woman lights candles outside the scene of the shooting in Prague, AP via PAwoman lights candles outside the scene of the shooting in Prague, AP via PA

News Round-Up

Dec 22: Prague gunman kills 14; Tax cuts hint; Offshore wind farms sold for £1bn

  • Here are the headlines for Friday, December 22

Time 6:36 am, December 22, 2023

Gunman kills 14 people in Czech Republic’s worst mass shooting

A student opened fire at a university in Prague yesterday, killing at least 14 people and injuring 25, officials said.

The bloodshed was the Czech Republic’s worst mass shooting and took place in the philosophy department building of Charles University, where the gunman was a student, Prague police chief Martin Vondrasek said.

The gunman also died, authorities said. His name hasn’t been released. It is believed the gunman killed his father earlier in the day in his hometown of Hostoun, just west of Prague.

Falling government borrowing costs may pave way for spring tax cuts, says Hunt

Jeremy Hunt has signalled that lower government borrowing costs may give him the fiscal headroom to cut taxes in his spring Budget.

It comes after official figures showed UK inflation eased back to 3.9% last month – its lowest level for more than two years and lowering the cost of servicing national debt.

He told Bloomberg Television during a visit to Switzerland yesterday that the government plans to ‘cut the tax burden if we are able to’.

Three offshore wind farms sold in £1bn deal

The rights to develop three of Britain’s largest wind farms have been sold by Swedish Energy giant Vattenfall to German rival RWE for nearly £1bn.

Vattenfall confirmed the sale after pausing work on one of the three sites earlier this year, saying the finances simply no longer stacked up after it was hit by massive cost inflation.

The three projects are known collectively as the Norfolk Offshore Wind Zone and are off the east coast of England. The sale will allow Vattenfall to invest in other projects that are more to its taste, it said.

Co-op Bank and Coventry Building Society discuss possible merger

The Co-operative Bank and Coventry Building Society have entered into talks over a possible merger of the two high street lenders.

Co-op Bank told investors it had begun ‘exclusive discussions’ with the building society to ‘evaluate the merits of a combination’ of the firms.

The bank is no longer part of the wider Co-operative Group after parting ways in 2017 when it fell into deep financial difficulty. It is now owned by a group of private equity investors.

Police inspectorate raises ‘serious concerns’ about West Midlands force

The police inspectorate has said it has ‘serious concerns’ about how West Midlands Police investigates crime, protects vulnerable people and manages offenders and suspects.

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services graded West Midlands Police’s performance across eight areas of policing and found the force was adequate in two areas, requires improvement in three areas and inadequate in three areas.

It comes amid calls from West Midlands mayor Andy Street to transfer oversight of the force from the police and crime commissioner for the area to the mayor’s office.

Teenage murderers of Brianna Ghey can be named, judge rules

The murderers of teenager Brianna Ghey can be named by the media when they are sentenced, a judge has ruled.

Mrs Justice Yip yesterday ordered that the press can identify the teens responsible for the ‘frenzied and ferocious’ attack on Brianna, 16, who was stabbed with a hunting knife 28 times in her head, neck, chest and back after being lured to Linear Park, Culcheth, on February 11.

Her killers – 15 at the time but now 16 and identified only as girl X and boy Y – both tried to blame each other for the stabbing but were found guilty of murder by a jury at Manchester Crown Court on Wednesday following a four-week trial. Their sentencing will take place at an unconfirmed later date.

Apple stops online sales of watch models in patent dispute

Apple has stopped online sales of two popular models of its internet-connected watch in the US after losing its latest attempt to untangle a patent dispute that is blocking it from using some of the technology on the device.

Both the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 became unavailable to order online as the company followed through on its plan to suspend sales because of a legal battle over an intellectual property claim filed by medical technology company Masimo.

The International Trade Commission rejected Apple’s bid to get around a late October order blocking the company from using some technology underlying the Blood Oxygen measurement feature on the watches.

Turkish central bank raises interest rate to 42.5% to combat high inflation

Turkey’s central bank hiked its key interest rate by 2.5 percentage points yesterday as part of its efforts to combat high inflation that has left many households struggling to afford rent and essential items.

The bank’s monetary policy committee raised its benchmark rate to 42.5%, delivering its seventh interest rate hike in a row to tame inflation, which rose to 61.98% last month.

But the bank also signalled that the rate hikes — which took borrowing costs from 8.5% to the current 42.5% — could soon end.

Rudy Giuliani files for bankruptcy after $148m defamation lawsuit

Rudy Giuliani has filed for bankruptcy, days after being ordered to pay $148m (circa £116m) in a defamation lawsuit.

The former New York City mayor listed nearly $153m (£121m) in existing or potential debts, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax liabilities, money he owes his lawyers and many millions of dollars in potential legal judgments in lawsuits against him.

A jury awarded $148m damages on Friday to two former Georgia election workers who sued Giuliani for defamation over lies he spread about them in 2020 that upended their lives with racist threats and harassment.

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Market movements

The FTSE 100 closed 20.95 points down yesterday to end the day on 7,694.73. The Cac 40 was down 12.03 points at 7,571.40, the Dax was down 45.63 points at 16,687.42, but the Dow Jones was up 322.35 points at 37,404.35.

Weather outlook

Today will be windy and fairly cloudy with showers or spells of rain at times, most frequent in the north and turning wintry in the far north, says BBC Weather. It’ll be drier in the south with bright spells in the afternoon.

Saturday will continue to be windy. It’ll be wet in the north, with rain falling as snow on its leading edge for some in northern Scotland. Southern areas of the UK will be drier with some brightness.

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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