ISIS defeated in Raqqa as ‘major military operations’ declared over

US-backed forces fighting ISIS in Raqqa say “major military operations” in the city have ended and that the jihadists have lost control of their self-declared capital.The development marks a decisive victory in the fight against ISIS, though US officia…

Follow this story

Madame Tussauds suffers from London terror attacks

Can Peppa Pig save the owner of Madame Tussauds?

Shares in Merlin Entertainment plunged as much as 21% in London on Tuesday after the company warned that terror attacks and bad weather are hurting its business.

It’s now placing its bets on Peppa Pig. It announced a new licensing deal with Entertainment One, the owner of the franchise, to open themed attractions.

Merlin owns the international chain of wax figurine museums, as well as the London Eye, Legoland and other top tourist attractions around the world.

“We have experienced difficult trading over the summer period, as the spate of terror attacks witnessed in the U.K. marked an inflection point,” at London attractions and U.K. theme parks, the company said in a statement.

Peppa Pig is a British pre-school cartoon that follows the adventures of a pig, her family and friends. The franchise has won a global following in recent years, and made $1.2 billion in sales in 2016, according to Entertainment One.

Merlin gave few details about the Peppa Pig plan, apart from saying it will open themed attractions and accommodation in two countries by the end of 2019.

Merlin is not the only company worried about the impact of terrorism on tourism in the U.K. The British Hospitality Association said growth in visitor numbers has slowed since the attacks earlier this year.

Terrorists hit areas of London that are popular with tourists. Five people died when a car rammed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in March.

And at least eight people were murdered when terrorists drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed people at nearby businesses in June.

Follow this story

No deal? A messy Brexit would cost U.K. families $345 a year

Britain needs a new trade deal with the EU.

If it fails to secure one as part of divorce talks with Brussels, a study published Tuesday predicts that higher prices will cost British households an extra £260 ($345) a year.

The study, produced by the U.K. Trade Policy Observatory and the Resolution Foundation, predicts that 3 million of the hardest-hit families will have to fork out over £500 ($664).

Failing to agree a new trade relationship before leaving the EU in March 2019 would force Britain to trade under rules set by the World Trade Organization.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly said that “no deal is better than bad deal.” But many business groups and many economists disagree.

“The government must rightly continue to prioritize a comprehensive new trade agreement with the EU in order to avoid households having to fork out for a ‘no deal’ outcome,” said Stephen Clarke, an economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation.

The study found that tariffs on dairy products imported from the EU would rise by 45% if no deal is struck, while those on meat products would spike 37%. Clothing, footwear, beverages and tobacco would all see tariff increases of 10%.

The tariffs would translate to price hikes: dairy goods would cost 8% more in Britain, while meat prices would spike by 6%.

Even basic ingredients involve complex supply chains, making them pricier as tariffs accumulate.

Grocers have also warned of price hikes. David Tyler, the chairman of supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, told The Sunday Times that he expects average tariffs of 22% on EU foods.

“The U.K. government must realize that walking away from the negotiating table is the worst possible outcome,” said Ilona Serwicka, a research fellow at the U.K. Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex.

Prices have already gone up in Britain because of the sharp drop in the value of the pound, which has declined 12% against the dollar since the vote in June 2016.

Data published Tuesday showed annual inflation in September was the highest it has been in more than five years.

“Inflation rising up to 3% in September very much keeps the squeeze on consumers, as it undoubtedly marked another month of negative real income growth,” said Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club.

May hopes to negotiate a “transitional period” of roughly two years after leaving the EU, during which current terms of trade would be maintained. Businesses say a transition is needed to protect the British economy from the shock of a clean break.

The EU says that sufficient progress must be made on the divorce settlement before future terms of trade with Britain are discussed. Negotiations appear to be at a standstill, however.

Goods and services worth over £500 billion ($656 billion) a year are currently traded between Britain and the EU.

Follow this story

Airbus takes control of Bombardier jet Boeing tried to kill

Airbus on Monday announced it was taking control of rival Bombardier’s embattled C Series airliner program, building a powerful transatlantic alliance in a bitter fight with Boeing.

The C Series has come under attack from Boeing, which alleged that Bombardier had sold the 100 to 150-seat jet to Delta Air Lines at “absurdly low prices.” The U.S. Department of Commerce has levied a preliminary 300% import tariff on the plane, setting up a diplomatic row that has drawn in the Canadian and U.K. governments.

The Airbus deal could enable the C Series to dodge the huge tariff by assembling the planes in the U.S.

Under the agreement, Airbus will acquire 50.01% of the program. Crucially, the European plane maker will establish a second final assembly line for the jetliner in Alabama, where it currently builds larger single-aisle jets for U.S. airlines. The facility will be expanded to make room for manufacturing the C Series.

The arrangement potentially opens the door for more U.S. carriers to sign up for the jet. JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines, both large Airbus customers, have previously voiced support for Bombardier’s position against the Department of Commerce. And it could salvage business with Delta, which has said it won’t pay the tariff.

Airbus denied that its goal was to avoid U.S. tariffs on the new jet. But the assembly line plans it unveiled mean the C Series will now be “made in the U.S.A.”

“This looks like a questionable deal between two heavily state-subsidized competitors to skirt the recent findings of the U.S. government. Our position remains that everyone should play by the same rules for free and fair trade to work,” a Boeing spokesman said in a statement.

Airbus will not make any upfront investment in Bombardier’s jet. But the Canadian plane maker will gain access to the European company’s greater scale in marketing, sales, customer support and supply chains.

Under the deal, Bombardier and Investissement Québec will own approximately 31% and 19% of the C Series program respectively.

Airbus’ backing gives a boost to employment in Quebec where the jet is assembled, as well as Northern Ireland, where the wings are made and China, where the jet’s center section is made.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s move to slap tariffs on jet had cast doubt on the program’s future.

Delta Air Lines chief executive Ed Bastian said last week the airline had no intention of paying the tariff. He cautioned that there were other options for the airline, including delaying the jet’s arrival while a resolution was reached. Delta declined to comment on the Airbus-Bombardier deal.

“We feel confident they’ll be waiting for the right solution,” said Bombardier’s chief executive Alain Bellemare of Delta. Bellemare said they are discussing options with the airline including potentially delivering the jets from the Alabama factory once it’s ready, which is years away.

Assembling the planes in Alabama gives Airbus and Bombardier added political clout in Washington. The U.S. International Trade Commission is set make a final ruling on Boeing’s claims against the C Series in February.

The European and Canadian plane makers have been in talks since August, said Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders, who denied the deal was motivated by Boeing’s complaint. Airbus and Bombardier attempted to link up in 2015, but those talks fell through once news of the negotiations became public.

Enders said this year’s discussions were different because Bombardier has completed the C Series jets, which airlines have been flying since last year.

The deal allows Bombardier and Quebec to exit the program in 2023, selling their stakes to Airbus in the years to come.

“At the end of the day, this is going to be an Airbus program,” Rainer Ohler, vice president of communications for Airbus Group, said in an interview. “It’s going to be a threesome, we take the majority now and over time we take 100% of the program.”

The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2018.

In a single move, Bombardier and Airbus have gone from rivals to partners. Airbus’ retiring chief salesman John Leahy had long mocked the small airliner, and aggressively and repeatedly blocked the plane from winning deals at airlines around the world.

The move has broad implications for U.S. aerospace manufacturing and the global balance of power to build jetliners for the world’s airlines. Melding the Airbus product line with Bombardier’s C Series gives the European company a broad range of airplanes — from 100 seats all the way through Airbus’s 555-seat A380 superjumbo — as it seeks to craft deals and win business over Boeing.

Airbus appears content to let its smallest single-aisle jetliner, the A319neo, die. That aircraft hasn’t sold since 2012, said Enders, and will be supplanted by the CS300, the larger of Bombardier’s C Series models.

Boeing has sought to kill the nascent jetliner before it gained signification commercial traction, but it now faces a competitor with Airbus’ resources and reach.

Bellemare said he is “highly confident we’ll be able to secure more orders under the Airbus umbrella.”

Follow this story

Airbus takes control of Bombardier jet Boeing tried to kill

Airbus on Monday announced it was taking control of rival Bombardier’s embattled C Series airliner program, building a powerful transatlantic alliance in a bitter fight with Boeing.

The C Series has come under attack from Boeing, which alleged that Bombardier had sold the 100 to 150-seat jet to Delta Air Lines at “absurdly low prices.” The U.S. Department of Commerce has levied a preliminary 300% import tariff on the plane, setting up a diplomatic row that has drawn in the Canadian and U.K. governments.

The Airbus deal could enable the C Series to dodge the huge tariff by assembling the planes in the U.S.

Under the agreement, Airbus will acquire 50.01% of the program. Crucially, the European plane maker will establish a second final assembly line for the jetliner in Alabama, where it currently builds larger single-aisle jets for U.S. airlines. The facility will be expanded to make room for manufacturing the C Series.

The arrangement potentially opens the door for more U.S. carriers to sign up for the jet. JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines, both large Airbus customers, have previously voiced support for Bombardier’s position against the Department of Commerce. And it could salvage business with Delta, which has said it won’t pay the tariff.

Airbus denied that its goal was to avoid U.S. tariffs on the new jet. But the assembly line plans it unveiled mean the C Series will now be “made in the U.S.A.”

“This looks like a questionable deal between two heavily state-subsidized competitors to skirt the recent findings of the U.S. government. Our position remains that everyone should play by the same rules for free and fair trade to work,” a Boeing spokesman said in a statement.

Airbus will not make any upfront investment in Bombardier’s jet. But the Canadian plane maker will gain access to the European company’s greater scale in marketing, sales, customer support and supply chains.

Under the deal, Bombardier and Investissement Québec will own approximately 31% and 19% of the C Series program respectively.

Airbus’ backing gives a boost to employment in Quebec where the jet is assembled, as well as Northern Ireland, where the wings are made and China, where the jet’s center section is made.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s move to slap tariffs on jet had cast doubt on the program’s future.

Delta Air Lines chief executive Ed Bastian said last week the airline had no intention of paying the tariff. He cautioned that there were other options for the airline, including delaying the jet’s arrival while a resolution was reached. Delta declined to comment on the Airbus-Bombardier deal.

“We feel confident they’ll be waiting for the right solution,” said Bombardier’s chief executive Alain Bellemare of Delta. Bellemare said they are discussing options with the airline including potentially delivering the jets from the Alabama factory once it’s ready, which is years away.

Assembling the planes in Alabama gives Airbus and Bombardier added political clout in Washington. The U.S. International Trade Commission is set make a final ruling on Boeing’s claims against the C Series in February.

The European and Canadian plane makers have been in talks since August, said Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders, who denied the deal was motivated by Boeing’s complaint. Airbus and Bombardier attempted to link up in 2015, but those talks fell through once news of the negotiations became public.

Enders said this year’s discussions were different because Bombardier has completed the C Series jets, which airlines have been flying since last year.

The deal allows Bombardier and Quebec to exit the program in 2023, selling their stakes to Airbus in the years to come.

“At the end of the day, this is going to be an Airbus program,” Rainer Ohler, vice president of communications for Airbus Group, said in an interview. “It’s going to be a threesome, we take the majority now and over time we take 100% of the program.”

The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2018.

In a single move, Bombardier and Airbus have gone from rivals to partners. Airbus’ retiring chief salesman John Leahy had long mocked the small airliner, and aggressively and repeatedly blocked the plane from winning deals at airlines around the world.

The move has broad implications for U.S. aerospace manufacturing and the global balance of power to build jetliners for the world’s airlines. Melding the Airbus product line with Bombardier’s C Series gives the European company a broad range of airplanes — from 100 seats all the way through Airbus’s 555-seat A380 superjumbo — as it seeks to craft deals and win business over Boeing.

Airbus appears content to let its smallest single-aisle jetliner, the A319neo, die. That aircraft hasn’t sold since 2012, said Enders, and will be supplanted by the CS300, the larger of Bombardier’s C Series models.

Boeing has sought to kill the nascent jetliner before it gained signification commercial traction, but it now faces a competitor with Airbus’ resources and reach.

Bellemare said he is “highly confident we’ll be able to secure more orders under the Airbus umbrella.”

Follow this story