In the News Summary: There is sad news regarding a boat of migrants from Africa off the coast of Lampedusa; there is bad news for the US as Republican and Democrat disagreements lead to the government being shutdown; yet there is some good news emerging from the UK.
Unions in Britain have come out to criticise the government as it tries to halt a proposed 1 per cent pay rise for all NHS staff in England. The Department of Health has claimed that the increase would be unaffordable alongside the system which is currently in place, seeing many staff automatically receive incremental annual rises. It has urged the NHS’s pay review body to withhold the planned pay-rise for 1.3m staff.
Over 300 African migrants either drowned or were feared dead after a boat fire and subsequently sank off the coast of the southern Italian island of Lampedusa. The 20-metre long boat, which was believed to be carrying approximately 500 Africa migrants, sank desperately close to the shoreline after a fire broke out, which triggered a general panic and consequently capsized the vessel. The incident occurred as the boat’s motor stopped working, resulting in the vessel taking on water. Passengers then tried to burn a sheet in order to attract the attention of rescuers, but ignited fuel on the boat instead.
Shutdown of the US government: The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, warned that a possible prolonged shutdown of the US government would affect the country’s international standing. President Barack Obama has since cancelled his planned visit to Asia as a result of the shutdown. The US government was forced to close all non-essential operations on Tuesday when Congress failed to agree a new budget. With the government on ‘Shutdown’ thousands of federal employees were sent home. US-EU trade negotiations were also postponed as a result of the crisis in the America.
Samsung has forecast record profits for the quarter from July to September. The world’s biggest mobile phone and TV maker expects an operating profit of around 10.1 trillion (£5.8bn) during the three month period. The expected profits are higher than many analyst forecasts after Samsung enjoyed great success courtesy of its range of Galaxy smartphones.
Royal Mail: The demand for shares in the Royal Mail is high enough for the government to sell them at the top of its hoped-for price band. Originally the government priced the shares at around 260-330p, but as a result of the high demand they will be sold for between 300-330p. The government is due to sell over 60 per cent of the business, keeping the rest. Yet under the terms of the sale a 10 per cent stake in the business will be kept aside for Royal Mail employees.
Payday lenders in the UK have been warned that they will face tougher regulation in order to protect vulnerable customers. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has proposed the policy that all prospective borrowers should first be screened to check that they can afford being given a loan. The FCA also wants to put risk warnings on payday loan company’s adverts and marketing material to warn customers of the potential dangers.
On A Lighter Note:
A groom from Merseyside made a hoax bomb call to a wedding venue when he realised that he had forgotten to book it. Neil McArdle has appeared in court as a result of his frantic phone-call to St George’s Hall on the morning of his what was supposed to be his ‘big day’ for quite different reasons. The 36-year-old McArdle realised too late that he had failed to complete the required forms and so the venue had not been officially booked. In a panic, he rang the Liverpool-based venue, telling them that a bomb would go off at the location in a matter of minutes, in order, he says, to buy himself more time.