STA Travel has become another victim of the coronavirus crisis

STA Travel has become another victim of the coronavirus crisis

STA Travel, which offered package tours for backpackers and adventurous young people, has become the latest business to cease trading because of the coronavirus pandemic. The travel company employed around 500 staff in 50 high street branches across the UK and at its central London headquarters. A statement posted on its Twitter account read: “To our valued customers, due to the recent announcement that STA Travel UK has ceased trading, unfortunately our team are unable to assist you at this time. “Please be assured that if you had a previous…

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China fears financial iron curtain amid rising U.S. tensions

China fears financial iron curtain amid rising U.S. tensions

A sharp escalation in tensions with the United States has stoked fears in China of a deepening financial war that could result in it being shut out of the global dollar system – a devastating prospect once considered far-fetched but now not impossible. Chinese officials and economists have in recent months been unusually public in discussing worst-case scenarios under which China is blocked from dollar settlements, or Washington freezes or confiscates a portion of China’s huge US debt holdings. Those concerns have galvanised some in Beijing to revive calls to…

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World promises Lebanon 250 million euros to be delivered “directly” to the population

World promises Lebanon 250 million euros to be delivered “directly” to the population

World leaders on Sunday (9 August) pledged more than €250 million for disaster-struck Lebanon, conference host France said, with the emergency aid to be delivered “directly” to a population reeling from the deadly port blast in Beirut. Fifteen government leaders including US President Donald Trump took part in the virtual conference hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron and the UN, pledging solidarity with the Lebanese people and promising to muster “major resources” in the coming days and weeks. A joint statement issued after the meeting in which representatives of nearly…

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Sharp fall in the number of job vacancies in Flanders

Sharp fall in the number of job vacancies in Flanders

The Flemish Employment Minister Hilde Crevits (Christian democrat) has told journalists that last month there was sharp fall in the number of job vacancies in our region. Last month the number of job vacancies on the books at the Flemish Employment and Vocational Service VDAB was well down on the number of vacancies in July 2019. The news of the sharp year-on-year decrease in July comes after the hopeful figures released for the month of June. In June VDAB had received as many new vacancies as had been the case…

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Polestar 2 first drive: Why Tesla might not be the competition for this particular EV

Polestar 2 first drive: Why Tesla might not be the competition for this particular EV

Polestar, the one-time performance brand of Volvo, has now branched out on its own as a fully-fledged automaker. It took a big step forward in its mission to be a real player in the electric vehicle (EV) space, with the introduction of its latest offering, the Polestar 2. Now I was a fan of its first vehicle, the performance-hybrid Polestar 1, which is only being sold in minimum quantities in the U.S. at a price north of $150,000. The Polestar 1 got the brand [which is owned by China’s Geely…

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Zelenskiy’s friend, oligarch, accused by the US of stealing and laundering billions of dollars

Zelenskiy’s friend, oligarch, accused by the US of stealing and laundering billions of dollars

The Justice Department of the United States accused on Tuesday (6 August) Ihor Kolomoysky, an oligarch considered close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, of stealing billions from a bank he owned, and of laundering this money over the world. Zelenskiy, a former comedian, is known to have longstanding business ties to Igor Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine’s most powerful oligarchs. Civil cases in the US allege that Kolomoisky helped siphon $5 billion from PrivatBank, a Ukrainian bank that he and Gennadiy Boholiubov opened in 1992. They fleeced the bank out of…

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EU invests €350 million in plant to create greenest PSU available

EU invests €350 million in plant to create greenest PSU available

The European Investment Bank issued a €350 million loan on Thursday (30 July) to a Swedish company that hopes to corner a significant share of the global battery market by building the greenest power packs available. Northvolt is currently constructing its gigafactory in northern Sweden, where the firm intends to use 100% renewable energy and locally-sourced raw materials to manufacture lithium-ion battery cells, predominantly for use in electric vehicles. The EIB already stumped up funding for a demonstrator project back in 2018, which did enough to convince the Luxembourg-based lender…

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Moscow shouts about the planned tax on carbon emissions in the EU

Moscow shouts about the planned tax on carbon emissions in the EU

Russia’s economic development minister warned last week that the EU’s plans to deploy a carbon tax at the bloc’s borders will not be in line with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, just as Brussels doubled down on the idea of green tariffs. Maxim Reshetnikov said that Moscow “is extremely concerned by attempts to use the climate agenda to create new barriers”, following a meeting of the BRICS emerging economy nations last Thursday (23 July). “We see a danger in this, including in the initiative to create a carbon adjustment mechanism…

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Norwegian mega-carbon capture project worth 2.1 billion euros gets approved

Norwegian mega-carbon capture project worth 2.1 billion euros gets approved

The Norwegian government’s decision to fund the scale-up of carbon-capture-storage (CCS) technology with more than €2 billion got the green light from a state aid regulator on Friday (17 July). It is the largest tranche of funding ever approved by the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) body. Norway has been cleared to pay 80% of the costs on a large-scale CCS project by the state aid regulator of the EFTA, which hailed the plan as a “groundbreaking step towards tackling climate change”. EFTA’s Surveillance Authority (ESA) ensures that Norway, Iceland…

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BMW signed a contract for 2 billion euros with a Swedish company

BMW signed a contract for 2 billion euros with a Swedish company

German carmaker BMW signed a battery-supply contract worth €2 billion with Swedish manufacturer Northvolt this week, in the latest example of Europe’s big auto firms preparing for a massive ramp-up in electric vehicle production. Northvolt will start building batteries in northeast Sweden from 2024 at a factory powered by renewable energy, which will also be able to recycle used power packs. Carmakers are now scrambling to secure a share of the projected output. BMW’s Andreas Wendt, a member of the firm’s management board, said that “signing this contract is another…

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