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Sri Lanka energy minister warns petrol stocks about to run dry

Published29 minutes agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty ImagesSri Lanka's energy minister has issued a stark warning over the country's fuel stocks as it faces its worst economic crisis in more than 70 years.On Sunday, Kanchana Wijesekera said the nation only had enough petrol left for less than a day under regular demand.He also said its next petrol shipment was not due for more than two weeks.Last week, Sri Lanka suspended sales of petrol and diesel for non-essential vehicles as it struggles to pay for imports like fuel, food and medicines.Mr Wijesekera told reporters that the country had 12,774 tonnes of diesel and 4,061 tonnes of petrol left in its reserves."The next petrol shipment is expected between the 22nd and 23rd [of July]," he added.'Living in my car for two days to buy fuel'What's behind Sri Lanka's petrol shortage?A shipment of diesel is expected to arrive at the weekend, however Mr Wijesekera warned that the country does not have enough money to pay for planned fuel and crude oil imports.He said Sri Lanka's central bank could only supply $125m for fuel purchases, far less than the $587m needed for its scheduled shipments.Mr Wijesekera added that the country owed $800m to seven suppliers for purchases it made earlier this year.It came after Sri Lanka banned sales of fuel for private vehicles until next week.Experts believe it is the first country to take the drastic step of halting sales of petrol to ordinary people since the 1970s oil crisis, when fuel was rationed in the US and Europe.The island nation of 22 million people is facing its worse economic crisis since gaining independence from the UK in 1948 as it lacks enough foreign currency to pay for imports of essential goods.Acute shortages of fuel, food and medicines have helped to push up the cost of living to record highs in the country, where many people rely on motor vehicles for their livelihoods.Last Thursday, an International Monetary Fund team concluded a fresh round of talks with Sri Lanka over a $3bn (£2.5bn) bailout deal.While no agreement has been reached yet, the team said in a statement that it had made "significant progress on defining a macroeconomic and structural policy package".It added that it had "witnessed some of the hardships currently faced by the Sri Lankan people, especially the poor and vulnerable who are affected disproportionately by the crisis".The cash-strapped country has also sent officials to the major energy producers Russia and Qatar in a bid to secure cheap oil supplies.You may also be interested in:This video can not be playedTo play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.More on this story'Living in my car for two days to buy fuel'3 days agoPetrol sales banned in crisis-hit Sri Lanka5 days agoWhat's behind Sri Lanka's petrol shortage?5 days agoSri Lanka's suffering was avoidable - bank boss17 JuneSri Lanka says it needs $5bn for essential goods8 June

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Cost of living: How can I save money on my food shop?

Published1 hour agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Peter DazeleyAs price rises bite into budgets, many people are cutting back on the weekly food shop.As well as buying less, people are looking for ways to make their money go further. The BBC spoke to money bloggers for their tried and tested tips.1. Choose the right supermarket Rosie Forshaw runs Instagram account Money Saving Rosie. She says that trying to find the cheapest shop isn't always straightforward. There are quite a few apps you can download that compare prices on individual items, she says, but prices will be changing all the time depending on what you're after. Lynn Beattie, from the Mrs Mummypenny blog, says not everyone has the time to constantly check comparison apps or go to lots of different shops to get the cheapest deals."I just think people want to go to one place and get the shopping done and get the best deals in one place," she says.Both suggest choosing a supermarket that is cheap overall and keeping an eye out for local promotions. Consumer group Which? has a monthly price-comparison tracker, and local groups and bloggers on social media - and bigger sites like MoneySavingExpert - often highlight good deals.2. Know what you already haveRosie suggests taking a good look at your cupboards before each shopping trip. "We all know the value of making a list, but if you're adding to what you've already got in your cupboards, then you're going to spend money on things you don't need," she says. "There's no point in buying more jars of pasta sauce if you've already got five of them in the cupboard." Image source, Rosie ForshawShe keeps a list of what's in her cupboards in a notebook, so she always knows what she already has when she goes shopping. She says it has helped bring her weekly food shop for her, her husband and one-year-old son down to around £40.3. Head for the reduced section firstLynn recommends changing how you shop when you walk into a store and to head straight for the reduced section. "If you spot something there that's on your list, you can tick that off and you've already saved some money," she says.She suggests then going straight to the frozen-foods section, and then the canned-produce aisle."Frozen meat, fish and vegetables will almost always be cheaper than the fresh option," she says. "If you get what you need from there before going on to the fresh produce aisles, you're likely to make significant savings."4. Make better use of your freezerAccording to sustainability charity Wrap, the average household wastes around £700 every year by throwing food away. Lynn says making better use of her freezer has helped her cut down dramatically on waste."If things are getting close to their use-by date you should always try to freeze them," she says. "You'll also be able to buy things cheaper in supermarkets that are close to their sell-by date. Things like milk and cheese, even fruit and vegetables, can all be frozen and kept for when you need them."Image source, Kate HallMore on the basics of freezing can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.Kate Hall, who runs The Full Freezer website, uses her freezer as a pause button rather than a long-term storage solution. She says that while almost all foods can be frozen, you do have to change the way you use them."You can't defrost a banana or salad and expect it to be the same as when it went into the freezer," she explains. "But if you think about how you could use it in puddings or in soups or in casseroles, then you're going to save a lot of money."5. Understand packagingRosie says that a lot of what we buy in the supermarket is packaged for their convenience and not ours. "How often have you bought a tray of mushrooms covered in cling film only to have them go off in their packaging? They're wrapped up like that to make them easier to transport," she explains. She puts hers in a paper bag when she gets them home but says just taking off the plastic wrapping will help them last longer.Helen White, from Wrap, which runs the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, says there are small things we can do to make food last longer, especially fresh vegetables and salads - the UK's most wasted food group. "Just putting a piece of kitchen roll into an open bag of salad to absorb moisture is going to help it last longer," she says. Keeping fruit in the fridge will help it last longer, but she suggests checking that the temperature is set to below 5°C. "We think millions of UK fridges are at least two degrees too warm," she says. "This is bad news for milk and other food items kept in the fridge, which can go off [more quickly] when not stored at the right temperature."6. Make use of expertsRosie tries to use local, smaller retailers a lot to tap into their years of experience. "Butchers are a great resource and someone we shouldn't be afraid to talk to about saving money," she says. "If you go into your local butcher and tell them you've only got £8 for your meat for the week, they'll be able to tell you how to stretch your money by buying the cheapest cuts."They're the best people to advise on how to cook them and how to make them go further."What have you been doing to save money on your food shop? Share your top tips with us. Email [email protected] include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also get in touch in the following ways:WhatsApp: +44 7756 165803Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSayUpload pictures or videoPlease read our terms & conditions and privacy policy If you are reading this page and can't see the form you will need to visit the mobile version of the BBC website to submit your question or comment or you can email us at [email protected] Please include your name, age and location with any submission. More on this storyWhy are prices rising so quickly?23 JuneAsda says shoppers asking cashiers to stop at £3022 JuneFood bills are set to soar by £380 this year21 JuneHow we cut back: Skipping meals and fewer car journeys1 April

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Number of pubs falls by 7,000 in a decade

Published1 hour agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, EmpicsThe number of pubs in England and Wales continues to fall, hitting its lowest level on record this year, according to new research.There were 39,970 pubs in June, down by more than 7,000 since 2012, said the real estate consultancy Altus Group.After struggling through Covid the industry now faced soaring prices and higher energy costs, it warned. The government said it had slashed taxes to help, but industry groups urged it to do more. Over the last decade thousands of pubs have closed as younger people drink less, supermarkets sell cheaper alcohol and the industry complains of being too heavily taxed. But in 2019 figures from the Office for National Statistics suggested the sector was turning a corner as it expanded for the first time in a decade. It declined again during the pandemic, however, as lockdowns forced pubs to shut or implement strict social distancing rules. Landlady gives up pub as energy bills near £30,000Firms warn time is running out to save UK economyWorse to come for food price rises, warns industryAccording to Altus, 400 pubs in England Wales closed last year and some 200 shut in the first half of 2022 as inflation started to eat into their profits. Robert Hayton, head of Altus in the UK, said: "Whilst pubs proved remarkably resilient during the pandemic, they're now facing new headwinds grappling with the cost of doing business in a crisis through soaring energy costs, inflationary pressures and tax rises." According to the research, the West Midlands saw the biggest number of pub closures in the first six months of 2022, with 28 shutting.It was followed by London and the East of England which both lost 24.Altus said that pubs which had "disappeared" from the communities they once served had either been demolished or converted for other purposes, meaning that they were "lost forever".Inflationary pressuresEmma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), said: "When pubs are forced to close it's a huge loss to the local community, and these numbers paint a devastating picture of how pubs are being lost in villages, towns and cities across the country."As a sector we have just weathered the hardest two years on memory, and we now face the challenge of extreme rising costs," she added. "It's essential that we receive relief to ease these pressures or we really do risk losing more pubs year on year."Image source, Getty ImagesAccording to research from the BBPA, the British Institute of Innkeeping and UK Hospitality, only 37% of hospitality businesses are currently turning a profit.Those surveyed said the rising costs of energy, goods and labour were most to blame.In the past week, pub bosses have also warned that summer rail strikes could hit their profits by further weakening consumer demand. The government said it could not control the "global factors" pushing up inflation but continued to support the hospitality sector."We've cut taxes for hundreds of thousands of businesses by increasing the Employment Allowance while slashing fuel duty," a spokesman said. "We've also introduced a 50% business rates relief for eligible High Street businesses and prevented bill increases by freezing the business rates multiplier, saving businesses £4.6bn over the next five years."More on this storyLandlady gives up pub as energy bills near £30,0009 JuneFirms warn time is running out to save UK economy3 days agoWorse to come for food price rises, warns industry8 hours ago

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Worse to come for food price rises, warns industry

Published20 minutes agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty Images"Relentless" increases in the price of food may not hit their peak until next year, an industry group has warned. The Food and Drink Federation, which represents UK food and drink makers, said it usually takes 7-12 months for producers' costs to reach shop shelves. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has accelerated manufacturing costs such as energy and fertilizer. The federation's boss, Karen Betts, warned prices would "absolutely" get worse before they get better.Food and drink price inflation rose to 8.7% in the year to May, according to the Office for National Statistics. "I think the peak could well be into next year and that prices could well rise some way above 10%," said Ms Betts.People cut back on food shopping as price rises biteWhy are prices rising so quickly?Other groups, such as the Institute of Grocery Distribution, which provides analysis to major grocers, predict that prices could rise by as much as 15% as household staples such as bread, meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables become more expensive.The UK's overall inflation rate hit its highest level for 40 years in May, as the costs of energy, fuel and food continued to climb. People struggling with the rising cost of living are already cutting back on groceries or even skipping meals, according to a BBC survey of UK households.'Breadbasket of Europe'Ms Betts told the BBC that food and drink manufacturers had already seen costs rise during the pandemic due to supply and labour shortages, but the Ukraine war had worsened the situation. "The manufacturers that I speak to are saying that at the moment all their input costs are rising, so that's everything from ingredients to raw materials, energy, labour and they can't see an end to that," Ms Betts said.Both Russia and Ukraine are major suppliers of fertilizer, while Ukraine - known as the "breadbasket of Europe" - produces significant amounts of wheat, corn and sunflower oil.The conflict is disrupting the supply of these goods, however, driving up prices on international markets. Similarly, sanctions against Russia - a major oil and gas producer - have further pushed up global energy prices, hitting businesses and consumers alike. Image source, Getty ImagesMs Betts said there was "usually a seven-to-12 month time lag in the prices that food manufacturers pay before those price rises are felt on shop shelves"."So, if it is costing more to plant and grow wheat or sunflowers for sunflower oil now then those price rises are going to take 12 months, perhaps longer than that to make their way into food prices in the UK," she said.The UK's overall inflation rate hit 9.1% in May and the Bank of England predicts it could reach 11% this year.Work and pensions secretary Thérèse Coffey told the BBC's Sunday Morning programme: "The government knows this this is a challenging time for people."The spike of inflation leading to a hike in bills is largely driven by after-shocks of Covid so the global supply chains are are still not flowing, but undoubtedly the decision we have made to tackle Putin and his invasion of Ukraine also has consequences particularly on energy costs."She highlighted the government's package of measures to help households with energy costs, including a £400 discount on fuel bills for all homes.More on this storyInflation pushes UK interest costs to May record23 JunePeople cut back on food and fuel as prices rise17 June

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PhD Studentship: Optimising salt morphology and maximising oral perception of salt through DEM and DEM-CFD techniques

The Food Consortium CTP is looking for a PhD candidate for the BBSRC funded project Optimising salt morphology and maximising oral perception of salt through DEM and DEM-CFD techniques. The Food Consortium CTP comprises four major food manufacturers together with the largest UK-based independent science and technology provider and trainer for the food industry (Campden BRI), and the Haydn Green Institute (Nottingham University Business School). This industry-led collaborative programme will develop highly skilled PhD researchers and provide an innovation ecosystem through collaboration and partnership. As a successful PhD candidate you will be part of a larger cohort of students with the opportunity to form strong links to industry and be part of a supportive network of peers, academic supervisors, industrial supervisors and training partners. Business facing training will include concepts and issues to consider when commercialising early-stage science and technology, using tools to help evaluate innovation and commercialisation strategies. About the Project The aim of this project is to understand the detailed mechanisms of the release of salt and other flavours during breakdown and transport to the receptors through numerical simulations. The focus of this project will be on developing the capability for modelling the formation and dynamics of bolus in a realistic oral cavity and to predict the rate of dissolution of salts with different grain types. This information could then be correlated to the perception of flavours by consumers. The successful candidate will first focus on modelling the final dissolution mechanism. The salt transport during the mastication will be simplified to the dissolution of different salt types in a stationary fluid. It is assumed that the dissolution curves produced in this manner are correlated with the dissolution curves in an actual process. Such models can be built with sufficiently high-fidelity to enable testing of different salt types with all the morphological details. More complicated models will then be built step-by-step by introducing model flow patterns (hence including advection), adding other flavouring particles, static geometry of the oral cavity and dynamics of the tongue by introducing a fully-resolved CFD strategy such as a coupled Discrete Element-Immersed Boundary technique.  

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