Posts Tagged ‘News’
If you think we collectively drink a lot of wine and beer, it’s nothing compared to how much we spend on drugs and prostitutes.
This is the first time the ONS have included narcotics and sex workers into their calculations of Gross Domestic Product in order to ensure “comparability in measuring Gross National Income across EU countries.”
So here’s the kicker: In 2013, Brits spent £11bn on wine and beer, while spending £12.3bn on prostitutes and illegal drugs.
The figure for the procurement of sex workers in £4.3bn alone, with the rest disappearing up noses and the like. Drugs are split into crack cocaine, powder cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy and imported and home produced cannabis, worth £6.7bn a year according to the ONS.
So the real story is this: British people spend over £23bn on having a really fun time.
Remember when Wonga sent out a load of threatening letters from fake law firms?
Well, they were soon told off and it was estimated that the payday loan company would have to cough-up £2.6m in fines.
Well, turns out that it is a bit more than that, with the lender now being asked for the princely sum of £10 MILLION.
That means that Wonga’s annual profits have dipped by 53% to £39.7million.
All in all, this debacle has cost Wonga nearly £19million, which serves ‘em right for being underhand, the shithouses.
There’s been an estimated £2.6million in payouts to 45,000 customers too, which were agreed with the people at the Financial Conduct Authority.
Maybe Wonga’s puppet nanas will get the sack now and they’ll have to see if there’s any jobs going at the Gran Factory where they knit everyone’s Shreddies.
Thousands of drivers haven’t been able to renew their car tax online, after the DVLA sank under the huge amounts of traffic. The high volume of people accessing the site was predictable and as clear as the nose on your face, however, it looks like the DVLA weren’t prepared.
According to reports, some people have spent up to 13 hours online trying to sort their car tax out. At some point, they should’ve stepped away from their computer, but there you go. Some people are crackers.
The DVLA said the site had seen “an unprecedented volume of traffic”. Feel free to make your own ‘DVLA unable to deal with traffic’ puns.
Our pals at the DVLA said that an extra 30,000 people had visited the site and apologised for the farcical situation and said that, if you are desperate to get your tax sorted, you should go to the Post Office instead. Of course, with Post Offices being closed all over the country over the years, you might have to drive there as well.
The AA aren’t happy either. They reckon that this new system could see some cars being taxed twice. Nice little earner for the government that, eh? You see, someone buying a car will no longer be able to benefit from an unused period on a tax disc, which means there’ll be a lot of crossover with two drivers paying tax on a vehicle at the same time.
“Someone driving a car that costs £500 a year to tax would lose £41 if they sold it at the beginning of the month,” said Edmund King, the AA’s president. Likewise a buyer purchasing a car mid month would have to pay Vehicle Excise Duty for the entire month.”
That’s because this was some kind of social experiment where researchers set up a WiFi hotspot in London which had a lengthy t&c section.
The terms contained a “deliberately ridiculous” term which, if you’d read, said that in return for the free access to the internet, the individual using the service was prepared to “render up their eldest child for the duration of eternity”.
The report is called ‘Tainted Love: How Wi-Fi Betrays Us’ by security and privacy company F-Secure. It states that, regarding people allowing their children to be given up for eternity: ”Despite this, six people decided that it was a fair exchange and signed up.”
Hopefully, the researchers will see the clause out in scenes akin to the baby being fought for in Ghostbusters 2. Hopefully they’ll have a massive magic oil painting too.
The report concluded: “Our results illustrate the very real problem of the modern world which is that – while massively dependent on the technology – the population is unaware of its capabilities for surveillance and intrusion into their lives. The problem is that people implicitly trust their technology and are not aware of the implications of that trust.”
“There is an insatiable pursuit of bandwidth, driven mainly by the desire to have video, data-rich apps and super-fast website performance on the move.”
“This appetite for bandwidth has blinded consumers to the risks that they are taking. In pursuit of free bandwidth, people are prepared to do anything as our experiment showed with its draconian terms and conditions.”
In fairness, the six people involved might have really quite horrible children. You just don’t know do you? Have you met some of them? They can be infuriating.
TL;DR – Breaking news: People don’t read terms and conditions on anything, ever.
Window displays can be works of art, but mostly, they’re a load of cobblers. However, Sainsbury’s have taken it next level thanks to whacking a poster that was clearly meant for staff only in the front of one of their stores.
Where a nice offer or charity drive should be, instead, some berk has put a poster up which says ‘Hey! Staff! Lets try and rinse people for a bit more money! Right guys? Right!‘
The poster, as you can see, regards the Fifty pence challenge (no, not a thing where you place a 50p between your buttocks and try and drop the coin in a glass) where the staff have been challenged.
“Let’s encourage every customer to spend an additional 50p during each shopping trip between now and the year-end,” says the poster THAT THEY HAVE STUCK IN THE FRONT WINDOW.
Ever wondered why there wasn’t a bar that was ideal for pregnant women? Well, someone in New York had the same thought and went and set the thing up and called it ‘Gestations’.
Now you’ll be able to breathe out your beer gut because it won’t look nearly as large next to a women who is resting a craft ale on her 7 month pregnancy belly.
Gestations at Fifth Street and Avenue A proclaims: “All you mothers-to-be should come check out our trimester specials and our 9-month happy hour because now you’re drinking for two!”
On Gestations Facebook page, the bar claims that expectant mums are perfect patrons because they can fit more booze in: “The bigger the belly, the more you can drink. True for men and pregnant women #gestationsny.”
The bar even got a billboard up in Times Sqaure.
Of course, not many are happy about this.
One disgruntled sort said on the bar’s FB page: “this is really sick, a real disparate, how would you entice a pregnant woman to drink alcohol which will take effects on the unborn, this is really ridiculous. I would call on the Dept of Health, to close this stupid peoples door business that are endangering the health of the unborn. umbelievable ..!!!!!!”
That comment may have been made under the influence – we just don’t know. Another said: “It’s insane . . . I think it portrays a poor image.”
The bar also said online: “#gestationsny will have free pregnancy test kits when you buy a pitcher. Check out our profile on #BARTRENDr to see what else we’ll carry.”
However, the bar haven’t actually applied for a liquor licence, so this might be some sort of Earth Mother’s Juice Bar or something, who just have some novelty adverts to drum up attention.
Best of Bitterwallet
How to fix your crashing Apple devices bw/crashtacular
Minging or marvellous? The new BlackBerry phone divides opinion bw/passport
Airport use man’s death for marketing purposes bw/planedead
Talking phone gets nana all upset bw/grans
Chat Magazine ask the best question of the year bw/pound
Apple say sorry for all the bad things bw/igroan
Don’t drink on holiday and have an accident or else bw/travel
Tesco are a farce bw/tesclol
Wetherspoons want to give you cheaper booze bw/burp
Best of the Rest
Passport office to be closed telegraph/Passport
Wonga are losing money mail/wonga
Women sue SnapChat for making them look like sluts stuff/model
Ofcom tells off the Big Six for being ‘frankly awful’ telegraph/energy
Microsoft say that Surface isn’t an iPad, OKAY? cnet/microsoft
Angry Birds go Transformers hngn/angrybots
Intel throw money at chip makers wsj/chips
There’s a banana war going on standard/bananas
Have a lovely weekend
The proper name for Shellshock is ‘CVE-2014-6271′, which is about as catchy as Leonard Cohen song, but it is making a lot of people very jumpy. The National Cyber Awareness System has given the bug a 10 out of 10 severity rating.
If you’re really techie and want to get into the smaller details of the Shellshock bug, click here for the low-down by people who really know what they’re talking about.
For the rest of you, this is the kicker: if you haven’t got your updates up-to-date and are using OS X, hackers might be able to get control of your computer. Mercifully, the chances of this happening are reasonably small.
A lot of Linux distributors have released patches to stop Shellshock, but Mac OS X haven’t got anything yet.
Sadly, the immediate fix for this is reasonably techie and can be seen in the link above. If you’re not the kind of person who is equipped to get under the hood of your devices, the best thing to do is make sure all your important files are backed-up, stored in your cloud accounts and what have you, just in case your computer ends up being wrecked.
It looks like Linux is going to be shored up soon enough, but Apple haven’t even made a comment yet, so we’ll just have to wait and see what they’re up to.
MPs have launched an inquiry into allegations that the blessed Royal Mail are going to struggle to fulfil their obligations to deliver to every address in the country, for six days a week at the same price thanks to competition from other companies.
The upstanding members of the business select committee have launched an investigation after the Royal Mail bigwigs started crying about the pressure they’re under from TNT, who are able to pick and choose profitable delivery routes in big ass cities while Royal Mail are dashing around trying to provide the same service to everyone, everywhere.
Feel free to make your own joke along the lines of: “They already provide the same service to everyone in Britain – a crap one.”
Adrian Bailey, chair of the business select committee, said: “We have had a number of representations from Royal Mail, and others, warning that TNT can cherry-pick profitable routes because they don’t have a universal service obligation. If it [the universal service] is under serious threat, we will see what we can do to protect it.”
Bailey said Royal Mail, TNT, the CWU postal union and regulator Ofcom will be called to give evidence in parliament.
Royal Mail’s chief executive Moya Greene said: “TNT Post UK can cherry-pick easy-to-serve urban areas, delivering easy-to-handle post to homes less frequently than Royal Mail and to no defined quality standard. Royal Mail is required to deliver six days a week, overnight, throughout the whole country, to stringent quality standards and at a uniform, affordable tariff. Everyone should really sit up and take notice of what effect this cherry-picking will have.”
TNT haven’t made a comment as such, but in the past, have said: “We are happy to take any opportunity to explain the benefits of competition in the UK postal sector and its important role in ensuring Royal Mail continues to work towards meeting its productivity targets, which it has so far failed to do.”
We continue to laugh at Tesco’s woes (yes, we’re very petty) today as it has been announced that the Serious Fraud Office is keeping an eye on what’s going on at Tesco after they invented £250m in their accounts.
Sainsbury’s and Morrisons have also been warned by auditors that they’re being watched too, as they could be liable to an accounting balls-up.
The Financial Conduct Authority have also been told about the goings-on at Tesco and now, it looks like the mega-grocer could be forced to open up old accounts, from 2011. Why? Over in That America, law firm Glancy Binkow & Goldberg said they’re looking at allegations on behalf of Tesco’s US shareholders over possible violations of federal securities laws.
There’s a lot of rumours knocking about that Tesco have been railroading suppliers into getting rebates and, according to The Times, these rebates could be sought with little notice under the guise of growing commercial income for marketing or promotions.
Cantor Fitzgerald retail analyst Mike Dennis said: “This was a well-known practice within Tesco and we believe it has been going on for at least a year or more, and became more desperate as sales full further.”
Not only that, the South Koreans are coming after Tesco too. Prosecutors in South Korea are investigating Homeplus (owned by Tesco) over allegations that the company’s managers sold customers’ private information to insurance firms.
The FRC said: “The FRC has disciplinary powers in relation to misconduct by accountants and, through the Financial Reporting Review Panel, can also require a company to restate its financial statements. The FRC does not have powers to monitor or require restatement of unaudited trading statements. It will consider the outcome of the investigation announced by the company and determine whether it should take regulatory action.”
600 of the trolleys will be sent to stores across the country this week.
The new trolleys are designed for children with the likes of cerebral palsy and autism, and fitted with a special padded seat and harness designed for maximum comfort and security.
All Sainsbury’s supermarkets will have at least one of the new trolleys by the end of October.
Sainsbury’s had invited parents Maria Box and Stacie Lewis to trial-run the new trolleys, after learning of their frustration with the current trolleys being unsatisfactory.
Hannah Bernard, Sainsbury’s director of customer experience, said: “We were reviewing our range of trolleys when we read about Maria’s experience and Stacie’s call for supermarkets to introduce a new trolley for disabled children. We immediately contacted them and invited them to trial our new trolley with their children.”
“We always had trolleys for parents with disabled children but they weren’t appropriate for children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy or autism. We hope these new trolleys will make shopping much easier for thousands of parents like Stacie and Maria and are very grateful to them for helping us with the design.”
Mark Harper MP, Minister of State for Disabled People said: “It’s excellent news that Sainsbury’s are taking steps to improve the shopping experience for disabled people. This new trolley should serve as a benchmark for others in the retail sector.”
Hurrah all concerned!
Legendary man headbutts sausage roll machine bw/tup
Pizza Hut offer live animals bw/pizza
Who is the worst company in the UK? bw/you’llneverguess
Sugar tax nonsense bw/sweetness
Man denied from giving his house a rave name bw/comingup
Dixons Carphone to give Phones4u staff jobs? bw/jobsforyou
Watch first iPhone6 get dropped live on-air bw/iphone
Made.com drop IndyRef clanger bw/scotland
Best of the Rest
Unpretentious, magnificent review of a Pizza Express. peterboroughtoday/my-first-reaction-was-wow
Bug infects Apple Health Kit pcworld/healthkit
EasyJet expand westerndailypress/airline
Drug maker gets huge fine reuters/uk-gsk
Shock as London rents increase eveningstandard/rent
Google to build airports and cities? independent/google
HTC Champion’s League phone seems pointless androidheadlines/uefa
Toyota recall loads of cars over leak modernreaders/20000
Have a lovely weekend
The Independent has seen an internal document sent to the chain’s 5,596 staff, which says that they will be getting some money as administrators look for a buyer, but they “may not receive the full amount of pay that they’d usually expect to receive” and that “a decision regarding outstanding accrued bonuses and commissions is currently under review”.
Of Phones4u have £110m in the bank, has £89m worth of stock and is owed £147m by debtors, which won’t please people who have just lost their jobs. However, there’s the little matter of debts, which stand at somewhere in the region of £760m.
Looks bleak for Phones4u.
Administrator Rob Hunt added: “Over the course of the last few days we have considered all the restructuring options … [but] there is no realistic prospect of a debt-for-equity swap.”
The staff may be getting taken on by the Carphone Warehouse/Dixons merger, so there’s hope yet.
From October 1st, cars that have a tax disc in the window will either look a bit daft or they’ll be the kind of people who get old motors and renovate them so they look all shiny and they can pretend they’re living in the sixties.
The RAC aren’t finding this funny though. They’ve been pacing around and nervously wringing their leather driving gloves.
They think that the lack of tax discs could lead to tax evasion which will cost the economy £167 million a year. They’re worried that the number of drivers dodging tax could equal the number who try to avoid paying motor insurance. We’ll let them explain.
An RAC spokesman said: “We could be looking at about £167m of lost revenues to the Treasury, far exceeding the £10m saved by no longer having to print tax discs and post them to vehicle owners. The big question has to be whether enforcement using only cameras and automatic number plate recognition will be sufficiently effective.”
Currently just 0.6% of cars do not have road tax, which equates to something like £35 million in lost revenue from the 210,000 cars concerned. The RAC are worried that the same number of drivers won’t have insurance either.
The DVLA aren’t having it: ”There is absolutely no basis to these figures and it is nonsense to suggest that getting rid of the tax disc will lead to an increase in vehicle tax evasion,” said a spokesperson.
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.