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TheTimesFacebook in the car ‘will cause road deaths to soar’

Urgent action is needed to stop a new generation of touchscreen entertainment systems in car dashboards from causing more deaths on the road, according to road safety campaigners.

Manufacturers including Fiat, Toyota and Honda have released models this year that allow motorists to check apps such as Twitter and Facebook on the go. Next year Ford and Nissan will start selling cars that allow drivers to connect their smartphones to touchscreen displays.

For instance, Toyota’s “x-touch” entertainment system allows drivers to access Twitter, Facebook and even YouTube on a 7in touchscreen display in the dashboard. Audi’s “connect” system lets drivers read the news while on the go. Vauxhall’s new Corsa has a 7in touchscreen that allows drivers to send text messages and access a range of compatible apps.

Source: The Times

daily telegraph logoThree quarters of people think the drink-drive limit should be lowered

Three quarters of people think the drink drive alcohol limit should be reduced, a survey found. Research commissioned by Public Health England found 77% of people are in favour of the law being changed so drivers are legally allowed to consume less alcohol before getting behind a wheel. It comes after suggestions earlier this year that the Government could follow the example of Scotland by lowering the limit in England and Wales.

Campaigners have urged the Government to take the new research on board and change the law.  North of the border, the limit was brought down from 80mg per 100ml of blood to 50mg two years ago.

Source: The Daily Telegraph

FTMercedes-Benz Trucks and Krone team up to cut emissions

Mercedes-Benz Trucks has teamed up with trailer-maker Krone to sell a package of aerodynamic components that promise to improve fuel efficiency and cut carbon emissions. The two companies will demonstrate the new products on Thursday at the 66th IAA Commercial Vehicles conference in Hanover, where they hope to show the trucks industry has not been asleep at the wheel when it comes to the environment.

The EU seeks to reduce emissions in the long-haul sector by 30 per cent by 2030, but Daimler — Mercedes’ parent — has been critical of Brussels for focusing narrowly on tyres and engine improvements, rather than the whole picture of how vehicles are actually used.

Source: The Financial Times

Apple in talks on McLaren supercars takeover

Apple has approached McLaren Technology Group, the British supercar engineer and Formula One team owner, about a potential acquisition.

The lossmaking automotive group was likely to be valued at between £1bn and £1.5bn, the people said. Apple has already invested $1bn in Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing company, this year. That deal was Apple’s largest equity investment to date, as chief executive Tim Cook gradually breaks with the Silicon Valley company’s longstanding aversion to large deals.

Source: The Financial Times

BBC news logoTesla updates software after car hack

Tesla has updated its software after researchers from China hacked into the operating system of its electric cars. The team from Keen Security Lab remotely manipulated the brake system on a Tesla while it was on the move, from a distance of 12 miles (19km).

Using a laptop, the hackers managed to open a car door without using a key Using a laptop and to adjust the rear-view mirror while the driver was changing lanes. The hacker also managed to open the trunk remotely, while the car was on the move. Tesla has updated its software to prevent anyone else from manipulating its cars.

Source: BBC News

UK government borrowing falls in August

UK government borrowing fell in August, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Public borrowing dropped to £10.5bn last month, down £0.9bn from a year earlier, although analysts had expected the figure to fall further to £10bn. Borrowing in the current financial year to date (April to August) has reached £33.8bn, which is £4.9bn lower from the same point last year.

The ONS added there was no clear sign of the Brexit vote affecting figures.

Source: BBC News

Theresa May could begin Brexit process by February, says Tusk

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is likely to trigger the formal process of leaving the European Union early next year, according to a top EU official.

European Council President Donald Tusk said Mrs May had told him the UK could be ready to begin talks by February.

Formal negotiations over the withdrawal cannot begin until the UK triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the formal mechanism for leaving the union. The timing of the process has so-far been clouded by uncertainty, with no clear signal from Mrs May’s government on when it would begin.

Source: BBC News

OfficeNatStatsAssessment of the UK post-referendum economy: September 2016

The EU referendum vote on 23 June 2016 had an immediate impact on the stock market and currency, the value of sterling had already depreciated by 7.3% between early August 2015 and referendum day in June 2016. It then fell a further 9.5% by the end of July before steadying and then rallying a little since. However, this has so far had little effect on prices.

The volume of spending in shops and online fell back slightly by 0.2% in August but this followed strong growth of 1.9% in July. So far there are no signs of a sharp collapse in consumer confidence as some early fears had suggested.

The continued high employment rate of 74.5% for the 3 months to July would also fit with a picture of broad strength in the UK economy in the run up to and in the period immediately following the EU referendum.

But it is yet to be seen whether the services sector, which makes up more than three-quarters of the economy and has driven growth since 2009, has been impacted by post-referendum uncertainties. In addition, we are yet to get information on any such effect on business investment.

The post-referendum picture is still emerging and will continue to do so over coming months, quarters and years. Nevertheless, there has been no sign of a major collapse in confidence and, within the data that is available, some indicators of strength.

Commenting, ONS Chief Economist Joe Grice said:

“As the available information grows, the referendum result appears, so far, not to have had a major effect on the UK economy. So it hasn’t fallen at the first fence but longer-term effects remain to be seen. The index of services published soon and the preliminary estimate of third quarter GDP, published at the end of October will add significantly to the evidence.”

Source: Office for National Statistics

Posted by Sue Robinson on 23/09/2016