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Blockchain guarantee for diamond’s purity

Anglo American’s diamond unit De Beers aims to launch the first industry-wide blockchain this year to track gems each time they change hands starting from the moment they are dug from the ground, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond producer by the value of its gems, has led industry efforts to verify the authenticity of diamonds and ensure they are not from conflict zones where gems could be used to finance violence.

NRI Yusuffali acquires iconic Scottish hotel

Leading NRI businessman Yusuffali MA has acquired an iconic Scottish hotel based in Edinburgh in a $120 million deal clinched by Twenty14 Holdings (T14H), the hospitality investment arm of his Abu Dhabi headquartered Lulu Group International. The Caledonian, a grand Edwardian hotel overlooking Edinburgh Castle, joins his portfolio of $650 million worth of luxury properties across the UK, the Middle East and India.

Gillian Anderson is quitting The X-Files

Actor Gillian Anderson has confirmed that she would exit The X-Files after season 11. The actor, who plays agent Dana Scully in the show, made the announcement in an interview with TV Insider.

Don’t know if Shah rukh will play Rakesh Sharma

Priyanka Chopra says she was approached for the Rakesh Sharma biopic. The 35-year-old actor also confirmed that Aamir Khan is no longer a part of the project, which is based on the life of the first Indian to travel to space. There were reports that Aamir has quit the Mahesh Mathai directorial and Shah Rukh Khan has replaced him. While the film’s makers are mum about it, Choprfa, who has long been rumoured to be playing Sharma’s wife in the biopic, said Aamir Khan is not doing the film any more. “I have finalised two-three scripts. Now, I am left to make announcements.

New vaccine, long-acting drug trials buoy hopes in HIV fight

Research-ers anounc-ed the launch of two big studies in Africa on Thursday to test a new HIV vaccine and a long-acting injectable drug, fuelling hopes for better ways to protect against the virus that causes AIDS. The start of the three-year vaccine trial involving 2,600 women in southern Africa means that for the first time in more than a decade there are now two big HIV vaccine clinical trials taking place at the same time.

Britain hikes Brexit pot, slashes growth forecasts

Britain today substantially hiked its funds for Brexit preparations, as it slashed growth forecasts over a five-year period in a key annual budget update.

The government will put aside another 3.0 billion pounds (USD 4.0 billion, 3.4 billion euros) ahead of its exit from the European Union, finance minister Philip Hammond told parliament.

"I stand ready to allocate further sums if and when needed," the chancellor of the Exchequer said, after Britain had already put aside 700 million pounds prior to Wednesday's additional amount.

Photo released to mark 70th wedding anniversary of Britain’s queen

Buckingham Palace issued a new photographic portrait of Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip on Saturday to mark their upcoming 70th wedding anniversary. The couple married at London’s Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947, just two years after the end of World War Two, in a lavish ceremony attended by statesmen and royalty from around the world. The portrait, taken earlier this month, showed the queen wearing the same dress which she chose for a service of thanksgiving to mark their diamond wedding anniversary held at the Abbey where they were married.

Embattled UK PM faces crucial Brexit bill battle in Parliament

British MPs returned to the House of Commons today after a brief parliamentary recess to what promises to be a bruising battle over a crucial Brexit legislation transferring existing EU laws to Britain.

The EU Withdrawal Bill, which formally converts all European Union (EU) legislation into UK law to ensure complete clarity on Brexit day 'March 29, 2019', returns for a line by line scrutiny by lawmakers in what is referred to as the committee stage of the bill.

Bitcoin skyrockets above $7,000 for first time ever

Digital currency bitcoin rocketed above $7,000 for the first time ever on Thursday, after a more than sevenfold increase in its value since the start of the year.

Bitcoin has seen eye-watering gains in recent months and has more than doubled in value in the past seven weeks alone. It hit as high as $7,066.44 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange on Thursday.

The latest rally was driven by news earlier this week that the world’s largest derivatives exchange operator CME Group is to launch bitcoin futures.

New London pollution tax comes into force

Drivers of the most polluting vehicles will face an extra daily charge for driving into central London on weekdays from Monday in a bid to improve air quality in one of Europe’s most polluted cities. London mayor Sadiq Khan announced the new £10 ($13.2) charge — which will be on top of a daily £11.50 congestion charge — in February, after the European Union ordered Britain to cut air pollution. “As mayor I am determined to take urgent action to help clean up London’s lethal air,” Khan said in a statement.

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