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Thursday In BriefBack


Brexit: High Court to hear challenge to Article 50 strategy article 50

A legal challenge to the government’s right to begin the official process of Brexit without parliamentary approval is due to get under way. The High Court will consider whether ministers can invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the trigger for formal talks on separation, without MPs passing an act of Parliament. Ministers argue they can act under ancient powers of Royal Prerogative. Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will activate Article 50, formally notifying the EU of the UK’s intention to leave, by the end of next March. This follows the UK’s decision to back Brexit in June’s referendum by a margin of 51.9% to 48.1%. The EU’s other 27 members have said negotiations about the terms of the UK’s exit – due to last two years – cannot begin until Article 50 has been invoked.


Pound steadies after recent slump pound

The pound has recovered some of its recent losses, with analysts attributing the gains to the promise of a Commons debate on the Brexit process. The pound closed 0.6% higher on Wednesday at $1.22. Against the euro, it rose nearly 1% to close at €1.11.

But the gains could prove short-lived. In Thursday’s early Asian trade, it fell to $1.21 again. Sterling’s current slide began when Prime Minister Theresa May named a date for the start of the Brexit process. On 2 October, she said the UK would trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of March 2017. Traders have been selling the pound, fearing the impact of leaving the single market.


Tesco removes Marmite and other Unilever brands in price row 

Tesco has stopped selling dozens of its most famous household brands to its online shoppers because of a dispute with its biggest supplier, Unilever. Included are Marmite, PG Tips tea, Pot Noodles and Surf washing powder. Unilever wants to increase prices in the UK to compensate for the sharp decrease in the value of the pound, but Tesco is resisting that move. The products are still being sold in stores but Tesco said its shelves were running short of several brands. Tesco said it was “currently experiencing availability issues on a number of Unilever products”.



The Financial Times


Toyota and Suzuki eye technology partnership toyota suzuki

Toyota is exploring technology collaboration with smaller rival Suzuki, marking the latest addition to its network of industry partners that help it cut the costs of developing next-generation cars. Negotiations by Toyota and Suzuki on a research and development partnership, revealed on Wednesday, come as carmakers strive to comply with tougher rules on vehicle safety and emissions. The financial burden will rise further as carmakers compete to develop autonomous driving systems, in moves that will pitch them against technology companies including Apple and Google.



The Times


Osborne’s ‘whiplash culture’ reforms run into a brick wall

George Osborne’s reforms to how the insurance industry deals with claims for whiplash injuries have been set aside by the government, increasing costs for motorists. Ministers are understood to have told insurers that they are unenthusiastic about the proposals, leading the industry to conclude that they will never emerge. The reforms would have ended the right to cash compensation for minor whiplash injuries, saving insurers £1 billion and taking up to £50 off motorists’ average annual insurance bills. The Ministry of Justice confirmed that the whiplash changes are not their priority, but claim the reforms are “certainly not off the agenda”. However, the industry says the consultation, which could easily be enacted, has been sitting in a drawer for six months and is being blocked by Whitehall. They add that this delay is costing motorists money, with insurance premiums up 1 per cent over the past year.


Oil prices fall on higher OPEC output, rise in U.S. crude stocks oil price drop

Oil prices fell on Thursday after OPEC said its production had risen to the highest level in at least eight years and following reports of an increase in U.S. crude stockpiles. Brent crude futures LCOc1 were trading at $51.46 per barrel at 0645 GMT, down 35 cents, or 0.68 percent, from their previous close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 42 cents, or 0.84 percent, at $49.76 per barrel. Traders said oil markets had come under pressure after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reported a rise in output, despite the producer cartel having plans, potentially with non-OPEC producer Russia, to cut production in a bid to rein in a global glut.



The Guardian


Electric cars set to pass 2m landmark globally by end of 2016 electric cars

The number of plug-in electric cars on the world’s roads is set to pass the landmark of 2m vehicles by the end of 2016, with industry observers saying the electric car revolution is finally underway. A surging market in China is leading the way and Chinese-made models have pushed into the top five best-selling models. Europe is the second biggest market, followed by the US, but their traditional car manufacturers face a stern challenge from China and from Tesla, whose much-anticipated Model 3 is expected to go into production in 2017. The electric vehicle market has made a number of false starts. Barack Obama predicted a million in the US alone by 2015 – the reality was a quarter of that, with people put off by short driving ranges and high prices. However, electric vehicle (EV) sales have now passed 1% of the whole auto market in Europe and China and experts believe a turning point has been passed.



Investors warn car industry over climate change 

Major investors have warned the automotive industry it needs to accelerate its readiness for a low-carbon world if it is to retain their support and prosper. Vehicle makers must put climate change specialists on their boards, engage better with policy-makers, and invest more heavily in low-emission cars, says a network of 250 global investors with assets of more than $24tn (£20tn).

The demands come in a new report, Investor Expectations of Automotive Companies, published this week by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC).

“Long-term investors want to ensure that automotive companies are prepared for the challenges stemming from climate change, new technologies, changing policies and shifts in demand caused by global trends,” says Dr Hans-Christoph Hirt, co-head of investment house Hermes EOS, a member of the IGCC.



The Daily Telegraph


Britain gets close encounter of the first kind with driverless cars milton keynes pod

The first driverless cars have hit Britain’s roads, mixing with the pedestrians as they begun initial trials to gauge public reactions to the computer-driven vehicles. Electrically-powered two-seater “pods” similar to Smart cars carried passengers on a three-quarter-mile loop along a pedestrianised street in Milton Keynes on Tuesday – the first time in the UK the vehicles haven been used outside tightly controlled test zones. Although they have steering wheels so a human can take over control, the pods were driven entirely by computers at speeds of up to 15mph as they used cameras and laser radar to sense their surroundings.


BMW reveals the motorcycle that can’t fall over bmw bike

BMW has revealed the final concept vehicle to mark its centenary year, and this time it’s a motorcycle – albeit not any old motorcycle. One of the innovative features of the BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100, which was unveiled in Santa Monica, California, is that it can’t fall over. The zero emissions bike (BMW doesn’t say if it’s electric) is intended to preview how two-wheeled transportation might look in the next 30 or so years, offering what BMW describes as “an analogue experience in a digital age”.



The Daily Mail


Toyota recalls 340,000 Prius cars worldwide over a fault with the vehicles’ brakes Toyota1

Toyota is recalling 340,000 of its Prius hybrid cars worldwide over faulty brakes. The Japanese firm admitted receiving reports of crashes, injuries and deaths, but would not give details. It said it was still looking into the reports. Toyota Motor Corp said that the parking brake cable on the cars can disengage unexpectedly, causing the brakes to stop working properly. This means that if the car – a petrol-electric hybrid – is left in a gear other than park, it could roll away.  The recall includes 212,000 cars in Japan and 94,000 in North America. There will be 17,000 recalled in Europe, and the problem is with cars that were manufactured between August last year and this month.


Drivers pay the price for pothole plague: Motorists now making a claim every 17 minutes for damage

Motorists whose cars are being damaged by potholes on Britain’s ‘crumbling third world roads’ are making a compensation claim to councils every 17 minutes, a damning new report reveals today. But while the number of claims made has risen by nearly 9 per cent, the money that cash-strapped councils are paying out to hard-pressed motorists is actually falling, leaving drivers out of pocket, according to the respected RAC Foundation. It says that last year drivers made at least 31,483 claims against councils across Britain for potentially ‘life-threatening’ vehicle damage – equivalent to one every 17 minutes.


Posted by Paul Carpenter on 13/10/2016