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Finance

House prices rise 1.9% - Halifax

House prices rise 1.9% - Halifax House prices rise 1.9% - Halifax

The Press Association-House prices have recorded their strongest quarterly rise in three years in a further sign that efforts...
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Starbucks tax offer 'too little, too late' for Britain

Starbucks tax offer 'too little, too late' for Britain Starbucks tax offer 'too little, too late' for Britain

AFP-Despite pledging to pay millions of pounds in extra tax in Britain, Starbucks faces a battle to restore its reputation...
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UBS 'manipulated Swiss franc rates since 2001'

UBS 'manipulated Swiss franc rates since 2001' UBS 'manipulated Swiss franc rates since 2001'

AFP-Swiss banking giant UBS, which last week was slapped with $1.5 billion in fines for manipulating global interest rates,...
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No clean bill of health for MoD

No clean bill of health for MoD No clean bill of health for MoD

Auditors have refused to give the Ministry of Defence's accounts a clean bill of health for the sixth year running. The Press...
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Britain storms out of recession but cautious on outlook

Britain storms out of recession but cautious on outlook
  AFP- Britain powered out of its longest double-dip recession since the 1950s after its economy returned to growth in the...
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Virgin Media gets Olympics lift

Virgin Media gets Olympics lift
  The Press Association- Olympic champions Mo Farah and Usain Bolt helped Virgin Media deliver its biggest quarterly increase...
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Bank of England divided over QE

Bank of England divided over QE
  The Press Association-Bank of England policymakers are divided over the benefits of pumping more emergency cash into the economy...
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Germany's Schaeuble confident of go-ahead for eurozone pacts

Germany's Schaeuble confident of go-ahead for eurozone pacts
  AFP- Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Monday he was confident the country's top court will not block the...
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Adnams gets boost from new beers

Adnams gets boost from new beers
  The Press Association- Brewer Adnams has toasted higher profits after a range of new beers helped it cope with "the most...
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HSBC hid $16 bn in Iran transactions: US Senate report

HSBC hid $16 bn in Iran transactions: US Senate report
  AFP-Global banking giant HSBC and its US affiliate concealed more than $16 billion in sensitive transactions to Iran, violating...
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German finance minister calls for stronger EU

German finance minister calls for stronger EU
  AFP-German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble called for EU member states to hand more powers to the European Union in "major...
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Services sector growth welcomed

Services sector growth welcomed
  The Press Association-A run of dire economic data that has spooked the UK's recovery hopes has been halted with a decent performance...
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Payday lender Wonga plans flotation

Payday lender Wonga plans flotation
  The Press Association- Payday lender Wonga is reported to be considering a US stock market flotation that could value the business...
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UK recession deepens as official GDP shrinks

UK recession deepens as official GDP shrinks
AFP-Britain's recession is worse than previously thought, as revised official figures showed on Thursday that the economy shrank...
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Marks & Spencer profits plunge 19%, slashes target

Marks & Spencer profits plunge 19%, slashes target
  AFP-British clothing-to-food retailer Marks & Spencer on Tuesday announced a drop in annual profits in a "challenging economic...
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Travel

'Dither and delay' warning on HS2

'Dither and delay' warning on HS2 'Dither and delay' warning on HS2

The Press Associtaion-High speed rail between London and Birmingham might not be achieved in the 2020s because of...
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Wife's plea over man's Greek arrest

Wife's plea over man's Greek arrest Wife's plea over man's Greek arrest

The Press Association-An MP has voiced his concerns about the plight of a British national who was imprisoned while...
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Louvre ditches audio guides for Nintendo consoles

Louvre ditches audio guides for Nintendo consoles Louvre ditches audio guides for Nintendo consoles

AP - The Louvre Museum is used to dealing with antiquities: Nearly all of its thousands of works of art date to 1848...
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French Concordia survivors get €2m payout

French Concordia survivors get €2m payout French Concordia survivors get €2m payout

AFP- The owner of the Costa Concordia cruise liner that ran aground off northwest Italy in January has paid more...
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Chicago hotel prices jump as summer begins

Chicago hotel prices jump as summer begins Chicago hotel prices jump as summer begins

(Relaxnews) - Hotel prices in the Windy City soared by 23 percent this month, according to new research by Trivago. Chicago...
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Sport

Vettel’s new partner? Raikkonen or Ricciardo

Vettel’s new partner? Raikkonen or Ricciardo Vettel’s new partner? Raikkonen or Ricciardo

The decision to Sebastian Vettel’s new partner probably falls between Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner...
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Mercedes plans new assault on Vettel: Infrared trick and louvers

Mercedes plans new assault on Vettel: Infrared trick and louvers
  Three long years of Silver Arrow lurched past the targets. There was nothing: a measly victory in 58 races. This year it runs better already clear:...
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Barcelona lose first La Liga game of season

Barcelona lose first La Liga game of season Barcelona lose first La Liga game of season

AFP-Barcelona suffered their first La Liga defeat of the season on Saturday when they slumped to a shock 3-2 loss at Real Sociedad. Barcelona...
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Wiggins may target Tour defence after all

Wiggins may target Tour defence after all Wiggins may target Tour defence after all

AFP-Bradley Wiggins says he is likely to defend his Tour de France title after all next year despite previously nominating the Giro d'Italia as...
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Messi in light training after injury scare

Messi in light training after injury scare Messi in light training after injury scare

AFP-Barcelona star Lionel Messi took part in light training on Thursday after being stretchered off with a knee injury during the 0-0 draw at home...
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Benitez tiptoes onto Chelsea tightrope

Benitez tiptoes onto Chelsea tightrope Benitez tiptoes onto Chelsea tightrope

AFP- Freshly appointed as Chelsea's latest interim coach, Rafael Benitez could be forgiven for wondering whether he has accepted a poisoned chalice. The...
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McIlroy makes late charge at Singapore Open

McIlroy makes late charge at Singapore Open
  AFP-World number one Rory McIlroy made a late charge up the leaderboard but still trailed Denmark's Thomas Bjorn by five shots after a marathon day...
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Tower of Polish power knocks down Murray in Paris

Tower of Polish power knocks down Murray in Paris
  AFP- Towering Polish qualifier Jerzy Janowicz upset Andy Murray 5-7, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 on Thursday to complete the early exit of the elite from...
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Chelsea rage at referee's 'inappropriate language'

Chelsea rage at referee's 'inappropriate language'
  AFP- Chelsea have filed a complaint over "inappropriate language" allegedly used by referee Mark Clattenburg towards their players during their...
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Suspended Olympic badminton players appeal

Suspended Olympic badminton players appeal
  AFP-Four South Korean badminton players who were suspended for trying to throw matches at the London Olympics have appealed their penalties, the...
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Culture

Technology
FIFA test goalline technology systems in Germany PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 01 February 2013 16:36


AFP-Football's governing body FIFA has had two different systems tested at a Germany stadium as they look to introduce goal line technology into top-flight football.

Both 'Goal-Ref', a system which can verify whether a goal has been scored by using a chip in the ball, and 'Hawk-Eye', the camera system already used in tennis, were tested at the Duesseldorf Arena on Tuesday.

A number of factors were included to create realistic factors which could affect the system, with testers using smoke machines and strobe lighting to replicate different weather conditions (United View on Football).

"The goal-line technology will be tested for performance and reliability. There will be static and dynamic tests to stimulate day and night situations," said FIFA in a statement.

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Scientists awarded £6.4m GM grant PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 15 July 2012 13:01


British scientists have won a £6.4 million grant to develop GM crops - one of the largest single investments into genetic modification in the UK.

The Press Association- The money, awarded by the Gates Foundation, will be used to cultivate corn, wheat and rice that need little or no fertiliser.

It is hoped the work at the John Innes Centre in Norwich will benefit struggling maize farmers in sub-Saharan Africa who cannot afford to treat their crops.

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NASA poised to launch 'black hole hunter' PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 13:34


AFP-NASA is poised to launch on Wednesday a sophisticated orbiting telescope that uses high-energy X-ray vision to hunt for black holes in the universe.

The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) will first be carried into the skies by a jet which will deploy a rocket that sends the satellite into space, NASA said.

"Why launch from the air? Plane-assisted launches are less expensive than those that take place from the ground. Less fuel is needed to boost cargo away from the pull of Earth's gravity," the US space agency said in a statement.

The project aims to study energetic phenomena such as black holes and the explosions of massive stars.

Orbital Sciences Corporation designed and manufactured the telescope and will send it into orbit from its own Pegasus air-launched rocket, which is attached to the underside of the company's L-1011 Stargazer aircraft.

The jet will take off from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands about an hour before the launch itself at 11:30 am Eastern (1530 GMT). Orbital said it would be the 41st Pegasus mission since its introduction in 1990.

"NuSTAR will open a whole new window on the universe," said Fiona Harrison, who is a professor at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and is the principal investigator on NuSTAR.

It will be the "first telescope to focus high energy X-rays. As such it will make images that are 10 times crisper and 100 times more sensitive than any telescope that has operated in this region of the spectrum."

The observatory is designed to launch on a rocket from underneath the belly of an aircraft. Both the Pegasus XL rocket and the L-1011 Stargazer aircraft are made by Orbital Sciences Corporation.

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Solar-powered plane attempts first intercontinental flight PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 05 June 2012 15:15


AFP-A Swiss adventurer aims to make the world's first intercontinental flight in a solar-powered plane Tuesday, taking off from Madrid shortly before dawn on a daring trip to Rabat.

Bernard Piccard, 54-year-old psychiatrist and balloonist, is to pilot the Solar Impulse plane, a giant as big as an Airbus A340 but as light as an average family car, from Europe to Africa.

With 12,000 solar cells in the wing turning four electrical motors, his team hopes he will take off from Madrid-Barajas airport at 5:30am (0330 GMT) and guide the plane to 3,600 metres (11,800 feet).

He then heads to Seville in southern Spain, crosses the Gibraltar Strait at 8,500 metres (28,000 feet), enters Moroccan airspace over Tangiers and lands in Rabat-Sale some time after 11pm (2200 GMT).

All that, without using a drop of fuel.

Each of the motors on the carbon-fibre plane charges 400-kilogram (880-pound) lithium polymer batteries during the day, allowing the airfraft to carry on flying after dark.

"Although the flight has been confirmed, the flight director may still decide to postpone it or alter the route up to a short time before takeoff," the Solar Impulse team said in a statement.

Piccard, who made the world's first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight in 1999 together with Briton Brian Jones, takes over the controls from project co-founder Andre Borschberg, a 59-year-old Swiss executive and pilot.

Borschberg flew a first leg from Payerne in Switzerland, landing in Madrid on May 25.

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Japan 'diet glasses' fool wearers into eating less PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 04 June 2012 20:13

 

AFP-Goggles that trick the wearer into thinking the plain snack in their hand is a chocolate cookie, or make biscuits appear larger have been unveiled in Japan, offering hope to weak-willed dieters everywhere.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed devices that use computer wizardry and augmented reality to fool the senses and make users feel more satisfied with smaller -- or less appealing -- treats.

On one device goggle-mounted cameras send images to a computer, which magnifies the apparent size of the cookie in the image it displays to the wearer while keeping his hand the same size, making the snack appear larger than it actually is.

In experiments, volunteers consumed nearly 10 percent less when the biscuits they were eating appeared 50 percent bigger.

They ate 15 percent more when cookies were manipulated to look two-thirds of their real size.

Professor Michitaka Hirose at the university's graduate school of information science and technology said he was interested in how computers can be used to trick the human mind.

"How to fool various senses or how to build on them using computers is very important in the study of virtual reality," he told AFP.

Hirose said standard virtual reality equipment that attempts to cater to complex senses like touch often results in bulky equipment.

But he said using one or more senses to fool the others was a way around this problem.

"Reality is in your mind," he said.

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Google's Schmidt warns regulators against killing innovation PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 18:59


AFP-Google chief Eric Schmidt on Tuesday urged regulators to allow technology to develop its own solutions amid privacy concerns, warning that drawing up specific laws could stifle innovation.

"If you have to regulate, try to regulate the outcome not the technology. If there's an outcome that you don't like, don't specify in law a technical solution because technology moves forward," he told regulators during a keynote address at the world's biggest mobile fair.

"There're so many new technologies that help protect privacy ... that you hope the privacy regulator will never restrict that," he said, pointing out that the "unintended cost of regulation is often the loss of innovation."

Google has come under pressure in several jurisdictions, including South Korea and France, over its new privacy policy which allows it to regroup data from several different services that were previously separate.

On Tuesday, France demanded that the Internet giant postpone rolling out the policy due to come into effect Thursday as it appears to break European Union data protection rules.

While Schmidt did not refer to the specific issue, he pointed to Europe's "strong commitment to privacy" but said that "if you look at recent initiatives, they are well intentioned but harder to define."

The European Commission launched in January a bid to make companies including Internet giants such as Google or Facebook give people more control of their personal data or face big fines.

The proposal championed by EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding would force all companies to get explicit consent from customers to collect their data, explain how it will be used, and allow users to totally erase their information.

Schmidt also made a strong call for the web to remain restricted.

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Computer therapy helps young out of depression: study PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 18:47


AFP-A computer game designed to lift teenagers out of depression is as effective as one-on-one counselling, New Zealand doctors reported on Thursday in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Researchers at the University of Auckland tested an interactive 3-D fantasy game called SPARX on a 94 youngsters diagnosed with depression whose average age was 15 and a half.

SPARX invites a user to take on a series of seven challenges over four to seven weeks in which an avatar has to learn to deal with anger and hurt feelings and swap negative thoughts for helpful ones.

Used for three months, SPARX was at least as effective as face-to-face conventional counselling, according to several depression rating scales.

In addition, 44 percent of the SPARX group who carried out at least four of the seven challenges recovered completely. In the conventional treatment group, only 26 percent recovered fully.

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Swindon is safe, says Honda UK boss PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 March 2011 13:32


A senior executive at car giant Honda has reassured workers at its Swindon plant that the company's UK operations are "safe" despite the disruption caused by the earthquake in Japan. 

Honda has stopped production of cars and motorcycles at its five major factories in Japan for a week, while the impact of the earthquake is assessed.

Paul Ormond, Honda's general manager for corporate affairs in the UK, acknowledged that it was "not easy" for the firm's British operations to deal with the disruption to component supply caused by the shutdown.

But he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Tuesday that operations were continuing at the Swindon plant in Wiltshire - which employs around 3,000 people. And he insisted: "Swindon is safe."

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