Lotus Emeya via PALotus Emeya via PA

News Round-Up

Mar 8: Sweden joins Nato; Stakeknife report due; Lotus Emeya prices

  • Here are the headlines for Friday, March 8

Time 6:37 am, March 8, 2024

Sweden becomes 32nd member of Nato

Sweden formally joined Nato as the 32nd member of the transatlantic military alliance yesterday, ending decades of post-second world war neutrality as concerns about Russian aggression have spiked after the invasion of Ukraine.

Swedish prime minister Ulf Kristersson and US secretary of state Antony Blinken presided at a ceremony in Washington in which Sweden’s ‘instrument of accession’ to the alliance was officially deposited at the State Department.

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg described it as ‘a historic day’, adding: ‘Sweden will now take its rightful place at Nato’s table, with an equal say in shaping Nato policies and decisions.’

Findings of report into agent Stakeknife due to be published

A major report into the army’s top agent in Northern Ireland during the Troubles will be published later today.

The 200-page interim findings of Operation Kenova will be revealed after an investigation lasting seven years and costing approximately £40m.

Kenova has probed the activities of Stakeknife, who was part of the Provisional IRA’s internal security unit, with Kenova examining crimes such as murder and torture, as well as the role played by the security services, including MI5. The PA news agency understands the report will call for apologies from the UK government and the IRA to bereaved families and surviving victims.

M&S joint chief Katie Bickerstaffe to step down

Marks & Spencer has said co-chief executive Katie Bickerstaffe will leave the retailer in July after just over two years in the role.

The high street giant said she will leave after the group’s annual meeting to ‘pursue her board career’ with plans to take other roles in company boardrooms.

M&S has seen a sharp upturn in performance over the past two years, with shares improving by 50% after stronger sales.

Theresa May announces decision to quit Parliament

Theresa May said today she will not fight the next general election, bringing a 27-year career in Parliament to an end.

The former prime minister revealed her decision to stand down as MP for Maidenhead in a statement to her local newspaper, the Maidenhead Advertiser, saying she would focus on championing causes including the fight against modern slavery.

May, 67, was first elected as MP for Maidenhead in 1997 and served as home secretary under David Cameron between 2010 and 2016 before succeeding him as prime minister. Her term in Downing Street lasted a turbulent three years and was dominated by wrangling over Brexit.

Aviva launches £300m share buyback after profits jump

Aviva is to hand £300m to investors through a share buyback scheme and has improved its dividend after a jump in profits.

The insurance and pensions giant told shareholders that group operating profits increased by 9% to £1.47bn in 2023 compared with the previous year. It also confirmed a total dividend per share of 33.4p for the year.

The increase was aided by strong rises in its general insurance, health and retirement divisions.

Third of drivers admit hogging middle lane on motorways, survey suggests

Nearly one in three drivers admits to middle-lane hogging on motorways, a survey suggests.

Some 32% of 2,500 respondents to a poll commissioned by National Highways said they do this at least ‘occasionally’, including 5% who confessed to ‘always’ doing it. More than a fifth (23%) of those questioned said they tailgate, which the RAC described as ‘frightening’.

The Highway Code states drivers on motorways and dual carriageways should use the left lane unless they are overtaking, and allow ‘at least a two-second gap between you and the vehicle in front on high-speed roads’.

Whitehall watchdog tells of ‘limited progress’ in rail reforms

Most government work to overhaul Britain’s railways is delayed, according to a damning report by Whitehall’s spending watchdog.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has made ‘limited progress’ on rail transformation plans published in 2021, with the majority of changes and expected savings not expected to happen until ‘at least the next Parliament’, the National Audit Office found.

None of 12 ‘high-level benefits’ the DfT aims to achieve with rail reforms were rated green – meaning they are on track – in December 2023.

William to visit Oval to mark Earthshot Prize winner’s eco-packaging deal

The Prince of Wales will visit the Oval cricket ground today to celebrate an Earthshot Prize winner’s new contract supplying sustainable packaging for use in sporting venues.

William, who founded the prize to recognise and scale up projects to repair the planet, will join Pierre Paslier, co-founder and co-chief executive of Notpla, to hear about his company’s multi-million-pound deal.

Notpla’s seaweed-based products will be supplied to Levy, a leading sports and entertainment caterer, for use in more than 50 venues from the Oval to Wimbledon’s All England Lawn Tennis Club and London’s O2 Arena.

Archaeologists to explore ‘geophysical mysteries’ in new dig at Sutton Hoo

A new dig is to be carried out at Sutton Hoo – famous for the Anglo-Saxon ship burial discovered in 1939.

Archaeologists hope to build a greater understanding of the Suffolk site and learn more about an Anglo-Saxon cemetery that was discovered in 2000 during construction of a visitor centre.

The trust is working with TV and online show Time Team on the two-year project, with a dig planned to begin June. Angus Wainwright, regional archaeologist for the National Trust, said: ‘Time Team’s geophysical survey identified several mysterious features in Garden Field. We want to determine if they are archaeological or geological features.’

Lotus Emeya rear via PA

Electric hyper-GT Lotus Emeya prices revealed

Lotus has revealed prices for the eagerly anticipated Emeya electric hyper-GT.

From launch, this Porsche Taycan rival will be offered in three guises, with the entry-level Emeya starting from £94,950, the Emeya S from £107,450 and the flagship Emeya R from £129,950.

Lotus says the Emeya’s output figures of up to 905bhp ensure that it’ll go from 0-60mph in under 2.6 seconds. Boasting a claimed range of 379 miles, it’s expected to go on sale in the UK in the third quarter of 2024.

Yesterday’s headlines on Car Dealer you might have missed

Market movements

The FTSE 100 closed 13.15 points up yesterday to end the day on 7,692.46. The Cac 40 was up 61.48 points at 8,016.22, the Dax was up 126.14 points at 17,842.85, and the Dow Jones was up 130.30 points at 38,791.35.

Weather outlook

Today will be windy, says BBC Weather. It’ll be dry and sunny in southern areas and partly so in central areas. Further north will be cloudier with a few isolated showers but turning brighter in the north-west later on. Eastern areas will be chilly.

Saturday will be windy with cloudy skies and showery rain in Wales, parts of England and Northern Ireland, while south-eastern England will be brighter and there’ll be the occasional shower in north-east Scotland, too. Elsewhere will be dry.

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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