United Kingdom

Kimberly Redmond | |

Major UK-based passenger airlines are blasting the UK’s "traffic signal" plan to restart international travel, saying onerous testing and quarantine requirements will deter people from flying and further hurt an already struggling industry.

Under the system announced Friday by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, destinations around the world would be color coded based on their COVID-19 risk level.

Kimberly Redmond | |

The United Kingdom’s economy ended 2020 stronger than previously thought but still suffered one of its biggest declines in output in more than three centuries, according to newly-revised official data.

In updated figures released Wednesday, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that the British economy contracted by 19.5% during the second quarter, the first full quarter of mandated COVID-19 lockdowns, worse than the 19% initial estimate.

Reuters | |

A specialist London court will this week reconsider allowing an historic 14 billion pound ($19 billion) class action against Mastercard to proceed, which could entitle adults in Britain to about 300 pounds each if successful.

Former financial ombudsman Walter Merricks, who alleges that Mastercard overcharged more than 46 million people in Britain over nearly 16 years, hopes the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) will certify the case after the UK Supreme Court overruled objections to it proceeding in December.

Kimberly Redmond | |

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is investigating whether or not Penguin Random House LLC’s proposed $2.18 billion acquisition of Simon & Schuster could damage the book publishing industry.

The CMA said Monday it is examining whether or not the deal, which would make Penguin Random House the world’s biggest book publisher, would result in a “substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”

Reuters | |

LONDON (Reuters) - Criminal money laundering charges against British state-backed bank NatWest are linked to a separate case against 13 individuals based in cities across the country, prosecutors have told Reuters.

Britain’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), started a criminal action against NatWest on Tuesday, making it the first bank to be charged under a 2007 money laundering law.

Reuters | |

Britain will grow its nuclear warhead stockpile by more than 40% to ensure its security in a riskier global environment and as it faces new technological threats, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.

The country had previously been reducing its nuclear weapons stockpile, and in 2010, the government set a cap of 180 warheads for the mid-2020 period. Johnson scrapped the earlier limit and said the number would now rise to a maximum of 260.

AP News | |

Prince William insisted Thursday that his family is not racist as he became the first British royal to speak out about accusations of bigotry made by Prince Harry and Meghan, his brother and sister-in-law.

William made the comments in response to questions shouted at him by reporters during a visit to an East London school. While members of the royal family often ignore such queries, William used the opportunity to address the explosive allegations that have rocked the monarchy.

AP News | |

In countries with historic ties to Britain, allegations by Prince Harry and Meghan that an unnamed member of the royal family had “concerns” over how dark their unborn baby’s skin might be have raised a thorny question: Do those nations really want to be so closely connected to Britain and its royal family anymore?

It was expected the interview would expose more rifts in the royal family. Now it seems to be risking divisions within the “family” of the Commonwealth — an association of 54 countries, most of them former British colonies, held together by historic ties. For decades, Queen Elizabeth II has been the driving force behind the Commonwealth.

Reuters | |

Britain’s competition regulator said on Thursday it has opened an investigation into Apple Inc after complaints that the iPhone maker’s terms and conditions for app developers are unfair and anti-competitive.

The probe will consider if Apple has a dominant position in the distribution of apps on its devices in the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said.

Reuters | | Inc will open its first-ever physical store outside the United States on Thursday.

The world’s largest online retailer said the cashierless store, dubbed “Amazon Fresh,” is located in Britain, in the London Borough of Ealing. It will carry a private UK food brand it’s calling “by Amazon” and will let consumers skip the checkout line when they shop.