Europe

Four years ago, Andrea Agnelli stood in the 74,000-seat soccer arena in Cardiff and witnessed his team, Juventus Football Club SpA, get smashed by Real Madrid in the Champions League final. As painful as that 4-1 defeat might have been for Agnelli, the offspring of Italy’s preeminent industrial dynasty walked away with a useful lesson: to win, surround yourself with the best players and teams. The next year, Agnelli, 45, followed through with a bold 100 million-euro ($120 million) bet, buying Portuguese superstar Ronaldo from Real Madrid.
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Households in Britain, especially poorer ones, are far more likely to have suffered a severe income shock during the coronavirus pandemic over the past year than their counterparts in France and Germany, a well-respected British-based think tank said Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. The Resolution Foundation also said that households in the U.K. are also more likely to have run up more debt in response to the financial shockwaves emanating from the pandemic. In a report, which was entitled “After Shocks” and was supported by U.S.
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European officials want to limit police use of facial recognition and ban the use of certain kinds of AI systems, in one of the broadest efforts yet to regulate high-stakes applications of artificial intelligence, the Wall Street Journal reported. The European Union’s executive arm proposed a bill Wednesday that would also create a list of so-called high-risk uses of AI that would be subject to new supervision and standards for their development and use, such as critical infrastructure, college admissions and loan applications.
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Greece says its tourism services will open on May 15 when a ban on travel between different regions of the country will also be lifted, the Associated Press reported. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis made the announcement in a televised address Wednesday, adding that restaurants and cafes will be allowed to reopen outdoor areas starting on May 3. Restrictions, many of which have been in effect since early November, will remain in place over Orthodox Easter on May 2. “Our goal is to have a safe Easter and a free summer. But one cannot undermine the other,” Mitsotakis said.
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New rules coming into force at the end of the month will have a major impact on company directors seeking to restructure their business through pre-pack administrations, the Insider reported. The warning comes from Derek Forsyth, head of restructuring in Scotland with accountancy firm Azets, on new legislation coming into force on 30 April. Pre-pack administrations have been used increasingly during the pandemic to save businesses that would otherwise go under.
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The governor of the Central Bank of Ireland has warned that many Irish firms will not survive the pandemic, and will no longer be viable once State supports are removed, the Irish Times reported. “The viability and survival prospects of many affected firms remains highly uncertain, and is likely to depend on a range of future policy choices,” Gabriel Makhlouf told a webinar event hosted by the University of Limerick.
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Britain on Tuesday eased controls designed to prevent a backlog of trucks in southern England caused by new post-Brexit paperwork, saying vehicles taking goods to the European Union would no longer need a special permit to enter the port region, Reuters reported. The government said the relaxation showed goods transport companies had adapted to the new requirements, and were arriving at the border fully prepared.
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British authorities are exploring the possibility of creating a new digital currency dubbed “Britcoin,” The Hill reported. The Bank of England and the Treasury on Monday said they were weighing the potential benefits of a central bank digital currency, The Associated Press reports. If the new currency is created, it would be a form meant to be used by households and businesses and would exist alongside cash and bank deposits instead of replacing them, the Bank of England said.
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The number of people heading out to shops across Britain jumped 87.8% in the week to April 17 versus the previous week as non-essential stores in England reopened after three months of COVID-19 lockdown, market researcher Springboard said on Monday, Reuters reported. The number of people heading to shops across Britain jumped 87.8% last week as non-essential stores reopened after three months of COVID-19 lockdown, researcher Springboard said on Monday.
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The European Union’s foreign policy chief said Monday that in the face of the big military buildup of Russian troops near Ukraine’s borders, it will only take “a spark” to set off a confrontation, the Associated Press reported. In a glum assessment of relations with Moscow, Josep Borrell also said that the condition of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was “critical” and that the 27-nation group would hold the Kremlin accountable for his health and safety.
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