Cambridge Analytica starts bankruptcy proceedings in US

Cambridge Analytica has filed for bankruptcy in the US.

The consultancy was at the centre of the Facebook data-sharing scandal in which it was accused of improperly obtaining information on users.

The bankruptcy proceedings are part of the process of closing down the company and its UK parent, SCL Elections, that started in early May.

The company blamed a “siege of media coverage” for driving away customers and forcing its closure.

In court papers filed with a New York court, Cambridge Analytica said it had assets of up to $500,000 (£370,000) and debts in the range of $1m to $10m.

Regulators have said that, despite the firm’s shutting down and laying off staff, they will still pursue a probe into how the firm used Facebook data.

The social network said data on about 87 million users was grabbed when people completed a quiz hosted on the site. This information was then passed on to Cambridge Analytica which has been accused of using it for political campaigning.

The political consultancy always maintained that it did nothing wrong in the way it obtained and used the data.

Take on Cornwall’s quirkiest charity run – on a runway, at night, through a restricted military base

The start at Newquay Airport. Cornwall air ambulance runaround .BOTB20120325A-14_C.jpg

Registration is now live for Cornwall Air Ambulance’s Runway Runaround, a charity 10km fun run through a restricted military base at dusk.

Participants will receive special access to RAF St Mawgan, near Newquay, to embark on a charity run past Cold War bomb shelters, vintage aircraft hangars and along the airbase’s runway.

The event is being staged to raise money for Cornwall Air Ambulance’s £2.5m New Heli Appeal, a two-year fundraising campaign to bring a next generation air ambulance helicopter to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly by April 2020.

It has been five years since Cornwall Air Ambulance last staged a Runway Runaround. The last event held in 2013 was a big success and the charity is determined to bring it back with a bang in 2018.

Sarah Mitchell, Fundraising Officer at Cornwall Air Ambulance, said: “This has got to be Cornwall’s quirkiest charity run, with the unique experience of running along a usually restricted military runway at dusk. It’s something very different which we are sure will attract people looking to do a charity run with a twist.

“At 10km long, this run is suitable for anyone who wants to take part. Whatever your ability, you can achieve your goal and complete the run motivated by the knowledge that you are helping to save lives in Cornwall. It is sure to be an unforgettable night.

“Our thanks go to RAF St Mawgan, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary and 100 years of the Royal Air Force, for kindly supporting the New Heli Appeal through this event.”

The Runway Runaround will take place from 7.30pm on Saturday 22 September 2018, so there is plenty of time to get fit and ready. Runners will be encouraged to wear glow in the dark fancy dress and they will be able to buy glow sticks on the night.

To sign up and download a fundraising pack, go to Alternatively, call a member of the Cornwall Air Ambulance fundraising team on 01637 889926.

Poldark knitted figures ‘go global’

Ross Poldark topless holding a scythe, next to a knitted version

The cast of the hit BBC One drama Poldark have been re-created as woollen knitted figures that are selling all over the world, the woman behind the dolls has said.

The characters are the creation of Poldark superfan and knitting addict Angela Blay, 50, who has sold about 70.

Programme-maker Mammoth Screen said it was very pleased the cast had “inspired such creativeness”.

Ms Blay, from Suffolk, said what started as a hobby was now her day job.

Knitted Ross and Demelza Poldark embracing at the base of a tree

The music teacher first made a woollen Ross Poldark – played by Aidan Turner – when the first series aired in March 2015, peaking with 9.4 million viewers.

Ms Blay has since been inundated with requests on social media for the dolls, selling them across the UK and as far away as the US, Canada, Australia and Tasmania.

Japan bus drivers: Strikes with a difference

Bus drivers in the Japanese city of Okayama are on strike, but this is no ordinary industrial dispute.

They’re still working, driving around picking up passengers.

But they’re not doing a key part of the job – accepting fares – as they seek greater job security in the face of stiff competition from a rival company.

The method can be questioned – after all, depriving an employer of revenue when it’s fighting for its life may not be the most effective way of staying afloat.

But Japan News website says the free rides are helping the company preserve its relationship with the passengers in the face of competition.

Here we look at some more unusual strikes through the ages.

A call from ancient Greek theatre

The withholding of sexual favours has often been portrayed as a powerful weapon for women determined to get their way, and it all dates back to Aristophanes’ racy Greek comedy Lysistrata.

Sick of years of the Peloponnesian War, the women of classical Athens take matters into their own hands and, by denying their men sex, force them to negotiate peace.

Leymah Gbowee - 2011

The play has inspired similar action by women in modern times across the world.

One of the most astonishing examples is the strike led by Leymah Gbowee in Liberia in 2003 which helped bring the country’s civil war to an end. Not only did it stop the violence, it won her a Nobel Peace Prize and helped propel Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to become Africa’s first female president.

No ice hockey for a year

Stanley Cup play-offs 2018

It’s hard to imagine an entire season being cancelled in any sport, but that’s what happened to the North American National Hockey League (NHL) in 2004-05.

A collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the players’ association broke down, leading to a long-running labour dispute. The lockout resulted in 1,230 unplayed games.

Dumbo struck

Walt Disney Studios: Members of the AFL Screen Cartoonists' Guild at a picket line, demanding recognition as the collective bargaining agency and reinstatement of leaders discharged for union activity, Burbank, CA, 28 May 1941

In 1941, Disney animators went on strike over wages and union recognition, but made sure their artistic skills were put to good use on the picket line.

Banners carried aloft outside Burbank studio and other locations included Pinocchio saying “There are no strings on me”; Pluto declaring “I’d rather be a dog than a scab” and Mickey Mouse asking “Are we mice or men?”


The strike lasted five weeks and affected production of the animated feature Dumbo. In fact, the strikers were caricatured in the movie as clowns who go to “hit the big boss for a raise”.

Law breaks down in Boston

Their wages shrivelled by inflation post-World War One, police officers in the Massachusetts city got organised and in 1919 downed their truncheons.

With the vast majority of them out on strike, the city experienced several nights of lawlessness and the state guard were called in to restore order.

The strikers were branded “deserters” and “agents of Lenin” and were ultimately sacked. All their demands were granted to their replacements.

All out for the boss

Employees protesting against Market Basket

Modern-day Massachusetts saw another unusual strike, with a much happier ending.

But this had nothing to do with pay or working conditions.

Staff at the Market Basket grocery chain wanted just one thing – the restoration of their popular boss Arthur T Demoulas, sacked in a family feud in June 2014.

The increasingly acrimonious dispute ran on through the summer, with the company losing approximately $10m (£7.3m) a day, and was finally resolved when shareholders agreed to sell their shares to Mr Demoulas.

Fashion’s lucrative love affair with Meghan Markle


Meghan and Harry in Nottingham

On the morning of 1 December last year staff at Canadian fashion house Mackage came into work to find a single item had inexplicably sold out overnight.

Every one of its £750 ($1,013) double-breasted military maxi coats had walked off the shelves in over twenty countries on three continents.

The reason? Meghan Markle.

Prince Harry’s fiancée had worn the coat five hours earlier, five thousand miles away in her first public walkabout in Nottingham, England.

Within minutes the world wanted Mackage maxi coats.

Meghan Markle's Strathberry bag

Mackage were not the only winners. Meghan was also carrying a £500 ($675) midi tote bag made by Strathberry, a four-year-old start-up based in Edinburgh. The bag sold out in 11 minutes flat across its Global, US and China website.

Leeanne Hundleby, owner and co-founder of Strathberry, says: “Visitor numbers to the website were also amazing. At one stage they were up tenfold against our daily average.”

Meghan wore a white coat by the Canadian brand Line the Label to announce her engagement with Harry, and which, yes, you’ve guessed it, sold out in minutes, reportedly crashing the firm’s website.

"The Meghan" on Meghan

Line also stole a march on other brands caught up in the Meghan merchandising mania by christening the coat “The Meghan”.

Royal gift

This is the kind of publicity that marketing departments dream of. Getting your design in front of Meghan could, if she wears it, splash it over every fashion website from Shanghai to L.A.

BT cuts 13,000 jobs to slash costs

BT sign in window

BT is to cut 13,000 jobs over three years, about 12% of its workforce, as it seeks to slim down its management and back-office roles.

The telecoms giant said that the job cuts and other measures would help it to reduce costs by £1.5bn.

It added that it would be hiring about 6,000 employees to “support network deployment and customer service”.

A third of the job reductions will come from outside the UK in its Global Services division.

Last year, BT was forced to write down the value of the Italian part of Global Services after an accounting scandal that cost the firm more than £500m.

The company also said it intended to move out of its existing central London headquarters and into smaller premises.

Its shares fell nearly 8% in early trading. BT said it was keeping its full-year dividend unchanged from last year at 15.4p a share.

Corporate tax avoidance crackdown centres on small businesses, reveals new research

Small businesses are considered ‘an easier target than many larger businesses’

A crackdown on tax avoidance by the UK’s small and medium-sized companies led to a 5 per cent increase in the amount of cash collected by HMRC in the most recent tax year, new research reveals.

The research conducted by accountancy group UHY Hacker Young shows that HMRC collected an extra £474m in corporate tax as a result of investigations into SMEs during the 2016/2017 tax year, representing a 5 per cent increase on the previous year.

UHY said that authorities are turning the “spotlight onto small businesses” because they are considered “an easier target than many larger businesses”.

Windrush’ man hopes his case will be heard in Parliament

A South West man who’s facing deportation because of a change in immigration rules is hoping his case will be raised in Parliament later by MPs debating an amnesty for the Windrush generation.

Euten Lindsay says he came to the UK when he was nine years old and has been living here for more than 40 years. Mr Lindsay doesn’t have a passport and the Home Office has told him he’ll have to leave in two years.

Euten Lindsay


I love this country, it is my country. Sadly though it has let me down because when I needed the help and support it let me down. Can you imagine what it is like to beg somebody for food living in the UK. You’ve worked most of your life then all of a sudden you’re told ‘you’re Jamaican’.”

Euten Lindsay

A Home Office spokesman said it had set up a team to assist “undocumented long-resident Commonwealth citizens” and advised Mr Lindsay to call the team.

The Windrush row erupted after it emerged some migrants from Commonwealth Caribbean countries who settled in the UK from the late 1940s to the 1970s, and their relatives, had been declared illegal immigrants.

Some of the Windrush generation have been threatened with deportation, lost their jobs, or been refused access to medical treatment.

Nearly 800 hoax calls made to South West Ambulance Trust


An ambulance service was forced to deal with nearly 800 hoax calls last year.

South Western Ambulance Service Trust (SWAST) was distracted from 91 real emergencies in 2017, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed.

A SWAST spokeswoman urged parents to educate their children about only calling 999 in an emergency.

The figures show that SWAST received 774 hoax calls in 2017. However, the number is low compared to the 900,000 calls the service responds to yearly.

Calls made in good faith which turn out to be unnecessary are not recorded as hoax calls.

A SWAST spokeswoman said: “Making hoax calls can put lives at risk. We strongly encourage parents to impress upon their children the importance of only dialling 999 in a genuine emergency situation.

“It is vital that people understand and appreciate the consequences associated with making hoax calls.”

The ambulance service covers the Avon area – including Bristol and Bath – Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.

SWAST’s latest report from health watchdog the Care Quality Commission rates the service as requiring improvement with concerns over areas such as mandatory training, cleanliness and infection control.

But the service was praised for its “truly compassionate” caring culture.