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Loss-making Guardian sacks 70 journalists – chief executive earns £630,000 a year

Bad news in journalism as Guardian Media Group announced plans to let go 12% of its workforce. That’s 180 jobs, with 70 of those in editorial. The Guardian’s Saturday edition will be hit hard, with The Guide, Weekend, Review and Travel axed. The Press Gazette looks at the numbers:

The news came as Guardian Media Group published its financial results for the 12 months to 29 March… GMG reported a pre-tax loss of £36.8m versus a pre-tax profit of £31m the previous year. It made an operating loss of £17.5m versus an operating loss of £16.6m a year earlier.

Editor Kath Viner, who earned a 5% pay rise, saw her total pay and benefits for the last financial year rise to £391,000.

…outgoing chief executive David Pemsel received a pay-off of £184,275 when he left the company on 2 December last year. His successor, Annette Thomas, has the same salary: £630,000.

A statement published on the newspaper’s website tells readers:

The editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner, and the Guardian Media Group chief executive, Annette Thomas, said in a joint statement to staff that the pandemic had created an “unsustainable financial outlook for the Guardian” with revenues expected to be down by more than £25m on the year’s budget.

They said Guardian Media Group, the parent company of the Guardian and the Observer, was facing “unsustainable annual losses in future years unless we take decisive action” to reduce costs.

Viner and Thomas said they remained committed to keeping the Guardian free-to-read and not following the paywall model adopted by many rivals. Instead, they will concentrate on the Guardian’s digital growth and focus on its reader revenue model.

The Guardian ends every story with a call for a donation. What are you donating to – and does the chief executive need it?

Image: King George V being asked for spare change, 1920s.

Posted: 16th, July 2020 | In: Money, News | Comment


BBC will lock up you granny and other over 75s unless they pay the licence fee tax

Because no-one under the age of 70 watches the BBC, the State broadcaster will end free TV licences for most over-75s. More than three millions households will be fined and deemed criminals unless they pay the £157.50 fee from 1 August. You can escape the tax if someone in your household receives the Pension Credit benefit. The all-encompassing, local-newspapers thrashing BBC website quotes the BBC as saying this is “the fairest decision”. The Government calls it “deeply frustrating”. Teenagers says, “BB.. what?”

BBC Chairman and pensioner Sir David Clementi (born 25 February 1949; salary £450,000 a year plus perks) says the decision had “not been easy”. Which is, of course, bunkum. If the head of the corporation can’t find a reason to keep the organisation at the heart of people’s lives – and charging them makes them relevant – what’s his purpose? And then what of all those BBC jobs. Would he sacrifice them for the greater good? Sir David says the BBC is “under severe financial pressure”. The corporation must survive. And you must pay for it to do so.

So how is your dosh spent by the humungous BBC?

Did you watch much BBC telly? EastEnders, much? Newsnight? Is there any other news website you pay £1 a month to read – or else? Do you pay for radio? Listen to the World Service at all. Watch the BBC news? Or do you surf the web for free radio from Brazil, Japan or Florida, watch the less biased ITV News and binge on Netflix boxsets?

The BBC does a lot of terrific work. The 13 Minutes to the Moon podcast is worth paying for. Sport on the radio is excellent. Local radio can be very good. And.. Well, yeah. The BBC does radio really well. TV – meh. The Internet – you can get the same elsewhere. So why not make the BBC a subscription service? But – no – the BBC just says we should all pay for for it to do whatever it wants to do. We must pay for all of it bit just the bits we like. So you pay for EastEnders, 6 Music and documentaries on Charlemagne and his legacy, Why should we pay a tax in order to provide something of minority interest? Did anyone at the BBC think to ask what their customers over the age of 75 want?

Posted: 9th, July 2020 | In: Money, News | Comment


Arsenal show their class as players agree reduced salaries to help the club

How is your football club responding to the coronavirus crisis? Liverpool and Spurs got greedy. Their plan to milk the State for staff wages upset fans, whose vociferous reaction caused both clubs to change direction and pay their staff in full. Manchester United expressed their view that a pandemic presented the chance for them to hammer smaller clubs. And Arsenal? Their players are the first in the Premier League to agree to a pay cut. The board has already agreed a more than 33% wage cut for the next 12 months.

The Gunners players will take a 12.5% wage cut but be reimbursed if they qualify for next season’s Champions League or the 2021-22 competition. They will get a £100,000 bonus for reaching next year’s Champions League. They will each reportedly earn £500,000 for winning the 2021 Champions League or £100,000 for the Europa League.

The Gunners are eight points off of a Champions League place with 10 games remaining. Their chances of reaching the Champions League are slim. Those wages will never be made up.

Posted: 18th, April 2020 | In: Arsenal, Money, Sports | Comment


Spurs relinquish title of world’s greediest football club

Tottenham will not be milking the State, taking advantage of the government’s furlough scheme for some non-playing staff during the coronavirus crisis. Following Liverpool’s belated relation that a corporation, sorry, football club, owned by a billionaire that makes millions in profits should not be seen to be so greedy, Spurs have seen the light. Says the Spurs chairman (pay: £7m a year):

“We regret any concern caused during an anxious time and hope the work our supporters will see us doing in the coming weeks, as our stadium takes on a whole new purpose, will make them proud of their club.”

More marketing guff dressed up as sport every day….

As for what the new Spurs stadium will be without football, how about a toilet paper silo?

Posted: 13th, April 2020 | In: Money, News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Bonds and demand: Guardian get it wrong

In a story on the global bond market’s response to coronavirus, the Guardian tells its readers: “The global bond markets, which handle hundreds of billions of trades every day, are where governments and companies go to borrow funds from investors.” There are not hundreds of billions of trades in bonds every day. The hundreds of billions is the value of the bonds being traded not the number of trades.

We’re then told:

At the outset of the Covid-19 outbreak, bond markets froze as investors panic bought highly rated government bonds and the number of sellers shrank.

The US Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and the European Central bank, which oversee the largest debt markets, stepped in to expand the number of bonds on offer and promised to meet demand while the crisis continued.

Demand has been supported by the Bank of England’s pledge to “create” £200bn of electronic funds to purchase more bonds as part of its quantitative easing programme, adding to the £435bn of assets on its balance sheet.

That’s not supporting demand. That’s meeting demand by enlarging supply.

As for the US, Bnaron’s notes:

“We have no idea how long this will be,” said Yousef Abbasi, global market strategist for U.S. institutional equities at INTL FCStone said. “Right now, fundamentals don’t matter because there is very little clarity as to when the economy can restart — and depending on how long this goes — what the economy will look like when it does restart.”

These uncertainties aside, there are several indicators that bolster the case that a recovery for the stock market may have begun, said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors.

“The severe indiscriminate selling we saw prior to last week has abated,” he said, noting that through last Monday, nearly every asset class, including gold, U.S. Treasury bonds and stocks were being sold off. “It was that classic capitulation move to cash,” whereas in more recent sessions, bonds have rallied when stocks retreated and vice-versa, typical of normal behavior in financial markets.

Cash is king.

Posted: 8th, April 2020 | In: Money, News | Comment


Liverpool back down leaving Spurs to win title of world’s greediest football club

Liverpool have listened to the fans and media who decried their decision to place some non-playing staff on temporary leave and take advantage of the Government’s furlough scheme to let the taxpayer pay 80% of their wages. Liverpool – owned by a billionaire and posting profits last season of £43m – will muddle along some how. Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Bournemouth and Norwich City are sticking with their plans to furlough some non-playing staff. Bournemouth and Norwich are not big clubs. Newcastle are a basket case. But Spurs with that swanky new stadium and billionaire owner can afford it, surely? With Liverpool no longer doing the wrong thing, Spurs might be the world’s greediest football club. Finally, they win something.

Posted: 7th, April 2020 | In: Liverpool, Money, News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Help the NHS fight Coronavirus in North London by donating to the Royal Free Charity Covid-19 Emergency Fund

Royal Free hospital covid-19 charity

In North London, the Royal Free London hospitals – the Royal Free Hospital, Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital – need your help. The Royal Free Charity has become the Royal Free Charity Covid-19 Emergency Fund to support NHS staff through the crisis. Clapping your hands for the NHS is all well and good but money is better.

Many of the staff at the three hospitals are now caring for patients with coronavirus, or are dealing with patients who are not unwell with the virus but still desperately need their help. Resources are stretched to the limit and they’re working under the most extreme pressure. It’s not just affected doctors and nurses; everyone, from ICU and the wards, to the porters, cleaners and support staff, is playing a role in the fight against the virus. As we all know, the situation is going to get even worse before things start to improve.

The aim is to get a complete support service in place as soon as possible. This will include the provision of care packages at the end of a very long shift, to psychological support and the creation of physical respite spaces, all of which have been suggested by staff. Every penny raises will make a real difference to their lives.

Please make a donation here.

Posted: 2nd, April 2020 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment


Coylumbridge Hotel in Aviemore make staff homeless – blame it on admin error

The Colyumbridge Hotel new Aviemore, Scotland, has been making news. The “perfect escape for an unforgettable family vacation” has sent out a letter telling employees to get thee hence. Coronavirus is apparently behind the mass sacking in which some staff were told to leave the hotel accommodation immediately.

The hotel’s owners, Brittania Hotels, says it was all a misunderstanding. The company tell the Liverpool Echo: “With regards to the current situation regarding staff at our Coylumbridge Hotel and being asked to vacate their staff accommodation. Unfortunately, the communication sent to these employees was an administrative error. All affected employees are being immediately contacted. We apologise for any upset caused.”

You know how these errors go: a virus infects your world, types a letter and tells everyone to get out or else. Other companies should take note of this and increase their virus protection.

Posted: 21st, March 2020 | In: Money, News, The Consumer | Comment


Tampon tax is over: invest your saving in vagina candles and steamers

Good news, then. The State’s 5% rake on all sanitary products is to end. The sex-based “tampon tax” will be abolished from January. And you can thank Brexit for the end to it. It was an EU directive that meant the tax rate could not fall below 5%. And so long as the UK was in the bloc’s customs union, the country was legally bound to take a cut from every menstruating woman.

If you want to save money til January, best get what the Vagina Monologues termed “a wad of dry fucking cotton”. What you save on branded padding you can invest in other devices, such as the vagina steamer, trailed on Hollywood princess Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog GOOP thus: “You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus.” Afterwards you can see if your date wants to pull on a Hamzat suit and shag in a laboratory.

If things get too clean and you miss the old days, Paltrow also flogs a candle called ‘This Smells Like My Vagina’, which will ensure a fuller sensory experience to anyone dating a Gwyneth Paltrow love doll or indeed Gwyneth Paltrow.

Posted: 7th, March 2020 | In: Money, News | Comment


Prince Harry and Meghan: ghost voters and big banks

In January, Prince Harry (not HRH) sat down for talks with Saad-Eddine El Othmani, prime minister of Morocco, Peter Mutharika, president of Malawi and Filipe Nyusi, president of Mozambique at the UK-Africa investment conference. It was one of his last jobs as a working royal. The Mail says that after the formal chats: “The VIPs then rushed to a private room at the Intercontinental Hotel for an informal ‘catch-up’ chat – but unusually they insisted no No 10 or Palace aides were present to ensure the talks were kept private.”

What could they have to talk about they don’t want the commoners to know? Private Eye reports that Mr Nyusi might not be everyone’s cup of fair-trade, organic tea. His election last year was, we’re told, marred by “violence and a climate of fear”. Votes in Gaza province “exceeded the number of dual inhabitant by 300,000”.

Observers noted several incidents across the country where people were found trying to enter polling stations with extra ballots marked for Frelimo.

On Friday, the US embassy expressed “significant concerns regarding problems and irregularities” during the voting and counting which “raise questions about the integrity of these procedures and their vulnerability to possible fraudulent acts.”

The European Union’s election observation mission said “an unlevel playing field was evident throughout the campaign. The ruling party dominated the campaign in all provinces and benefitted from the advantages of incumbency.”

The Eye quips: “Just the sort of ‘progressive’ type a modern real wants to rub shoulders with.” But, of course, Harry did it out of duty. It was a State-run function.

Another Harry appointment, one attended in a private capacity with his wife Meghan, was hosted by JP Morgan in Miami. A “source” told the New York Post’s Page Six, the couple “headlined” the bank’s Alternative Investment Summit. “It was all very hush-hush, with a lot of security,” we’re told. The Mirror says Harry and Meghan could have been paid £400,000 for supporting the event.

JP Morgan:

In November 2013, JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank, agreed to pay a then-record $13 billion fine to federal and state authorities in order to settle claims that it had misled investors in the years leading up to the financial crisis.

Trying to earn enough money to maintain your lifestyle might not be all that easy for post-royal Harry and Meghan, a couple so ethically right that he says buying fruit in plastic is “a dirty habit”. Spin the wheel, and hold your nose. Or retain as nurses.

Posted: 12th, February 2020 | In: Celebrities, Money, News, Politicians, Royal Family | Comment


Pitch@Palace loses the palace: Prince Andrew moves out

prince andrew epstein
Prince Andrew: “Buck Off”

You can still see traces of Prince Andrew on the website for Pitch@Palace, his beauty show for budding entrepreneurs. News is that Andrew’s company has moved from its Buckingham Palace base into new office space. The name continues, however, suggesting that a new palace needs to be found to keep the brand alive. There’s the Palace Gentlemen’s Club in New Jersey, the Tower of London or inside a used mackintosh?

PS – on his website, the Duke of York is said to be a full-time working member of the Royal Family. He stepped down from royal duties last November over his relationship with the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Posted: 10th, February 2020 | In: Money, News, Royal Family | Comment


Lie on your CV if you’re name ends with a vowel or you’re not called John

racism jobs

Funke Abimbola claims she was victim of “bias” when she tried to get into the legal profession. She tells the BBC: “I found a number of barriers to entering the profession because I had an African name and am a black woman, without any doubt. I had to make over 100 phone calls to get a foot in the door. I have experienced bias and situations where, being a black woman, I was judged more harshly over other colleagues. You are more likely to be noticed and are far more likely to have negative judgements made about you if you are part of an ethnic minority.”

Should you put a false name on your CV if it ends in a vowel or sounds ‘foreign’ to employers’ ears? My own family changed their name twice – once because the officials at the gates misspelt it and once from the Sephardic Benhamu to the more anglicised Benham.

Change your name or leave it off your CV? “Your name no longer matters on your CV,” the Daily Telegraph announced in 2015. CVs are going “name blind”. You can remove age, address, gender and educational background also. This will, at least, make the initial stage of the recruitment process more open, so the thinking goes. Until you get to the diversity box, that is, the one that asks applicants to declare their religion, ethnic roots, sexuality and disability status. Has this box-ticking helped job seekers from minority backgrounds? Has it helped end prejudice or discrimination aimed at someone on the basis of their race?

In 2017, the BBC told us:

A job seeker with an English-sounding name was offered three times the number of interviews than an applicant with a Muslim name, a BBC test found.

Inside Out London sent CVs from two candidates, “Adam” and “Mohamed”, who had identical skills and experience, in response to 100 job opportunities.

Adam was offered 12 interviews, while Mohamed was offered four.

Although the results were based on a small sample size, they tally with the findings of previous academic studies.

Meet ‘Honest John’:

Yogesh Khrishna Davé, 56, is the director for quality at a pharmaceutical company in Slough. It has taken him decades to reach this senior role.

During the journey up the ladder he suspected he was being consistently overlooked for jobs because of his name. So he secretly carried out his own experiment. 

“I entered the job market in the 80s. I put my CV in and it was disappointing. I got rejection letters.

“Someone suggested: ‘Why don’t you put a very English name on your CV [as well as sending one in your own name]… and see who they might offer the job to?’ So I had my name, Yogesh, and John Smith. John Smith got the interview. I got rejected for the interview.”

None of this mans you’re going to ge the job, of course. The employer will still want to see you. The results of an independent review by Sir John Parker (that is his real name) into the ethnic diversity of UK boards is out. You can read it here.

Meet ‘Honest John II’ in the Times:

The Parker Review, which was launched in 2017, has found that 37 per cent of FTSE 100 boards still have all-white boards. Although the latest figures are an improvement on the 50 per cent that had no ethnic minority representation three years ago, its latest report said that progress had been slower than hoped.

Sir John Parker, who heads the review — and sits on an all-white board himself as chairman of Pennon Group, the water company — accused businesses of being complacent in their approach.

Look lively. It’s ‘Honest Jon III’:

Separate research by the Financial Reporting Council, the watchdog that sets the UK’s corporate governance code, found that most companies were failing to adequately report and set targets for ethnic diversity. More than half of FTSE 250 companies fail to mention ethnicity in the board diversity policy. Only 14 per cent of FTSE 100 companies and 2 per cent of FTSE 250 companies set measurable ethnicity targets.

Sir Jon Thompson, 55, chief executive of the regulator, said: “The UK’s record on boardroom ethnicity is poor. It is unacceptable that talented people are being excluded from succession and leadership simply because companies are failing to put in place appropriate policies on boardroom ethnicity.”

In conclusion: you can never have enough Johns in charge of fairness…

Posted: 5th, February 2020 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment


City Trader accused of eating sandwiches

city sandwich
A bacon sandwich is prepared after a study found body fat and obesity are far more closely linked to cancer than is generally realised. Picture date: Wednesday 31 October 2007. The study found strong evidence that red meat and processed meats were a cause of bowel cancer. Examples included ham, bacon, pastrami, salami, and frankfurters. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Ref #: PA.5297529 Date: 31/10/2007

The BBC reports on a report in the Financial Times which alleges a City trader at Investment bank Citigroup was allegedly suspended for “stealing food from the staff canteen”. You will, of course have noticed the caveats in that opening line. The trader earns, reportedly, over £1m a year – more than enough to afford a pricey lawyer. Allegedly. It is alleged “he helped himself to sandwiches from the canteen at the bank’s London headquarters”.

Sandwiches.

Posted: 4th, February 2020 | In: Money, News | Comment


Aviva treats every customer just like ‘Michael’

Aviva typing pool

Cheap words at insurer Aviva, which undid the pretence that letters are tailored to each individual customer by addressing thousands of missives to just one: ‘Michael’.

The boss doesn’t sit on a big chair dictating a new letter for each customer. Someone in marketing simply cooks one up and a machine guffs them out. Aviva tells us: “We sent out some emails to existing customers, which, as a result of a temporary technical error in our mailing template, mistakenly referred to customers as ‘Michael’.”

We tell them it’s time to bring back the typing pool.

Posted: 28th, January 2020 | In: Money, News, The Consumer | Comment


Ant McPartlin doesn’t ‘give’ Lisa Armstrong anything – she earned it

ant and dec money

Ant McPartlin “gives” his ex-wife Lisa Armstrong £31m, says the Sun. The paper claims the settlement was reached out of court. An unnamed source arrives to tell us: “Ant made a very generous settlement that works out to be more than half of everything that he has.”

Isn’t this about what ‘they’ had amassed during their long relationship and marriage? Didn’t she merely get what she was entitled to?

Why she walked away more than half we can only guess at, but no court date might mean less revelations that could damage his future earnings and that all-important image.

Posted: 16th, January 2020 | In: Celebrities, Money, Tabloids | Comment


BBC shortchange women : Samira Ahmed wins £700,000 backpay

Hold your ire about what the Royals cost, and know that the BBC have been forced by law to hand one its presenters, Samira Ahmed, £700,000 in backpay in a discrimination equal pay case.

Ahmed (female; £440 per episode) claimed she was underpaid for hosting audience write-in show Newswatch when compared with Jeremy Vine (male; £3,000 per episode)) who earned shedloads more for hosting audience write-in show Points of View. The Beeb said he gets more because he’s more widely known and so gets picked to present a more widely-watched show.

The judgment ruled: “Her work on Newswatch was like Jeremy Vine’s work on Points of View under section 65(1) of the Equality Act 2010… [the BBC] has not shown that the difference in pay was because of a material factor which did not involve subjecting the claimant [Ahmed] to sex discrimination”.

The BBC goes on the record: “We’ll need to consider this judgment carefully. We know tribunals are never a pleasant experience for anyone involved. We want to work together with Samira to move on in a positive way.”

Or to put it another way: the BBC made her sweat, spunked a load of cash on lawyers and then lost. And you, the licence-fee payer, funded it. Now wait for Samira’s predecessor, a man, to ask for his backpay. And the rest of us can wonder why Vine was paid so much.

Posted: 10th, January 2020 | In: Money, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Hypocrisy! France bemoans US trade tariffs; France wants British trade tariffs

France is upset that the US is thinking about imposing trade tariffs on French cheese, fizz, make-up and handbags. France wants to tax US business. A US ruling into French plans tells us:

The U.S. Trade Representative has completed the first segment of its investigation under section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 and concluded that France’s Digital Services Tax (DST) discriminates against U.S. companies, is inconsistent with prevailing principles of international tax policy, and is unusually burdensome for affected U.S. companies. Specifically, USTR’s investigation found that the French DST discriminates against U.S. digital companies, such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon

Messy. And hypocritical of the French, mais no? If France believes tariffs are wrong, it should argue for free trade deal between the EU and the the post-Brexit UK. But it isn’t.

Posted: 4th, December 2019 | In: Money, News, Politicians | Comment


A little kitchen painting sells for $26.8million

'Christ Mocked' by Florentine artist Cimabue

‘Christ Mocked’ by Florentine artist Cimabue (Giotto’s teacher) was created around 1280. It’s been in someone’s kitchen in France was ages. And now it’s sold at auction for $26.8.

From Smithsonian Mag:

[Auctioneer Philomène] Wolf spotted the painting, titled “Christ Mocked,” on display between the woman’s open-plan kitchen and living room. While she immediately suspected it was a work of Italian primitivism, she “didn’t imagine it was a Cimabue.”

Wolf turned to Eric Turquin, a Paris-based art historian who had previously identified a painting unearthed in a French attic as a long-lost Caravaggio. According to Benjamin Dodman of France 24, Turquin and his colleagues concluded with “certitude” that the new find was a genuine Cimabue.

How certain can you be that it’s the real deal?

Posted: 28th, October 2019 | In: Money, The Consumer | Comment


Public Library receipt shows how much cheaper it is to borrow than buy books

Public Library receipt shows  how much cheaper it is to  borrow than buy books

Save the libraries. They’re one of the few place you can go and sit without needing to buying anything. And you can read the books, too. But not everyone appreciates the library until the burghers say it no longer pays and it’s gone. Staff at the Wichita Public Library understand. They’ve come up with a great way to out a price on library services and show us their monetary value.

They write:


“Every time materials are borrowed from the Wichita Public Library (WPL) customers receive a receipt showing how much they have saved in that visit, the year to date, and their lifetime savings. The information is displayed on the receipt similar to the ways that retail stores show savings to club members or coupon users…


“So far this year, the highest dollar amount saved by a customer’s account is $64,734.12. And the highest dollar amount saved by a customer’s account since this feature was implemented is $196,076.21.”

Keep your local library up by using it.

Spotter: Flashbak, Open Culture 

Posted: 11th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment


Football and betting: Stop using Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea to advertise your own sound morals

Stop promoting 1xBet or else. News is that the Russian gambling company has no licence to operate in the UK. The Gambling Commission tells the Sunday Times it has written to Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool, warning them to sever tis with 1xBet. The penalty for non-compliance, according to the paper: unlimited fines and up to 51 week’s prison. Spurs have terminated the deal.

The Sunday Times investigation into the firm’s global operations found that 1xBet was promoting a casino featuring topless croupiers, taking bets on children’s sports, advertising on illegal websites and cockfighting live streams emblazoned with the three club’s logos. In response to the findings, the Gambling Commission confirmed it had launched an investigation.

Some of the clubs’ top players, including Roberto Firmino, Willian and Olivier Giroud, have all fronted campaigns for the Russian company, which is now based in Cyprus.

xBet are quoted:

“We take very seriously the allegation that 1xBet’s brand has been promoted on prohibited sites, which is strictly against our policies, and we have launched an investigation. Pending the outcome . . . we believe it is responsible to temporarily suspend our advertising activity in the UK.”

Has the company been unlucky? The Times links to a wider issue, telling readers of a “growing backlash over the bankrolling of football by the gambling industry”. There is from our knowing betters. “Players need to start using their considerable power to reject gambling’s influence on football,” opined Church of England gambling spokesperson Dr Alan Smith, the Bishop of St Albans in reaction to Wayne Rooney striking deal with betting firm 32Red. And this from Labour MP Carolyn Harris, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on gambling: “When will celebrities realise that involvement in gambling is not right or moral? Many people look to Wayne Rooney as a role model and yet he is prepared to sell his soul.”

When did Wazza become employed by Public Heath England?

Troy Deeney, the Watford skipper, had a word on the tosh about role models: “I don’t like the word role model, first and foremost. The role model should be in the house at all times… What are we basing the role model on? Because we’re in the limelight. I don’t like that.”

One thing you can bet on: politicians scurrying around for a cause and sense of purpose by which to showcase their sound morals and protect the poor from themselves will keep hammering football and footballers. It’s a dead cert.

Posted: 1st, September 2019 | In: Money, News, Sports | Comment


Chinese fakery : goods rebranded ‘Made In Vietnam’

China tarrifs

Last week US President Donald Trump pledged a hike in tariffs on Chinese imports to the US. Trump accuses China of bad trading practices and intellectual property theft. USA Today has news of a Chinese work-around:

“Dozens” of products have been identified, Hoang Thi Thuy, a Vietnamese Customs Department official, told state-run media, and goods like textiles, fishery products, agricultural products, steel, aluminum, and processed wooden products were most vulnerable to the fraud.

Vietnamese state media noted that in 2017, the Customs Department exposed a company called INTERWYSE for trying to rebrand 600 Chinese-made speakers and phone chargers with a “Made in Vietnam” label.

“It will sabotage Vietnamese brands and products and it will also affect consumers. We could even get tariff retribution from other countries, and if that happens, it will hurt our economy,” Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh told the Vietnamese National Assembly last week.

Vietnam does not have any legal requirements for certification of the “Made in Vietnam” label. The country’s current regulations require that goods be produced partly or completely in Vietnam, but does not provide a mechanism for determining the veracity of the label.

What price that big US trade deal Trump’s promising for a post-Brexit UK features American goods as ‘Made in Britain’?

Posted: 26th, August 2019 | In: Money, News, Politicians | Comment


Multi-millionaire Jeremy Corbyn attacks Boris Johnson’s ‘Millionaire Friends’

Jeremy Corbyn never made it to the big Google climate shindig. As a man with an estimated net worth of £3million, chances are he wasn’t rich enough to afford a private jet and thus matter. As the right sort of stinking rich attempt to buy their way into Heaven by offsetting carbon and preaching from an exclusive, sun-kissed holiday spot, Corbyn was busy bashing the wrong sort of stinking rich. The first version of a recent video lambasted Boris Johnson’s millionaire friends. But Jez came across as a bit self-hating. So he changed it to Boris’s ‘billionaire’ friends.

And he got that wrong, too.

A 2016 investigation by Greenpeace revealed that some of the biggest recipients of EU grants that year included Queen Elizabeth (£557,707) and the UK’s youngest billionaire, the Duke of Westminster (£437,434). Other aristocrats earning hundreds of thousands of pounds from the EU – just because they own farmland – included the Earl of Moray and the Earl of Plymouth. Billionaire Brexiteer Sir James Dyson was also among the top 100 recipients of EU farm money.

Where there’s muck, there’s gold.

PS: Corbyn’s billionaire mates are the good sort.

Hugo Chavez money


According to a Forbes article in 2015, Chavez was worth an “estimated $2 billion at the time of his death [in 2013]. It is not known how many trees he planted.

Posted: 9th, August 2019 | In: Money, News, Politicians | Comment


Common business crimes and how to void them

Most common types of business crimes and how to avoid them

Businesses can deal with a number of white-collar crimes that are non-violent but are committed for financial gains. Small businesses, as well as large ones, can be at risk and taking several preventive measures is key, along with having a general risk assessment and management plan. In this article, we highlight some of the most common types of business crimes and provide information on how to avoid them.

Fraud

Included here are a series of deceitful acts committed for the purpose of obtaining money from the victim. This is a broader category that includes insurance fraud or Ponzi schemes, however, we will be referring to business or corporate fraud. This occurs when a company issues false statements or produces false documents that are used to hide the losses or illegal transactions. Maintaining a good internal control policy, training your employees to avoid fraud and working with good accountants are methods of avoiding business fraud.

If companies are accused of having committed acts that can be categorized as business fraud, a team of experienced criminal law solicitors in London can help entrepreneurs with business crime representation, as required.

Embezzlement

The act of taking money from a corporation, this can be enacted by employees who can find a manner in which they can use business funds or assets for their personal gain. Knowing your employees, as well as supervising the inventory, purchase orders and cash receipts are manners in which this action can be prevented. When needed, employers can also install security measures.

Tax evasion

Failure to pay the due taxes results in tax evasion, which is subject to penalties, as per the local tax laws. Companies can avoid being accused of tax evasion by working with a professional accountant who will file the tax returns accordingly. Tax evasion is different from tax minimization, which can be accomplished by legally using available tax deductions. 

Money laundering 

Money laundering schemes target businesses to make illegally sourced money legitimate through a transaction performed with an unsuspecting company. Businesses can avoid this by not accepting payments from unreliable sources and by implementing an anti-money laundering strategy that can include no-cash policies on transactions above a certain amount.

Protecting your business is possible by implementing a set of strategies and preventive practices as well as being aware of the possible risks. 

Posted: 7th, August 2019 | In: Money, Online-PR | Comment


The bizarre world of the Twitch millionaires

Money for playing games?

When Metro ran a story earlier this year that gaming is now bigger than the movie and music industries combined, it caused more than a few raised eyebrows. However, if you thought that simply meant people are sitting in their living rooms playing FIFA or Fortnite instead of catching a movie or listening to their Neil Sedaka CDs, think again.

In short, there is more to the gaming sector than gaming – just as there is more to the sports sector than playing sport. The eSport phenomenon has brought about the concept of gaming as a spectator activity, and the live streaming channel Twitch provides the platform for gamers to perform for their fans, often for long hours every day.

$500,000 per month for playing Fortnite

The name Richard Blevins probably means very little to anyone, but this unassuming 27-year-old from the Chicago suburbs is the man behind Ninja, the most famous Twitch streamer on the planet. Ninja started streaming in 2011, playing a variety of games, but it is as a Fortnite streamer that his fame has skyrocketed. He has more than ten million followers on Twitch, plus 7.5 million on YouTube. Ninja earns more than $500,000 per month from his streams.

Anyone who knows a little about the world of competitive gaming might well find this surprising. Sure, Fortnite is phenomenally popular as a game, but has not taken off to any significant extent as an eSport. Ninja’s streaming success shows just how complex this area of the gaming sector is becoming. People are not just watching Ninja’s streams to see how a game pans out, they are following him in almost a literal sense, to pick up tips and, perhaps, to emulate his success. In many respects, Ninja’s success is no different to that of many other social media influencers.

Streaming success and failure

Ninja might be the best known, but he is only one of a growing number of Twitch millionaires. While most are famous for streaming games like Fortnite, Overwatch, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and the like, the phenomenon is rapidly spreading to other areas of gaming. For example, playing casino online is immensely popular and is one area in which a little expert help could, literally, pay dividends. Little wonder, then, that casino streaming has become the latest growth sector on Twitch.

UK streamer Rocknrolla, for example, built a reputation as the biggest name in casino streaming on Twitch, with more than 20,000 subscribers. However, he also serves as an example of both the best and the worst of Twitch streaming.

Rocknrolla’s decision to run a 24-hour stream to raise money for charity was one he would ultimately regret. Having raised more than £16,000, everything went wrong in the final hours when an internet troll managed to get under his skin. The result? Rocknrolla lost his rag and his outburst led to a permanent ban on Twitch. Just like in the real world, living in the public eye in cyberspace can come at a cost.

Posted: 14th, May 2019 | In: Money, Online-PR | Comment


The Future of Netflix: Competition Does Not Sleep

158 million – the number of Netflix subscribers around the world, not counting all the passwords exchanged, shared accounts, and collective visions. Netflix is the home of global entertainment, not only of movies but of TV series as well. In the first quarter of 2019, Netflix scored positively in all aspects, especially considering the growing number of new customers. However, the outlook of this streaming service does not look quite so good, as we have to take into consideration the competition.

Competition is an important and tricky topic in any sector. Customers are always testing new platforms and new products, even if they have a favourite one. This is the case not only of streaming services, but also of online casinos where players test games with no deposit bonus codes, or of new music streaming platforms, such as Spotify & Co., where fans search for their favourite artists. 

The History of Netflix

Founded in 1997, Netflix’ main and original activity was the DVD and video game rental. People could book disks on the internet and receive them directly at home by mail. In 2000, Blockbuster, a leading company in the field of video rental stores, offered 50 million to buy Netflix, but the latter refused the offer and continued its own business path. 

Since 2008, Netflix has activated an online streaming service on demand, accessible by subscription. This is the beginning of the challenge between the two companies. The end of the story is known, with Blockbuster declaring bankruptcy in 2010, while Netflix continues to grow exponentially

Netflix: What now?

Netflix expects slower user growth after a strong start this year. The world’s leading online video service, which has made a name for itself with series successes such as “House of Cards” and movies like “Bird Box”, is facing a heightened competition. In addition to established rivals like Amazon or Hulu, Disney and Apple are pushing new adversaries into the booming market of Internet television. And even worse: In this critical phase, Netflix is raising prices – definitely a risky manoeuvre. But Chief Executive Reed Hastings is not afraid.

So far, there is no real reason for it. In the first quarter, Netflix had 9.6 million new subscriptions. Overall, Netflix had nearly 149 million paid memberships by the end of March 2019. However, the trend is now sinking, due also to the price increase announcements. This will noticeably slow down user growth in the current and next quarters.

For instance, Netflix announced 5 million new memberships in this current quarter, disappointing experts’ expectations. This was not a good thing for investors; for instance, the stock of the company went down. However, Netflix had a good run with a stock price increase of about 34 percent since the beginning of the year, so that the market reaction is – for now – not very meaningful. The profit of Netflix indeed climbed from 290 million to 344 million dollars in the first quarter of 2019. 

Netflix: New Competitors, Fewer Users?

Nevertheless, it can not be ignored that the market environment for Netflix should be more uncomfortable in the future. With Disney and Apple new rivals – also financially very strong – that will attack the streaming market leader, the situation will not be easy. Both the Mickey Mouse group from Hollywood and the iPhone giant from the Silicon Valley recently presented competing offers that leave no doubt about their big ambitions. In addition, also WarnerMedia attacks with its renowned pay-TV channel HBO  under the corporate roof of Telecom AT&T.

Netflix boss Hastings is clear about what is going on in his company but is combative. In his letter to shareholders, he described Apple and Disney as “world-class brands” against which Netflix would like to compete. Moreover, he does not expect the new counterparties to impact the growth of Netflix significantly. “We believe we’ll all continue to grow as we each invest more in content and improve our service and as consumers continue to migrate away from linear viewing,” said Hastings. The top manager had already emphasised in the past that the streaming market was big enough for several competitors.

The two-year period 2019-2020 will probably be important and decisive to define the future of the platform and in general of the use of home and personal entertainment. No one is a magician or a fortune teller, so predicting today what the impact of this increase in services will be complicated, if not impossible. The consumer is in danger of finding himself lost among so many proposals, with the difficulty of choosing what to subscribe to and for how long, trying to chase what will be the current fashion. Today is Netflix, tomorrow who knows.

Posted: 26th, April 2019 | In: Money, TV & Radio | Comment