IKEA has become the latest company to temporarily close all stores and factories in Russia since the country invaded Ukraine.
Joining what is a fast-growing collection of Western companies, notably including M&S, Volkswagen Group, Expedia, Diageo, H&M, and even Manchester-based fashion retailer Boohoo, Swedish furniture giant IKEA has confirmed that it has halted all operations at its 17 outlets across Russia, which is said to affect 15,000 workers.
Production at three IKEA manufacturing sites in Russia will also be paused, and all imports and exports in and out of the country, as well as for its ally Belarus, will be halted.
The retailer has however opted to keep its ‘Mega’ shopping centres open to allow access to essential retailers.
This announcement was said to have prompted a rush of shoppers at the stores due to close.
As reported by The Guardian, brand owner Inter Ikea and store owner Ingka Group both said they had “secured employment and income stability” for the workers directly impacted by the decision to halt operations, including its 416 co-workers in Ukraine, where its one store and online operations have been suspended since the start of the invasion on 24 February.
IKEA has had a presence in Russia since 2000, and is understood to be one of its largest western employers across the country.
Speaking on the decision to temporarily close stores and factories in Russia, a spokesperson for IKEA said: “The war has a huge human impact already and it is also resulting in serious disruptions to supply chain and trading conditions, [so] for all of these reasons, the company groups have decided to temporarily pause Ikea operations in Russia.”
As mentioned, IKEA is one of the latest retailers to suspend operations in Russia, and joins a number of high-profile companies that have already taken similar steps.
M&S said it has suspended shipments to its Turkish franchisee’s business in Russia – which has 48 stores and 1,200 employees – with the retailer explaining: “We are building on our existing support for Unicef’s UK’s Ukraine appeal with a £1.5m package to support the UN Refugee Agency and Unicef to help children and families in need.”
It also said it was sending £500,000 worth of coats and thermals to Ukraine, where it ceased operations at 10 stores a week ago.
Car manufacturer Volkswagen Group announced it had stopped production of vehicles in Russia until further notice, as has Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, and Renault, while drinks company Diageo – which most-notably makes Smirnoff vodka – said it had paused exports to Russia and Ukraine, and online booking firm Expedia became one of the first travel companies to stop selling travel in and out of Russia.
Additionally, earlier in the week, a significant number of fashion brands made the decision to place various sanctions on Russia.
On Wednesday, the British online retailers Boohoo and ASOS announced they had suspended sales in the country, as did the Swedish clothing giant H&M, Spanish fashion retailer Mango, and sportswear giant Nike, while Adidas has made the decision to suspend its partnership with the Russian Football Union.
Tech giant Apple is pausing sales, and Meta said it had stopped recommending content from Russian state media to all users of Facebook, with Instagram set to follow.
The Walt Disney Company, Sony, and Warner Bros are pausing their release of films in Russia, and Netflix also announced it has no plans to distribute news, sport, and entertainment channels from Russian state media.
Featured Image – Wikimedia Commons
Police search for Moors murder victim Keith Bennett resumes as ‘skull is found’
Police are back searching for Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett after a skull was reportedly found.
12-year-old Keith was snatched by notorious serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964.
The pair’s victims were five children, Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans, all aged between 10 and 17 years old at the time of their murder.
The victims were buried on Saddleworth Moor, but Keith’s remains have never been found.
Now a major breakthrough may have come from an author, Russell Edwards, who alerted police to ‘potential human remains in a remote location’.
Specialist GMP officers have now begun initial exploration activity but say it is ‘far too early’ to confirm if human remains have been discovered.
Officers have also updated Keith’s brother Alan Bennett, who was just eight years old when his sibling vanished and who has dedicated much of his life to solving the mystery of the missing body.
MP Force Review Officer Martin Bottomley said: “At around 11.25am on Thursday 29 September 2022, Greater Manchester Police was contacted by the representative of an author who has been researching the murder of Keith Bennett, a victim of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.
“Following direct contact with the author, we were informed that he had discovered what he believes are potential human remains in a remote location on the Moors and he agreed to meet with officers yesterday afternoon to elaborate on his find and direct us to a site of interest.
“The site was assessed late last night and, this morning, specialist officers have begun initial exploration activity. We are in the very early stages of assessing the information which has been brought to our attention but have made the decision to act on it in line with a normal response to a report of this kind.
“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been discovered and this is expected to take some time.
“We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family. As such, we have informed his brother of the potential development – he does not wish to be contacted at this time and asks that his privacy is respected.”
A further GMP statement published by the Manchester Evening Newsadded: “We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family.
“Officers met with Mr Edwards yesterday evening (29th September) and he was able to locate a site of interest and provide us with further details of the work he has been carrying out.
“We are at the very early stages of assessing the evidence which he brought to our attention, but have taken the decision to excavate an area of land with a view to determining what lies there.
“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been uncovered, but out of respect for Alan Bennett, who we regularly maintain contact with, we have informed him of this potential development.
“Alan does not wish to be disturbed at this time and we would ask that his request for privacy is respected.”
Featured image: GMP
Question Time audience stunned as first-time buyer says mortgage quote DOUBLED
Thursday night’s Question Time audience could be heard audibly gasping after a fellow crowd member revealed that her mortgage quote had doubled followed the recent mini-budget.
Taping in Manchester on 29 September, the current events and politics programme was discussing property when would-be first-time buyer Rabia revealed that her mortgage offer had jumped from an initial amount of 4.5% interest to a shocking 10.5% in just a matter of days.
As you can see in the incredible clip, both the audience and the panel are taken aback at the revelation.
The Greater Manchester resident said she is desperate to know what the government’s plan for mortgages is as following the latest revision, she says she simply cannot afford to put the money down on her first home.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer weighed in on the social media reaction, quote tweeting the clip from his party’s own account and stating that “the Tories must get back to Parliament and reverse their kamikaze budget” as the current economic mess is being “paid for by working people”.
To make matters worse, Rabia was given no clarification from her lenders, only that they were pulling her offers. Conservative MP and Minister for Local Government, Faith and Communities, Paul Scully had little information to offer her either, simply stating it is a short-term effect and that the market will stabilise.
Scully was subject to an entirely different reaction from the audience as well after his blind attempts to defend Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng were met with laughter. Conversely, Richard Bacon was met with applause after he labelled the mini-budget “absurd”.
As if the anti-Tory sentiment wasn’t already at a high, the chancellor’s mini-budget – which saw the corporations, bankers and the generally wealthy benefit ahead of the working class – has seen fresh calls for a general election to be held as soon as possible.
Beyond declaring a so-called £2,500 limit on energy bills (which many have warned isn’t a guaranteed cap), there was seemingly very little in the way of policy that
For those still unclear as to what was announced in the divisive mini-budget, here is a quick summary:
Speaking in a speech at the Labour conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, Starmer said that the government “haven’t just failed to fix the roof, they’ve ripped out the foundations, smashed the windows and now they’ve blown the doors off for good measure.