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Jamie Oliver restaurant to leave 1.300 jobs at risk.

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Source: BBC

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has said he is “saddened” after his restaurant group went into administration, putting up to 1,300 jobs at risk.

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The group, which includes the Jamie’s Italian chain, Barbecoa and Fifteen, has appointed KPMG as administrators.

In total, 25 restaurants are affected by the move, 23 of which are from the Jamie’s Italian chain.

Mr Oliver said: “I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected.”

Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall at Watergate Bay, which operates under a franchise, is unaffected, as are overseas branches of Jamie’s Italian.

Mr Oliver added: “I would also like to thank all the customers who have enjoyed and supported us over the last decade, it’s been a real pleasure serving you.

We launched Jamie’s Italian in 2008 with the intention of positively disrupting mid-market dining in the UK High Street, with great value and much higher quality ingredients, best-in-class animal welfare standards and an amazing team who shared my passion for great food and service. And we did exactly that.

Restaurant closures had not been officially announced on Tuesday afternoon, but notices in the windows of some branches said they had already closed.

The Unite union said the development was a “devastating blow for the chain’s hardworking and loyal workforce”.

“Restaurants are not being helped by the current economic uncertainty, although those businesses like Jamie Oliver’s that dashed for expansion in recent years seem particularly precarious. As ever, it is the workers at the restaurant and in the supply chain who bear the heavy cost of boardroom decisions.”

The union also asked for assurances assurances that staff will be “protected and paid all the money they’re owed, including wages, holiday and redundancy”.

“Faced with higher rent, rising food prices and increased competition, restaurants need a point of difference – it’s no coincidence that smaller brands with the freedom and flexibility to keep things fresh are currently the ones performing well.”


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24 Hours Across Africa

Cameroon crisis: Ambazonia separatists get life sentences

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A leader of Cameroon’s separatist movement, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, and nine of his followers have been given life sentences by a military court in the capital, Yaoundé.

They were convicted of rebellion, among other charges.

Their lawyers accused the judge of bias and withdrew from the proceedings.

The English-speaking separatists argue they are marginalised by the bureaucracy and school system in the majority French-speaking country.

The defendants had been arrested in Nigeria in January 2018 and deported back to Cameroon.

The court session on the verdicts, which started on Monday, went on until 05:30 (04:30 GMT) local time Tuesday morning, reports the BBC’s Leocadio Bongben.

By that time the defence lawyers had already withdrawn from the proceedings but continued to stay in the court as spectators.

Defence barrister Joseph Fru said there were irregularities in the proceedings, including the judge’s biases, but the military court rejected his evidence.

The long list of charges included rebellion, complicity in terrorism, financing terrorism, revolution, insurrection, hostility against the state, propagation of fake news and lack of identification.

The court also ordered the 10 to pay a fine of 250bn CFA francs ($422m; £359m) to the government for civil damages and 12bn CFA francs for court costs.

What’s happening in Cameroon?

Among the 10 who were convicted was Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, the leader of the so-called Governing Council of Ambazonia – the name separatists have given to Cameroon’s Anglophone North-West and South-West regions.

Cameroon’s English-speakers say they have been marginalised for decades by the central government and the French-speaking majority.

The current crisis started in 2016 when lawyers and teachers went on strike over the use of French in courts and schools.

In October 2017, activists declared autonomy over the two English-speaking regions – a move rejected by Cameroon’s President Paul Biya.

Some took up arms in 2017 and the crisis has forced more than 500,000 people from their homes.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Saudi Arabia implements end to travel restrictions for Saudi women: agency

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Reuters – Saudi Arabia has begun implementing previously announced changes that allow adult women to travel without permission and to exercise more control over family matters, state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday.

“The passports and civil status departments and their branches in all regions of the kingdom have started to implement the amendments stipulated in the royal decree,” the report said, citing an interior ministry source.

Reporting by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Gareth Jones

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