Coles issues an apology for breaching its commitment to price-lock guarantees, deeming the situation “unacceptable.”

Coles, the supermarket giant, faces accusations of letting down customers by acknowledging a breach of its price-lock commitment, confessing to raising prices on items it had pledged to keep unchanged. The grocery chain has issued an apology and plans to reimburse thousands of affected customers, attributing the incident to an "error" that led to price increases on 20 items. Consumer group Choice criticized Coles, asserting that compensation was only initiated after the group lodged a complaint with[more...]

The European Union has successfully negotiated an agreement on the world’s inaugural regulations for artificial intelligence.

European Union negotiators have secured a groundbreaking agreement on the world's inaugural comprehensive regulations for artificial intelligence, marking a significant step towards legal oversight of technology. The accord addresses various contentious issues, including generative AI and the use of facial recognition surveillance by law enforcement. After intense closed-door negotiations lasting 22 hours and a subsequent round, European Commissioner Thierry Breton announced the tentative political agreement, making the EU the first continent to establish clear rules for AI[more...]

Oil prices hit a six-month low due to a bleak economic outlook and an abundance of U.S. supply.

Oil prices reached six-month lows on Thursday amid concerns over sluggish energy demand in the United States and China, coupled with sustained high output levels from the U.S. Brent crude futures experienced a 25-cent decline, reaching $74.05 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures saw a 4-cent drop, settling at $69.34. These figures represent the lowest prices for both benchmarks since late June. The start of the week witnessed front-month Brent prices trading at a[more...]

Superannuation funds and banks are gearing up to provide an increased range of financial advice shortly.

Australians are set to have more accessible basic personal financial advice through federal government reforms, with super funds, banks, and insurers expected to play a larger role. The overhaul of financial advice regulations aims to reduce the cost of straightforward financial guidance, especially benefiting the approximately five million Australians nearing retirement. The reforms will introduce a new category of advisers qualified to assist individuals with fundamental aspects, such as pension eligibility. These advisers are likely to be[more...]

McDonald’s is set to introduce a trial of a retro-style store called ‘CosMc’s,’ but there are currently no intentions to expand this concept to Australia.

McDonald's is unveiling a novel retro-style restaurant named CosMc's, emphasizing coffee and specialty beverages in a strategic move to compete with rivals like Starbucks. The fast-food giant will initiate the CosMc's trial in Bolingbrook, Illinois, this month, with plans to introduce 10 additional stores in Texas next year. As of now, McDonald's Australia has no intentions of introducing CosMc's Down Under. The menu for this venture includes specialty lemonades, teas, and blended drinks featuring unique flavors like[more...]

The United Nations aid chief notes encouraging indications regarding the opening of a new crossing to Gaza.

The United Nations aid chief, Martin Griffiths, has indicated the potential opening of the Karem Abu Salem crossing, known as Kerem Shalom in Israel, connecting Israel and Gaza for increased humanitarian aid to the war-torn Palestinian territory. While still in negotiations, Griffiths expressed optimism during a press briefing in Geneva on Thursday, stating, "There are promising signs now that that may be able to open soon." Currently, aid is entering Gaza through the Rafah crossing on the[more...]

Widespread power outages affect thousands, prompting the declaration of total fire bans due to the onslaught of extreme heat.

Inland Australia is grappling with severe heat, causing power outages, heightened bushfire risks, and potential record-breaking temperatures, particularly impacting New South Wales and South Australia. Challenging weather conditions in South Australia have left thousands without power, with firefighters battling to control bushfires ignited by over 30,000 lightning strikes in the past 24 hours. Although more than 13,000 homes experienced power losses, approximately 7,800 are still without electricity, and restoration is not expected until 2 am. While containment[more...]

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has reported that 5% of mortgage borrowers are spending more than their income, yet the institution does not express concern regarding potential default risks.

Speaking at a banking conference at Sydney University, Andrea Brischetto, the head of financial stability at the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), reassured that the bank's internal research indicates that the majority of borrowers can comfortably manage their mortgages at the current interest rates. She noted that slightly over 20% of borrowers are presumed to allocate more than 30% of their income to mortgage payments. However, a significantly lower proportion, around 5%, is estimated to face income[more...]

France is set to prohibit smoking on beaches and in public parks.

France is set to implement a ban on smoking at beaches and public parks, according to the country's health minister, who unveiled a series of measures aimed at preventing 75,000 tobacco-related deaths annually. As part of the government's broader plan to combat smoking and work toward a "tobacco-free generation by 2032," French Health Minister Aurélien Rousseau announced the upcoming prohibition of smoking in various public spaces, including beaches, public parks, forests, and areas near schools. While an[more...]

Airplanes, trains, and ships: The advantages of journeying on Christmas Day.

Escaping during Christmas poses its challenges, given the peak season rush and widespread travel plans. However, with careful planning, it can turn into an enjoyable experience. Whether you're seeking a festive ambiance leading up to the 25th or opting to completely evade the holiday hustle, consider these options to inspire your travel plans. Ditch the holiday stress, family gatherings, and expenses by taking a flight on December 25th. Despite the skepticism, with strategic timing, you can still[more...]