‘Ground-breaking’ pay deal for Hermes staff

Hermes’s 15,000 couriers can deliver parcels in whichever order they want and will be able to continue to do so if they take up the new arrangement. New couriers wishing to take up the pay holiday terms will have to follow routes specified by Hermes. The company said that if it is guaranteeing hourly rates of pay, it needs to ensure that couriers are taking the most efficient route. Why so many young workers have ‘side hustles’ Does flexible working come at a cost? Uber loses latest legal bid over driver rights The GMB said that the collective bargaining agreement is on an opt-in basis and “will not affect those couriers who wish to retain their current form of self-employed …

Political world mourns the loss of John Dingell

Washington (CNN)The news of former Michigan Democratic Rep. John Dingell’s death shook the political world Thursday night as memorials poured in from political leaders spanning his decades as the House’s longest-serving member. Former President Barack Obama mourned Dingell, calling him proof that change “does not always come with a flash, but instead with steady, determined effort.” “John sat beside me when I signed the Affordable Care Act — a law that nearly cut in half the uninsured rate in America. He had a long tradition of introducing legislation on the first day of each new Congress to guarantee health care for every single American,” Obama said in a statement. “Because of him, we’ve come closer to that vision than ever …

China just quietly wrote off a chunk of Cameroon’s debt. Why the secrecy?

(CNN)When top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi met Cameroon President Paul Biya in the capital Yaounde last month and wrote off a chunk of the African country’s debt, the deal very nearly went unnoticed. But while the news report was wrong, its release did force the Chinese government to speak publicly about what type of deal had been reached. Last week, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told CNN: “China agreed to waive the interest-free inter-governmental debt that Cameroon had not paid back by the end of 2018.” That debt was worth $78.4 million. Cameroon’s total debt is 5.8 trillion Central African CFA francs ($10 billion), about a third of which is owed to China, according to the International Monetary Fund. …

Japan’s deputy prime minister blames women ‘not giving birth’ for declining population

(CNN)Japan’s deputy prime minister has come under fire after apparently blaming childless women for Japan’s demographic woes. “It gave a false impression without conveying the meaning of my original remark,” Aso explained, without clarifying what he had actually wanted to say. Shrinking Japan Japan is a “super-aged” nation, meaning more than 20% of its population is older than 65. It has been on a steady demographic decline since the 1970s. In 2017, fewer than 950,000 babies were born while the number of deaths rose to a postwar high of 1.3 million, according to the Ministry of Health and Labor. Tokyo, a city of more than 9 million people, has the lowest birth rate of all the 47 prefectures in Japan, …

Shutdown watch: Negotiators want, and believe they need, an agreement by Friday

Washington (CNN)When it comes to averting another government shutdown over border security, every day that negotiations on Capitol Hill don’t fall apart is a good day. “I am pleased,” Shelby said. “We had a positive meeting. The President was urging me to try to conclude these negotiations. This is the most positive meeting I’ve had in a long time. So we’re not there yet. We’re seriously negotiating.” Timeline: Negotiators want, and believe they need, an agreement by Friday or, at the latest, on Saturday. The absolute latest the full text of any proposal can be released publicly is Monday (in order to comply with the House 72-hour rule). So the general goal from both sides is to reach an agreement …

China’s senior citizens risk being left behind in rapidly aging country

Beijing (CNN)For Qin Taixiao, old age is a time of loneliness and back-breaking labor. Between his trips to the forest, Qin manages his emphysema and colon cancer with the meager amounts of drugs he can afford. “What can I say?” he says. “Life’s all right. There is no other way.” His steely stoicism fades only when talking about his favorite time of the year — the Lunar New Year. The week-long holiday is the only time he sees his three children. Like many others, Qin’s children left the village years ago to find work, joining the relentless current of China’s great urban migration spurred by its economic boom. Hundreds of millions have moved to cities in recent decades, leaving behind …

Why Hungary’s state-sponsored schoolbooks have teachers worried

Budapest, Hungary (CNN)Flick through a Hungarian history book for high school students, and you’re left in no doubt about the government’s view on migrants. Education ‘straight from the state’ The shake-up comes amid weeks of street protests against Orban’s hardline policies, signaling cracks in his grip on the central eastern European nation. Since Orban’s populist Fidesz Party swept into power in 2010, and most recently won a landslide victory again in April last year, it has been at the helm of a “major educational reform,” government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs told CNN when it visited Hungary late last year. Previously, local municipalities oversaw the country’s public schools. But in recent years the state has taken over responsibility — and that includes …

Modi’s populist budget sets the stage for India’s national elections

New Delhi (CNN)India announced new measures to boost farmers’ incomes and cut taxes for the country’s growing middle class Friday, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government courts voters ahead of general elections later this year. On the new income tax regime, he added: “Because of major tax reforms undertaken by us during the last four and a half years, both collections as well as the tax base have shown significant increase … It is, therefore, just and fair that some benefits from the tax reforms must also be passed on to the middle-class taxpayers.” New help for poor Modi’s new budget comes days after the main opposition Congress Party made a push to woo voters with a promise to guarantee …

Veganuary: What did it cost you?

“To be vegan, it helps to be rich. If you open any vegan cookbook you come across all these expensive ingredients. “Pine nuts are crazy. They’re the most expensive. There is nothing cheap about them.” According to new research shared with the BBC, Mr Carey may have found his costs went up because he was vegetarian before he tried veganism. Image copyright Rachel Tranter Image caption Rachel Tranter with a bowl of vegan pasta According to Cleo, it is difficult to say for sure whether people save money in January because they have changed their diet as many people are tightening their belts anyway. However, Rachel Tranter from Abingdon told the BBC: “I didn’t do Veganuary to save money, but …

Bank staff saving elderly from scams

Staff noticed the customer was agitated and quietly asked some more questions in a private room. It emerged that the potential victim had believed they needed to pay an urgent tax bill or be fined £50,000 or sent to jail. The fraudster had called claiming to be an “agent” from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and even suggested the victim make deposits to Bitcoin machines located in newsagents as a way of paying the outstanding bill. No money was lost, owing to the bank staff stepping in. Typical victim Under the protocol, introduced in October 2016, staff are trained to spot the signs of a scam and can request an immediate police response. A total of 231 arrests and 4,240 …

Energy firms handed new customers amid probe

When this happens, customers are automatically transferred to a new supplier. These customers’ supply is protected but their tariff is not. Winter likely to finish off some energy firms, analysts say Any credit they had with their old supplier – in cases where they had used less energy than they had paid for – is carried over. However, in cases of this kind, customers are given a new tariff with the new supplier that may be more expensive than their current deal. They are given the opportunity to switch. The so-called “supplier of last resort” system is quick and ensures that customers’ gas and electricity supplies are not cut off. What about these recent cases? Many of the customers of …

How tuition fees change real-life decisions

At the moment, despite preferring the opportunities and social experience of university, she is heading towards an apprenticeship. Fee decisions Isabella, part of a group of teenagers being supported by the Villiers Park social mobility charity, has a real-world, life-changing decision that will depend on the outcome of the government’s review of tuition fees in England. If the fees were to be cut to £5,000 or £6,000, she says it would make a “massive difference” to the level of debt and she would switch to applying to university. Image caption Maya says families might not want to admit that they cannot afford to support their children at university Until former students earn £25,000 they will not have to make repayments …

TSB suffers 105m loss after computer chaos

Of the £330m in extra costs, about £125m was for customer compensation and sorting out their problems, £49m was due to fraud and operational losses, £122m for extra help and advice to sort out the IT problems, and £33m in lost income from waived fees and charges. In recognition of the extra work for its employees, the bank said it had awarded staff – excluding executives – £1,500 each in December. No bonuses are being paid to executives for 2018. Richard Meddings, TSB executive chairman, said in a statement: “Last year was TSB’s most challenging year. But we enter 2019 with renewed ambition to re-emerge as the leading challenger bank in the UK – firmly on the side of the …

‘Big Brother’: AI pioneer fears China’s use of technology for surveillance and control

“This is the ‘1984’ Big Brother scenario,” he told Bloomberg in an interview, referencing George Orwell’s dystopian novel that was published in 1949. “I think it’s becoming more and more scary.” SAN FRANCISCO COULD BECOME FIRST US CITY TO BAN FACIAL RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY Bengio, a professor at the University of Montreal, is considered a leading thinker in the AI space because of his work in deep learning. China’s communist government has already begun using closed-circuit cameras and facial recognition to surveil its citizens in public spaces, according to Bloomberg. China also created an app that allows people to know whether they are near someone who is in debt, and it reportedly rolled out a National Credit Information Sharing Platform that …

General Motors About To Begin Laying Off 4,200 Salaried Workers

General Motors will begin GM announced in November that it was cutting a total of with more than 6,000 hourly workers.  Donald Trump’s trade war has cost the company $1 billion in extra tariffs on imported aluminum and steel. The company hopes the workforce cuts will save it $6 billion a year by the end of 2020. specific timing for when those reductions will occur,” the statement added. massive corporate tax cut from 35 percent to 21 percent implemented in 2017 by the Trump administration. The president pitched his tax plan as an incentive for corporations to expand their business and thereby share their tax-savings windfalls with workers. But a study released last month found that the huge cuts had …