Electrical cars EV Coronavirus: TM Lewin to close all UK shops

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electrical cars  EV Shirts on a rack

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About 600 workers will lose their jobs after shirtmaker TM Lewin announced it will close all 66 of its UK shops.

The firm said most of its 700 workers will be laid off as it takes all of its sales online, to help cut costs.

It comes weeks after a private equity company bought the brand with plans to restructure it.

Many retailers have announced lay-offs during the coronavirus pandemic, with furniture chain Harveys also revealing cuts on Tuesday.

Founded in Panton Street, London, in 1898, TM Lewin sells shirts and suits at shops across the UK.

All its stores shut when lockdown began, but none reopened when restrictions were eased earlier in June.

Torque Brands, a subsidiary of Stonebridge Private Equity, bought the business in May. On Tuesday it said it had struck a deal to avoid administration.

In a statement, Torque said the entire retail sector was facing a “very real threat”.

“The Torque team has worked to assess all available avenues for the business model going forwards, but having done so, has formed the view that TM Lewin is no longer a viable going concern in its current format,” it said.

“The decision to significantly reduce the scale of the business in order to preserve its future will regrettably result in job losses at TM Lewin, as a direct result of the closing of the store network as we right-size the business.”

Electrical cars EV Lockdown slump in demand

Retailers, many of which were struggling even before the pandemic, have been hit hard as consumer demand has slumped in recent months.

Shoemaker Clarks has said it will cut 700 jobs and Mulberry is planning about 500 cuts. Oasis and Warehouse have gone into administration, putting 1,800 jobs at risk and leading to 200 immediate cuts.

On Tuesday, furniture chain Harveys and Bensons for Beds both called in administrators.

Harveys is seeking a buyer for about 20 stores and three manufacturing sites, while Bensons – Britain’s second-largest beds retailer – will close around 50 of its 175 outlets.

The firms, which are owned by the same parent company, have made 240 immediate job cuts and a further 1,300 positions are under review.

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Electrical cars EV Ferrari forced to make a major redesign of their car

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electrical cars  EV Ferrari
The current Ferrari car pictured during winter testing

Ferrari have been forced to make a major redesign of their car as a result of flaws discovered since it ran in pre-season testing in February.

Team boss Mattia Binotto said work on understanding why the car was off the pace led to a “significant change of direction in terms of development”.

The result is the car will run in pre-season specification at this weekend’s delayed season-opening race in Austria.

The upgrade is due to make its debut at the Hungarian Grand Prix on 17-19 July.

Binotto said the team had been forced to revise their approach to the car’s aerodynamics following their investigation into its performance shortfall.

“We had to understand why we did not see the results we had expected on track and how much to recalibrate the whole programme as a result,” Binotto said.

“It would have been counterproductive to continue in the direction we had planned, knowing that we would not have reached our goals.

“Therefore we decided to come up with a new programme that looked at the whole car, knowing that not all of it would be ready for the first race.

“Our aim is to introduce the updates at the third race at the Hungaroring.

“Apart from that, over and above the actual development of the car itself, these past few weeks we have worked a lot on analysing its behaviour, with simulation work and with the help of our drivers and I think that will prove its worth in Austria.

“We know that, at the moment, we don’t have the fastest package. We knew it before heading for Melbourne and that hasn’t changed.

“Having said that, the Spielberg circuit has different characteristics to Montmelo (in Spain, where testing was held) and the temperatures will be well above those of February.

“In Austria, we must try and make the most of every opportunity and then in Hungary, with the new development step we are working on, we will be able to see where we are really compared to the others, while having to take into account the developments our competitors themselves will have brought along.”

The outcome is that Ferrari are unlikely to be in the fight for victory at the first two races at the Red Bull Ring this weekend and next.

Not only were they already off the pace of Mercedes and Red Bull, but both their rivals have upgrades on their cars which will make them faster.

Mercedes have delivered a significant aerodynamic upgrade to their car as Lewis Hamilton embarks on his bid to win a record-equalling seventh World title.

And Red Bull have an improved Honda engine to add to their own aerodynamic progress.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who starts the season knowing it will be his last with the team, said: “We have to be realistic when it comes to the pecking order seen at the tests, but we are not downhearted.”

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Electrical cars EV Premier League: Black Lives Matter campaign not endorsement of political movement

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Premier League players kneel in Black Lives Matter solidarity

The Premier League says its Black Lives Matter campaign is to send a message it is unacceptable to treat black people differently to anyone else – not an endorsement of a political movement.

A series of tweets from the Black Lives Matter UK account about Palestine has prompted criticism.

The Premier League said in a statement it was “aware of the risk posed by groups that seek to hijack popular causes to promote their own political views”.

“These actions are entirely unwelcome and are rejected,” it added.

After the tweets were posted on Sunday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told BBC Breakfast it was a “shame” the sentiment behind the Black Lives Matter movement was “getting tangled up with these organisational issues” and said it was “nonsense” for the group to call to “defund the police”.

The Black Lives Matter movement has led to global protests against racism and police brutality following the death in the United States of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, while a police officer knelt on his neck.

The Premier League has shown its solidarity, with players’ names replaced on the back of their shirts with ‘Black Lives Matter’ for the first 12 matches of the restarted season, and a Black Lives Matter badge will feature on all shirts for the rest of the campaign.

But while ‘Black Lives Matter’ has become the slogan behind the protests, Black Lives Matter also exists as a global organisation, founded in 2013, with several goals including to advocate against white supremacy and police violence towards black people.

In its statement, the Premier League said it stood alongside players, club and a wide range of football organisations who had “come together in recent weeks to reject racism and to show support for the message that black lives matter”.

The league said “Black Lives Matter” had become an “expression of unity for people from all communities who believe it is unacceptable to treat black people differently to anyone else”.

“In an unprecedented move, Premier League players from all 20 clubs united in solidarity with this message and the Premier League supported their request to replace their names on the back of playing shirts with ‘Black Lives Matter’,” the statement added.

“The Premier League offered this backing as we wholly agree with the players’ single objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists. And we are unequivocal in the belief that there is no room for racism in our competition, football as a whole, or the wider community.”

Explaining that “professional football bodies and the players and managers recognise the importance of the message that black lives matter”, the league added: “We do not endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity.

“We are aware of the risk posed by groups that seek to hijack popular causes and campaigns to promote their own political views.

“These actions are entirely unwelcome and are rejected by the Premier League and all other professional football bodies, and they underline the importance of our sport coming together to declare a very clear position against prejudice. We want our message to be a positive one that recognises football has the power to bring people together.”

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Electrical cars EV Prof Jason Leitch: Clinical director says ‘early conversations’ had about test events with fans

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electrical cars  EV The Scottish government is considering proposals from Scottish Rugby to have 1srcsrcsrc fans at the Pro14 opener
The Scottish government is considering proposals from Scottish Rugby to have 1000 fans at the Pro14 opener

The Scottish government has had “early conversations” about test events with fans in stadia, says national clinical director Jason Leitch.

But he added there is “pretty much no chance” of having supporters back for the start of the football season.

Scottish Rugby has held talks with the government about Murrayfield being used as a test venue, and reports sayexternal-link Celtic have also done so.

“We’ve had early conversations with a couple of stadia,” Prof Leitch said.

“Running through the processes, about how you would separate fans, where you would put the alcohol gel, how you would manage the club bubble and people. So it’s not a full-scale crowds are back – even physically distanced.”

The Scottish Premiership is scheduled to start on 1 August, with rugby’s Pro14 to follow three weeks later.

Scottish Rugby wants aroundexternal-link 1000 fans to be allowed into Murrayfield as a test for the opening weekend when Glasgow Warriors play Edinburgh, and the government is considering their proposal.

In football, Premiership clubs have agreed a streaming deal to allow them to show games to season tickets holders until supporters are allowed to return.

But some clubs were hopeful of having some spectators in when the campaign begins.

“I think we’re saying pretty much no chance of crowds in August,” Prof Leitch added.

“I am as keen as everybody to get back to those crowds, but we need to do it behind closed doors first for sure.

“I can’t imagine physically-distanced crowds in August or September. I might be wrong and with a fair wind we might get there. I think we might run some test events during that two month period. It might be a big match but a small test event crowd.

“Then thinking about into the autumn and winter I would hope if things remain good then we might be able to get back to physically-distanced crowds.”

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Electrical cars EV Snooker Championship: Ding Junhui to compete in Sheffield in July

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electrical cars  EV Ding Junhui
Ding Junhui lost to Mark Selby in the 2016 World Snooker Championship final

China’s World number 11 Ding Junhui will compete at the rearranged World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

The 33-year-old, who reached the final in 2016, withdrew from this month’s Tour Championship over travel concerns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The World’s top 16 players are now all set to appear at the Crucible when the tournament begins on 31 July.

Chinese trio Zhou Yuelong, Xiao Guodong and Zhao Xintong have withdrawn from qualifying because of the pandemic.

Yan Bingtao, who is the only other Chinese player inside the World’s top 16, is based in the UK.

Qualifying is set to start on 21 July.

Sign up to My Sport to follow snooker news on the BBC app.

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Future cars Austria to support purchase of electric cars with 5,000 eur from July

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VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria will boost financial incentives for buying battery-powered cars and bicycles, and triple grants for charging points from July in its efforts to fight global warming, the economy minister said on Monday.

Electric car buyers will get 5,000 euros ($5,640) in support from Wednesday, up from 3,000 euros, Leonore Gewessler told a news conference.

The increase is the result of a joint effort with the car industry, which will contribute 2,000 euros to the subsidy, she said.

The minister also announced a tripling of support for charging points to 600 euros for home charging stations or intelligent charging cables, and 1,800 euros for charging points in multi-occupancy buildings.

Austria currently has around 5,500 charge points and wants to increase that number as quickly as possible, she said.

Nearly 33,000 electric vehicles (EVs) were registered in Austria by the end of May, just 0.7% of the total number of cars, according to Statistik Austria. Around two thirds of the EVs are commercial vehicles.

Up to 1,200 euros will also be provided to support the purchase of e-bikes, the minister said. Up to 700 euros will be provided by the state and the rest by the distributor.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Mark Potter

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Electrical cars EV Cirque du Soleil cuts 3,500 jobs to avoid bankruptcy

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electrical cars  EV Cirque du Soleil performers

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Canadian entertainment firm Cirque du Soleil is to cut 3,500 jobs after striking a deal to avoid bankruptcy.

The group, best known for its flamboyant touring circuses, said the coronavirus pandemic had forced it to cancel shows and lay off its artists.

The company will now try to restructure while shedding about 95% of its staff.

“With zero revenue since the forced closure of all of our shows due to Covid-19, the management had to act decisively,” said boss Daniel Lamarre.

The firm had to pause production of all of its shows, including six in Las Vegas, back in March.

Along with its circuses, its also has musicals that tour the World including Michael Jackson One and The Beatles Love.

The firm said it had entered an agreement under which its existing shareholders will take over Cirque’s liabilities and invest $300m (£244m) in the business.

Some $200m of this will take the form of a loan from the province of Quebec, where the firm is based.

It also said shareholders would set aside $20m to provide additional relief to affected employees and contractors.

It said it intended to rehire “a substantial majority” of terminated employees, business conditions allowing, once coronavirus-related shutdowns were lifted and operations could resume.

Cirque’s application for bankruptcy protection will be heard on Tuesday by the Superior Court of Quebec.

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Electrical cars EV Middle East risks renewed arms race, US warns

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electrical cars  EV Smoke billows following an airstrike by Saudi-led coalition in the Yemeni capital Sanaa earlier this month

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Smoke billows following an airstrike by Saudi-led coalition in the Yemeni capital Sanaa earlier this month

The US and Saudi governments have made a joint public appeal to the UN Security Council to extend the 13-year old arms embargo on Iran or risk a renewed arms race in the Middle East.

“Iran has not earned the trust to have the embargo lifted… The last thing this region needs is more Iranian weapons,” said Brian Hook, President Donald Trump’s special representative on Iran during a joint press conference in Saudi Arabia. Mr Hook stood alongside Adel Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs.

Parts of what were said to be missiles fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen were laid out behind them. Nearly 400 missiles and rockets have been fired from Yemen into Saudi Arabia, said Mr Hook, adding that this would not have been possible without assistance from Iran.

The joint press conference made no mention of the £5.3bn ($6.5bn) worth of arms reportedly sold by the UK to Saudi Arabia since the Yemen war accelerated in March 2015, nor of the large number of Yemeni civilians killed by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, drawing widespread international criticism.

The US has been, for many years now, the largest supplier of weapons to the Gulf region but Iran has managed to defy stringent sanctions by exporting both military hardware and advisers to its proxies in the region, notably Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen.

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Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (L) and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

“We call on the UN Security Council to extend the arms embargo on Iran,” said the US envoy, warning that if the embargo were allowed to lapse then Iran would be able to export “battle tanks, artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, drones and missile systems to its proxies”, as well as upgrading the range and lethality of its weapons systems and posing what he said would be an even greater threat to shipping in the region.

“No leader I have spoken to thinks this is a good idea.”

A recent study by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) concluded that despite being under sanctions Iran had succeeded in gaining the strategic advantage over its rival, Saudi Arabia.

The disparity in wealth between the two countries is enormous, with the richer Saudis expending billions of dollars on expensive and sophisticated state-of-the-art weaponry. Yet none of this was able to prevent a devastatingly effective missile and drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s critical oil infrastructure last September. In the space of just a few minutes a flurry of missiles fired under cover of darkness temporarily took out half of Saudi oil exports.

“These missiles were Iranian,” declared Adel Jubeir today. “They came from the north.”

The attack was a wake-up call to the Saudi government that US-supplied air defences could not necessarily protect the country from a concerted “swarm” attack by low-tech weapons. It also helped prompt a Saudi realisation that its military campaign in Yemen was probably unwinnable and that a political solution to that war was the only way to end it.

While the Saudis and their Western allies have supported the UN-recognised Yemen government-in-exile, Iran has supplied weaponry and advice to the Houthi rebels who still control most of the more populated areas. Aid agencies have warned of a looming catastrophe if the conflict continues.

On Tuesday, said Mr Hook, UN experts will present their findings to the UN Security Council. He said Iran had committed numerous violations of multiple UN arms embargos. “If this is what Iran is doing now,” said the US envoy, “imagine what they will do if restrictions are lifted?”

The BBC has asked the Iranian government for comment.

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Media captionYemen: Where children rummage through rubbish for food

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Electrical cars EV Joe Hart: Ex-Burnley & Manchester City goalkeeper on his future career

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I’ve got nothing holding me back – Hart

For the first time in his 17-year professional career, England international goalkeeper Joe Hart has no club.

Released by Burnley this summer, Hart is convinced he will find his perfect footballing match – and that he still has lots to offer.

Hart, 33, spoke exclusively to BBC Sport about his past, his future career and the importance of talking about mental health.

It is just over four years since Hart played for Manchester City in their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid. It is less than three since he won the last of his 75 England caps.

He has most recently been Burnley’s reserve goalkeeper, and will be released when his contract expires on 30 June. He is not feeling sorry for himself.

The fact I have had to sit on the bench for 18 months in the Premier League is not going to define or crush me.

I remember who I am. I remember playing for my local Sunday league team and trying to get into the Shrewsbury Town first team. I learned early – you need to keep things in perspective.

You can have great things said about you in football, but you have to be strong on self-criticism, analyse what you are doing and be comfortable with it.

Maybe from the outside, people are thinking it is a time for panic, but from the inside it is a time to look forward and see all the opportunities.

I am young when it comes to goalkeeping. I am even younger when it comes to the mental age of a guy who just wants to go in goal and have people whack balls at him.

I am under no illusions that Real Madrid are going to knock my door down, get [Thibaut] Courtois out and bring me in. But there is plenty more to come from me.

I just need someone to believe in me and I will repay that faith.

In May, Hart featured in the BBC documentary ‘Football, Prince William and Our Mental Health’. Hart started working with performance coach Jamie Edwards in 2013 after he briefly lost his Manchester City place, to help deal with the mental side of the game.

There are two sides to mental health. There are the deep, dark depths or, as we talk about, the early steps of going the wrong way.

There is also the really positive side, being able to turn a situation on its head, see the positive side of a cup half full.

You can look at me from the outside, look at the position I am in and the heights I have been at and think things are not going great but that is not the case.

I feel good. I turn up for the games expecting to play, even when I am not on the sheet, because it is a positive mental attitude. It is something I have worked on for years.

I want to pass it on. If I meet a bunch of under-12s, I would be asking me about when I saved a Messi penalty or what it’s like playing for England. All they care about now is how do you deal with a mistake? How do deal with someone taunting you from behind the goal?

That is not what your mindset should be as a kid. That’s why I got involved in it and that is why I talked about it.

Hart was one of six key players who helped transform Manchester City. Pablo Zabaleta, Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany have already left to huge acclaim. David Silva goes this summer, leaving Sergio Aguero is the only survivor. Hart left quietly in 2018.

Every single Manchester City fan or fan in Manchester, people I see on a daily basis, treats me with the greatest respect I could ever dream of.

I didn’t get a testimonial and a great send-off, but there is no better feeling than the way I am treated by the people who matter, the fans, the people at the club, the people who have been there since I was there.

The guys who have been part of the journey all know what we were part of. I don’t need anything else to feel appreciated.

That club is always going to be part of me.

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