Mercedes-AMG GT 43 exteriorMercedes-AMG GT 43 exterior

News Round-Up

Mar 21: Interest rates set to hold; Junior doctors to stage fresh action; Mercedes-AMG GT 43

  • Here are the headlines for Thursday, March 21

Time 6:37 am, March 21, 2024

Economists expect rates to hold despite fall in inflation

A small drop in inflation is unlikely to change calculations as the Bank of England decides whether to change interest rates again, economists have said.

The inflation rate fell slightly faster than expected in February, it was announced yesterday, dropping from 4% in January to 3.4% – the lowest for two and a half years and slightly lower than the 3.5% predicted.

But analysts from BNP Paribas still expect rates to be held steady at 5.25% during the monetary policy committee’s meeting, the result of which will be announced at midday today.

Junior doctors vote by 98% to continue action over pay

Junior doctors in England have voted by a huge margin to continue taking industrial action for the next six months in their long-running pay dispute.

The British Medical Association urged the health secretary to make a new offer after announcing that its members backed more action by 98%.

A total of 33,869 of junior doctors voted in favour on a turnout of 62%, with the new mandate lasting until September 19. The ballot approved the use of action short of strikes.

Record number of young people on zero-hour contracts – report

The number of young workers on zero-hour contracts has reached a new record, new research suggests.

Analysis by The Work Foundation indicated that 136,000 more workers were given zero-hour contracts in 2023 versus 2022, with 65% (88,000) of them handed to 16-to-24-year-olds.

There are now 1.1m people aged 16 to 65 currently on zero-hour contracts, according to the Lancaster University-based think tank, and only 6.1% of them have regular pay and access to rights.

Law to exonerate wronged subpostmasters moves step closer

Hundreds of subpostmasters caught up in the Horizon IT scandal have moved a step closer to having their convictions quashed after MPs supported a law change.

The Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill received an unopposed second reading yesterday, with business secretary Kemi Badenoch insisting the state must act ‘as quickly as possible’.

The legislation seeks to exonerate those convicted in England and Wales on the basis of the Fujitsu-made faulty Horizon accounting software, which made it appear as though money was missing at their branches.

Report into women’s state pension due to be published

A report into how increases in retirement ages have affected women is expected to be published today.

The parliamentary and health service ombudsman report follows campaigning from women who saw their retirement age aligned with that of men.

Women Against State Pension Inequality say millions have lost out due to the change and campaigned for compensation after retirement plans were harmed. The pension age for men and women is set to rise again from 66 to 67 between 2026 and 2028.

Cocoa prices soar ahead of Easter as ‘impacts of climate change and El Nino’ hit

The price of cocoa has soared ahead of Easter as the impacts of climate change are worsened by conditions from the El Nino phenomenon, according to research.

The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, an environmental non-profit organisation, has set out how the combination of climate change and El Nino conditions have contributed to driving up cocoa prices ahead of the chocolate-heavy holiday on March 31.

The price of cocoa beans hit a record high of more than $8,200 (circa £6,400) per tonne this week – up from $2,600 (£2,030) this time last year.

Shipwreck found off Florida Keys identified as 18th-century British frigate

A wrecked warship discovered decades ago off the Florida Keys has been identified as a British frigate that sank in the 18th century.

National Park Service archaeologists used new research to determine that the wreckage first spotted in 1993 near Dry Tortugas National Park is HMS Tyger, the agency said.

Tyger was a 50-gun frigate built in 1647. She sank in 1742 after running aground on the reefs of the Dry Tortugas while on patrol in the War of Jenkins’ Ear between Britain and Spain. The war lasted from 1739 to 1748, with most of the fighting taking place in New Granada and the Caribbean.

Snow leopards arrive at Chester Zoo for first time in 93-year history

Two ‘incredibly playful’ snow leopards have arrived at Chester Zoo for the first time in a huge milestone in the conservation charity’s 93-year history.

The zoo is now home to male leopard Yashin and female Nubra, who are just over 18 months old and arrived from zoos in Europe after being carefully matched as part of an important breeding programme.

Conservationists said the pair have ‘really hit it off’ and the experts are hopeful they will go on to have cubs. Snow leopards are one of the world’s most threatened big cat species.

Mercedes-AMG GT 43 interior

New Mercedes-AMG GT 43 arrives on scene with 415bhp

Mercedes-AMG has revealed a new version of its sleek and stylish GT coupe.

The new GT 43 has a smaller engine than the standard 4.0-litre V8 GT 63 and features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder powertrain that still produces 415bhp and 500Nm torque.

Mild-hybrid tech has been employed, with a turbocharger adding a 13bhp boost. Zero to 60mph takes 4.4 seconds, with the car able to reach 173mph where legal. Prices are yet to be revealed,

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Market movements

The FTSE 100 closed 0.92 points down yesterday to end the day on 7,737.38. The Cac 40 was down 39.64 points at 8,161.41, the Dax was up 27.64 points at 18,015.13, and the Dow Jones was up 401.37 points at 39,512.13.

Weather outlook

Today will be cloudy and windy in the north with a band of heavy rain moving south-eastwards during the morning, says BBC Weather. There’ll be sunny spells later but blustery showers in the north-west. The south will be dry with bright spells.

Friday will see patchy rain gradually clear from the south, leaving plenty of sunny spells in its wake. Windy conditions and scattered showers will remain in the north-west, and it’ll still be wintry over the hills.

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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