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The secret to talking to the French – what to say, and the topics to avoid

The dinner party was going OK. Our American and French guests were getting to know one another. Right around the arrival of the pork fillet, conversation turned to water and then to water softeners, for ours is a devil-may-care household. Things were, though, about to go belly-up. One American friend had lately bagged a contract …

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Record wage growth sparks inflation fears as minister expresses ‘surprise’ at Bailey food warning

Andrew Bailey has raised ministers’ eyebrows for warning of “apocalyptic” food shortages as record wage growth raises fears that a dangerous inflationary spiral is taking hold in the economy. Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland Secretary, expressed “surprise” at the Bank of England Governor’s comments about rising costs caused by the war in Ukraine blocking exports …

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British telecoms giants accused of plotting to destroy Phones4U

Top executives at some of Britain’s biggest mobile phone networks brazenly plotted to destroy the high street chain Phones4U and boost their own profit margins, a court heard. Bosses at EE, Vodafone and O2 had “nakedly anti-competitive” conversations with each other as they schemed to remove Phones4U from the market, London’s High Court was told. …

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Massive wave of rail strikes spark fear for food supply

Rail reforms being considered fit into four broad sections: pensions reform, reducing headcount, agreeing new pay deals and plans to shut hundreds of train station ticket offices. A Government source says: “It’s very strongly felt… that we need to create a railway system that’s sustainable for the future. We’ve got to create a railway that …

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How the West can make Putin pay for what he’s done to Ukraine

Yulia Svyrydenko, Ukraine’s minister of economic development and trade, says that with the Black Sea effectively closed off by Russian ships, the country must build more links west. “Our major task now is to upgrade and increase the throughput capacity of our railways, roads, highways,” she told a recent conference on reconstruction in Warsaw. The …

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BlackRock ditches green activism over Russia energy fears

BlackRock has warned it will vote against most shareholder green activism this year for being too extreme, in a significant u-turn by the world’s biggest money manager. The company said it was concerned about proposals to stop financing fossil fuel companies, including forcing them to decommission assets and setting absolute targets for reducing emissions in …

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