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Philip Hammond adds cryptocurrency role to post-Treasury jobs list

Philip Hammond

Philip Hammond adds cryptocurrency role to post-Treasury jobs list

The former chancellor Philip Hammond has added another job to the dozen or so he has taken on since leaving the Treasury in 2019, this time as an adviser to a Mayfair-based cryptocurrency trading firm.

Lord Hammond, who also served as foreign secretary and was an early supporter of bitcoin and other digital currencies, joined Copper.co with immediate effect on Monday.

The former chancellor, who was said to be one of the wealthiest ever cabinet ministers with a fortune once estimated at £8.2m, has taken up as many as 14 paid and unpaid jobs since leaving politics after a bust-up with Boris Johnson over Brexit.

Hammond was last month criticised by Westminster’s lobbying watchdog for using his government connections to assist OakNorth, a bank he is paid to advise.

Eric Pickles, a former cabinet colleague who chairs the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba), said it was an unwise step for Hammond to contact a senior Treasury official about a project developed by OakNorth.

Lord Pickles said Hammond’s use of his contacts in government was not consistent with the intention of the rules and was not acceptable because of “the privileged access you obtained for OakNorth”.

Hammond, who also served as defence secretary, was later cleared of breaching lobbying rules after an investigation by the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists (ORCL), an independent body that monitors lobbying activities of former ministers and senior civil servants.

ORCL accepted Hammond’s argument that, since lobbying was not his main activity, there was no need for him to register as a lobbyist working on behalf of a third party.

Copper said Hammond would focus on “promoting the UK as a global leader in digital asset technology”. The firm, which was founded in 2018, recently announced plans to expand into the US and Asia and secured $75m (£55m) of investment from the British billionaire hedge fund manager Alan Howard and the venture capital firms Dawn Capital and Target Global.

Hammond said Copper was a “true pioneer” of crypto and digital asset investment technology. “But the really exciting opportunity lies in the application of this technology to revolutionise the way financial services are delivered,” he said. “If we can bring together the best of Britain – entrepreneurs, industry, government, and regulators – to create and enable a blockchain-based ecosystem for financial services, we will secure the UK’s global leadership in this field for decades ahead.”

Dmitry Tokarev, the chief executive of Copper, said: “We would like to drive growth in our client base within a regulatory framework which will allow us to thrive globally from our London headquarters. With Lord Hammond’s expertise adding to the strength of our team, we look forward to growing Copper and further enhancing the UK’s digital asset technology offering.”

As chancellor, Hammond had called for light-touch regulations for cryptocurrencies. “I am interested in bitcoin. The Bank of England, as you know, among the central banks, has been leading on looking at bitcoin,” he said in 2018. “What is really important is that in regulating cryptocurrencies, we don’t inadvertently constrain the potential of the technology that underlies it, the blockchain technology, which has a wider and more important application.”

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Supreme Court Dismisses Suit Challenging Adeleke’s Candidacy

The Supreme Court has affirmed Ademola Adeleke as the authentic candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the just concluded Osun State Governorship Election.

This has laid to rest the suit filed by Dotun Babayemi, a governorship aspirant of the party who sought the invalidation of Adeleke’s victory.

In a judgement delivered by Justice Amina Augie, the five-member panel held that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit after counsel for the appellant, Adebayo Adelodun, withdrew the earlier notice of appeal that was filed within time.

At the resumed hearing, Adelodun, who represented the appellant and Babayemi informed the court that he sought to withdraw the earlier notice of appeal to replace it with the fresh application he filed.

But the panel held that Section 285(11) of the constitution stipulated that an appeal on a pre-election matter must be filed within 14 days from the day of the decision, and that having filed the second appeal out of time, the apex court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Justice Augie, therefore, dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

Babayemi had asked the court to invalidate the primary election that produced the governor-elect, citing non-compliance with a court order.

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400 Staff To Lose Jobs As BBC Goes Digital

The British Broadcasting Corporation BBC world service has on Thursday disclosed that about 400 of its staff will lose their jobs as part of a cost-cutting programme and move to digital platforms,

The BBC said its international services needed to make savings of £28.5 million ($31 million) as part of wider reductions of £500 million.

In July it detailed plans to merge BBC World News television and its domestic UK equivalent into a single channel to launch in April next year.

BBC World Service currently operates in 40 languages around the world with a weekly audience of some 364 million people.

But the corporation said audience habits were changing and more people were accessing news online, which along with a freeze on BBC funding and increased operating costs meant a move to “digital-first” made financial sense.

BBC World Service director Liliane Landor said there was a “compelling case” for expanding digital services, as audiences had more than doubled since 2018.

“The way audiences are accessing news and content is changing and the challenge of reaching and engaging people around the world with quality, trusted journalism is growing,” she added.

 

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Environment

Hurricane Ian: Cities flooded and power cut as storm crosses Florida

Hurricane Ian: Cities flooded and power cut as storm crosses Florida

Hurricane Ian made landfall at around 15:10 local time (19:10 GMT) on Wednesday, smashing into the coast with wind speeds of up to 241km/h (150mph).

Dramatic scenes saw a hospital roof blown off, cars submerged and trees ripped out of the ground.

The category four hurricane was later downgraded to a tropical storm.

However, Floridians were warned that the most dangerous 24 hours lay ahead and the mayor of Tampa urged people to shelter in place through the night into Thursday morning.

“We are going to get the majority of the rain and the higher winds starting about 20:00, and they are going to last throughout the night,” Jane Castor said during a Wednesday evening briefing.

In a message posted on Facebook, the Weather Prediction Center told residents in the Central Florida Peninsula to expect “widespread life-threatening, catastrophic flash and urban flooding” continuing into Friday morning, with potentially up to 76cm (30ins) of rain falling locally.

Residents were ordered to leave their homes, but many have decided to remain and seek shelter indoors.

Mark Pritchett, who lives in the city of Venice, some 95km (60 miles) south of Tampa, described the “terrifying” moment he stepped outside his home as the hurricane made its way across the Gulf of Mexico.

“Rain shooting like needles. My street is a river,” he said in a text message to the Associated Press news agency.

In Lee County – the south-west region where Ian made landfall – police were prevented from responding to reports of looting at a petrol station because of the storm damage.

As a result, a curfew has been declared “until further notice”.

Lee County Manager Roger Desjarlais said that the Fort Myers community had “been – to some extent – decimated”. According to news agency AFP, some neighbourhoods in the city of 80,000 had been left resembling lakes.

State Governor Ron DeSantis described Ian as the “biggest flood event” south-west Florida had ever seen, and announced that 7,000 National Guard troops are ready to lead rescue operations in flood zones.

President Joe Biden will receive a briefing on Thursday from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Ian is now continuing to move north through Florida. Jacksonville International Airport, based in north-east Florida, cancelled all flights scheduled for Thursday.

The storm is forecast to emerge into the Atlantic by Thursday morning.

It is expected to reach Georgia and South Carolina on Friday. Virginia has also joined Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida by declaring a state of emergency.

Cuba’s western coast was hit by Hurricane Ian on Tuesday. Power has now been restored in some areas after the island was plunged into a total blackout. Two people are understood to have been killed in Cuba and more than 20 Cuban migrants are believed to be missing at sea.

Predicted path of Hurricane Ian. Updated 27 September

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