This is the case despite the increasing cost of Hajj packages, and the fact that saving up for the pilgrimage is a long-term commitment for many. Fraudulent companies are charging similar amounts of money [to legitimate tour providers], you cant distinguish by price, Juel Choudhury, director of British company Premier Hajj, told Al Arabiya. Theyre not ripping them off with prices, theyre selling a package they cant fulfil, Choudhury added. In a statement published by the City of London Police, Commander Steve Head described Hajj fraud as a devastating crime that every year is robbing Muslims of a once in a life-time opportunity to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. In the statement, Farooq Murad, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, emphasized the need for prospective pilgrims to be vigilant and ensure that only reputable operators with proper license are used. How to avoid being a victim Mogradia explained how to avoid becoming a victim of Hajj fraud. Number one: check that the tour operator is signed up to an ATOL scheme. Number two: check that the company has the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Hajj accreditation. Number three: that theyre a legitimate business in the UK, which can be checked by going to Companies House . Number four: talk to family and friends for personal recommendations. Number five: visit the tour operator at their business address. Weve had instances in the past where people have sent a payment online, and found that when they go to the alleged business address, theres no business, its a boarded-up shop. Mogradia also advised making payments by credit card. That way theres a money trail, and a paper trail as well. What do if you have been affected by fraud If someone has been affected by fraud, immediately they need to report it to the police, said Mogradia. He emphasized the need to report Hajj fraud to Action Aid, a new agency headed by the City of London police. Often, people will not be aware that they are a victim of fraud until they arrive in Mecca. In this case, they should talk to their tour operator before talking to the Ministry of Hajj, and theyll be surprised how quickly the tour operator will rectify it in Saudi Arabia, said Mogradia. The last thing they want is to lose their license to provide pilgrim services. Is it all a big mistake?
Nook Price Cuts in the UK Are Helping B&N Get Their eReaders Out There, Director Says
Norway’s gas system operator Gassco said production capacity would be reduced by 34 million cubic metres per day until September 2014, compared with a capacity of up to 120 mcm of gas per day before the outage. Norway exported 103.8 billion cubic metres (bcm) of pipeline gas in the 2012/2013 gas year, which ended on September 30, including 29.8 bcm to the UK, up from 25 bcm during the previous gas year of 2011/2012. For the first eight months of 2013, Norwegian exports to Europe fell four percent to 68.6 bcm from 71.3 bcm during the same period in 2012. “Norway normally produces gas at full capacity during the coldest months, and Troll’s outage leaves no flexibility to ramp-up production to meet peak demand in case both the UK and continental Europe freeze,” said Anette Einarsen, an Oslo-based gas analyst at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon. News about Norway’s gas outage extending throughout the winter has forced British gas traders to buy more forward contracts in order to hedge against any further supply disruptions from Britain’s key gas supplier. LOW FLEXIBILITY Should Norwegian supplies not meet demand in case of a cold British winter, UK customers could begin importing gas from continental Europe, which receives most of its gas from Russia. But analysts say such a switch would come at a high cost, forcing British customers to pay above Russian oil-indexed gas prices to attract flows from continental Europe. Point Carbon estimates Russian oil-indexed price at 74-78 pence per therm, compared with current UK spot prices of under 65 pence and average winter prices of below 70 pence per therm. Russia sells most of its gas under long-term contracts linked to the price of oil, while Norway has switched increasingly to a pricing model based on gas spot markets such as Britain’s National Balancing Point (NBP). Oil prices have been relatively high as a result of booming demand outside Europe and as a result of political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, while European spot gas prices have been low because of Europe’s sluggish economy. This means that Russian oil-linked gas prices have been more expensive than Norwegian spot supplies. To regain competitiveness, Russia’s gas export monopolist Gazprom has handed out price rebates worth billions of euros over the past year, bringing its contracts closer to the spot market, and analysts say this will increase Russia’s gas market share. “We expect the continent to take more Russian gas and less Norwegian gas, if we have a normal winter, during the next gas year,” said Einarsen. Russian preliminary gas exports to Europe rose by 14 percent to 105.2 bcm during January-August, and its gas monopoly Gazprom plans to restore supplies to Europe to 152 bcm this year after they fell 8 percent to 139 bcm in 2012.
Options dwindle for UK facing winter tied to tight Norway gas
Lawyer Karen Todner told the BBC on Monday that Christopher Tappin is now in a British prison. Tim Craig and Haq Nawaz Khan The third major attack in a week hits Peshawar in northwest Pakistan. Chemical weapons officials cite Syrian cooperation Michael Birnbaum The government has been efficient ahead of meetings to prepare for the destruction of its arsenal, they say. Israel says it has arrested an Iranian spy William Booth Two days before Israels address to the U.N., the country announces that it has arrested an Iranian spy. Russias anti-gay law casts a shadow over 2014 Olympics Kathy Lally The Sochi Games are being viewed as a battleground over the treatment of gays and respect for human rights. Tappin pleaded guilty in a U.S. court in November to trying to buy missile parts from undercover U.S. agents for possible sale to Iran. He had initially denied the charges. He received a sentence of nearly three years with the understanding that part of it could be served in Britain with the approval of British and U.S. authorities so that he could be nearer to his ailing wife. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.
In an interview with Mashable , managing director of Barnes & Noble Jim Hilt insists that the company isn’t going through a dark phase, on the contrary, it is trying to reach every possible customer in the country. Last week we have seen Barnes & Noble axe down the prices for its Nook Simple Touch GlowLight quite significantly to 49 / $87 / 58. A few months before the company did the same with its Nook Simple Touch Reader, bringing down its price tag to 29 / $47 / 35. The two digital book libraries have been out on UK retail shelves since last year, but since then they didnt seem to attract a lot of customers. And Jim Hilt believes it happened for a very good reason. A number of people in the UK havent made the transition [to digital reading]. Theres a perception that theyre priced too highly or the quality of the product hasnt been sufficient. So the company is trying to attract new customers to its digital book wonderland by aggressively pricing its eReaders so conveniently, knowledge geeks cant say no. It appears that ever since B&N axed the prices for its Nook Simple Touch almost in half, the company is struggling to keep up with the demand. Will the Nook Simple Touch GlowLights fate be as fortunate as its brother? In all possibility yes, as the eReader is the only of its kind featuring an integrated light priced below to 49 / $87 / 58. Vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, Thomas Husson voiced his opinion on B&Ns pricing strategy in an email sent to Mashable in which he said that The price cut seems to indicate they want to fight Amazon at their own game with lower prices. Looking at the ranking of the Nook apps in the UK Google Play and Apple App Store, it seems like B&N has not yet managed to create an ecosystem around their devices in the UK. A bunch of revamped eReaders might help the company make a comeback though. FILED UNDER: