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Bitesized Blighty: November 23, 2018

Mark Rapaport

The Big Tulip!

  • The Gherkin, aka 30 St Mary Ave, could soon get a taller and leaner neighbor, if The City of London Corporation approves the developer’s planning proposal. J Safra Group, the group responsible for The Gherkin, submitted a proposal on Monday for ‘The Tulip’, a £305 million viewing tower, which at 1,000 ft will be nearly double the height of The Gherkin. The Tulip, designed by Foster + Partners, aims to be both a tourist attraction, with a restaurant and bar, and an educational attraction. It will include a learning facility offering 20,000 free places to London’s state school children where the city’s history is brought to life. If the City grants permission, construction will begin in 2020 with the developer promising a ‘minimal’ building footprint in constructing what they envision will be a “state-of-the-art classroom in the sky to appreciate London’s history and dynamism”. The Tulip will open in 2025. See here for detailed architectural information and design photos.

Facebook in local news business!

  • Facebook has launched a new scheme aimed at training local newspapers’ reporters in small communities across the UK. Facebook is offering £4.5m ($5.7m) to local newspaper groups with the hopes of combating the closure of local newspapers and the dwindling number of beat reporters. The scheme will hire 80 people to train community reporters over a period of two years and seeks to foster a mutually beneficial partnership with news organisations, encourage the creation of ‘great content’ that will snag the attention of large number of audiences, and increase their revenue. However, the announcement has been met with some skepticism, given that the closure of local papers and decline in the number of reporters can be attributed to fact that news content and advertising revenue have been being lost to platforms like Facebook. This scheme may also be the social media giant’s attempt to clean up its reputation following global headlines and discussions about the platform serving as a medium for promoting fake news in various countries.

Shall we just dub it Cyber Friday?

  • Brits may have tentatively adopted the American shopping traditions in recent years, but it appears bargain hunters have been put off by the unsatisfactory discounts offered by retailers on Black Friday. This year, Black Friday has been far from the frenzied stampede, as it appears shoppers have chosen to shop from the comfort and isolation of their laptops, desktops and mobile devices. Overnight online shopping from Thursday night through Monday morning has reportedly been higher than expected even as high streets and shopping centres remain quiet with a slow start to the bargain shopping day. Whether you cop your bargain online at ASOS or choose to brave the frigid weather for a third or half off on Oxford Street, British shoppers are forecast to spend more than £1.5 billon this Black Friday.

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