Top Stories

September 05, 2022


One-third of Pakistan submerged by flooding, satellite data shows

Deadly flooding in Pakistan has destroyed homes and decimated crops in what officials say is an unprecedented climate disaster, affecting an estimated 30 million people or about 15% of the population. About one-third of the country was still submerged when satellite data from the European Space Agency mapped the extent of the deluge. The final toll is likely to climb beyond the early estimates of more than 1,100 people dead and nearly 1 million homes damaged by the flooding that was triggered by a combination of heavy monsoon rainfall and glacial melt. The UN has launched a $160 million appeal for Pakistan’s flood ravaged regions after its government officials asked for help from the international community. The US government has pledged $30 million in humanitarian assistance to Pakistan in response. (Financial Times)*


Waitrose colluded with landlords to prevent rivals opening nearby

Supermarket Waitrose has admitted to signing deals with landlords halting other supermarkets from opening nearby for a decade, after an investigation by the UK competition watchdog. Waitrose said it has rewritten property deals for numerous sites to allay competition concerns. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it found the land agreements breached competition laws between 2010 and 2019. A 2020 investigation also found that Tesco “unlawfully” leaned on landlords to not rent nearby sites to rivals. The CMA wrote to Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, M&S and The Co-op to demand proof they had not committed similar breaches. A Waitrose spokesperson said: “We’ve identified and addressed a small number of historic errors, but don’t believe we’ve enforced these to stop new shops opening”. (The Guardian)


UK asks crypto exchanges to report suspected sanction breaches

Crypto exchanges must report suspected sanctions breaches to UK authorities under new rules brought in amid concerns that cryptoassets are being used to dodge restrictions imposed on Russia. Official guidance was updated to explicitly include “cryptoassets” among those that must be frozen if sanctions are imposed on a person or company. As well as digital currencies, such as bitcoin, ether and tether, cryptoassets could include other notionally valuable digital assets such as non-fungible tokens. The rules, set by the UK Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation, will mean crypto exchanges are committing a criminal offence if they fail to report clients designated for sanctions. Crypto exchanges must immediately act if they suspect that one of their customers is under sanctions, or if they suspect a breach of sanctions. (The Guardian)


Germany announces €65bn package to curb soaring energy costs

Germany has announced a €65 billion package of measures to ease the threat of rising energy costs, as Europe struggles with scarce supplies following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The package, larger than its previous two, will include one-off payments to the most vulnerable, including pensioners, people on benefits and students, according to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Some 9,000 energy-intensive businesses would receive tax breaks to the tune of €1.7 billion. Germany will additionally add caps on energy bills. A windfall tax on energy company profits would also be used to mitigate bills. The latest package brings the total spent on relief from the energy crisis to almost €100 billion in Germany. Countries across Europe are considering similar measures. (BBC News)


Glasgow Council launches plans to offer paid miscarriage leave

Glasgow City Council has announced it will start offering paid leave to employees who miscarry, becoming the third council in the UK to offer such support. The new support entitles workers who have a miscarriage to the same two weeks’ bereavement leave as those who suffer a stillbirth. The paid leave will also apply to the partners of those who miscarried. In 2021 Barking and Dagenham Council became the first local authority in the UK to offer such miscarriage leave. The council’s move was soon followed by Merton in south-west London. Glasgow Council said the new benefit would allow workers to grieve and recover without having to rely on annual leave, sick pay or unpaid leave given that they were likely to feel unable to return to work after their loss. (Personnel Today)

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