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Live Reporting

By Chris Johnston

All times stated are UK

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  1. Belgium is not in Ireland, ECJ rules

    Ryanair plane

    Ryanair has lost an EU court battle for the right to impose Irish labour laws on its cabin crew working elsewhere in Europe.

    The European Court of Justice ruled in favour of six Ryanair workers of different nationalities based at Charleroi airport in Belgium, who argued that they should be subject to Belgian employment law.

    The budget airline argued that their work was done in Ireland because the planes they worked on were registered there, even though the contracts stated their "home base" was Charleroi, where they started and ended their working days.

    A clause in the crew's contracts stating that Irish courts had jurisdiction and seeking to prevent employees bringing proceedings elsewhere was not enforceable, the court also ruled.

  2. 'Full confidence'

    Karen Bradley

    Culture Secretary Karen Bradley (pictured) says she has referred Rupert Murdoch's bid for Sky to regulators on the grounds of broadcasting standards because the public had to have full confidence in the process.

    "I think that the threshold for reference that I have to take is lower than the threshold maybe for the fit and proper test that Ofcom do," she said at the RTS convention in Cambridge on Thursday.

    "I think it is important that there is confidence in whatever decision is taken. It is important for public confidence that the full review takes place by the CMA [Competition and Markets Authority]. I want them to look at the concerns that have been raised, you will see when we publish all the information on this exactly why the referral has been made."

  3. Not so fast

    Bank of England

    Jane Foley, head of FX strategy at Rabobank, says the Bank that by ratcheting up its rhetoric, it has conditioned the markets and supported the pound without having to resort to the more significant tools at its disposal.

    “Many will understandably now think that a rate rise in imminent, but in fact our view is that it is more likely to be next summer. This is because the MPC is still dominated by doves, such as Mark Carney, who are concerned about the impact higher rates could have on real wages so dependent on consumer spending," she says.

    “Of course, the risks could change, particularly if sterling were to devalue further, but for now the Bank’s rhetoric appears to have done its job.”

  4. Fishy business

    BBC World Service

    Fishing trawler

    The challenge of preventing unlicensed ships from Europe and China fishing off the coast of West Africa is getting tougher.

    Countries like Gambia and Equatorial Guinea cannot afford navy patrol vessels, which makes it easier for large foreign vessels to fish, without permission, threatening the business of small-scale fishermen and affecting supplies of a staple food.

    Gambia plans to engage three private companies to prevent illegal fishing in its waters, which comes as the marine conservation group Oceana has accused the European Union of illegally allowing boats from Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain to fish off the coast of West Africa.

    Beth Lowell, a senior director at Oceana, has been talking to the World Service.

  5. Russia cries foul

    US action against Kaspersky Lab is designed to undermine the competitive position of Russian firms worldwide and amounts to unfair competition, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

    He was speaking after the Trump administration on Wednesday told US government agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab products from their networks, saying it was concerned the Moscow-based cyber security firm was vulnerable to Kremlin influence and that using its anti-virus software could jeopardise national security.

    "Such actions run counter to fair competition ... and international rules," Mr Peskov said, saying Washington's action called into question its reliability as a partner.

  6. Wall Street slips


    Wall Street has opened lower after a rise in consumer prices last month boosted the odds of another interest rate hike this year.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1% to to 22,139.8 points, the S&P 500 lost 0.2% to 2,493.4 points, while the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.3% to 6,439.2.

    The consumer prices index rose 0.4% in August - the biggest rise in seven months.

  7. Oil jumps

    Oil pump

    Oil is also making gains today following forecasts for stronger oil demand by the International Energy Agency. Brent crude is up 40 cents at $55.56, while US crude has just breached the $50 mark for the first time since 10 August.

    Brent is has climbed more than $10 a barrel over the past three months.

    "Stronger demand and supply restrictions from OPEC and Russia are the main reasons for the oil price upsurge," said analyst Fawad Razaqzada.

  8. Still higher...


    Sterling is now 1.1% higher at $1.3356 and up a similar level against the euro at 1.1237 euros following the Bank of England's hint that it is ready to raise interest rates in the coming months.

    "After recent warnings that markets were under-priced for potential interest rate hikes, the Monetary Policy Committee appears close to following through and tightening its policy in response to above-target inflation," said Timothy Graf at State Street Global Markets.

  9. Record margins for Hermes

    Hermes store in Singapore

    Not many companies can boast an operating margin of 34.3%, but that's what Hermes managed for the first half of the year.

    Chief executive Axel Dumas says the luxury goods group's "very good profitability" was due to organic growth and good sales momentum across all divisions and regions.

    Mr Dumas said: "The performance in the first half confirmed the positive momentum of the ready-to-wear and accessories and the silk and textiles business lines."

    Net profit rose by 11% to €605m in the six months to June.

  10. After Trump, big data firm eyes China

    China flag

    Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics firm that helped Donald Trump predict what voters cared about during the 2016 presidential elections is now turning its sights to China.

    However, the firm told Bloomberg that it initially wants to focus on commercial opportunities and not politics in China.

    “We’ve been scoping this market for about a year,” Cambridge Analytica's chief executive Alexander Nix said.

    “We see huge opportunity to bring some of these technologies to advertising and marketing space brands.”

  11. Car makers must earn back trust, says Merkel

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that the country's car makers must do everything they can to restore trust in the industry.

    Opening the Frankfurt Motor Show, Mrs Merkel said: "A lot of trust has been destroyed. That is why the industry must do everything to win back confidence, in its own interest and that of employees and German industry."

    Volkswagen is still fighting to put the "dieselgate" scandal behind it, when it admitted to installing software on cars to beat pollution tests.

    While European regulators are investigating VW, BMW, Daimler, Audi and Porsche for alleged anti-competitive collusion.

  12. Crossrail completes Elizabeth line track installation

    Crossrail workers in the eastbound tunnel at the Whitechapel Elizabeth line station

    Crossrail says it has completed installing the permanent track on London's newest railway - the Elizabeth line.

    Now that the track has been fully laid, construction trains will be able to use it to travel the full length of both new tunnels from end to end.

    The Elizabeth line is set to open in December 2018 and will hopefully improve travel links for passengers across London and the South East.

  13. Fox-Sky deal shows 'UK open for business'

    James Murdoch and wife Kathryn
    Image caption: James Murdoch and wife Kathryn

    James Murdoch says that approval of 21st Century Fox's takeover of Sky by the Competition and Markets Authority would signal that the UK is "truly open for business post Brexit".

    Mr Murdoch told the audience at the Royal Television Society conference in Cambridge on Thursday that inward investment in the UK's creative economy would send a "positive signal" to companies around the world, according to the Financial Times.

    “I am hopeful that here in the UK, a major chapter of our company and the entire industry will be written,” he said.

    “Everything we have done…has been about increasing choice, amplifying diversity [and] adhering to the highest broadcast standards”.

  14. Sterling surpasses $1.33

    The pound is now up 0.79% against the dollar at $1.33130 following the Bank of England's comments on interest rates.

    Pound v dollar
  15. Rate rise could come 'as soon as November'

    Bank of England Governor Mark Carney
    Image caption: The Bank of England's rate-setters, led by Governor Mark Carney, may act as soon as November

    Paul Hollingsworth, UK economist at Capital Economics, predicts that the UK interest rate could be increased as soon as November.

    He said: "The minutes struck a considerably more hawkish tone than in August in suggesting that “some withdrawal of monetary stimulus is likely to be appropriate over the coming months.

    "Indeed, this supports our long-held view that market expectations had gone way too far in expecting rates to remain on hold until 2019."

    He adds: "If the economy continues to hold up, and there are clearer signs that wage growth is building, then the first hike could some somewhat earlier than we had previously envisaged, possibly as soon as the next meeting in November alongside the Inflation Report."

  16. Not the right time for Bank to act

    It wasn't the right time for the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee to raise interest rates, says Professor Costas Milas of Liverpool University's Management School.

    He says: "With inflation currently so much volatile (future inflation can either go up or down and possibly in a wild manner) and output volatility currently so low (which means that we are really stuck with low GDP growth rates), this was arguably not the time to hike yet.

    "On the other hand, volatile inflation means that inflation might jump up further in September. In the absence of an MPC meeting in October, MPC members might feel uncomfortable to wait until November before they get again the option to hike."

  17. Reading between the lines

    Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital, says that delving into the minutes from the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee's (MPC) meeting reveals hawkish undertones.

    He says: "The MPC thinks the economic data since 3 August, although relatively limited, suggests growth is firmer than expected. Crucially policymakers think that slack is being absorbed faster than expected and this would be consistent with a rate hike sooner than markets currently expect. Again the MPC said monetary policy may well be tightened more than current market expectations."

    He adds: "A majority of MPC members agree that as long as the economy trundles along as is, then some withdrawal of stimulus would be appropriate. It’s clearly teeing up a rate rise and wants the markets to prepare for one."