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November 29, 2019

Black Friday ignites global e-commerce / Amazon workers protest “appalling treatment” / European Space Week Hackathon kicks off

By Lucy Ingham


Good morning, here’s your Friday morning briefing to set you up for the day ahead. Look out for these three things happening around the world today.

Black Friday ignites global e-commerce

Today will see retailers across the world slash their prices in a bid to lure shoppers to splurge ahead of the Christmas season as part of Black Friday.

The yearly event, which falls the day after Thanksgiving in the US, is named as it brings retailers’ balance sheets into ‘the black’.

The vast majority of major online retailers will be offering discounts, with some brands such as Amazon and ASOS also cutting prices in the week leading up to the event. However, shoppers have been warned that deals may not be as good as they seem.

Meanwhile, there is a growing movement to reject Black Friday, with growing numbers of smaller retailers opting not to participate due to costs and others rejecting the day over environmental concerns.

This has given rise to Buy Nothing Day, also held today, which encourages shoppers to reject the “absurd dystopian phenomenon”.

Amazon workers protest “appalling treatment”

Today will also see Amazon workers who are part of the GMB union hold protests at a number of the company’s warehouses across the UK.

The protests, which are designed to coincide with Black Friday, are set to be held at Amazon’s warehouses in Bolton, Manchester and Warrington, Rugeley, Coalville Peterborough, Newport and Sheffield and London.

According to the GMB union, the protests are against the company’s “appalling treatment” of employees. The union argues that Amazon workers in the UK have been subjected to extremely high workloads and poor treatment, resulting in a higher-than-average incidence of ambulance callouts.

European Space Week Hackathon kicks off

The Galileo Innovation Challenge, a hackathon dedicated to finding innovative applications for the European Space Agency’s global navigation satellite system (GNSS) Galileo, kicks off today.

Held in Helsinki, Finland, the hackathon takes place in advance of European Space Week, which will begin on Tuesday.

Participants will be tasked will taking on key GNSS-related challenges, including developing applications that make effective use of the precise location accuracy Galileo offers, combatting interference that causes positioning errors and developing robotic technologies that use GNSS.

A further hackathon track focusing on developing emergency apps for Europe will begin on Sunday.

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