Southern rail: Train drivers’ strike enters second day – BBC News

Image caption A Southern sign at Three Bridges station warned of on-going severe disruption

The latest strike by Southern train drivers has entered a second day with no sign of a breakthrough.

The walk-out finishes at midnight but further strikes have been called for Friday and on 24, 25 and 27 January.

Aslef said its action had “solid” support from its members, and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would join their picket line.

Southern said it would not back down and was “very sorry” passengers faced continued disruption.

It advised only “essential” travel and said barely any of its 2,242 weekday trains would run.

The long-running dispute centres on Southern’s decision to turn guards into supervisors with drivers now opening and closing carriage doors. The two sides cannot agree on “exceptional circumstances” where a train would run without a supervisor.

Image caption Passengers on the 07:34 Caterham to Victoria were on one of the few Southern trains running

Southern mainly serves Sussex, Surrey and south London. It issued a map of its rail replacement bus links.

Its only timetabled trains will run between Victoria and Caterham.

Gatwick Express has a reduced half-hourly service and there is a normal timetable for Thameslink, Great Western, Southeastern and South West Trains.

Image copyright Southern
Image caption Southern released a map of alternative services

The unions and Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink (GTR) said no new negotiations were planned.

GTR said three-quarters of its Southern services were now driver-controlled with conductors converted into “on-board supervisors”.

Its chief operating officer Nick Brown said the change would not be reversed.

“There is very substantial investment going into this network. We are introducing new trains to modernise the railway,” Mr Brown said.

Image caption Southern provided buses from East Grinstead to Gatwick

But Aslef leader Mick Whelan claimed supervisors would be less skilled.

He said: “Who is going to deal with the evacuation in an emergency, a fire on a train, sick people on a train or leading people down the track?

“Will it be down to the driver on trains which are 12 cars-long with 1,100 people in the peaks? That’s untenable.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Mr Corbyn said he believed Southern had “behaved in a terrible manner” and called on the government to take GTR’s franchise back into public ownership.

The transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “The government is engaged day in day out trying to get this issue resolved and will carry on doing that.”

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-38573265

Euro will fail in 10 years without reform Emmanuel Macron

French presidential candidate says currency amounts to a weak Deutsche Mark that has failed to unify EU states and stand up to the US dollar

The euro may not exist in 10 years time if Paris and Berlin fail to bolster the single currency union, French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron has said, adding that the current system benefits Germany at the expense of weaker member states.

Macron was economy minister under Socialist President Franois Hollande until he resigned this year to create his own political movement and stand as an independent candidate in this years presidential election.

The truth is that we must collectively recognise that the euro is incomplete and cannot last without major reforms, Macron said in a speech at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

Speaking in English, he added: It has not provided Europe with full international sovereignty against the dollar on its rules. It has not provided Europe with a natural convergence between the different member states.

France must implement labour market reforms and revamp its education system to revive growth, while Germany must accept that more investment instead of austerity can boost growth across the eurozone area, the centrist politician said.

The dysfunctioning of the euro is of good use to Germany, I have to say, said Macron, adding that a lack of trust between France and Germany was blocking major reforms that would increase solidarity among the 19 members of the eurozone.

The euro is a weak Deutsche Mark, said Macron. The status quo is synonymous, in 10 years time, with the dismantling of the euro.

He proposed the creation of a eurozone budget to finance growth-oriented investments and to extend financial assistance to struggling member states.

However, this would be anathema to the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, whose conservatives face an election this year and have faced domestic resistance to bailouts for Greece by hawks who say such payments turn the euro zone into a transfer union.

Macron spoke after the co-leader of Germanys far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party earlier told Reuters the eurozone should be split into two with a strong cluster around Germany and a weak cluster including France.

Macron, a rare advocate in France of deeper European integration, has taken the unusual step of encouraging supporters to cheer the European Union at political rallies in contrast with other politicians who often rail against Brussels.

Macron, 39, has enjoyed a boost in recent polls, which show him cementing his position as the presidential elections third man and within a whisker of reaching the crucial second round runoff to be held in May.

An opinion poll last week showed conservative candidate Francois Fillons lead in Frances presidential election race had narrowed, with both Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen gaining on the former prime minister.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/11/euro-will-fail-in-10-years-without-reform-emmanuel-macron

McDonald’s sells the controlling stake in its China franchise to the government

Image: Wang gang/Imaginechina

McDonald’s has sold its China and Hong Kong franchise to Citic Group and Carlyle Group, the companies announced Monday.

The $2.08 billion deal covers the fast food chain’s franchise rights for the next 20 years in mainland China and Hong Kong.

Of the three parties, state-owned Citic will have the controlling stake of 52 percent.

American investment firm Carlyle has 28 percent, and McDonald’s has the remaining 20 percent.

McDonald’s has over 2,600 outlets in China, and has said it plans to open a further 1,500 in the next five years, especially in smaller mainland cities.

McDonald’s has been on a march to refranchise many of its restaurants around the world, to get cash for upgrading, and lighten its burden of maintaining outlets.

In December, it sold its Singapore and Malaysia franchise to Saudi Arabia’s Lionhorn. It plans to become 95 percent franchised by 2018.

BONUS: See how McDonald’s Happy Meal boxes turn into VR headsets

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/01/09/mcdonalds-china-franchise-citic/

12 Rules Women Used To Have To Follow In College That You Wont Believe Existed

These days, going to college is almost synonymous with partying and freedom. However, it hasn’t always been that way, especially not for women.

In the early 20th century, only the luckiest of women got to attend college and obtain a higher degree. But, once you hear of some of the many rules they were required to follow, you may reevaluate just how lucky they were.

Dress codes, curfews, bedtimes and permission slips are just some of the many hoops earlier generations of college women had to jump through.Of course, it was morea feature of the time and does not reflect negatively on the institutions themselves.

To put things in perspective, one woman who was a college student in the 1950s remembers, “The most brazen thing we did was to knit in lecture halls. It used to be the height of insolence in a lecture if a knitting needle dropped.”

Obviously, a lot has changed since the 1950s, but let’s take a moment to appreciate the old rules and how far we’ve come since they were enforced. PleaseSHAREwith your family and friends on Facebook!

1. Beds Had To Be Made Every Day By 12pm For Inspection

1.

Some universities had strict, almost military-like rules that involveddaily bed making. House mothers enforced the order via daily inspections.

2. No Pants Were Allowed In The Library

2.

Many colleges enforced strict dress codes.One of which included, no pants, or slacks as they called them at the time, beingallowed in the library.

3. Dresses Or Skirts Were Required At All Meals

3.

Students were required to attend specific meal times and to wear skirts and dresses only.

4. Formal Meals Also Required Women To Wear Hats And Gloves

4.

A more formal, say Sunday affair, meant female students had to whip out their gloves and hats in addition to their dresses.

5. Professors Had The Right To Stipulate Dress Codes For Their Classes

5.

PBS

One professor from a Florida university is recorded as banning the wearing of Bermuda shorts in his classroom.

6. Hair Rollers Were Not Allowed In Public

6.

Some residence hall rules would not allow women to appear in public with hair curlers, wavers, or rollers in. Even a scarf covering hair curlers was not allowed.

7. Men Could Only Visit Women’s Residence Halls During Strict Visiting Hours

7.

8. Three Feet Needed To Be On The Floor During Visits

8.

In order to prevent any funny business from happening, some residences enforced a “three feet on the floor at all times”rule.

9. Both Feet Had To Be Kept On The Floor During Dances

9.

One university student from the 1930s remembers that two feet were required to stay on the floor at dances. How they managed to dance remains a mystery.

10. Lights Had To Be Out By 10pm

10.

Most women’s dorms had a communal bedtime that was enforcedby the presence of a dorm mother doing flashlight checks.

11. Too Many Late Minutes Could Result In Severe Punishment

11.

Women were punished for tardiness and were given late minutes when they weren’t on time. Too many minutes could result in “campusing,” a university-enforced version of being grounded, except women had to stay in their dorm rooms all weekend.

12. More Severe Punishments Included A Dating Ban

12.

One college reprimanded40 women who admitted to smoking in their dorm rooms and instituteda six-month dating ban.

Please SHAREthese rules with your friends on Facebook and be sure tolet us know of any we might have missed!

Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/rules-college-women/

Stranger Follows Women In PJs Through Grocery Store, Then Posts Their Photo Online

We all like to look nice. Whether we’re out on the town for the night or getting things done at work, we like to look our best.

Except, let’s be real. As much as we like to look nice, we also hatehaving to look nice, especially when we’re tired. And sometimes, we have more important things on our minds than what we’re wearing, and so we throw on any old thing.

And we’d like to be able to do that sometimes without being judged, right?

Well, it seems no matter what anyone does, there’s always someone ready to judge and shame. Why? No one knows. Apparently these judgy folkshave nothing better to do. But that neverseems to stop them.

And it’s exactly what happened when two women went shopping at a Tesco in the U.K. in pajamas, robes, and slippers. Their reasons for their clothing choice are their own, but they were minding their own business and shopping quietly.

What they didn’t know was that another shopperwas watching them, and was apparently offended by some ladies choosing comfort over fashion while picking up milk and vegetables.

This shoppersnapped a photo of them (without their knowledge or consent) and then contacted Tesco vai Facebook to publicly shame them.

If that sounds ridiculous and cruel to you, you’re not alone. Another Facebook user spoke up in the women’s defense, and his message soon went viral.

[H/T: Daily Mail, Metro]

These two women were spotted in Tesco by another shopper, who was apparently personally offended by the fact that they were wearing pajamas.

Despite knowing nothing about these women or their circumstances, he decided to not only take a photo, but also to send the photo, complete with a comment, to Tesco’s Facebook.

His harsh criticism read,

“Dear Tesco,

Please can you put a rule in place that people like this will not be served in your stores. It’s bloody disgusting. This was at 7pm last night at your Tesco Salford store and I have seen other people dressed similar on a regular basis. I mean who doesn’t have the time to get changed into clothes to go shopping.”

When other Facebook users saw therude comment, along with the sneaky photo, theyhad some strong reactions for the original commenter.

Many voiced concern that someone would follow these women around the store, then snap a secret photo of them without their consent.

Others related their own experiences with pajama-clad shoppers, and how it didn’t bother them a bit.

Others couldn’t help but wonder why a stranger in pajamas was worth getting so riled up about, consideringeverything going on on the world.

But it’s not the first time pajamas in public have caused a stir.

Earlier in 2016, a school banned parents from wearing pajamas while arriving to pick up their children, prompting one momto bring up those with chronic illnesses in her her eloquent response.

One commenter, Joel Brackenbury, gained a lot of attention for his response to the original commenter.

When asked about his feelings on the strangers’ photo and caption, Joel told LittleThings,“I am just tired of a tendency I see to belittle or look down on others for doing things that don’t affect you in any way whatsoever… If somebody isn’t hurting themselves or anyone else, I think we should just leave them be.”

What do you think about this situation?

Should people be allowed to wear whatever they want in public, including pajamas? Or should stores enforce a stricter dress code?

Let us know in the comments below, and pleaseSHARE!

Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/pajama-shoppers/

Kushner joins father-in-law’s White House as senior adviser

Jared Kushner will serve as a senior adviser in father-in-law Donald Trump’s White House, the Trump Presidential Transition Team said Monday.

The announcement ends speculation about Kushners post-campaign role but fuels questions about the future of his familys Manhattan real estate business.

Kushner’s lawyer has said his client would step down as chief executive of the family business if he takes a White House position and divest some of his assets to comply with federal ethics laws that apply to government employees.

The law requires Kushner, who was among Trump’s most trusted and powerful campaign advisers, to take more significant steps than Trump to disentangle his business interests, given that conflict-of-interest laws largely do not apply to the president.

But attorney Caleb Burns, a partner in the Washington, D.C., firm Wiley Rein, hit back Monday at Democrats like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others who have suggested that Trump, Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson and now Kushner arent doing enough to separate themselves from business interests.

Jared Kushner has done everything hes required to do and more. Hes simply required to recuse himself from any decision that would have a direct and predictable impact on his financial holdings, Burns, who specializes in government ethics law, said Monday. They’re cloaking political issues in legal garb.” 

The transition team said Kushner will work closely with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon to execute President-elect Trumps agenda.

Jared has been a tremendous asset and trusted adviser throughout the campaign and transition, and I am proud to have him in a key leadership role in my administration said Trump, in the announcement.  

Kushners decision also ends speculation about whether he would join Trumps administration or take an outside advisory role.

But it will likely further ignite the political squabble over whether the 35-year-old Kushner’s post violates a no-nepotism law that bars officials from appointing relatives to government positions. (Some Trump aides have argued that the law does not apply to the White House.)

Kushner, married to Trumps daughter Ivanka, was deeply involved in the campaign’s digital efforts and was usually at Trump’s side during the election’s closing weeks.

He has since continued to play a central role in the transition, taking part in Cabinet interviews and often getting a last word alone with Trump after a meeting concludes.

Whether Kushner, a Harvard graduate, will be an adviser on domestic or foreign policy, or both, remains unclear.

Trump has suggested since winning the White House race in November that he would like Kushner involved in helping with Middle East peace.

Kushner has never publicly distanced himself from Trump’s more provocative stances, including his campaign call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration.

The announcement follows Kushner being among the few advisers to join Trump in meeting President Obama at the White House and reports about him and his family already having decided on a home in Washingtons Kalorama neighborhood.

Like his father-in-law, Kushner pushed a mid-sized real estate company into the high-stakes battlefield of Manhattan. Though he is often viewed as more moderate than Trump, people close to him say he fully bought in to the Trump campaign’s fiery populist message that resonated with white working class voters.

Prior to the campaign, Kushner and Ivanka Trump were not overtly political. Kushner’s father was a Democratic fundraiser while Ivanka, whose personal brand has a focus on young working mothers, counted Chelsea Clinton among her friends.

It is an honor to serve our country, Kushner said. I am energized by the shared passion of the president-elect and the American people and I am humbled by the opportunity to join this very talented team.

FoxNews.com’s Joseph Weber and Fox News’ John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/01/09/kushner-to-join-father-in-laws-white-house-as-senior-adviser.html

Have baby boomers stolen the family silver? – BBC News

Image copyright Ian Wells
Image caption Millennial daughter and her baby boomer father, Claudia and Ian Wells

We take it for granted that our children will be better off than us but the so-called millennials – anyone born in the 1980s or 1990s – could become the first generation in history to be worse off than their parents.

And are those parents, mostly baby boomers who benefited from economic good times, tax cuts and free higher education to blame?

The figures

Baby boomers, people born between 1945 and 1965, will on average earn 740,000 during their lives, according to the Resolution Foundation.

Generation X, those now aged between 35 and 50, are projected to earn 21% more than that – 835,000 on average.

But the figure for millennials, the under-35s, is lower – they’re forecast to earn 825,000 over their working lives.

‘Stagnation Generation’

Laura Gardiner, author of the Resolution Foundation’s report Stagnation Generation found a range of reasons for the dismal outlook for millennials.

Image caption Millennial Laura Gardiner says that her generation has been particularly hard hit by the financial crisis

Laura, a millennial herself, says the timing of the financial crisis was particularly bad for her generation. “This pay squeeze in particular hit millennials just at the point you expect your pay to be rising most quickly, in your early twenties,” she says.

There’s still a chance that millennials’ lifetime earnings could outstrip those of their parents because they are likely to live longer and work longer, Laura says.

She adds, however, that the slowdown in productivity growth (which affects national income) and the rise of insecure or precarious work, such as zero-hours contracts, self employment and short-term contracts, could prove so devastating that millennials would still earn less than their parents.

Media captionFather and daughter Ian and Claudia discuss their financial prospects

Claudia Wells, who is 24, graduated from university in 2015 and since then has had a series of temporary and short-term contracts, the most recent of which has taken her to France. “In today’s market,” she says, “finding a job can be hard.”

Claudia also faces other financial burdens compared with her baby boomer father Ian. As soon as she starts earning more than 21,000 she will have to start paying off more than 40,000 of student debt.

Ian compares his daughter’s circumstances with his own: “At 23 I was in a secure, big company job with a good pension scheme, I had bought my first modest house and I was paying off a mortgage, not student debt.”

The housing divide

“I live in a shared house and the idea of me or any of my friends owning a house by ourselves is pretty unforeseeable,” Claudia says.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Housing supply has failed to meet demand – another problem facing millennials

In fact, by the age of 30, Claudia’s generation are 50% less likely to own their own homes than their baby boomer parents. Almost two-thirds of Ian’s generation were homeowners by the same age.

Part of the problem is that supply has failed to keep up with demand for housing as the population has grown.

And Angus Hanton, co-founder of the Intergenerational Foundation, which exists to promote fairness between the generations, believes that older people are hogging the housing that is available.

“Partly,” he says, “because they are living longer and partly because there aren’t suitable places to downsize to, but they are taking more than their share.”

This matters for Claudia’s generation because property remains the single biggest asset owned by people in the UK and is a valuable source of wealth and, potentially, rental income in later life.

Image caption Angus Hanton, a baby boomer himself, says his generation is taking “more than their share”

Ian and his wife own their home outright and receive rental income from properties overseas that will supplement his already generous defined benefits pension and large savings pot, should he choose to retire.

An uncomfortable retirement

For “generation rent” – as millennials are also known – their retirement prospects look a lot bleaker. Not only are they more likely to forego income and wealth from owning property, they also face much higher pension costs.

And, despite the start of auto-enrolment into company pension schemes, the shift towards defined contribution pensions and the rise in self-employment (excluded from auto-enrolment) could dramatically reduce millennials’ retirement income.

The state is often seen as the arbiter of fairness between generations. But, there is evidence that government policy itself may have widened the intergenerational divide.

Prof Sir John Hills of the London School of Economics found that baby boomers were, on average, net beneficiaries of the welfare state – they will get more in benefits than they have paid in tax. They have enjoyed tax cuts and a boom in welfare spending. Subsequent generations, by contrast, are likely to be net contributors over their lifetimes and get back less than they have paid in, thanks to austerity cuts to state benefits.

The grey vote

“The older generation have more voting power… they lobby more, the MPs and the policy makers are more likely to be baby boomers so [young people’s] interests tend to be treated as less important,” says Angus Hanton.

So government decisions to protect the state pensions with a “triple lock” guaranteeing an annual rise of at least 2.5%, at a time when other working-age benefits are being cut, has added to the controversy over intergenerational fairness.

“In the UK we have a huge number of pensioners who are wealthy, probably two million over-60s who live in households with more than a million pounds’ worth of assets,” adds Angus. “It seems odd that they should be getting this handout of the state pension.”

Image caption Baroness Greengross, who is from the “silent” inter-war generation, doesn’t believe parents are at war with their children

Not everyone, however, puts the blame quite so squarely on the shoulders of the older generations.

“I would dispute the fact that the generations are at war,” says Baroness Greengross, president of the Pensions Policy Institute. “The older generation has no desire to fight the younger generation… these are their children and grandchildren.”

There is evidence that, in some countries at least, state level transfers of wealth from the young are, to some extent, offset by private transfers from old to young within families.

And, Ian admits that, like most parents, he is setting aside money to help Claudia get on to the housing ladder.

Talking Business: Generations at War will be broadcast on BBC World News at 15:30 GMT on Friday, 13 January and on the BBC News Channel at 20:30 on Saturday, 14 January.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38558116

Pretend you’re in The Italian Job or get the bus? – BBC News

Image copyright Small Car Big City
Image caption “Betty” the 1999 Paul Smith Mini Cooper adds some fun to private car hire

Betty, a resplendent royal blue 1999 Paul Smith Mini Cooper, has just arrived downstairs.

Handing over the keys is a tweed-wearing, bearded Tony Grant, who owns 10 such Minis with names like Poppy, Mildred and Lulu.

Self-styled “Head Gasket” at Small Car Big City, he is adding a new twist to the car hire and car-sharing business.

As part of the fun, there are fancy dress outfits in the boot to match The Italian Job film theme, along with a crowbar and a bar of (imitation) gold.

I booked Betty through recently launched car sharing app Turo, which is aiming to bring an Airbnb vibe to the world of wheels.

While car-sharing firms, such as ZipCar which owns its own fleet, have been around for more than a decade, so-called peer-to-peer (P2P) car sharing – private owners renting out their cars – hasn’t really taken off.

And yet, given that we use our cars just 5% of the time, as Andre Haddad, Turo’s chief executive tells me, the business potential remains.

Image copyright Tony Grant
Image caption Small Car Big City founder Tony Grant and one of his beloved Minis

This is why Turo, and a handful of other recent start-ups like easyCar, Getaround, and Rentecarlo, are hoping to unlock all this unused capacity sitting idle in the street.

“ZipCar’s fleets at their maximum reached 15,000 vehicles, so they were not able to reach massive scale,” says Mr Haddad.

“They obviously built a very successful company, but globally, hourly car sharing reached, at its peak, less than 1% of the entire car rental market space,” he adds.

For Turo, the minimum rental is a day, he says, and their average is four days. Other firms, like Getaround, which has a presence in 10 US cities, focus more on hourly rentals.

Image copyright Turo
Image caption Car enthusiast and Turo boss Andre Haddad owns a Porsche 911

Mr Haddad, who describes himself as a car enthusiast, says Turo gives people the opportunity to try out interesting cars, from cute Minis to rugged off-roaders.

“It would be really fun to go out in a Jeep Wrangler if you’re going up a mountain, but it doesn’t really justify owning one,” he says.

Keys to success

One practical challenge of P2P rental is getting the key to the customer if the car’s owner isn’t around.

Richard Laughton, chief executive of easyCar Club, which launched in 2014, says: “We provide owners with lockboxes they can attach somewhere outside their house, and send a one-use pin to the renter to take the key out, and put it back at the end.”

Next year easyCar Club will try out unlocking cars by mobile app, he says.

Image copyright EasyCar Club
Image caption EasyCar Club owners and renters are vetted by the company

Another challenge is overcoming the trust issue. After all, would you rent out your precious motor to a total stranger?

“I think one thing that will continually hold back the P2P model is the reluctance of people to put an asset on a shared platform,” says Adam Stocker, a researcher at Berkeley University Transportation Sustainability Research Center in California.

“The fear that their vehicle gets trashed, misused, or breaks faster – but this is just human nature.”

One early US car-sharing start-up, HiGear, shut down in 2012 following the theft of several members’ cars.

So most P2P companies engage in detailed vetting of new members, and incorporate feedback and user ratings. Turo says it has developed machine learning tools to help with the screening process.

EasyCar believes telematics boxes could help track how renters have used – or abused – the car and act as a sort of onboard policeman.

Image copyright David Yiu
Image caption EasyCar Club boss Richard Laughton does not own a car

And what if the renter crashes or damages your car?

“Insurance has been a really big challenge,” admits Jacob Nielsen, co-founder of Rentecarlo, a P2P car-sharing firm founded by “three guys from Denmark” two-and-a-half years ago.

Admiral Insurance has worked with several P2P start-ups to develop a suitable product, says Mr Nielsen. The insurer even allows renters to earn up to five years’ no-claims bonus while driving someone else’s car, providing they drive more than 30 days in a year, he says.

Such innovations and technological improvements have enabled easyCar to “double bookings year-on-year”, says Mr Laughton.

Other P2P car-sharing firms seem to be enjoying similar rates of growth, as younger people in particular embrace the concept of “mobility as a service” and eschew ownership.

So what does this mean for car manufacturers’ traditional business models?

“I would say 2016 definitely was the year the major auto manufacturers woke up to the shared mobility space,” says Mr Stocker.

Image copyright Croove
Image caption Mercedes’ P2P car-sharing service Croove lets private owners rent out their cars

For example, Mercedes-Benz recently launched a car-sharing app called Croove.

In September, Ford bought Chariot, a San Francisco-based crowd-sourced shuttle service, and is even investing in a bike-sharing start-up called Motivate.

Manufacturers clearly understand that personal car ownership is becoming old hat.

General Motors tried to buy Lyft this summer, but was rebuffed, despite both companies joining forces to develop driverless taxis.

Public transport threat?

Car sharing may worry public authorities less than house sharing.

Property-sharing giant Airbnb has recently come under fire from city authorities – in Amsterdam, for instance – over concerns that it increases city centre congestion and enables guests to avoid paying hotel tax.

Car-sharing companies like Turo and others could help decrease the overall number of cars on the road to start with as fewer people see the need to own their own vehicle.

But once driverless cars come in, authorities might worry they pose threat to public transport systems, some analysts believe.

“It would be very inexpensive to run electric driverless Uber taxis that go around cities and provide transport in a fluid way,” says Philippe Houchois, an automotive sector analyst at equity research company Jefferies.

“If you get to a point where your cost-per-mile is less than 1,” says Mr Houchois, “public transport would seem less attractive.”

Paradoxically, we could then see a rise in car numbers on our roads, not a reduction.

  • Follow Technology of Business editor Matthew Wall on Twitter and Facebook

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38554004

Republicans Used To Care About Cabinet Disclosures. Then Trump Won.

WASHINGTON Senate Republicans used to care about Cabinet nominees making full disclosures at least they cared when President Barack Obama was the one doing the nominating.

So concerned with the potential for foreign conflicts of interest that, in 2013, Republicans demanded unprecedented disclosures from a member of their own party: former Sen. Chuck Hagel, Obamas nominee for secretary of Defense.

This Committee, and the American people, have a right to know if a nominee for Secretary of Defense has received compensation, directly or indirectly, from foreign sources, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), then one month into the job, wrote in a letter to Hagel that was signed by 25 additional Republican senators. Until the Committee receives full and complete answers, it cannot in good faith determine whether you should be confirmed as Secretary of Defense.

But now that President-elect Donald Trump looks apt to retain a financial stake in his multibillion-dollar business enterprise with deals connected to foreign businesses and a hotel that is being rented out by foreign governments the GOP no longer seems to care.

Republicans in both the House and Senate have refused to hold hearings on Trumps conflicts of interest, and there is no apparent concern that some of the nine Cabinet nominees scheduled to testify this week have so far failed to properly disclose their financial holdings or reach the customary agreement with the Office of Government Ethics.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who signed Cruzs letter and defended Cruzs attacks against Hagel during a committee vote on the nomination, made no attempt to hide the hypocrisy.

When The Huffington Post asked Inhofe on Monday night if this same standard of disclosing foreign payments should apply to Trumps Cabinet nominees, he said it shouldnt.

So its different now because its Trump? we asked.

Thats just right, Inhofe said.

Thats right? we asked to clarify.

Yeah, he said.

A spokeswoman later tried to walk back Inhofes answers. Of course we dont believe theres a double standard when it comes to President-elect Trumps Cabinet picks, said Daisy Letendre, Inhofes communications director. Inhofe, it seems, had made the great political mistake of telling the truth, but you can listen to the exchange complete with guffaws from surrounding reporters surprised by his honesty here.

Other Republicans have been more careful than Inhofe to admit the hypocrisy.

To highlight the duplicity, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) took a 2009 letter laying out eight standards for nominees that then-Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had sent to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), changed the names with a sharpie, and then sent it back to McConnell via Twitter.

Democrats have asked for a delay in the hearings until the nominees who had not been fully vetted by OGE as of late Monday Ben Carson, Betsy DeVos and Wilbur Ross complete the vetting process, but that request is being ignored.

McConnell has labeled those calls to postpone confirmation hearings for Trumps nominees little procedural complaints. McConnell also signed Cruzs letter demanding the unprecedented disclosures from Hagel.

Part of the GOP double standard seems to be a belief that OGE might intentionally be dragging its feet.

Theres a concern, frankly, that the government ethics office is not working with us expeditiously, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who also signed Cruzs letter, said Monday. Theres a concern there that Ive heard expressed.

Typically, administrations work with OGE before nominees are put forward to work out potential conflicts of interest, but the Trump administration did not do that, and nominees were late to get their paperwork into the ethics office.

Now Republicans are rushing to confirm Trumps nominees without even the standard level of vetting, let alone the additional standards they applied to Hagel.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who also had signed Cruzs letter, said Senate Republicans have asked for a number of the same disclosures that they demanded of Obama nominees.

So well see what answer we get on it in the next couple days, Rubio said.

But if they dont get those documents, would Rubio vote to block any of the nominees?

Lets see the answers first, he said.

Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.), who signed Cruzs letter in 2013, said the same standards should apply now as they did then.

Presented with the fact that Republicans were holding hearings this week on nominees who have not received a letter of approval from OGE, McCain said the Senate should have all the information necessary.

But I dont know about the specific nominees, he said. Im taking care of the ones that go through the defense the Armed Services Committee.

While McCain turns a blind eye to the nominees not under his jurisdiction, he did, to his credit, come to Hagels defense against Cruzs attack in 2013. When other Republicans were threatening a walkout over the Hagel vote, McCain issued a news release saying Hagel had fulfilled the rigorous requirements and that a vote was appropriate. He also called Cruzs attack at the time out of bounds.

Cabinet nominees are already required by committees to disclose whether they have received any compensation from, or been involved in any financial or business transactions with, a foreign government or an entity controlled by a foreign government over the past 10 years.

Hagel stated that he could not produce such disclosures, as he was no longer employed at any of the firms targeted for disclosure by Senate Republicans.

Cruz took that answer to imply that Hagel must have received ethically disqualifying payments.

We do not know, for example, if he received compensation for giving paid speeches at extreme or radical groups, Cruz said. It is at a minimum relevant to know if that $200,000 that he deposited in his bank account came directly from Saudi Arabia, came directly from North Korea.

It was an attack that then-Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said was reminiscent of Sen. Joseph McCarthys witch hunt against supposed communists in the government in the 1950s, and it brought Cruz a quick reputation as someone not interested in making nice with the collegial Senate.

At least, that was then.

Asked Monday if the standard he set for Hagel should apply to Trump nominees, Cruz ignored the question and told us to contact his office.

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Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-nominees-disclosures-republicans_us_58743641e4b043ad97e5662f?sg7pthbrvdzhbyb9

Sanders gets heated with Trump-supporting small business owner

Washington (CNN)Sen. Bernie Sanders and a Donald Trump supporter shared a heated moment Monday night during CNN’s town hall event as the Democrat was pressed on Obama administration regulations.

Jim Jacobs, who said he was a small business owner, told the Vermont senator he was concerned about the effects of what he called a raft of burdensome regulations.
“The devil is in the details. We’ve got to see what those regulations are,” Sanders said, not giving an inch.
    Sanders said he wouldn’t rule out reconsidering some regulations, but added he didn’t know which ones the man was citing.
    “It’s very easy to blame Barack Obama for everything, by the way. Some of those regulations may be state, may be local,” the Vermont senator said.
    “But some of them, if you’re talking about — you now, you have some folks out there who really want the freedom to pollute our air and pollute our water,” he said. “They want to get rid of those regulations. I don’t agree. I don’t agree. We have got to protect our environment.”
    Sanders added that while Obama raised taxes on the wealthiest Americans, he would have gone further.
    “Obama did raise taxes on the top 1 or 2%, and you know what? I would have gone further. I think the wealthiest people in this country are doing phenomenally well,” Sanders said.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/09/politics/bernie-sanders-jim-jacobs-cnn-town-hall/index.html