Odds and Ends 

Brexit Deadlock as Boris Johnsons Lies Finally Catch Up With Him

LONDONUnfortunately longest parliamentary shutdown in 40 years and the first since the aftermath of World War II to be called at a time of constitutional crisis. a humiliating defeat in the House of Commons on Tuesday night when 21 Conservative lawmakers voted to take control of Brexit away from their own prime minister, Johnson called for a new election to be held. The opposition parties are refusing to accept this latest gambit until they are certain that Johnson wont try some kind of procedural maneuver to push through a no…

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PrimaryBid closes $8.6M round for its platform aimed to help retail investors

PrimaryBid, a UK-regulated platform connecting publicly listed companies with everyday investors for discounted share issuances has previously raised $3M. It’s now upped those stakes with an $8.6M funding round, led by UK VCs Pentech and Outward VC with participation from new and existing investors. Craig Anderson, a partner at Pentech, will join the PrimaryBidBoard of Directors with Outward VC having a Board Observer seat. This investment is representative of the trend towards unpacking complex financial investment products for the average person, especially in the UK. The FCA-regulated platform recently made…

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Peer-to-peer car-sharing marketplace Turo raises $250M at over $1B valuation from IAC

Car-sharing startup Turo has raised $250 million in a Series E round of funding from IAC, the internet media company that owned and spun out Match.com and OkCupid. This round pushes Turo into unicorn territory, with its valuation now “past the billion-dollar” mark according to Turo CEO Andre Haddad. This late round of funding brings the company’s total to nearly $450 million, raised across multiple rounds since its founding as Relay Rides in 2009. The company plans to use the investment to fuel its growth, further refine the customer experience…

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U.S.-U.K. Relationship Status: Its Complicated

ARROMANCHES, FranceThe veterans are in their 90s, and some more than 100 years old, their withered bodies seeming weighed down by the medals on their chests. But there is no way the menBrits, Canadians, Americansunited by the extraordinary combat they saw 75 years ago would do without those medals. Each year they have a chance, once again, to be celebrated as heroes and listen to politicians speak euphorically, as President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Theresa May and indeed Queen Elizabeth II have done, about the special relationship between the United…

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With No End in Sight, Europe is Sick of Brexit Bullshit

The divorce from hell, the longest separation ever, trying to live together after breaking uphowever one describes the excruciating uncoupling of the United Kingdom and the European Union, one thing is sure: Europeans are starting to get a little bit tired of the whole bloody affair. On Thursday, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May bought a few more weeks to secure domestic backing for her E.U. compromise, though no one is optimistic that she will get it. French president Emmanuel Macron was so unimpressed with Mays plea he downgraded his prediction…

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Dating apps face questions over age checks after report exposes child abuse

The UK government has said it could legislate to require age verification checks on users of dating apps, following an investigation into underage use of dating apps published by the Sunday Times yesterday. The newspaper found It reports that one 13-year-old boy with a profile on the Grindr app was raped or abused by at least 21 men.  The Sunday Times also found 60 further instances of child sex offences related to the use of online dating services — including grooming, kidnapping and violent assault, according to the BBC, which covered the report.…

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Tech platforms called to support public interest research into mental health impacts

The tech industry has been called on to share data with public sector researchers so the mental health and psychosocial impacts of their service on vulnerable users can be better understood, and also to contribute to funding the necessary independent research over the next ten years. The UK’s chief medical officers have made the call in a document setting out advice and guidance for the government about children’s and young people’s screen use. They have also called for the industry to agree a code of conduct around the issue. Concerns…

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Google You Owe Us claimants arent giving up on UK Safari workaround suit

Lawyers behind a UK class-action style compensation litigation against Google for privacy violations have filed an application requesting permission to appeal against a recent High Court ruling blocking the proceeding. In October Mr Justice Warby ruled the case could not proceed on legal grounds, finding the claimants had not demonstrated a basis for bringing a compensation claim. The case relates to the so called ‘Safari workaround’ Google used between 2011 and 2012 to override iPhone privacy settings and track users without consent. The civil legal action — whose claimants refer to themselves as ‘Google…

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UK parliament seizes cache of internal Facebook documents to further privacy probe

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg may yet regret underestimating a UK parliamentary committee that’s been investigating the democracy-denting impact of online disinformation for the best part of this year — and whose repeat requests for facetime he’s just as repeatedly snubbed. In the latest high gear change, reported in yesterday’s Observer, the committee has used parliamentary powers to seize a cache of documents pertaining to a US lawsuit to further its attempt to hold Facebook to account for misuse of user data. Facebook’s oversight — or rather lack of it — where…

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Zuckerberg rejects facetime call for answers from five parliaments

Facebook has declined once again to send its CEO to the UK parliament — this time turning down an invitation to face questions from a grand committee comprised of representatives from five international parliaments. MPs from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Ireland and the UK have joined forces to try to pile pressure on the company’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, to answer questions related to his “platform’s malign use in world affairs and democratic process”. The UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, which has been running an enquiry into online disinformation for the best…

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The RNLIs Newest All-Weather Lifeboat is an Engineering Marvel

The Shannon is the latest class of all-weather lifeboat to join the RNLI fleet. She’s the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making her the RNLI’s most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat yet. Designed entirely in-house by a team of RNLI engineers, The Shannon was designed to be launched and recovered from a beach and is loaded with impressive features and specs. The naming of The Shannon class lifeboat follows an RNLI tradition of naming lifeboats after rivers. But it’s the first time…

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Headlines 

Merkel Vows Full Probe After Van Crashed in Crowd in Muenster

German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised a full investigation after a man killed two people by driving a van into a street cafe in the western city of Muenster, then fatally shot himself on the scene. About 20 people were injured in the incident on Saturday afternoon, which recalled recent terrorist attacks using vehicles, including one on a Christmas market in Berlin in 2016 that killed 12 people. The driver was a German national and there are "no indications" he had extremist Islamic ties, Herbert Reul, the interior minister of the…

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Headlines 

Airlines Draw U.K. Scrutiny Over Extra Fees

Aviation Minister Sugg says passengers need more information Fees can cover passenger details and printing of boarding pass Elizabeth Sugg said in an emailed statement. “When passengers book flights, they can sometimes be hit with additional charges over and above the original quoted flight cost,” Sugg said. “Through our aviation strategy, we will explore ways to improve and enhance the information available, so passengers can make well-informed decisions.” The extra fees represented a large chunk of about $45 billion in ancillary revenue for 66 airlines in 2016, according to a…

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Headlines 

Harvey Weinstein Sued by New York AG Over Sexual Harassment

Embattled movie producer Harvey Weinstein was sued by New York state for creating a hostile work environment at the Weinstein Co. that allegedly featured “pervasive sexual harassment,” intimidation and discrimination. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s lawsuit comes as Weinstein, 65, is seeking to sell his troubled studio to Maria Contreras-Sweet, a former Obama administration official, in a $500 million bid backed by billionaire Ron Burkle. The suit may create a major obstacle for the deal. Schneiderman said in a statement that the company’s sale might leave victims “without adequate redress, including…

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