Daily Digest

Dear Colleague,


Italy opens probe into Ryanair hand luggage charges (BBC)


Italy's competition watchdog has opened an inquiry into Ryanair's decision to charge people to take hand luggage on to the plane. Antitrust said hand luggage was "an essential element of transport" and should be included in the ticket price. From November, passengers will still be able to take a small personal bag into the cabin, as long as it fits under the seat in front. But they will have to pay €9 (£8) to take on a 10kg (22lb) bag. Antitrust said Ryanair's new policy could amount to unfair commercial practice in that it distorts the final price of the ticket and does not allow a true comparison with other airlines' prices. Italian consumer associations had complained to Antitrust about the Ryanair decision. "If its unfair commercial practice on hand luggage is confirmed, Ryanair... should reimburse all its customers who suffer unfair additional costs," the association Codacons said, promising to take the matter to court if necessary. Read more: 

Technical issues affecting Ulster Bank and Nat West services (RTE)

Ulster Bank has said it is having technical issues and has advised customers that they may be unable to access some services. "We're aware of some issues on our Anytime and Mobile Banking services and are working hard to fix them. Telephone Banking and ATMs are available. Sorry and thanks for your patience," the bank tweeted earlier. It is the latest in a series of technical issues the bank has reported in recent years. In the UK, Ulster Bank's parent, Royal Bank of Scotland, said it was working to fix issues with its Nat West online and mobile banking services. RBS is the fourth financial services firm to suffer an outage in the UK this week, with Barclays, the Co-operative Bank and Fintech company, Cashplus, all apologising to their customers for disruptions to their services. Read more:

Fitness wearables could form part of Irish life insurance (Irish Examiner)

Irish insurers may examine the use of fitness trackers and wearable devices to determine insurance policies in the future, an industry body has said. Insurance Ireland was reacting as US giant John Hancock said it will stop underwriting traditional life insurance and instead sell only interactive policies that track fitness and health data through wearable devices and smartphones. John Hancock unveiled its first interactive life insurance policy in 2015. It is now applying the model across all of its life coverage. Interactive life insurance is already well-established in South Africa and Britain and is becoming more widespread in the US. Policyholders score premium discounts for hitting exercise targets tracked on wearable devices such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch. Proponents say policyholders are incentivised to adopt healthy habits and insurance companies collect more premiums and pay less in claims if customers live longer. Critics argue insurers may eventually use data to select the most profitable customers, while hiking rates for those who are not. Read more: 

Staff at Tyrone exporter advised to apply for Irish passports (Irish Times)


A Tyrone exporter that employs 500 people has asked eligible staff to apply for Irish passports as part of its Brexit planning. Brendan McGurgan, group managing director of Cookstown-headquartered CDE Global, said the passport advice was just one aspect of the company’s preparations for the UK leaving the EU. CDE Global manufactures wet processing equipment for a wide range of industries including the mining, sand and aggregates and environmental sectors. Its workforce stretches from Europe to Australia and the Middle East and from Africa to Russia. Mr McGurgan told a group of Northern Ireland business leaders at a Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) business briefing in Belfast on Thursday that as well as encouraging CDE staff to take Irish passports, the group has also been considering how it might avoid shipping and transporting its products through England after next March. In addition, it has been examining the impact any new tariff arrangements might have on its long-term future. Read more: 


Currency moves to knock £175m off Diageo sales (Business World)


Spirits maker Diageo Plc on Thursday forecast a much bigger than previously expected hit from foreign exchange movements this year after weeks of volatility on emerging markets driven by rising U.S. and European interest rates. Diageo, the world's largest distributor of spirits with operations across 180 countries, said it expected currency effects to knock £175 million off net sales, compared to a previous estimate of £70 million. The British maker of Guinness, Johnnie Walker Scotch and Smirnoff vodka said that would also wipe £45 million off its full-year profits, up from a previous estimate of £10 million. "In recent weeks, we have experienced some increased emerging market foreign exchange volatility, which has been partially offset by a strengthening of the dollar," Chief Executive Ivan Menezes said in an update ahead of its 2018 meeting of shareholders. Read more: 

And Finally..

All the plastic you can and cannot recycle (BBC)

Most people are trying their best to recycle plastic - but the many different ways in which recycling is collected by different councils across the UK has left them confused. What can be recycled and what can't? We are putting more plastic in the recycling than ever before - but pictures of sea life tangled in all manner of waste plastic mean the pressure is on to do more. The government is now considering changing the way plastic is recycled in England. In the rest of the UK the strategy for recycling is a devolved issue. Each council collects their plastic recycling differently. BBC analysis shows there are 39 different sets of rules for what can be put in plastic recycling collections: Around the UK, all four nations are hoping to improve their recycling rates. The review by the government may change the target for recycling in England, but currently the aim is that 50% of waste will be recycled by 2020. Scotland has a target to recycle 70% of waste by 2025 as does Wales. Northern Ireland has a proposal that 60% of municipal waste is recycled by 2020. Read more: