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While the prospect of Brexit is weighing on much of the British economy, tourism and luxury goods businesses are cashing in on bargain-hungry visitors lured by the slide in the pound.

London's tourism agency says sales of goods eligible for sales-tax exemption have gone up by a third since the Brexit vote in June, which sent the pound sterling plunging against the euro and dollar.

"We calculated that over the last four months it's been about 12 percent cheaper for Europeans to come and shop here," said Chris Gottlieb, head of leisure marketing at the agency London & Partners.

The pound is now at 1.17 euros compared with 1.3 euros before the shock vote to leave the European Union, while it has also fallen to $1.25 from $1.49.

The result is that London has become the cheapest city for luxury goods shopping in the world in dollar terms, according to a study by Deloitte.

- 'Going to spend much more' -

In tourist areas, the effects are evident.

 

 

Facebook on Monday became the latest US tech giant to announce new investment in Britain with hundreds of extra jobs but hinted its success depended on skilled migration after Britain leaves the European Union.

The premier social network underlined London's status as a global technology hub at a British company bosses' summit where Prime Minister Theresa May sought to allay business concerns about Brexit.

"London is absolutely a global hub for technology," Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook's vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa told the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference.

Mendelsohn said Facebook would open its new headquarters in the British capital next year, taking its UK workforce to 1,500 from around 1,000 now.

"It's a place where, frankly, our engineers want to come and work," she said, stressing that the company had staff from 65 nationalities working in London.

"The movement of talent is something that obviously matters to us," she said, although she added it was "too early to say" what effect Brexit could have.

 

 

A British court ordered thousands of prison officers back to work on Tuesday, saying there had been incidents in prisons during their industrial action and calling the situation "very concerning".

Union leaders had called the 24-hour work stoppage saying the prison system was "in meltdown" but the government said the action was "unlawful" because guards are not allowed to go on strike.

The protest caused disruption in courts -- halting the high-profile murder trial in London of the man accused of killing MP Jo Cox -- after talks between union bosses and the government broke down.

 

 

From the Black Death to Henry VIII's break from Rome, a historic mediaeval refuge in the heart of London's throbbing financial centre is destined for a new lease of life -- by allowing women to move in.

Nestled between building sites in the City of London, Charterhouse's grey stone is the abode of a few dozen men who have to be poor and aged over 60 to qualify.

But hundreds of years since the first stone was laid, a revolution is underway: Charterhouse is opening up to women and creating a museum open to the public.

"Not everyone is overjoyed," Stephen McGhee, a former orchestra manager and one of the current "brothers", told AFP during a visit to the complex.

"Some were happy, some not so happy. Whatever happens, it will have to be done very sensitively... and the newcomer will have to adapt to 42 men!"

After living abroad for more than two decades, first in Australia and then Thailand, McGhee said he wanted to return to London for his retirement.

"I had just enough money to buy a cupboard in a kitchen," the 64-year-old said.

He searched online for a solution.

 

 

 

US tech giant Google on Tuesday confirmed it will expand its vast campus in central London, a move a source said is expected to bring 3,000 jobs to the British capital.

Google announced it would add a new office building to a complex currently under development behind London’s King’s Cross train station, which the tech firm said would be its first wholly owned and designed building outside the US.

 

"Here in the UK, it’s clear to me that computer science has a great future with the talent, educational institutions, and passion for innovation we see all around us," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement.

"We are committed to the UK and excited to continue our investment in our new King’s Cross campus."

An estimated 3,000 jobs will be created by the move, a source close to the matter told AFP.

The ten-storey building adds to Google’s previously-announced plans in the British capital, with 2,500 Google employees already working in one office and more due to move into a building set to open in 2018.

In total 7,000 Google staff will eventually be working at the King’s Cross hub, with no date given for the opening of the newly-announced third office.

 

London mayor Sadiq Khan on Monday blamed a lack of integration between communities for fuelling the "divisive political forces" that led to the Brexit vote in Britain and the rise of Donald Trump.

Speaking on the sidelines of a forum in City Hall with mayors from around the world, he urged city leaders to take action or risk further backlash.

"There are populist parties around the world taking advantage of the concerns and anxieties people legitimately have... we (Britain) chose to leave the European Union and we've had a very divisive US presidential election," he told AFP in an interview.

"We've seen with social and scientific advances the globalised northern countries doing very well, but within those countries people feeling they're not sharing the fruits of that prosperity," he added.

 

The Westminster International Rotary Club (WIRC) has been a long-time supporter of the Pimlico Puffins, the swimming club for the disabled in the heart of Westminster. At the Annual Gala of the Pimlico Puffins at the Queen Mother’s Sport Centre in Victoria on 6 November 2016, John Bartlett, President of WIRC presented a cheque over GBP 1,000 to Pimlico Puffins’ Chair, Natasha Fleming.

Pimlico Puffins is a swimming club for those who have learning difficulties or physical disability and who would like to learn to swim or exercise in the water. All ages, size, shapes and characters attend the club to enjoy a swim.

John Bartlett said: “The Westminster International Rotary Club is a proud supporter of the swimming club and it is wonderful to see the joy of the swimmers at today’s gala event. We would like to thank Natasha and her team of volunteers for their fantastic effort.”

 

Having spent his football career at centre-forward, Gary Lineker's outspoken stance in the aftermath of Britain's Brexit referendum has seen him proclaimed as the country's most prominent left-winger.

Lineker, renowned as English football's Mr Nice during his playing days, said he was "ashamed of my generation" after Britain voted to leave the European Union on June 23.

He has called people questioning the age of child migrants "hideously racist", ridiculed Nigel Farage, leader of the pro-Brexit UK Independence Party, and branded America's new president-elect Donald Trump "a joke".

Lineker's Twitter posts have been attacked by centre-right tabloid The Sun, which has labelled him a "leftie luvvie" and called for him to lose his high-profile BBC presenting job for not being impartial.

But people have rallied to the former England striker's defence on social media, with some mischievously dubbing him "the Leader of the Opposition".

"I didn't do this to start some sort of campaign, although it's turned out that way," Lineker told AFP.

 

 

Britain's Supreme Court said Tuesday it has set aside four days starting on December 5 to hear the government's appeal against a landmark ruling that it must seek parliament's approval to start the Brexit process.

All 11 Supreme Court judges will hear the case, which could delay Britain's withdrawal from the European Union, and will deliver their judgement "probably in the New Year", a court statement said.

Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative government is appealing against a High Court ruling last week that it does not have the executive power alone to trigger Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, which begins exit negotiations.

The judgement prompted outrage among those who fear that some members of parliament -- most of whom wanted to stay in the EU ahead of June's shock referendum vote to leave -- may seek to delay or block Brexit, or ease the terms of the divorce.

Such was the extent of the personal attacks on the judges -- branded "Enemies of the People" by one tabloid newspaper -- that the justice minister was forced to issue a statement defending the independence of the judiciary.

 

 

Britain's Prince Harry confirmed Tuesday he is dating US actress Meghan Markle as he blasted the racist "wave of abuse and harassment" directed towards her since their relationship came to light.

In what Kensington Palace admitted was an "unusual" statement, the prince, 32, urged media to refrain from "further damage" as he hit out at the "racial undertones" of newspaper coverage.

Harry also took issue with the "outright racism and sexism" on social media directed against mixed-race Californian television actress Markle, 35, best known for her role as Rachel Zane in the US TV drama "Suits".

"The past week has seen a line crossed," said the statement from Harry's communications secretary Jason Knauf.

"His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment.

"Prince Harry is worried about Ms Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her. It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms Markle should be subjected to such a storm.