The week in news

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Sky’s shut down of door-to-door sales by its staff following mis-selling claims, Honda’s recall of nearly 2m cars due to an airbag scare and the millions lost by retailers due to England’s ignominious World Cup exit, all made the news this week. Jermaine Haughton picks his top five headlines

1.     Business counts the cost of England’s early World Cup   exit

Not only did Uruguayian striker Luis Suarez’s sublime brace put an end to England’s disastrous World Cup campaign, it also lost supermarkets, pubs and retailers millions in revenue according to new research. England’s first two games of the tournament brought whole cities to a standstill, with large queues for venues showing the games on big screens. JD Sports said it achieved larger-than-expected sales, John Lewis’s TV demand rose sharply and Waitrose saw beer sales jump by 50%.

However, with the national team crashing out early in a humiliating fashion, retailers’ hopes of taking a slice of the predicted £1bn generated in the UK if England had got beyond the group stage, according, is merely wishful thinking.

2.     Sky to end door-to-door sales after allegations of mis-selling

Following the Guardian’s revelation of claims that salesmen representing the multi-media conglomerate had misled households into buying Sky TV, phone and broadband packages, Sky is set to close its whole UK-wide door-to-door sales department called Sky Walkers initiative. The decision will result in the loss of up to 600 jobs. Agents also claimed that they were encouraged to target the elderly and young unemployed parents on the grounds that they were an “easy sell”. It is understood Sky will rely on other forms of selling, including online marketing and telesales, to sign up new customers in future.

3.     Jersey aims to Rule Bitcoinnia

Despite its links to hackers and banned sites, Bitcoins have become hot commodity in the past five years. Now campaigners in Jersey, the largest Channel Island, have set their sights on the destination becoming the main trading hub.

Famous for its beaches, royal potatoes and for former resident novelist George Eliot, Bit.Coin.Je co-founder Robbie Andrews believes businesses using the cryptocurrency will benefit from Jersey’s high rate of smartphone ownership, forthcoming 4G connectivity and relatively lenient regulatory environment.

Jersey authorities back the bid, with the Treasury and Resources Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf saying Bitcoin businesses are “a sector that could hold significant opportunities for Jersey. We are keen to support local businesses by helping to create a well-regulated and responsive environment for investment in the sector”.

4.     Honda forced to pull 2m cars worldwide after safety fears

Petrolheads can perhaps be excused for being mystified by the decline in the quality of Japanese automakers, as Honda became the latest carmaker to recall millions of cars due to a hazardous technical fault caused by its main supplier.

In the UK, 45,000 Honda cars, including the Accord, Civic, CR-V and Jazz, are affected by the recall which has been caused by problems with an airbag in another manufacturer’s vehicle but made by its supplier Takata. Nissan also recalled 755,000 cars globally on Monday, while Toyota and Mazda have made similar moves this month.

The latest fault regards small amounts of metal fragments hitting the windscreen or the footwell as the airbag is inflated.

5.     Google and Microsoft to introduce ‘kill-switch’ to make stealing a phone pointless

One of the most annoying experiences is losing your phone, even more so if it’s stolen from you.
All those photos, contacts, apps and customised settings and the hundreds of pounds invested into your device – gone. Not too mention the hours of your day which you will have to fill using your interim pre-smartphone device.

However, Google and Microsoft are set to introduce a ‘kill-switch’ feature on smartphones using their operating system, effectively shutting down the device and making stealing a handset pretty pointless. The update is expected to be released by Summer 2015.

Apple has already implemented similar auto-theft features allowing owners to remove all data and information in the event of their devices being stolen, and has since reported a decline in smartphone-related crime.

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Jermaine Haughton is a journalist and digital media professional.

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