Today is Ollie’s ninth birthday. “Who is Ollie?” I hear you ask? The Twitter users amongst you may already know after an appeal from Ollie’s dad, Christopher, went viral last week.
Ollie is being bullied – an awful experience which, according to the NSPCC, affects nearly all children in some way.
In an attempt to cheer Ollie up and make his big day extra special at this difficult time, Christopher asked if anyone famous would be willing to send his son a birthday message.
Seventeen thousand retweets later, Christopher’s prayers were more than answered. Birthday greetings came in from, amongst many others, Ellen DeGeneres, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Russell Crowe, David Cameron and Tim Peake.
On top of that, there was an invitation from the Football Association to an England game in September and a special cartoon from Eric Keyes - the artist who draws Bart Simpson.
However, perhaps the most pertinent message came from Monica Lewinsky. After all, if there is anyone who knows about bullying, particularly cyberbullying, it is her. As Lewinsky said herself in 2014, she is the “patient zero” of online harassment.
Twitter is an excellent tool that I definitely spend far too much time on. However, all too often, it is thought of for its downsides; namely the prevalence of abusive, anonymous trolls and the President of the United States’ account.
It was heartening, therefore, to see Twitter facilitate a generous dose of kindness towards a nine-year-old boy who sorely needed it. My faith in humanity has been restored.
Three quarters of university graduates will never fully repay their student debt and interest, according to a report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies. Under the current system, implemented by the coalition government in 2012, most students finish with an average debt of £50,000, with repayments starting once they earn £21,000 a year. However, the debt is written off after 30 years. The poorest students also face the biggest debt.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has called yesterday’s North Korean missile test a “threat to the world” and reiterated the position that the US “will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea”. The launch of the Hwasong-14 missile, which analysts believe is capable of hitting Alaska, prompted glee amongst the North Korean leadership, with Kim Jong-un reportedly calling the test a “gift” on Independence Day.
According to a report from the Henry Jackson Society, Saudi Arabia is the primary backer of extremism in Britain and the UK government should establish a public inquiry into funding from Gulf States. Also included in the report is the recommendation that UK religious institutions should be required to reveal sources of overseas funding. This comes as Theresa May faces pressure to publish the government’s own report into terrorism funding which was completed six months ago.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
Michael Saunders, an external member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has said that the UK should prepare for a rise in interest rates. In an interview with the Guardian to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the last time the Bank raised interest rates, Saunders explained why he had voted for an increase at the last meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee, saying that it was no longer necessary to maintain record low borrowing costs and warning of climbing inflation.
London continues to be the leading technology hub despite Brexit, with record levels of capital being invested in the city. In the first half of 2017, private equity investment in the capital's tech sector amounted to £4.5bn, said the Mayor of London's agency, London & Partners. In addition, £1.1 billion of venture capital was invested. These combined sums were more than any other six-month period in the past decade.
Worldpay, the payments processor and one of the UK’s largest financial technology companies, is the subject of two separate takeover approaches. The company, which processes two-fifths of UK card transactions revealed that it been approached by Vantiv and JP Morgan Chase. As a result, shares soared 28% to 408p. This values the company at £8 billion and on course for £9 billion.
What happened yesterday
The FTSE 100 ended Tuesday down 19.86 points at 7,357.23.
However, the trend was bucked by Worldpay after it confirmed takeover approaches from Vantiv and JP Morgan Chase. This caused the payment processor’s shares to jump 27.7%.
Shares in Sainsburys were also up, climbing 0.3% following better than expected sales figures. The UK’s second largest supermarket said that like-for-like sales excluding petrol rose 2.3% in the 16 weeks to 1 July.
On the currency markets, the pound was down 0.17% against the dollar at $1.2918 and was flat against the euro at 1.1286 euros.
Great Eastern Energy Corp Ltd. GDR
Booker Group, McCarthy & Stone, Mattioli Woods, Persimmon, SIG, Topps Tiles
International Economic Announcements
(00:01): BRC Shop Price Index
(11:00) Retail Sales (EU)
(15:00) Factory Orders (US)
Arricano Real Estate (DI), Booker Group, Challenger Acquisitions Limited, Dods Group, Gresham House Strategic, Martin Currie Asia Unconstrained Trust, Oxford Technology 3 VCT, Oxford Technology 4 VCT, Oxford Technology 2 VCT, Oxford Technology VCT, Sainsbury (J), Windar Photonics
COLUMNS OF NOTE
Writing in The Telegraph, John Hemmings warns that the latest developments on the Korean peninsula could spark the next global war. He contends that a North Korea capable of hitting a mainland American city would be untenable to any US administration, whilst also pointing to strained relations with China and Russia – the two main enablers of Kim Jong-un’s regime. He suggests that the way that the international community handled apartheid-era South Africa, which also attempted to develop its own nuclear weapons programme in the 1980s, provides the template for how North Korea should be approached.
In The Times, Daniel Finkelstein argues that Jeremy Corbyn’s proposals surrounding the scrapping of tuition fees are ill-thought. He disputes the Labour leader’s claim that fewer working-class people are now applying to university and argues that it is an egalitarian system as those who pay back the largest portion of the loan are those who earn most.
DID YOU KNOW?
Following the British and Irish Lions’ win over New Zealand on Saturday, Alun Wyn Jones became only the seventh Lion to have played in test match victories against New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
Can anyone name the other six who have achieved this feat?
House of Commons
Prime Minister’s Question Time
House of Lords
The updating or renewal of the National Stroke Strategy, which expired in March 2017 - Baroness Wheeler
Proposals to improve the working conditions for NHS staff. - Lord Clark of Windermere
Ensuring former tenants of Grenfell Tower are not disadvantaged in
terms of their social security when they are rehoused - Baroness Lister of Burtersett
Centenary of the Balfour Declaration - Lord Turnberg
In recess until 3rd September
House of Commons
International Trade (incuding Topical Questions)
Women and Equalities (including Topical Questions)
Exiting the European Union and Global Trade
House of Lords
Impact on jobs and the economy of relocations away from the UK of EU institutions - Lord Harrison
Tax incentives to businesses to encourage their staff to obtain recognised qualifications in exporting skills - Lord Empey
Bringing forward proposals to establish a curriculum fund for Britain’s leading cultural and scientific institutions - Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall