US retaliates with airstrikes in Iraq and Syria
The US military launched an air assault on dozens of sites in Iraq and Syria used by Iranian-backed militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds force yesterday.
President Joe Biden had been warning for days that America would strike back at the militias in response to a drone strike that killed three US troops in Jordan last weekend.
US Central Command said the strikes used more than 125 precision munitions, and they were delivered by numerous aircraft, including long-range bombers flown from the United States. One official said B-1 bombers were used.
Train drivers’ strikes bring more misery
Parts of the country will have no rail services today because of the latest strike by train drivers, causing travel chaos for passengers including sports fans.
Members of Aslef at Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway and West Midlands Railway will walk out for 24 hours in their long-running dispute over pay and conditions.
Strikes against different English train operators started earlier this week and will continue on Monday, while a ban on overtime will last until Tuesday, also causing disruption to services.
TSB plans job cuts and branch closures
High street bank TSB could see jobs cut and branches closed this year as part of plans to reduce costs across the group.
The bank has set aside about £29m for a programme of initiatives which it said will help manage business expenses.
The boss of TSB’s Spanish owner Sabadell, Cesar Gonzalez-Bueno, told reporters the plans will ‘include both’ a reduction in bank staff and branches. TSB said it will speak to staff before announcing any more details.
Tim Cook teases Apple generative AI announcement
Apple boss Tim Cook has revealed the tech giant will make a big announcement about generative AI features on its devices ‘later this year’.
Cook said the iPhone maker was spending a ‘tremendous amount of time and effort’ on AI and would share more details of that work later in the year.
Speaking on a call following the announcement of the firm’s latest financial results, the Apple chief executive said he believed generative AI was a ‘huge opportunity’ for the company.
North Korea tests cruise missiles with ‘super-large’ warheads
North Korea said it has tested cruise missiles (pictured above) outfitted with new ‘super-large’ warheads as well as a new type of anti-aircraft missile.
The report on Saturday by North Korean state media came a day after South Korea’s military said it detected the North launching multiple cruise missiles into waters off its western coast.
It is the country’s fourth round of launches in 2024.
North Korean photos of the test showed a low-flying cruise missile striking a target built on a coastal shore, and another projectile soaring into the air after being launched from ground.
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The Grand Tour’s next adventure confirmed as ‘Sand Job’
The next episode of The Grand Tour, which will see hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May follow in the footsteps of the Paris-Dakar rally in a journey across the African country of Mauritania, has been confirmed for release later this month.
‘The Grand Tour: Sand Job’ will feature the trio completing a gruelling journey in ‘cheap modified sports cars’, rather than the rugged Dakar racers that are usually used on these routes.
Though only teaser images have been released, it appears that the trio are using Jaguar, Maserati and Aston Martin convertibles as their chosen modes of transport. It is out on February 16.
Rocky’s Apollo Creed star dies aged 76
Carl Weathers, a former American footballer who became a Hollywood action movie and comedy star, playing nemesis-turned-ally Apollo Creed in the Rocky movies, has died aged 76.
Matt Luber, his manager, said Weathers died on Thursday. His family said he died ‘peacefully in his sleep’.
As comfortable flexing his muscles on the big screen in Action Jackson as he was joking around on the small screen in shows like Arrested Development, Weathers was perhaps most closely associated with Creed, who made his first appearance as the cocky, undisputed heavyweight world champion in 1976’s Rocky, starring Sylvester Stallone.
FTSE drops after oil pries fall
For the third day in a row London’s FTSE 100 index closed lower despite trading up earlier in the day after a fall in the price of oil pushed the energy companies towards the bottom of the pack.
The FTSE 100 fell 6.62 points, or 0.09%, to end the day at 7,615.54. The biggest losers included some of the country’s biggest mining companies, but as oil prices dropped 1.4% to 77.63 dollars per barrel, energy giants were also hit.
At the end of the day in Europe Frankfurt’s Dax index rose 0.35%, while the Cac 40 in Paris had closed up 0.05%.
Superdry boss holds talks over takeover of fashion firm
Superdry boss and co-founder Julian Dunkerton is in talks over a possible takeover deal for the troubled fashion brand.
The retail business saw shares rocket by as much as 110% on Friday morning amid takeover speculation.
It told shareholders that Dunkerton ‘is engaged in discussions with potential financing partners’ over a possible takeover offer for the business. Dunkerton, who co-founded the brand in 2003, already owns roughly 26% of the business.
BP investors will look to see signs of new boss’s strategy
New BP chief executive Murray Auchincloss will have his first outing next week since being appointed to the role permanently, and hopes will be high that he can replicate a strong set of results from Shell.
The company’s shares ticked up on Tuesday after Shell beat expectations after making £5.8bn in underlying earnings in the last three months of 2023.
But it remains to be seen whether BP can deliver similar results on Tuesday when it reveals its performance for the period to shareholders. Analysts expect that underlying replacement cost profit, the company’s preferred measure, will be £2.19bn.
The BBC says that it will be mild and cloudy with patchy rain in Wales today as well as southern and central England. There will be showers in north-west Scotland, but it will be drier with patchy cloud and bright spells elsewhere in the north.
After some clear spells to start tonight, and showers in the far north, it will cloud over in the west with rain developing in the north-west. Staying drier with the odd clear break in the east.
Tomorrow will be a cloudy day, with spells of rain throughout the north-west, spreading to the north-east later. A few light spells of rain for the south-west, but drier in the south-east. It will be windy.