him “pedo guy”.

Musk eventually deleted the tweets and apologized to Unsworth.

The jury was tasked with determining whether a reasonable person would understand the tweets to mean that Musk was calling Unsworth a pedophile.

Musk’s attorneys argued that the tweet was not a statement of fact, but an insult, which is considered protected speech. They also attempted to show that Unsworth’s reputation had not been seriously damaged.

Unsworth’s attorneys introduced evidence of the broad dissemination of Musk’s tweets, which were reported in 490 English-language articles on 361 websites in 33 countries.

They also introduced evidence of Musk’s behavior after the 15 July tweets, including his hiring of a private investigator to seek proof of Unsworth’s “nefarious behaviour”.



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General election: Council tax more likely to go up under Tories than Labour, IFS suggests – live news


Lib Dem leader said leaders should be ‘very careful’ about relationship with US president, ahead of his arrival for Nato

  • Sign up for our morning briefing
  • Parties attack Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage over Donald Trump ties

10.51am GMT

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has published a briefing on the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat plans for local government funding. This is not an issue that has attracted much attention in the campaign so far, but it deserves some focus because councils provide vital services – and the gap between what’s on offer from the Tories and Labour is vast.

Although the Conservatives claim to be a low-tax party, under their plans it is more likely that council tax would have to rise, the IFS suggests.

The money allocated by the Conservatives would not be sufficient to meet rising costs and demands over the next parliament even if council tax were increased by 4% a year, necessitating a further retrenchment in services or unfunded top-ups to the plans set out.

The Labour party has allocated more than enough money to meet rising costs and demands, allowing increases in service provision and quality, although not enough to restore them to 2010 levels. That is true even if council tax were frozen – although Labour has no plans for such a freeze.

10.24am GMT

In her BBC phone-in Nicola Sturgeon said she would like to see the SNP represented in the talks with the EU that would take place if Labour formed a government and negotiated a new Brexit deal. This issue came up in response to a question about fishing. Asked if the SNP would want to have someone negotiating alongside Labour on this, Sturgeon replied:

I want to make sure, in any of these discussions, the interests of the fishing industry were absolutely paramount, and that’s a commitment I would make on behalf of the SNP.

I think Scotland should be at the table in any of these discussions, all of the time, rather than being shut out by Westminster. And fishing is an example of the particular interests we have that mean that we should be much more represented.

Continue reading…



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Anger at antiquaries charity after sex abuser wins members’ vote | Society


A vote allowing a sex abuser to remain a fellow at a prestigious educational society has provoked a fierce internal backlash and demands for the organisation’s reform.

Scores of fellows at the Society of Antiquaries of London, a charity that promotes the study of the past, are up in arms about the vote, which has allowed Hubert Chesshyre to continue as a fellow.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) heard evidence that Chesshyre, an expert on heraldry and genealogy who held a number of senior positions within the royal household, was found to have sexually abused a teenage chorister over the course of three years in the 1990s.

The 2015 finding was made following a “trial of the facts”, which is held when someone is considered unable to plead due to their poor mental and physical health. As a result, despite being found to have committed the abuse, Chesshyre – who is said to have dementia – was given an absolute discharge.

The finding saw fellows at the society, one of Britain’s oldest educational institutions, granted a royal charter in 1751, table a resolution demanding his removal. But a majority of fellows who voted backed Chesshyre, a former president of its elite dining club, the Cocked Hat Club.

In an open letter published on Sunday in the Observer, many fellows expressed outrage at the decision.

Pledging their support to the victim, they signalled their “determination to reform the organisation so that it reflects the values and behaviours that should be expected from any public organisation or individual”.

They add: “The voting arrangements were such that only around 100 of the society’s 3,000 fellows were able to attend the vote, which due to the existing governance structures of the society only allowed voting in person on a weekday afternoon. This disenfranchised a large number of fellows unable to attend at such a time.

“The 76 fellows who voted against the proposal to remove Mr Chesshyre’s fellowship do not represent us, and do not represent the values and behaviours of any organisation we are willing to be members of.”

Paul Drury, the society’s president, denied that the vote showed it had “stood by” Chesshyre. “We are committed to acting in ways which are consistent with our status as an educational charity operating for the public benefit, and as an institution which confers public recognition of the achievements of its fellows,” he said in a statement on its website.

“We are therefore actively working on the reform of our statutes, to enable swift action to remove fellowship from those who do not live up to the society’s expectations of integrity and good character.”

Drury added: “The society unreservedly apologises to the victim for any hurt the defeat may have caused.”



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Mum had her eyes fused shut after hair dye left her face looking ‘like an alien’


A mum-of-two nearly died from serious allergic reaction triggered by a £50 hair dye product.

Shannon Thurston, of Essex, ended up in hospital with swollen forehead ‘like an alien’ and breathing difficulties after failing to carry out a patch test.

The swelling forced her eyes fused shut and her airways started to close up.

Now, the 24-year-old is determined to raise awareness of the dangers of PPD (paraphenylenediamine), a common chemical used in many hair dyes.

The student social worker says: “I feel so stupid for not realising that your body can develop an allergy to ingredients even after being exposed to them before.

The reaction left her eyes fused shut and her airways started to close up

“I’m lucky I was treated in time. It almost killed me.”

Shannon has been dyeing her hair since 2007, when she was 12.

She’s coloured her natural light brown hair every shade from pink to bleach blonde, to chocolate brown.

She says: “I loved changing my style. My aunt Sharon, 47, was a hairdresser and she’d apply the box dye to my hair.

“I always did a patch test when I used a new box and I coloured my hair every two months.”

But in February 2012, when Shannon was 16, she wanted to dye her hair a dark chocolate brown.

It happened after she used a hair dye product

She says: “I’d used the box before, it was a Nice ‘n’ Easy Perfect 10 dye. As I’d used it before, I told Sharon not to bother with a patch test.

“When Sharon applied the dye as usual, my head felt itchy, but I ignored it.

“I loved my new dark-brown hair, but the next day, I had red bumps along the bottom of my neck. Again, I wasn’t worried as I figured it was just irritation.”

The following day, Shannon woke up and her left eye was badly swollen.

Throughout the day, it worsened and her mum, Kay, 46, who works in sales, took her to A&E at Basildon Hospital.

By the time the pair arrived, Shannon’s eye was completely shut and her airways were beginning to close.

Doctors revealed she’d had an allergic reaction to PPD, and they gave her a nebuliser to open her airways.

They also administered steroids and antihistamines to control the swelling.

Shannon before the allergic reaction

By this point, even her forehead was swollen.

Shannon says: “It was terrifying – l looked like an alien. The next morning, both my eyes and neck were swollen.

“My scalp was burning – it felt like it was on fire.

“I was in hospital for around four days, as doctors couldn’t get the swelling under control. Nurses tried to wash out the dye from my hair.

“They even suggested shaving my hair off to stop the reaction, but I begged them not to. I couldn’t bear the thought of having no hair.

“I was struggling to breathe and doctors told me that if I’d have waited to go to hospital, I could have died.

“My forehead looked like a water balloon and my eyes were completely shut, so I was temporarily blind.”

Shannon was in the hospital for four days

Eventually Shannon was discharged from hospital, but her face remained swollen for four weeks.

She also took steroids for a further three months.

She says: “Classmates pointed at my face and jeered at me.

“They even took pictures of me, it was so humiliating, but I was pleased to have survived my ordeal.

“I’ve never dyed my hair since then. It’s not worth it.

“I only get highlights now and make sure I get a patch test every time. My aunt felt so guilty, but I reassured her that it wasn’t her fault.

“Always do a patch test and leave it on for the recommended 48 hours. It could save your life.”

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A spokesperson for Clairol said: “The safety of the people who use our products is our first and most important priority, so we’re very concerned to hear about Ms Thurston’s experience with Nice’n Easy.

“It is imperative patch tests are conducted at least 48 hours before colouring, details of how to perform this test are included with each of our products to help minimise risk to consumers.

“Allergic reactions are very rare and hair colourants are extensively researched to ensure they are safe when used as directed.”





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