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The slide will be opened to the public in less than a year
July 28, 2015, 10:56pm

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in North-East London has confirmed it is going ahead with plans to build the world's tallest and longest tunnel slide.

Almost 180m in length and extending 76m above ground, the giant helter-skelter will be wrapped around the ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, which was designed by Turner-Prize winning artist Anish Kapoor in celebration of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 
 
It will circle around the tower five times before ending in a 50m straight run to the ground. It is due to be opened to the public next spring. 
 

The sculpture was designed by Anish Kapoor and built by Cecil Balmond (Source: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park)

 
The tower is built from around 2,000 tonnes of steel and stands 114.5m above ground, making it the tallest sculpture in the world. By comparison, the Statue of Liberty is a meagre 93m high. 
 
Londoners can already absail down the structure for a fee of £85, but the slide will make the descent a whole lot more exciting. 
 
Peter Tudor, director of visitor services at the park, said: 
 
What more exciting way to descend the ArcelorMittal Orbit than on the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide. This slide really will give a different perspective of Britain’s tallest sculpture.
Twitter
July 28, 2015, 9:26pm
Twitter's second-quarter earnings cheered investors and shed a positive light on Jack Dorsey's future as chief executive.

The figures

During the three months ended June, the social media company's revenue was $502m (£322m) and its earnings-per-share were $0.07. 
 
Both these figures beat market expectations by a considerable distance, with analysts having predicted a revenue of $481m and earnings-per-share of $0.04. 
 
The firm's shares went up in value following the news, rising 4.8 per cent to $38.34 in after-hours trading. Yesterday they closed 5.4 per cent higher at $36.54.

Why it's interesting

Since Dick Costolo resigned as head of the company earlier this year, co-founder Dorsey has taken over on a temporary basis.
 
At the end of the first quarter, Twitter reported very negative results, and its stock has since declined 29 per cent in value. 

Markets expected another poor three months in the second quarter, so today's results have come as a very positive surprise and given Dorsey a boost in the contest to become permanent head.
 
Adam Bain, head of global revenue and partnerships, is considered the other frontrunner to take the job, but today may have swung the balance in favour of Dorsey. 
 
Alongside Twitter, Dorsey is also head of mobile payments company Square, which is reportedly going public this year. 

What Twitter said

Dorsey said the results showed “good progress”, but that more work was required on user growth.  Monthly active users increased by 15 per cent to 315m in the second quarter compared to last year:
 
In order to realize Twitter’s full potential, we must improve in three key areas: ensure more disciplined execution, simplify our service to deliver Twitter's value faster, and better communicate that value.

In short

The future is looking bright for Twitter. All investor eyes and ears will now turn to Dorsey, scrutinising what he does or says next. 
Attempted crossings have become an "almost nightly occurrence"
July 28, 2015, 8:21pm
Last night 2,000 migrants tried to reach the UK via the channel tunnel, according to Eurotunnel.
 
 
"It was the biggest incursion effort in the past month and a half,” a spokesman for the operator told the BBC. "All our security personnel, that is nearly 200 people, as well as police were called in.”
 
The migrants, mainly from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Afghanistan, tried to enter the tunnel from Calais in France between midnight and 6am. 
 
 
Eurotunnel said some damage was caused to its fences, and serious delays have resulted for train services at both ends. Today, passengers in the UK were delayed by an average of one hour while in France they were delayed by 30 minutes. 

An “almost nightly occurrence”

Migrants have increasingly been attempting to cross the tunnel into the UK, and at the beginning of the month French news agency AFP estimated that around 3,000 migrants were camping in Calais in order to make the trip. 
 
A second Eurotunnel source said the attempts had become an “almost nightly occurrence”. 
 
Eight migrants have already died this summer trying to make the journey, and Eurotunnel confirmed that some people had been injured in Monday's attempts. 
 
Earlier today, home secretary Theresa May held talks with French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve about the escalating problem. 
 
Baidu's mobile users are increasing in number
July 28, 2015, 6:15pm

Shares in Baidu, often dubbed "China's answer to Google", plummeted 16.8 per cent to $164.99 this afternoon, after less-than-encouraging results were released. 

Read more: Baidu confirms it's buying a stake in Uber

During the second quarter, the Nasdaq-listed company's revenues went up 38 per cent from a year earlier to $2.7bn (£1.7bn), resulting in a fourth consecutive quarter of decelerating growth. 
 
Earnings-per-share of $1.64 were also disappointing, failing to meet the $1.71 analysts predicted.
 
The outlook for the rest of the year didn't stir any optimism, either – the tech giant expects third-quarter revenue to be between $2.9bn and $3bn. This falls shy of the $3bn investors were hoping for.

Move to mobile

Baidu blamed its performance on its transition from “online to offline”. By following its users onto mobiles and away from PCs, the firm has had to cope with a resulting loss of traditional search-based advertising. 
 
 
In January, Baidu revealed its plan to invest $3.2bn in the shift over the next three years. This includes offering online-to-offline (O2O) services, such as buying movie tickets and getting restaurant deals.
 
Robin Li, chairman and chief executive of the company, said the performance reflected a shift to accommodate people's changing habits:
 
As we continue to connect people with services and enable closed loop transactions, we are creating a transactional business model as Baidu grows and evolves in the age of mobile.
 
On a more positive note for the company, it's number of users has been steadily increasing. Over the course of June, around 629m people used Baidu's mobile search – a 24 per cent increase from June 2014. 
Sky Sports
July 28, 2015, 5:20pm

With the 2015/16 campaign less than a fortnight away, Premier League football TV packages are available up to 38 per cent cheaper per game than last season as competition between Sky and BT drives prices down.

Read more: Surprise, surprise - Sky increases fees following record Premier League deal

Fans can purchase a sports package for as little as £3.27 per game if they purchase Sky Sports via BT (which comes through with BT Sport) for £503.83 - the same package cost £643.83 at £4.18 per game last season.

In fact, according to research from comparethemarket.com, Premier League obsessives are better off heading to BT for the best value in the 2015/16 season.

On average, Premier League football 20 per cent cheaper per game this season, with both broadcasters showing more games for cheaper prices.

James Padmore, comparethemarket.com's head of utilities, commented:

With BT becoming a bigger player in the market, the increased competition seems to be helping in significantly reducing the average cost per game and annual fees for TV packages. Football fans have taken a hit in recent years, especially when it comes to attending games, and the latest deals on offer signal a welcome change to all those that have felt left on the side-lines.

The 2015/16 season marks the final campaign before the Premier League's record £5bn deal with Sky and BT sees the number of live games broadcast on British television increase from 154 to 168 with Sky increasing its output from 116 live games to 126 and BT from 38 to 42.

Package Cost per game 2015 Cost per game 2014 Reduction in cost per game Total annual cost 2015 Total annual cost 2014 Number of games offered (2014/15) Number of games offered (2015/16)

Number of games offered (2016/17)

Sky Sports £3.91 £4.79 18.4% £454 £556 116 116 126
Sky Sports via BT (includes BT Sport) £3.27 £4.18 21.77% £503.83 £643.83 154 154 168
Sky Sports via Virgin Media £3.74 £6.02 37.9% £433.95 £698.88 116 116 126
Sky Sports via TalkTalk £5.35 £5.82 8.1% £620.40 £675.40 116 116 126
BT Sport £8.05 £10.00 19.50% £305.83 £379.83 38 38 42
BT Sport via Virgin Media £10.16 £11.37 10.70% £385.95 £432.00 38 38 42
BT Sport and Sky Sports via Virgin Media £3.99 £5.17 22.8% £613.95 £878.88 154 154 168

 

Exit sign
July 28, 2015, 5:18pm

A newly established business setting up shop in London is more likely to consider moving out of the capital after a honeymoon first year, and the high cost of renting is to blame.

The likelihood of leaving London jumps by nearly half after the first year, with 66 per cent reconsidering its location after 12 months, versus 47 per cent prior to that.

Just 37 per cent of young companies yet to celebrate their first anniversary agreed property prices held back growth, increasing to 62 per cent after the first year, according to a study of 500 entrepreneurs and small business owners across London and the south east.

The level of worry over rents only fell below those found in the first 12 months after nine years in business, the research by Sussex Innovation Croydon found, indicating a gap in support for new businesses during the scale-up years between initial bootstrap stage and when they are firmly on the map.

Read more: Spiralling office rents "will push tech startups out of London"

“Our findings reflect the startup journey - a London address provides kudos and contacts when you begin but a year later, the honeymoon is over as bills start to flow in,” said Mike Herd, executive director of Sussex Innovation at the University of Sussex, which is behind the Croydon incubator due to open in September.

“In a reverse of the seven-year itch, our polling shows small firms fall back in love with London only once they’re well established. If London is to hang on to more growth businesses it needs to look again at business rates and affordability.”

More than 70 per cent of 200 tech leaders surveyed by Tech London Advocates earlier this year said they expect rents to rise significantly over the next three years.

Want to lock someone in?
July 28, 2015, 5:10pm

We've all heard about “The Game” - the so-called ultimate guide for men looking to become God's gift to women. Needless to say, the rules rarely manage to turn their female targets weak at the knees. 

Read more: It turns out the marketing industry's oldest adage isn't true: Sex doesn't sell

Similarly, Glamour magazine's recent “13 Little Things That Can Make a Man Fall Hard for You” seems fairly fanciful, encouraging women to emulate 1950s housewives rather than sultry seductresses. “Stock the fridge with his favourite drinks,” it advises. And just when can she expect to have the favour returned?
 
Most people think you can't force someone fall in love with you, and they are almost certainly right. But if you're really into science, there are a few little tricks you could try to nudge your crush along the road to eternal happiness with you. 

Look and act like them wherever possible

Does she have fair hair? Dye yours blonde. Does he wear stripes? It's time to invest in some of your own. 
 
To make someone find you as attractive as possible, it's time to give up your own identity in the name of love. Studies show that people are most likely to be attracted to people who resemble them. 
 
It's not just about looks, either – if a person behaves like the object of their desire, the affections are more likely to be returned.

Reward them when they show affection

People are really very simple – if they associate an action with a reward, they're more likely to do that action a second time, and a third.
 
By giving your lover something they like every time they show love and affection, whether it's beer, a sandwich or a new car, it'll make them link up loving with an immediate pleasure

Stop them sweating to keep others away

If you're in constant fear of your love being snatched away by someone else, there's a simple solution – stop them perspiring. 
 
Multiple studies have shown that sweat is a particularly potent force in men, with women being attracted to the whiff of “man smell” like moths to a flame. You just have to watch the Lynx adverts to realise how strong sense of smell can be. 
 
To stop the sweating process, force them to use excessive amounts of deodorant, or keep them in a permanently cool environment – that'll keep all the nasty people planning on having a go with your partner well away. 

Tell them personal details – but not all at once 

Openness is an attractive quality, but it can also work wonders to keep a person intrigued. The best thing you can possibly do is keep revealing little facts about yourself over time.
 
A study recently published by the American Sociological Association showed that “bestowing secrets upon a certain someone straightforwardly implies trust and a willingness to strike up a relationship,” and that withholding information about yourself “implies just the reverse.”
 
Revelations make a two (or more) people feel closer to each other. 

Never let them out of your sight

Once you've decided you want to pin someone down, never let them wander too far from your watchful eye – it's time to keep them permanently physically close to you. 
 
You may look like a complete freak in the process, but who cares – this is science we're talking about. 
 
In a recent study of 320 students at a campus found there was a definite correlation between physical proximity and how much someone “liked” someone else. People living next door or on the floor above earned immediate points. 

The ultimate rule: Focus on yourself

Are you trying to force someone to love you? It's probably not worth it. Definitely time to turn away and focus on yourself, especially if the tips above don't change their mind.
Sugary drinks on shelf
July 28, 2015, 4:07pm

First they came for the Ribena and Capri Sun, now are they coming for our Coca Cola?

Tesco is removing sugary drinks aimed at kids from its shelves because of worries over obesity, and people are not happy about that at all.

Ribena, Capri Sun and Rubicon products that are the size of a kids lunchbox won't be on the supermarket shelves come September - unless they are sugar-free versions - but the full-size adult bottles of juice drink will remain, so no need to panic about Ribena shortages just yet.

Also remaining on the shelves are Coca-Cola, which contains roughly the same amount of sugar as both the blackcurrant and orange drinks (35g per 330ml can, versus 20g per 200ml carton or pouch), and similarly health damaging items such as beer and cigarettes.

That's caused some to remark that the move may be a little hypocritical. Or as Paddy Power puts it:  “Banning sugary drinks - What next? Pilates in the aisles or Shaolin Monks on the tills.” And the odds on Coca-Cola being ditched by Tesco by the end of the year? That's 33/1, or about a two per cent chance.

Read more: If consumers can vote with their feet, Tesco can ban what it likes

What about Tesco's veritable banquet of other sugary delights?

Haribo, which of course, both kids and grown-ups love so (and containing 47g of sugar per100g), are more likely to get swept off, with odds of 10/1, or just over nine per cent probability, and lunchbox favourite Cheesestrings 11 per cent. It may not have any sugar, but it is made up of almost a quarter of fat.

Ketchup is almost certainly going nowhere, despite containing more than three grams of sugar in each 15g dollop (100/1) or beer (150/1)  and pre-packed salads are here to stay at 500/1

Meanwhile, cigarettes which actually kill and have been increasingly restricted in how they appear to both adults and children are 40/1 to be dropped.

Tower Bridge
July 28, 2015, 4:04pm

Who is the average London commuter? He’s a man, probably working in finance or insurance, and likely to be in his thirties or forties.

Thanks to new data broken out from the 2011 Census, we know a little more about who’s making those daily round trips - and how far they’re travelling.

If you work in the City, you’re about three times more likely to be commuting to your office from a home outside of London than, say, a schoolteacher.

On average, one in five London workers are commuting into the capital every day, but among finance and insurance workers, that figure goes up to 29 per cent.

You might not be surprised to hear that London commuters cover a pretty hefty distance to get to work. But just how far? London Datastore has put it into astronomical perspective for us:

In the week before census those working in London travelled a total of 39.7 million miles from their residences to their work. Assuming that this distance was travelled twice a day, in a five day week London workers commuted the equivalent of travelling from Earth to the Sun and back.

Breaking it down by gender, 62 per cent of commuters are male. They’re also significantly older than their London-resident colleagues.

So what kind of jobs are they commuting to? Well, finance and insurance workers are much likelier than people in other industries to be travelling to work from outside the capital.


 

July 28, 2015, 3:52pm

Investors feasted on Domino’s Pizza shares today as the Pepperoni Passion and Mighty Meaty pizza-maker posted better than expected first half profits. 

The company, which has over 900 stores in the UK and Europe, said sales increased by 14 per cent to £426.7m in the six months to 28 June while underlying operating profits jumped 30 per cent to £32m. 

Domino’s said the performance was largely driven by investments it made into its UK digital operations, which in turn lifted like-for-like sales in its largest market 10.3 per cent. 

Customer downloading and ordering from Domino’s mobile phone app reached a record high, with sales overtaking sales through desktop computers for the first time in its history.

28 July 2015 @ 3:45pmDomino's Pizza Group (DOM)

Chief executive David Wild said while he was pleased with the performance, it faces tougher comparators in the coming months against a strong performance last year.

Its German business is still operating at a loss, although losses narrowed from £4.7m to £1.8m in the first half and like-for-like sales increased three per cent.

“We have a continued programme of e-commerce initiatives and other marketing campaigns. The UK new store pipeline is solid and we are well-positioned for the future,” he said. 

Shares in the company, which have risen 27 per cent in the year to date, jumped as much as 12 per cent  on the news. 

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