After high profile sacking, UK civil servants fear for jobs under Truss

After high profile sacking, UK civil servants fear for jobs under Truss

LIVERPOOL, England, (Reuters) - "Speaking truth unto power" has long been the motto of Britain's civil service, but now some government workers charged with offering ministers impartial advice whatever their party are fearful of their political bosses and are keeping quiet. Some say it's been a long and slow whittling away of confidence among civil servants, or public sector officials, who for years have been accused of resisting change by elected lawmakers, particularly in the governing Conservative Party. But it was the sacking of the top official at the finance ministry by his new boss Kwasi Kwarteng on the day…
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UK must continue to use water wisely as drought remains -drought group

UK must continue to use water wisely as drought remains -drought group

LONDON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Most of England remains in drought and careful management of water resources will be needed throughout the winter, Britain's National Drought Group said. England had its sixth driest summer on record, according to Met Office data, with drought officially declared in parts of England in August for the first time since 2018. The National Drought Group, made up of government officials, water companies, and environmental groups, said recent rainfall had not been enough to replenish groundwater and reservoir water levels. "Water pressures on agriculture, wildlife and the environment remain high as we head into the…
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Labour senses power amid UK financial turmoil, but work to be done

Labour senses power amid UK financial turmoil, but work to be done

LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - British opposition leader Keir Starmer used his party's annual conference this week to offer a clear message: this was its best chance to win power since 2010 as the new government's economic strategy threw financial markets into chaos and the pound crashed. After four straight general election defeats, the Labour Party is now seen by voters as best placed to run the economy after the government under new Prime Minister Liz Truss unveiled a fiscal programme that triggered a sell-off in British bonds, a sharp fall in the pound and rare criticism from the IMF. Labour…
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Dutch inflation leaps to 17%, boosted by high energy prices

Dutch inflation leaps to 17%, boosted by high energy prices

AMSTERDAM, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Inflation in the Netherlands jumped in September to its highest in decades, driven by skyrocketing energy prices, the statistics agency (CBS) said on Friday. Consumer prices, harmonised to be comparable with inflation data from other European Union countries (HICP), rose to 17.1% this month after August's jump to 13.7%. Energy prices in the euro zone's fifth largest economy were 114% higher than in September 2021, while food prices jumped 10.5%. Inflation helped drive retail sales up 2% in August, the CBS said, even though sales volumes dropped 6% as consumer confidence has hit an all-time…
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German unemployment rises in September as Ukrainian refugees enter system

German unemployment rises in September as Ukrainian refugees enter system

BERLIN, Sept 30 (Reuters) - German unemployment rose in September, Labour Office figures showed on Friday, as Ukrainian refugees continue to enter the system. The Federal Labour Office said the number of people out of work rose by 14,000 in seasonally adjusted terms to 2.510 million, below expectations by analysts polled by Reuters. Without taking into account people with Ukrainian citizenship, the figures would have been significantly better, said the office. "The labour market remains stable overall despite rising prices and concerns about an energy shortage," said labour office chief Andrea Nahles. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate was stable at…
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Shipping prices drop as parts of Rhine return to normal depths

Shipping prices drop as parts of Rhine return to normal depths

HAMBURG, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Water levels on the Rhine in Germany have risen sharply after rain this week, returning to normal levels of parts of the river and pushing down cargo shipping prices, vessel brokers and commodity traders said on Friday. Weeks of high temperatures and little rainfall in August had drained water levels on Germany's commercial artery, causing delays to shipping and pushing up freight costs. There were fears the disruption could hit overall German economic growth. The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including grains, mineral ores, coal and oil products. However, low water depths…
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German economy minister: energy situation ‘extremely tense’

German economy minister: energy situation ‘extremely tense’

BERLIN, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Germany is in an "extremely tense situation" with regards to energy supply, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Friday, a day after the government set out a "defensive shield" to protect Germans from the impact of soaring energy prices. "We are still in this emergency. If we don't save, if households don't reduce consumption, we still risk not having enough gas in the winter," he told Deutschlandfunk radio. Despite the government's 200 billion euro ($196.4 billion) "defensive shield", Habeck added: "We are not going to subsidise the price of gas down to what it was…
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Rebel UK Conservative lawmakers prepare to block scrapping of top income tax rate

Rebel UK Conservative lawmakers prepare to block scrapping of top income tax rate

LONDON (Reuters) - Rebel British lawmakers from Prime Minister Liz Truss's Conservative Party are preparing to vote down sections of a finance bill to block the abolition of the top rate of income tax, The Telegraph reported on Thursday. The government's plans for huge tax cuts, unveiled last week, have come under criticism after triggering nearly a week of financial market chaos including a sharp fall in the value of pound sterling . Those tax cuts included a plan to scrap the 45% top rate of income tax applied to the highest earners. Britain's opposition Labour Party has pledged to…
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British PM Truss to attend European political summit in Prague

British PM Truss to attend European political summit in Prague

LONDON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Liz Truss will attend the first summit of the European Political Community in the Czech Republic next week, Politico reported. Britain told European partners that Truss is not only willing to attend the gathering in Prague, but also that she is willing to host the next summit in London, Politico said, citing two officials from a meeting on Thursday. Truss's Downing Street office had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters. French President Emmanuel Macron first proposed the idea of a European Political Community in an effort to counter Russian and Chinese…
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New UK coins featuring image of King Charles revealed

New UK coins featuring image of King Charles revealed

LONDON, Sept 30 (Reuters) - The first British coins to feature the image of King Charles have been unveiled by the Royal Mint, with the portrait of the new monarch facing the opposite direction to his late mother Queen Elizabeth in keeping with tradition. The new image will appear on 50 pence ($0.55) coins, which will begin circulating in the coming months, and also on a commemorative 5 pound coin which also features two new portraits of Elizabeth on its reverse side. Since the monarchy was restored in 1660 following the 10-year republic of Oliver Cromwell, it has become traditional…
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UK banks and insurers told to step up help for struggling customers

UK banks and insurers told to step up help for struggling customers

LONDON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) told banks and insurers on Thursday to do more to help customers struggling with a cost of living crisis as it investigates 40 banks for dragging their feet. Interest rates are increasing to quell decades high inflation, with energy, mortgage and food bills also rising faster than wages. Sheldon Mills, the watchdog's head of competition and consumers, said that in May over nine million people had too much debt, up by two million since 2020. "We’ve told lenders that we expect them to support struggling customers, particularly as they have…
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Euro sculpture in Frankfurt rescued by crypto firm

Euro sculpture in Frankfurt rescued by crypto firm

FRANKFURT, (Reuters) - A giant blue euro sculpture in the heart of Frankfurt's financial district has a new benefactor: The firm behind a sharia-compliant cryptocurrency. The future of the sculpture, in the shadow of the European Central Bank's former headquarters and long a symbol of Frankfurt's role in managing the single European currency, was at risk after the banks that paid for its upkeep backed out. On Tuesday, the sculpture's owner, the Frankfurt Culture Committee, revealed that it had secured a new sponsor, saving it from having to auction the 14-metre object. The sponsor is the technology developer Caiz, a…
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UPDATED: Germany faces threat of economic, social crisis – econ minister

UPDATED: Germany faces threat of economic, social crisis – econ minister

BERLIN, Sept 29 (Reuters) - German businesses and households must reduce their gas useage further as Germany battles an economic war with Russia, German government ministers said on Thursday. "The energy crisis that we are experiencing in Europe threatens to grow into an economic and also a social crisis," Economy Minister Robert Habeck told reporters as the government announced funding of up to 200 billion euros ($194 billion) in response to soaring energy prices. "We find ourselves in an energy war," Finance Minister Christian Lindner said, adding that Germany would respond with its full economic might. Four leading German economic…
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Sterling drops 1% as PM Truss defends economic plans

Sterling drops 1% as PM Truss defends economic plans

LONDON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Sterling fell as much as 1% on Thursday after British Prime Minister Liz Truss defended economic plans that have triggered chaos in the country's markets. Truss said big tax cuts were the right path for Britain and refused to consider reversing the so-called "mini budget" laid out last week. The pound was last down 0.88% to $1.0791 after hitting a session low of $1.0764. The euro was up 0.18% against sterling at 89.54 pence. Sterling crashed to a record low against the dollar of $1.0327 on Monday after new finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled plans…
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Windsor Castle to reopen to public for first time since Queen’s death

Windsor Castle to reopen to public for first time since Queen’s death

Windsor Castle will reopen to the public for the first time since the Queen's death. The castle and St George's Chapel will open at 10am on Thursday. It will be the first time members of the public will be able to visit the Queen's final resting place and view the ledger stone inscribed with her name in the George VI Memorial Chapel. Entrance to the chapel is included in a ticket for Windsor Castle, which costs £26.50 for adults during the week and £28.50 on Saturdays. Children's tickets cost £14.50 during the week and £15.50 on Saturday. It comes after…
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There is a risk that UK ends up in a “doom loop” – economist Julian Jessop

There is a risk that UK ends up in a “doom loop” – economist Julian Jessop

LONDON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Economist Julian Jessop warned on Wednesday that Britain's economy could end up in a "doom loop" of falling currency and rising interest rates, but stressed that he believed recent market moves had been an over reaction. Jessop provided informal advice to now Prime Minister Liz Truss during her leadership campaign to succeed Boris Johnson this summer. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and ratings agency Moody's criticised Britain's new economic strategy, as investors braced for more havoc in markets that has already forced the Bank of England to promise "significant" action. "I think it is correct…
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UPDATED: UK Labour leader Starmer: govt must recall parliament and abandon budget

UPDATED: UK Labour leader Starmer: govt must recall parliament and abandon budget

LONDON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - British opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer said on Wednesday the government should recall parliament and abandon plans to slash taxes and ramp up borrowing which have sent financial markets into turmoil. "The government has clearly lost control of the economy ... this is self-inflicted," Starmer told Sky News. "What the government needs to do now is recall parliament and abandon this budget before any more damage is done." The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and ratings agency Moody's criticised Britain's new economic strategy, as investors braced for more havoc in bond markets that has already forced…
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UK warns of tough flu season as COVID cases also rise

UK warns of tough flu season as COVID cases also rise

British public health experts are warning that flu could be a serious health threat this winter, with population immunity at an all-time low and people weary of getting vaccinated after the pandemic. Experts are forecasting that the flu strain seen in Australia this past winter, known as H3N2, is likely to also spread across the Northern Hemisphere. In an average winter without pandemic restrictions, around 11,000 people in the U.K. die from flu. This winter, immunity levels are down after consecutive seasons of low flu infections. Added to this, health experts are concerned that people are weary of multiple vaccinations,…
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Spiegel reports CIA warned Berlin about possible attacks on gas pipelines in summer

Spiegel reports CIA warned Berlin about possible attacks on gas pipelines in summer

BERLIN (Reuters) - The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had weeks ago warned Germany about possible attacks on gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, German magazine Spiegel said, after gas leaks in Russia pipelines to Germany were reported. The German government received the CIA tip in summer, Spiegel reported, citing unnamed sources, adding that Berlin assumes a targeted attack on Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines. A German government spokesperson declined to comment, Spiegel added. See also: EU Sees Sabotage Of Nord Stream, Warns Against Attacks On ‘Active Infrastructure’ Meanwhile, a seismograph on the Danish island of Bornholm twice recorded…
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No big investiture for William and Kate as new Prince and Princess of Wales

No big investiture for William and Kate as new Prince and Princess of Wales

British royals William and Kate on Tuesday carried out their first Welsh visit since being made Prince and Princess of Wales following the death of Queen Elizabeth, as a source said there were no plans for them to have a big investiture ceremony. The couple returned to the island of Anglesey off the coast of north Wales where they lived when they were first married and William, now heir to the throne, worked as a Royal Air Force Search and Rescue helicopter pilot. They visited the Holyhead Lifeboat Station before heading to Swansea in south Wales to meet volunteers based…
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UK’s Kwarteng tells city bosses he is confident his economic strategy will work – FT

UK’s Kwarteng tells city bosses he is confident his economic strategy will work – FT

British finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng told leading bankers, insurers and asset managers he was "confident" that his economic strategy would work, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday. The pound touched an all-time low of $1.0327 on Monday and British government bonds sold off at a ferocious pace as investors lost confidence in Prime Minister Liz Truss's new government following a fiscal statement from Kwarteng on Friday.  "I'm confident that with our growth plan and the upcoming medium-term fiscal plan — with close co-operation with the Bank — our approach will work," the FT reported, citing a readout of a meeting with leading financial firms.…
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Ready for power, UK Labour’s Starmer tells faithful this is their ‘moment’

Ready for power, UK Labour’s Starmer tells faithful this is their ‘moment’

LIVERPOOL, England, Sept 27 (Reuters) - British opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer said on Tuesday it was his party's "moment", championing green policies to spur economic growth and create jobs that he said would open the door to power after 12 years of Conservative government. At his party's annual conference, Starmer struck at the heart of Prime Minister Liz Truss's plan to revive growth, saying a Labour government would create jobs, improve skills and tackle climate change rather than cut taxes for the wealthiest. Trying to capitalise on the divide opened up by the government's so-called mini-budget that saw the Conservatives shift to the right…
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Ireland aims to ease cost of living squeeze with ‘two budgets in one’

Ireland aims to ease cost of living squeeze with ‘two budgets in one’

DUBLIN (Reuters) -Ireland will deliver what ministers have called two budgets in one on Tuesday, making higher than usual spending increases and tax cuts while also helping firms and consumers pay soaring energy bills and putting funds aside if they need more help. As one of the few European Union countries set to deliver a budget surplus this year - in Ireland's case due to surging corporate tax receipts - the government will be able to spend more next year while keeping the public finances in the black. Ministers said this was in contrast to the economic plan outlined by Britain…
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German police investigating Russian billionaire Usmanov search yacht

German police investigating Russian billionaire Usmanov search yacht

German police investigating money laundering accusations against Russian billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov have searched a motor yacht in northern Germany, prosecutors said on Tuesday. Prosecutors did not identify the yacht or its owner but described him as a 69-year-old Russian businessman and said he was the target of the same investigation as last week, when police raided a lakeside villa registered to Usmanov. Usmanov's representatives were not immediately available to comment on Tuesday's yacht raid. In a statement on Monday, his press office rejected the allegations against him as "baseless and defamatory". He is on an EU sanctions list freezing his assets…
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UK’s Labour party surges to largest poll lead over Conservatives

UK’s Labour party surges to largest poll lead over Conservatives

Britain's Labour party rose to its largest poll lead in over two decades over the Conservative party, The Times reported on Monday, citing YouGov poll for the publication. Last week, Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng unleashed historic tax cuts, ditched the cap on bankers' bonuses and announced huge increases in borrowing in a fiscal statement which sent markets into a tailspin. The opposition party is 17 points ahead of the Conservatives, a level of support not seen since 2001 when Labour's Tony Blair was prime minister, the report said. The survey found huge public opposition, even among Conservatives, to the tax cuts announced by…
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FACTBOX – Pounded: A history of UK currency crises and crashes

FACTBOX – Pounded: A history of UK currency crises and crashes

LONDON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Britain's pound plunged to an all-time low early on Monday as international investors reacted to plans laid out by the country's new prime minister and finance minister to slash taxes and ramp up spending to cushion soaring energy prices. The currency fell as low $1.0327 at one point. It has fallen almost 8% since Thursday and 21% since the start of the year, a pace drawing comparisons with the currency crises that have marked Britain’s post-war history. Those bouts of panic often involved attempts to hold sterling at a fixed rate against other currencies, something…
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German business morale slumps as winter recession looms

German business morale slumps as winter recession looms

BERLIN, Sept 26 (Reuters) - The German economy is heading for recession, the Ifo institute said on Monday, reporting a stronger-than-forecast plunge in business morale across all sectors as Germany scrambles to avoid a gas shortage this winter. The Ifo institute said its business climate index fell to 84.3 from 88.6 in August, posting a more severe drop than the 87.0 forecast by economists according to a Reuters poll. It was the lowest level seen since the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020. The downturn was visible across all four sectors of the German economy, Ifo said,…
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German chancellor Scholz contracts coronavirus, has mild cold symptoms

German chancellor Scholz contracts coronavirus, has mild cold symptoms

BERLIN, Sept 26 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has tested positive for coronavirus and is showing mild symptoms of a cold, a government spokesperson said on Monday. Scholz is isolating in the federal chancellery. He has cancelled all his public appearances this week but will attend scheduled meetings remotely, said an emailed statement. Germany is rolling out booster vaccinations for older and clinically vulnerable citizens going into winter. The World Health Organisation said last week that the coronavirus remained a global emergency but the end of the pandemic could be in sight if countries tackled it properly. Writing by…
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Swiss voters support increase in women’s retirement age

Swiss voters support increase in women’s retirement age

Swiss voters accepted the government's pension reform plan by a narrow margin on Sunday. The plan would raise the retirement age for women from 64 to 65, bringing it in line with the age for men. A concurrent vote on imposing stricter regulations in farming failed to garner majority support. According to Swiss government figures, the pension system changes had won by 50.57% of the vote, with counting having been finalized in all cantons. Switzerland's government attempted to introduce similar reforms plans in 2004 and 2017, both of which failed when put to a vote. Opponents of the plan, including trade…
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Britain’s Labour vows to reintroduce top 45% rate of income tax

Britain’s Labour vows to reintroduce top 45% rate of income tax

POOL, England Sept 25 (Reuters) - Britain's main opposition party leader Keir Starmer said on Sunday he would reintroduce the top rate of income tax to 45% after the government abolished the rate in a mini-budget. Starmer is under pressure to assert himself as the prime minister-in-waiting as he starts his campaign for power at this week's annual Labour conference in Liverpool in northwest England. The Labour leader said the move to cut the top rate of tax was unfair because it handed someone earning 1 million pounds ($1.09 million) a 55,000 pound tax cut. "I would reverse the decision they made,"…
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Swiss to vote on Sunday on banning factory farming

Swiss to vote on Sunday on banning factory farming

GENEVA (Reuters) - Swiss voters decide on Sunday whether to ban factory farming in a referendum on whether the wealthy country's strict animal welfare laws need to be tightened yet further. The proposal under the Swiss system of direct democracy wants to make protecting the dignity of farm animals such as cattle, chickens and pigs a constitutional requirement. The government would have to set stricter rules for caring for animals, including giving them access to the outdoors, and for slaughtering them. The requirements would also cover imported animals and animal products. The government recommended against the proposal, saying such changes…
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Photo Story: Exhibition Daniel Arsham: Relics in the Landscape in West Bretton

Photo Story: Exhibition Daniel Arsham: Relics in the Landscape in West Bretton

The five-meter-tall sculpture titled 'Bronze Eroded Bunny (Large), 2022' by US artist Daniel Arsham is craned into position by technicians at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in West Bretton, Britain. The work forms part of a major outdoor exhibition titled 'Daniel Arsham: Relics in the Landscape' featuring several new sculptures based on the original foundry moulds of classical sculptures from the Louvre Museum in Paris. Via EPA-EFE/Adam Vaughan
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EXPLAINER – Dash for gas – why fracking is back on Britain’s agenda

EXPLAINER – Dash for gas – why fracking is back on Britain’s agenda

LONDON, (Reuters) - Britain has formally lifted a moratorium on fracking for shale gas in England that has been in place since 2019, saying strengthening the country's energy supply was an "absolute priority". Below outlines why the government is seeking to build a gas fracking industry and the questions that remain. WHAT IS FRACKING? Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves drilling into the earth and injecting water and chemicals at high pressure to break rocks and release the gas trapped inside. WHY DOES THE GOVERNMENT WANT TO DO IT? Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine European gas prices have surged to record…
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Britain’s new vision leaves onlookers with nightmares

Britain’s new vision leaves onlookers with nightmares

LONDON, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Britain's new economic agenda represents the biggest gamble for growth in a major Western democracy in at least 40 years, for which the chance of success fell instantly as investors ditched sterling assets. Prime Minister Liz Truss's "Growth Plan" is Britain's second roll of the dice at economic renewal following the 2016 vote for Brexit which, so far at least, has failed to yield returns. Investors reacted with dismay to the combination of free spending, unfunded tax cuts and huge increases in government borrowing announced by finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng on Friday. His statement marked…
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First signs of new COVID-19 wave seen in colder countries

First signs of new COVID-19 wave seen in colder countries

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are creeping up in Northern Europe where the colder and wetter weather is first being felt across the bloc. Latest data from Belgium, the U.K. and Denmark points to a gradual uptick in the number of cases and hospitalizations. Belgium's health authority said its modeling points to a new COVID-19 wave hitting in mid-October. Its data published on Friday suggests the first ripples of this wave have already arrived. Belgium reported a 17 percent increase in the number of new cases of coronavirus in the week to September 19 from the previous week. Hospitalizations in the…
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King Charles pictured with official red box in new photo

King Charles pictured with official red box in new photo

LONDON (Reuters) - King Charles has been pictured with his official red box in which the British monarch receives government documents, in a photograph released by Buckingham Palace as the new king takes up his official duties. The locked red despatch box is an image strongly associated with the British monarchy and one that the late Queen Elizabeth was regularly pictured with. It contains papers from the British government and some Commonwealth countries which are sent to the monarch from the office of the private secretary. The image was taken in the Eighteenth Century Room at Buckingham Palace last week.…
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Four fifths of UK households saw disposable income fall in August, says Asda

Four fifths of UK households saw disposable income fall in August, says Asda

LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Four in five UK households saw their disposable income decrease in August compared to the same month last year, as rising living costs continue to outstrip wage growth, UK supermarket group Asda said on Friday. Confidence levels among Britain's consumers are at record lows as they struggle with the accelerating cost of living. Wages are failing to keep pace with inflation that was 9.9% in August. The Asda Income Tracker showed that despite annual wage growth of 5.5% in the three months to the end of July, 80% of UK households were worse off in…
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Belgium reports bird flu outbreak on farm near Dutch border

Belgium reports bird flu outbreak on farm near Dutch border

PARIS, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Belgium has reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza on a poultry farm near the border with the Netherlands, the World Organisation for Animal Health (WAHIS) said on Friday. The outbreak of the disease, commonly called bird flu, occurred on a farm in Sint-Laureins in the province of East Flanders, the Paris-based WAHIS said, citing information from Belgian authorities. The farm had a flock of 29,919 birds but no details were given on the number of animals infected or slaughtered in the outbreak. This was the first such case reported in Belgium since…
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UPDATED: UK to introduce sales tax free shopping for overseas visitors – Kwarteng

UPDATED: UK to introduce sales tax free shopping for overseas visitors – Kwarteng

LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Britain will bring back sales tax free shopping for overseas visitors to boost the country's flagging retail sector, finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng said on Friday. "Britain welcomes millions of tourists every year, and I want our high streets and airports, our ports and our shopping centres, to feel the economic benefit. So we have decided to introduce VAT-free shopping for overseas visitors," he told parliament during the presentation of a mini-budget. A previous tax-free shopping was abolished at the end of 2020. Kwarteng said the government would replace the previous paper-based system with a digital…
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Britain wants to resolve post-Brexit trade row with EU quickly

Britain wants to resolve post-Brexit trade row with EU quickly

UNITED NATIONS, (Reuters) - Britain wants to reach an agreement with the European Union to solve post-Brexit trade to Northern Ireland issues quickly, foreign minister James Cleverly said, suggesting a softer approach to what has been an intractable dispute. The stand-off over part of the Brexit agreement which governs trade with Northern Ireland is by far the biggest strain between the EU and Britain, which became the first country to leave the bloc on Jan. 31, 2020. A major irritant is Britain's so-called Northern Ireland Protocol bill, which effectively tears up parts of the Brexit divorce deal. It was introduced…
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Modified herpes virus shows promise killing off cancer cells

Modified herpes virus shows promise killing off cancer cells

A new type of cancer therapy that uses a common virus to infect and destroy harmful cells is showing big promise in early human trials, say UK scientists. One patient's cancer vanished, while others saw their tumours shrink. The drug is a weakened form of the cold sore virus - herpes simplex - that has been modified to kill tumours. Larger and longer studies will be needed, but experts say the injection might ultimately offer a lifeline to more people with advanced cancers. Krzysztof Wojkowski, a 39-year-old builder from west London, is one of the patients who took part in…
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Belgium records huge drop in consumer confidence index

Belgium records huge drop in consumer confidence index

Sept 22 (Reuters) - Belgian consumer confidence dropped dramatically in September, according to the data released on Thursday by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB). The consumer confidence index dropped by 16 points on the previous month to -27 points in September. "The loss of confidence is enormous," the NBB said in a press release. It said the fall was close to the levels seen in April 2020 after the global COVID-19 pandemic struck or the level seen in March 2022 following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Belgian households are worried by the spike in energy prices as…
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Photo Story: The Castello CUBE, artwork worth 10 million euro displayed in downtown Zurich

Photo Story: The Castello CUBE, artwork worth 10 million euro displayed in downtown Zurich

A security guard rushes by as an elderly man on Thursday tried to measure The Castello CUBE, an artwork made by German artist Niclas Castello, in Zurich, Switzerland.  According to the artist, the artwork, made of 24-carat, 999.9 fine gold, was cast in the Ruetschi bell foundry in Aarau, Switzerland, and weighs 186 kg. The artwork is valued at 10 million euro and will remain displayed and heavily guarded in the center of Zurich for one day. Via EPA-EFE/MICHAEL BUHOLZER
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UK’s top manufacturing body slashes forecasts for 2023

UK’s top manufacturing body slashes forecasts for 2023

LONDON, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Britain's manufacturers association on Thursday slashed its forecast for growth in factory output next year, citing huge uncertainty around demand and energy prices. Make UK downgraded its forecast for manufacturing growth for next year to just 0.6%, down from the 1.7% forecast in June. Soaring energy costs, caused by Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, have eroded consumer demand and pushed up operating costs for businesses. "Eyewatering costs and a very difficult international environment... (threaten) to shatter expectations of a sustained recovery from the pandemic and put many perfectly viable businesses at risk," said Stephen Phipson,…
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Irish consumer sentiment tumbles to 14-year low on higher energy costs

Irish consumer sentiment tumbles to 14-year low on higher energy costs

DUBLIN, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Irish consumer sentiment tumbled to levels last seen during the global finance crisis 14 year ago as concerns about the impact of sharply higher energy bills hammered the outlook for household finances, a survey showed on Thursday. Confidence has fallen in seven of the last eight months in line with inflation climbing to a near 40-year high. The most recent survey coincided with the announcement of increases of between 27% and 47% in energy bills, as well as a step-up in grocery prices and official interest rates. The KBC Bank Ireland consumer sentiment index slid…
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Nearly 1 million people face starvation in hunger hotspots – U.N. agencies

Nearly 1 million people face starvation in hunger hotspots – U.N. agencies

Nearly one million people in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen are starving or will face starvation this year in the absence of aid, as the global food crisis worsens, United Nations agencies warned. Local conflict and weather extremes remain the primary drivers of acute hunger, aggravated this year by economic instability linked to the ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war. "The severe drought in the Horn of Africa has pushed people to the brink of starvation. Acute food insecurity is rising fast and spreading across the world. Without a massively scaled up humanitarian response,…
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Northern Ireland has more Catholics than Protestants for first time – census

Northern Ireland has more Catholics than Protestants for first time – census

BELFAST, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Northern Ireland has more Catholics than Protestants for the first time, census results showed on Thursday, a historic shift that some see as likely to help drive support for the region to split from Britain and join a united Ireland. The shift comes a century after the Northern Ireland state was established with the aim of maintaining a pro-British, Protestant "unionist" majority as a counterweight to the newly independent, predominantly Catholic, Irish state to the south. At that time, the population split was roughly two-thirds Protestant to one-third Catholic. Data from the 2021 census released…
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British PM Truss considering relocating the U.K. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

British PM Truss considering relocating the U.K. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

British Prime Minister Liz Truss is considering relocating the U.K. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Truss told her Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid “about her review of the current location” of the building, a Downing Street spokeswoman said. Truss had already proposed the move as a campaign promise to the Conservative Friends of Israel, during her successful leadership bid this summer. She brought back the issue during a meeting with Lapid in New York, during the United Nations’ General Assembly. The British embassy in Israel is currently located in Tel Aviv, similar to virtually all countries except the United States. Former…
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Inflation threatens stability in Germany – finance minister

Inflation threatens stability in Germany – finance minister

BERLIN, Sept 22 (Reuters) - The German government's top priority is combatting high inflation, the finance minister said on Thursday during a parliamentary debate on legislation to offset inflation and boost consumers' purchasing power. "Inflation is a threat for wealth, social security and the stability of our country," Christian Lindner told the Bundestag parliament. (Reporting by Rachel More)
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UPDATED: Britain lifts ban on shale gas fracking in push for energy independence

UPDATED: Britain lifts ban on shale gas fracking in push for energy independence

LONDON, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Britain on Thursday formally lifted a moratorium on fracking for shale gas that has been in place since 2019, saying strengthening the country's energy supply was an "absolute priority". Energy prices have soared in Europe after Russia invaded Ukraine, and Britain is subsidising bills for households and businesses at a predicted cost of more than 100 billion pounds ($113 billion). Prime Minister Liz Truss said earlier this month that fracking - extracting shale gas from rocks by breaking them up - would be allowed where it was supported by communities. Business and Energy Secretary Jacob…
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Britain to overhaul public company registry in dirty money crackdown

Britain to overhaul public company registry in dirty money crackdown

LONDON, (Reuters) - Britain is moving ahead with plans for a sweeping overhaul of its public registry of companies in a bid to transform it into an active gatekeeper of corporate information and crack down harder on "dirty money", a government source said. The government is likely to introduce a new Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill to parliament on Thursday to tackle problems such as the abuse of UK registered companies by international money laundering networks and fraudsters, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The move comes around six months after Britain introduced the delayed Economic Crime…
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German union calls on banks to pay workers 1500 euro energy bonus

German union calls on banks to pay workers 1500 euro energy bonus

BERLIN, Sept 21 (Reuters) - The German union Verdi on Wednesday called on Germany's top banks to pay some of its lowest-earning workers a special bonus to help them combat higher energy prices. The union is asking for a 1500-euro payment for this year and another for the next, affecting some 40,000 employees, the union said. "There are also low-wage employees in the banking industry. For them, things are now getting very tight financially," Verdi official Jan Duscheck said in a tweet. Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank , whose employees are affected by the demand, declined to comment. Handelsblatt first reported…
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Queen’s funeral drew peak British audience of 28 million, says BBC

Queen’s funeral drew peak British audience of 28 million, says BBC

LONDON (Reuters) - A peak of 28 million Britons watched Queen Elizabeth's funeral on their screens at home, the BBC reported, making it one of the most-watched events in years. The service for the monarch, who died Sept. 8 after 70 years on the throne, was held on Monday in Westminster Abbey and broadcast around the world. The BBC said the majority of viewers in Britain watched on the state-funded broadcaster. It said 32.5 million watched its coverage at some point, with its overall audience peaking at 22.4 million at the time when the queen's coffin was taken in a…
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King Charles ‘plans small coronation’ amid cost-of-living crisis

King Charles ‘plans small coronation’ amid cost-of-living crisis

King Charles is reportedly planning a coronation ceremony that would be "shorter, smaller and less expensive" amid Britain’s cost of living crisis. King Charles also plans a “slimmed down” monarchy, with the number of working royals cut to seven, a source told the Daily Mirror. The move has strong public support, with 65% of those surveyed backing the idea, and just 7% against, according to a poll commissioned by the Daily Express. A date for a coronation ceremony has not yet been announced, but May and June 2023 are possibilities. “He has already spoken of his wish to continue his…
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Over 2,000 London bus drivers to strike from Oct. 4 – union

Over 2,000 London bus drivers to strike from Oct. 4 – union

LONDON, Sept 21 (Reuters) - More than 2,000 London bus drivers at bus operator Arriva will strike from Oct. 4 in a dispute over pay, the Unite union said on Wednesday, the latest in a series of industrial action from different sectors across the country. Unite said the strike would run continuously until the dispute was resolved. "Arriva has totally failed to address the strength of feeling among our members as they see their rates of pay eroded. The company needs to return to the negotiating table with an offer which meets workers' reasonable expectations," Unite regional officer Steve Stockwell…
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Defying Vatican, Flemish bishops allow blessing same-sex unions

Defying Vatican, Flemish bishops allow blessing same-sex unions

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Flemish Roman Catholic bishops issued a document effectively allowing the blessing of same-sex unions, in direct defiance of a ruling against such practices by the Vatican's doctrinal office. The document published on the website of the Bishops' Conference of Belgium suggested a ritual that included a prayer and a benediction for stable same-sex unions. But it stressed that it was not "what the Church understands by a sacramental marriage". It said the Church wanted to be "pastorally close to homosexual persons" and be a "welcoming Church that excludes no one." The ritual would start with prayers…
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UPDATED: Britain halves electricity and gas prices for businesses

UPDATED: Britain halves electricity and gas prices for businesses

LONDON, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Britain said on Wednesday it would cap the wholesale cost of electricity and gas for businesses at less than half the market rate from next month, following a similar scheme for consumers, helping relieve the pressure of soaring energy costs. It said wholesale prices for electricity would be capped at about 211 pounds ($239) per megawatt hour (MWh) and for gas at 75 pounds per MWh. "We have stepped in to stop businesses collapsing, protect jobs, and limit inflation," finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng said. The level of the cap has been set at less than…
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UPDATED: German police storm estate of Russian oligarch Usmanov

UPDATED: German police storm estate of Russian oligarch Usmanov

ROTTACH-EGERN, Germany, Sept 21 (Reuters) - German police raided the lakeside residence of Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov in the southern state of Bavaria on Wednesday, along with several other properties, as part of investigations into suspected sanctions violations and money-laundering. Authorities were searching Usmanov's house in Rottach-Egern on the shores of the Tegernsee, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. The 69-year-old, who is active across a broad range of business sectors and has a net worth of $14.6 billion, according to Forbes, is at the centre of two separate investigations into his finances in Germany. A statement from…
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