Crunch talks will be held today between Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and French president Francois Hollande, over legislative proposals that would force the search giant to pay media sites for the right to link to their content. For Google, the measures represent such a huge threat to its business model that it has responded in kind, issuing a letter saying that it would have no alternative but to de-list French websites from its search results.
The proposals emerged following a lobbying campaign by the chiefs of several French newspapers, who said that Google should share advertising revenue gained from any searches that yield links to content provided by the country’s media groups. In the news bosses’ view, their content has effectively provided a platform for Google’s keyword-sensitive ad function. However, Google said that that it “cannot accept” the measure.
French culture minister Aurelie Filippetti said: “You don’t deal with a democratically elected government with threats.”
Labour has yet to produce any policies worth mentioning, say Tories – despite receiving £1m in policy-development grants from the UK Electoral Commission: the organisation that regulates party funding and promotes fair play in elections. All UK political parties receive grants from the body to help with the construction of their manifestos. But Salisbury’s Tory MP John Glen has penned a missive to labour leaders asking them what they’ve done with the money. “The public will be shocked to hear you have taken over £1m in public money over the past two years in the name of [a] blank page,” he wrote.
However, a Labour spokesperson said: “Even from the Tories this is desperate and risible stuff. Clearly they’re rattled by the One Nation agenda Ed Miliband has set out.”
Union bosses have reacted with dismay to a KPMG report showing that 4.8 million UK workers have to get by on less than a living wage – construed as £8.30 in London and £7.20 elsewhere. Incoming TUC leader Frances O’Grady said: “It is shocking that in this day and age one in five workers is still earning less than is needed to maintain a decent standard of living. The living wage is not a luxury and means that low-paid workers don’t have to make tough choices over whether they can afford the everyday things that most of us take for granted, such as their fuel bill or a winter coat for their children.”
Third-quarter financial results expected this week from the bosses of High Street banks are expected to show that, despite the sector’s improved performance over recent months, profits are being wiped out by compensation payments to customers who were mis-sold PPI. In a concerted belt-tightening drive, new Barclays chief Antony Jenkins is reportedly planning to halve the salaries of any workers earning between £500,000 and £3m.
A humble Essex chip chop called Scooby Snax has found itself on the wrong end of a writ from legal honchos at Hollywood studio Warner Bros, which has launched cease-and-desist proceedings over the shop’s name. Warner, which owns the rights to the famously fearful cartoon dog Scooby Doo, said that the shop was infringing upon its “valuable intellectual property rights”. The diner, which has been running for eight years, will now rewrite its signage in a bid to avoid further legal costs, which have already run into tens of thousands of pounds.
The leader of the UK’s National Hairdressers Federation (NHF) has scorned EU plans to prohibit hair styling professionals from wearing “unhygienic” jewellery and tottering high heels to work. Under proposals cobbled together by European hairdressing bodies and the European Commission, stylists would also be required to gossip and chatter while going about their work for their clients’ “mental wellbeing”. NHF secretary general Eileen Lawson said: “When money is tight and jobs so important the last thing we need is more expensive bureaucracy.”