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US accuses Fiat Chrysler of using ‘defeat devices’
The US government is suing car firm Fiat Chrysler, alleging the firm sold vehicles with “defeat devices” that helped them pass emissions tests. The firm did not disclose the emissions control software to regulators, the Department of Justice (DoJ) alleged. The software enabled the vehicles to produce lower emissions during roadworthiness tests than they did when used under normal driving conditions. Fiat said it would “defend itself vigorously” against the accusations.
Hard Brexit ‘could impact Northern Ireland legal profession’
A hard Brexit could have drastic consequences for the legal profession in Northern Ireland, according to the International Bar Association. It will be one of the main topics under discussion at a global conference of lawyers getting under way in Belfast this week. More than 400 lawyers from around the world are taking part. The Law Society and International Bar’s Norville Connolly said Brexit was a huge issue for the profession.
Further signs of UK property slowdown in April
There were further signs of a slowdown in the property market in April, as the number of sales fell significantly, while fewer people took out mortgages. The number of residential property transactions in the UK dropped by 22.5% between March and April, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Analysis by the data firm Equifax also suggests that mortgage sales declined by 16% over the same period. But the figures are skewed by a series of tax changes this year and last.
M&S annual profits fall by 64% as revamp costs bite
Profits at Marks and Spencer fell by almost two thirds to £176.4m last year following a costly business overhaul.
The retailer said that a decline in clothing sales and higher costs from opening new food stores were partly to blame for the 64% fall. Sales were flat at £10.6bn in the year to the end of March 2017.
Prosecutors investigate Daimler over emissions
German prosecutors said they will search 11 offices and sites of Mercedes owner Daimler as part of an investigation into possible diesel emissions fraud. Daimler said on Tuesday that “known and unknown employees” were being investigated by public prosecutors in Stuttgart, who would search “several locations” of Daimler across Germany. Germany’s Landeskriminalamt, or national criminal police office, said 23 lawyers from Stuttgart and around 230 authorities would be searching the sites for evidence and data.
Uber pays millions in back-payments to New York drivers
Uber, the San Francisco-based car-booking app, is paying tens of millions of dollars in back-payments to drivers in New York, after overcharging them over two and a half years. This is the second big refund for Uber this year, after it made a similar back-payment to drivers in Philadelphia in March. “Uber’s theft of drivers’ hard-earned wages is the latest in a long history of underhanded tactics in the industry,” said Jim Conigliaro, founder of the Independent Drivers’ Guild, which represents thousands of Uber drivers in New York. The guild called for regulators to launch an investigation into ride-hailing fares and payment practices in New York.
Shops to raise petrol prices on school run
Drivers face paying more for petrol during busy periods such as bank holidays and on the school run, under plans being considered by one of the big four supermarkets. The unidentified retailer is in advanced talks with a Danish technology company to apply computer algorithms so that prices vary throughout the day, rising or falling by up to 2p a litre, or about £1 a tank. The technology is already used at thousands of petrol stations in America and Europe, where prices may move up to ten times a day. The algorithm works by dropping petrol prices to attract shoppers when the supermarket is having a quiet spell or raising prices if the supermarket is busier than normal, such as on a sunny day.
Diesel fumes trigger coughing nerves
Diesel fumes contain chemicals that directly stimulate the nerves responsible for the coughing and wheezing reflex, a study has found. The research claims to be the first to identify the mechanism linking diesel pollution with respiratory problems. It also helps to explain why scientists have consistently found associations between poor air quality and hospitalisations or even death. Maria Belvisi, from Imperial College London, said that the nerves were important as a reflex mechanism, but diesel pollutants seemed to hijack them.
F-Pace drives Jaguar to record sales
Soaraway sales of the Jaguar F-Pace have sent Jaguar Land Rover to a record 604,000 annual deliveries and revenues of £24 billion. However, stalled sales among its more lucrative luxury Range Rovers and high-end Land Rovers sent margins sliding, leaving profits just marginally up. The Indian-owned West Midlands-based champion of the British carmaking industry yesterday reported pre-tax earnings for the year to the end of March up £53 million at £1.61 billion. Profit margins fell to 6 per cent, below the company’s stated target of 8 per cent to 10 per cent. Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover chief executive, called the performance no better than “solid”.
Bank of England Governor tricked by email prankster who conned Barclays boss Jes Staley
Mark Carney has become the second senior City figure to fall victim to hoax emails in as many weeks after the Governor of the Bank of England was tricked into discussing a predecessor’s drinking habits with a prankster. In an exchange that has been published on social media site Twitter, and is likely to raise concerns about email security at the central bank, Mr Carney joked with an anonymous individual pretending to be Anthony Habgood, the chairman of the Court of the Bank of England, about Eddie George’s fondness for martinis. It comes after the same man tricked Barclays boss Jes Staley into an embarrassing email conversation following the bank’s stormy annual general meeting earlier this month.
UK borrowing rises unexpectedly in April
The Chancellor suffered a setback at the start of the new fiscal year as public borrowing rose unexpectedly amid higher spending and slower growth in tax revenues. Public sector net borrowing, excluding public sector banks, stood at a three year high of £10.4bn in April, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This was £1.2bn higher than the same month a year ago and economists’ expectations for borrowing to fall to £8.7bn.