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First it was the nuts, now it’s the oil.
Yep, due to the scorching Summer, Spain’s summer olive crop was hit so bad, that the country’s harvest may not even equate to half of 2013′s level.
With Spain being the main olive oil producer, this is quite hardcore.
Olive oil bottlers are reporting that they are paying 20-40% more for this year’s crop, than they were in May.
Obviously, we’re all in this together and that price increase will obviously be reflected on the supermarket shelves.
One litre of Filippo Berio extra virgin olive oil at Waitrose currently costs £6.50 which could be pushed up to £9.10 if wholesalers pass the full cost of the shortage onto consumers.
Italy has also suffered a spike in olive prices following an intensely hot summer and their extra-virgin olive oil price has jumped by 30% since the start of the year, currently at a two-year high.
Filippo Berio managing director Walter Zanre said: “The extent of the increase in the wholesale cost of olive oil means it is almost inevitable that prices to shoppers will have to increase.”
“Currently it is very difficult to purchase wholesale bulk olive oil in Spain as producers are withholding stock in anticipation of higher prices later in the year.”
It’s going to get a bit Mad Max 2 down the farmer’s markets that’s for certain. We’re going to have to start cooking our tea in vegetable oil like monsters.
That’s a nice bit of possible reassurance for those who felt more than shafted when Vodafone and EE threw multi-level shade on Phones4U late Sunday evening.
It also looks like they’re trolling the bosses at Phones4U as well.
The company had hoped to offer jobs to their concession workers, which they now have been able to do, and they will be absorbed into the new-ish partnership.
Now starting to look like cartoon villians of the piece, both EE and Vodafone have been sniffing around Phones4U, interesting in buying various assets.
In ’99, they had the infamous ‘Shokku’ profits warning, then in 2005 Sony had the first batch of major restructuring initiatives before downgrading their net income forecasts four times in 2011. This year, they announced that they planned to sell the Vaio wing of their business and continued to warn on profits.
So where are we now? Well, they’ve warned that their expected annual net loss will be nearly five times as big as initially predicted.
It seems constant restructuring hasn’t helped the ailing firm at all, with annual net losses exceeding a whopping $2bn. While Sony have the successful PlayStation 4 in their armoury, it seems everything else is just a massive balls-up.
Sony are blaming the “competitive environment” of the mobile business (how dare people compete) and as a result, are looking at a strategy where they aim to reduce “risk and volatility”. They’ve got to do something, seeing as they’ve doled out three warnings in the six months to May, and this loss for the current year will be Sony’s sixth in seven years.
Seems no-one is arsed about the Xperia phones, which will need to challenge Samsung et al, if they’re going to get back in the saddle. The PS4 will sell big units for a while, but they can’t rely on that once the January sales have died down.
Sugar. Yummy, delicious sugar. It tastes nice, so we like to eat it, even if we are all obese and getting fatter/diabetes/rotten teeth. But what can we do about it? Well a new report into tooth decay recommends slashing the maximum recommended intake to almost a quarter of WHO limits, with a bonus ‘sugar tax’ to help us all decide not to eat sugary treats anymore.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently lowered the recommended sugar limits to a maximum of 50g per day for the average adult and ideally no more than 25g, but a new report from doctors at University College London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine warns this is still too high, calling for a limit of just 14g per day.
The study, which looked at rates of tooth decay in comparison to average sugar intake, found that people who eat little or no added sugar had little or no tooth decay. As a result, the authors want to impose a maximum sugar intake of five per cent of total calories per day and ideally less than three per cent. Three per cent of total calories would be around 14g for the average adult – less than half a can of fizzy drink or four blocks of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate. For children this would be even lower, with seven-year-olds munching no more than 11g of sugar, or three squares of Dairy Milk.
Now, before anyone starts ranting that no-one, let alone a seven year old, should be munching bars of dairy milk everyday, the sugar limit would also include all sugar added to food by manufacturers (ever checked the sugar content of a ready meal?) or at home, but also natural sugars present in things like honey and fruit juice.
Co-author Professor Philip James, Honorary Professor of Nutrition at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and past President World Obesity Federation, said “A sugars tax should be developed to increase the cost of sugar-rich food and drinks.”
“This would be simplest as a tax on sugar as a mass commodity, since taxing individual foods depending on their sugar content is an enormously complex administrative process. The retail price of sugary drinks and sugar rich foods needs to increase by at least 20 per cent to have a reasonable effect on consumer demand so this means a major tax on sugars as a commodity. The level will depend on expert analyses but my guess is that a 100 per cent tax might be required.”
A 100% tax seems quite hefty, but he might be right. Demand for sweet treats is fairly inelastic- meaning that if you want one, you will buy one, without worrying too much about the cost. In order for a sugar tax to have an actual effect, and not just be absorbed into rising costs of living, it needs to be a doozy of a tax, doubling the cost of the ‘bad’ items.
But would it work? If you really want a Mars bar would you pay £1.20 for a Mars bar if you really needed to work rest and play? Or 84p for a can of coke? And let’s not forget that once upon a time Freddos were 10p. Look at them now even without a sugar tax surcharge.
Let’s face it, we probably have all paid similar prices for these products at airports or motorway service stations in the past. But would we just happily keep on paying this amount or would such a high price make us cut down our consumption? Or should the Government just naff off and leave us to enjoy whatever we want to fill our faces with in peace?
Are you one of those people on the internet who likes hitting out at ‘fat cats’? Like griping about those who make loads of money because you can’t stop mentioning your socialist leanings down the pub, much to the mild irritation of your pals?
Well, get this – all companies (so, not just banks) will have to be able to prove that director’s bonuses are linked to their performance thanks to a new City code.
You see, there’s a review of the corporate governance code and it has been decided that companies are going to have to provide more information for shareholders. This will include all manner of performance things, as well as details on the risks being run and details about how long a business would be able to run for under their current financing arrangements.
Unbelievably exciting isn’t it?
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) have told the City that the next review is going to tackle diversity in the boardroom and they’ve got two years to make some changes.
“Diversity can be just as much about difference of approach and experience. The FRC is considering this as part of a review of board succession planning and will consider the need to consult on these issues for the next update to the code in 2016,” it said.
More pressing changes ask for an extension of clawback arrangements which bankers are already working to. Basically, this new code says that companies should have arrangements to allow them to “recover or withhold variable pay when appropriate to do so”. It’ll also require companies to look at how long a director should wait before receiving any bonuses and that any extra pay should be link to performance.
“The changes to the code are designed to strengthen the focus of companies and investors on the longer term and the sustainability of value creation,” said Stephen Haddrill, chief executive of the FRC. ”The changes on remuneration also focus companies on aligning reward with the sustained creation of value rather than, as before, simply on retention – a focus that has tended to promote pay escalating and leap-frogging.”
So, from now on, companies will make two statements: One will be based on accounting rules and the other will require directors to assess their ability to stay in business for more than 12 months. Could play havoc with our Deathwatch articles, but there you go.
Either way, those ‘fat cats’ are going to have to justify their bonuses now, which they inevitably will be able to, much to the chagrin of those who can’t abide these upwardly mobile swine.
The baker, Shane Thompson who is 22, had been working on the £27,000 computer-controlled machine, and something went awry, he lost his mind and head-butted the display screen
He head-butted with such force, he created a crack measuring six by four inches on the display scren
His bosses reckon it would cost £3,204 to fix, Prosecutor Kathryn Reeve told the court in Scarborough.
It was at his time at Yorkshire Baker, which he’d been happily working at for 17 months previously, where he lost his bap.
His former bosses docked £295 from his wages to cover the cost of the damage and wanted the £2,909 balance, the court heard. Defending solicitor Robert Vining said: “The defendant is at a total loss to understand how butting a glass screen and cracking it results in that piece of equipment being worthless.”
“He admits he became frustrated with the equipment. It was not making the pastry properly so he lost his temper and head-butted the glass screen and cracked it.”
We’ve all done it, yeah?
He was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £720 compensation towards the cost of repairing the machine. Thompson has since found a new job as ride operator at Flamingo Land theme park.
Is there anyone on Earth with a better CV than Shane Thompson? We’re quite serious.
The sites have been posing as government channels for health insurance cards, passports and birth certificates, leaving consumers baffled, poor and riotous.
The websites – europeanhealthcard.org.uk, uk-officialservices.co.uk and ukpassportoffices.co.uk – duped users into thinking they were official providers of services they were offering, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said.
It also ruled that the websites must not appear again and any future versions must feature disclaimers that say “we’re not real”.
Although, putting a thing on a site saying it’s a fake, sort of defeats the purpose of being a moody front to steal your life.
The ASA said it received large numbers of consumer complaints about websites that offered access to online government services, but which were not official channels and typically charged a premium.
The ASA said the europeanhealthcard.org.uk website charged for an application verification service, while the EHIC was available for free when applied for via the official gov.uk website.
Only stick to the proper gov channels, and if in doubt, call ‘em up and waiting 45 minutes to get through to someone.
Like clockwork, npower are here with their latest unsavoury accolade – they’ve capped off a dismal year by being named the worst company in the UK, replacing Ryanair who were the previous owners of the ‘Worst’ title.
Which!!! have been collating their annual customer service rankings for the UK’s 100 biggest brands and npower came out as the absolute pits.
Other energy companies featured prominently too, with ScottishPower going from 62nd place to 99th, which just happens to be the biggest drop of any of the brands featured.
Both companies have been blaming the fact that they’ve got new computer systems, which means that customers have been sent fantastically incorrect bills, not had bills at all, seen their complaints vanishing and queries taking months to be sorted out.
As previously reported, npower have been so poor that they’ve been separated from the rest of the class and been forced to sit on a special table with Ofgem and put back on pencil.
Ofgem set npower a series of targets for clearing a swathe of problems which were affecting 400,000 customers. They were threatened with a ban on all telesales and npower just sneaked their targets. EDF Energy are 81st in the table, and British Gas and E.On were joint 86th, while SSE sat in 94th place.
So which companies are any cop, sitting pretty at the top of the table? First Direct was ranked 1st and John Lewis and Lakeland did rather well also.
An npower spokesman said: “We’re determined to improve and we’re already making progress. Since this survey was carried out we’ve reduced the number of late bills by over 75%, and the number of complaints we received by nearly 30%. However, we know we still have a long way to go before we can reach the top spot and we’re continuing to focus all of our efforts in this area.”
So, npower aren’t very good and neither are their energy competitors. Next week, we’ll bring you the news of the Pope’s religious preferences and confirm whether or not bears go to the toilet in woodland areas.
This follows something of a disastrous 12 months for them, after a warehouse fires damaged stock and fourth-quarter sales were dented by a strong pound. The fire damage alone cost the company £30 million in lost sales.
Shares fell 8.88% to 2207p after the firm warned full-year profits were set to be lower than previously expected.
Whereas the analysts had reckoned on a £62 million profit in their forecasts, it’s more likely to be nearer to £45 million.
The firm warned: “In the new financial year we’ll make significant investments in our international pricing and proposition, as well as in our logistical infrastructure and technology platform. As a result, we expected profit before tax for the year to August 31 to be at a similar level to 2013-14.”
Retail sales for the three months to August 31 did increase 15%, but was still a slowdown deom the 25% from the previous quarter. The international business now accounts for 60% of sales but the strong pound means prices have risen by up to 20% in some markets.
Basically, international sales have fallen from 63% to 61% with Australia and Russia bringing sales down. We’ll be keeping an eye on Asos.
Daniel Lewis of Clapham in Bedfordshire, wanted to change his house name to ‘Hardcore Mansions’ but Bedford Borough Council – the SQUARES – have said no to this as it could be potentially offensive.
Mr Lewis sounds like quite the old raver, and reckons the name change stems from his nights out when this great land was a Rave Nation.
“Hardcore Mansions was [the name we used to call] our friend’s house,” he said. Before heading down what’s-left-of-his-memory lane.
He was at great lengths to point out that it has absolutely nothing to do with pornography.
“You have to apply to the council to get that done… [but] they refused on two separate occasions,” he said. ”They said it was inappropriate and could be offensive.”
“I did write to them and outline there was a number of different meanings to hardcore but they just took it down the sexual route and told me I couldn’t have it.”
Which ironically, Mr Lewis sounded like he very much ‘had it’ back in simpler times.
In a bid to get some arse from the council all upset, Mr Lewis has now put up a neon sign depicting the name and said he has no plans to remove it. Maybe some switched on neighbours will ask if they can feel it. Or something.
Buying a new laptop or computer is a pain. You could be spending that money on something more outlandish, like a sapphire underpants or a cigarette holder made out of more cigarettes. However, the jewellery gusset could still be yours.
We’ve spotted a deal where you can get your mitts on a Dell Inspiron 15 laptop for preposterously cheap. If you’re looking for a new laptop for university or just to sit and watch bongo films while on the bog, you can land one for £169 including delivery. Get on it here.
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An Australian Pizza Hut joint has finished scratching their head after there was a kerfuffle about a recent offer they promoted.
Basically, the restaurant offered to give customers a free pet with the purchase of 10 large pizzas.
In a statement Pizza Hut Australia apologised saying that the Mount Waverley store had taken the poster down and that the promotion had not been approved centrally.
“It has come to our attention that one of our stores have recently been running a promotion which was not approved by Pizza Hut Australia, nor was condoned in any circumstances. We would like to sincerely apologise to anyone who was offended by this,” they said.
“The poster has since been taken down and all those involved have been made aware of the severity and inappropriateness of the promotion.”
Of course, if you get 10 large pizza from this lot, it probably equates to one hamster’s worth of meat anyway, so really, it is much ado about nothing.
Motorists have been warned that using the fancy new gadget while driving could be a bit daft.
While Smart watches can issue regular updates from internet services, apps and the user’s mobile phone, but the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is urging people to turn them off while at the wheel.
The IAM said: “The latest piece of wearable technology from Apple will allow users to make and receive calls, check their messages and monitor their health by operating the device on their wrists. However, the IAM warns that this could significantly impair driving performance – being a major cause for distraction and road accidents.”
If they die in a car crash, at least their watch will tell them which level of fatal their injuries are, which could be interesting when drawing your final breath.
The Apple Watch isn’t due in the UK until 2015, so this advice is more a forewarning.
Past research from the organisation has suggested mobile phones were a contributing factor in nearly 2,000 serious accidents between 2006 and 2010, including 110 fatal crashes.
“Constant alerts will require motorists’ regular attention,” the IAM’s statement continues. ”As opposed to using a legal hands-free piece of equipment the Apple Watch will require drivers to use two hands to operate the device – impacting speed, lane position and time spent looking at the road.”
The Government have said that using your watch while driving will carry the same penalty as using your mobile at the wheel. That gets you three penalty points and a £100 fine.
Research found that more than one third (34%) of children considered the adverts to be fun, tempting or exciting as they tend to peddle their wares via the medium of puppetry, such as those wankstains at Wonga.
Look at it. How can a child REFUSE TO BE DRAWN INTO A WORLD OF GERIATRIC FELT?
This group were significantly more likely to say they would consider using a payday loan, even if they’ve never heard of them.
The report by The Children’s Society calls for restrictions on advertising loans to join those already in place to protect children from adverts on gambling, alcohol, tobacco and junk food.
Matthew Reed, chief executive of The Children’s Society, said: “Through our frontline work, we see first-hand the devastating impact of debt on children’s lives.”
“We know it’s become a daily battle for families to pay the bills, meet the mortgage or rent payments, and find money for food or other basics. One setback or even a simple mistake can lead to a spiral of debt. Right now children are being exposed to a barrage of payday loan adverts, which put even more pressure on families struggling to make ends meet and to provide the very basics for their children. That’s why the law should be changed to ban these ads from TV and radio before the 9pm watershed.”
“It is crucial that children learn about borrowing and money from their school and family – not from irresponsible payday loan advertising. A significant majority of parents back a ban and it’s now time for the government to act.”
The survey questioned 1,065 adults and some 680 kids from the 13-17 age range.