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Queen gives all 1,500 Buckingham Palace employees a Tesco Christmas pudding

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According to the official website of the Royal Family, the Queen gives each member of her staff a Christmas pudding, a tradition started by her grandfather, George V. But that is not all. In addition to a Christmas pudding, employees throughout the Palaces, in the Court Post Office, and in the Palace police, also receive a greeting card from the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh as well. If this all sounds a tad frugal, it turns out it's actually even more so this year. In previous years, it was reported the monarch favoured puddings fro... Read More »

Karl Lagerfeld’s homecoming

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The show, which was a kind of homecoming from the label's Hamburg-born designer, Karl Lagerfeld, took place at the Elbphilharmonie, the city’s showstopping new concert hall, designed by contemporary starchitecture firm Herzog & de Meuron. The models were sharing the stage with a live orchestra. Among the models was Cindy Crawford's daughter Kaia Gerber, Victoria's Secret star Grace Elizabeth and Lagerfeld's 9-year-old godson Hudson Kroenig. The 84-year-old designer showcased a collection with a nautical theme. Models wore luxurious, t... Read More »

World’s ‘steepest funicular line’ set to open in Switzerland

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The new railway, which cost 44.6 million euros, will be officially opened by the country’s president, Doris Leuthard. It has unusual barrel-shaped carriages that adjust their floors so passengers can still stand upright even as they go up at steep inclines. Gradients up to the Alpine resort of Stoos can reach up to 110 percent. The train, which will go into public service on Sunday, will climb 743 metres over a span of 1,738 metres, at speeds of up 10 metres per second. "After 14 years of planning and building, everyone is very proud of this... Read More »

KLM cabin crew set for 24-hour strike on January 8

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The union says for the past year crews have been placed in an ‘unworkable situation’ by the decision which has led to an ‘enormous’ increase in the pressure of work and disadvantages passengers. Previous protests about the measure have been of much shorter duration. KLM told news website Nu.nl it had taken note of the union’s plans. The FNV says the action could lead to no KLM flights leaving Schiphol airport on January 8. ... Read More »

The world’s greenest cruise ship will have sails

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Peace Boat, a Japanese non-governmental organization which runs educational cruises, is working on an ambitious project to build the most sustainable vessel in the booming industry. Now in the last stages of planning, the "Ecoship" will be built by Finland's Arctech. It will cost about $500 million, financed in part by impact investors -- funds, rich families and individualswho want to use their cash to improve the world as well as make a profit. "Ecoship was a dream for me," said Peace Boat founder Yoshioka Tatsuya. "Using a conventional... Read More »

European Medicines agency will bring jobs, generate millions of euros

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The 890 workers will have an estimated €45m in net salaries to spend and much of that will benefit local shops, service providers, bars and restaurants, ING says. In addition, housing the EMA workers will bring in €10m to €15m while the 30,000 overnight stays which EMA visitors will book will generate €4m for the hotel sector. The Financieele Dagblad says experts suggest the EU agency will provide work for 1,500 people working in catering, cleaning, security, childcare and teaching. In addition, some 200 of the agency’s 890 staff are not exp... Read More »

Google to open artificial intelligence centre in China

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Google said the facility would be the first its kind in Asia and would aim to employ local talent. Silicon Valley is focusing heavily on the future applications for AI. China has also indicated strong support for AI development and for catching up with the US. Research into artificial intelligence has the potential to improve a range of technologies, from self-driving cars and automated factories to translation products and facial recognition software. In a blog post on the company's website, Google said the new research centre was an imp... Read More »

Ryanair pilots to strike before Christmas

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In Ireland, 79 pilots based in Dublin will strike for one day on 20 December. The airline, which does not recognise unions, said they represented about 28% of its Dublin-based captains. Meanwhile, Ryanair pilots and cabin crew in Italy plan to strike for four hours on 15 December. The airline said last week it would "ignore" the Italian move, claiming staff rarely heeded calls to walk out. Pilots based in Portugal and Germany also plan industrial action. Cockpit, the German pilots' union, said its Ryanair members would strike for better pay ... Read More »

Airbnb drops controversial payment card in France

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The French government had asked tax authorities to look into the system, suspected of facilitating tax avoidance, after it was revealed that Airbnb was allowing its hosts to use the prepaid Payoneer card. The card allows homeowners to receive payments for their rentals without money transiting through bank accounts. The decision comes as Airbnb, similar to its taxi-hailing peer Uber, is facing a growing crackdown from legislators worldwide - triggered in part by lobbying from the hotel industry, which sees the rental service as providing unf... Read More »

Europe’s Unibail-Rodamco bids $16 billion for Westfield in global shift

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The sector is grappling with challenges from online retailers led by Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and the deal, which Westfield said was “highly compelling” for shareholders, follows world No. 2 retail real estate investment trust GGP’s (GGP.N) rejection of Brookfield Property’s (BPY.O) bid. “Unibail-Rodamco’s track record makes it the natural home for the legacy of Westfield’s brand and business,” said Westfield chairman Frank Lowy, a holocaust survivor who has become a billionaire since he co-founded the group in 1960. The deal gives the Eur... Read More »

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