Friday December 14, 2018

Curry masala restaurants at risk of closing down in London

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London: Who does not know curry in the UK? Solely identified with Indian food menu, curry has become a palatable source of ethnic food for Britishers. But it seems that things are changing now as the Indian food industry faces a threat of losing business in England.
NewsGram brings you an exclusive report by Reuters from London.

The great British tradition of going for a curry on a Friday night appears to be dropping by the wayside, with an estimated 12,000 curry houses disappearing. As Joel Flynn reports, culture, not just cuisine, might be to blame.It’s lunchtime in the Bengal Clipper kitchen, and chicken tikka masala a British favourite is being prepared. This isn’t the busiest time of day, but that’s not slowing down head chef Mohammed Asrar, from the Bihar region of India.

It’s lunchtime in the Bengal Clipper kitchen, and chicken tikka masala a British favourite is being prepared. This isn’t the busiest time of day, but that’s not slowing down head chef Mohammed Asrar, from the Bihar region of India.

He has worked for years to be able to blend spices, but when it comes to customers, the Clipper and its curry competition are facing slimmer pickings than ever.

Business is down and changing tastes are to blame, according to Bengal Clipper owner, Mukit Choudhury. He said, “The old generation, they’ve gone back behind and the new generation took over the place, and since then I find the Indian restaurant is slowly, slowly coming down.”

Costs too are a big problem. While the price of a curry might barely have changed in the last few years or even decades, the weakness of the pound and the rising price of spices is hitting the bottom line. Rents in the capital, in particular, have also risen, but it’s staffing that’s the biggest worry.

SOUNDBITE: Reuters Reporter, Joel Flynn, said “Much is at stake and not just for the industry itself. Curry houses employ 100,000 people in Britain, many of them famously here on Brick Lane in London, and as far as sales are concerned, according to a government committee on curry, it’s worth more than 4.2 billion pounds a year.”

If current trends continue, the Bangladeshi Caterers’ Association expect up to a third of curry houses to go bust. But while many might publicly lament the dying off of a great British institution, restaurant footfall suggests curry might not be on the menu much longer. (image: Manjula’s kitchen)

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Confidential Facebook Documents Seized By The UK Parliament

Lawmakers from seven countries are preparing to grill a Facebook executive in charge of public policy.

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A Facebook logo is displayed at a start-up companies' gathering in Paris, France. VOA

Britain’s parliament has seized confidential Facebook documents from the developer of a now-defunct bikini photo searching app as it seeks answers from the social media company about its data protection policies.

Lawmakers sought the files ahead of an international hearing they’re hosting on Tuesday to look into disinformation and “fake news.”

Facebook, India, Fake News, Hate Speech, Russia, Sheryl Sandberg
An advertisement in The New York Times is displayed on Sunday, March 25, 2018, in New York. Facebook’s CEO apologized for the Cambridge Analytica scandal with ads in multiple U.S. and British newspapers. VOA

The parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has “received the documents it ordered from Six4Three relating to Facebook,” Committee Chairman Damian Collins tweeted on Sunday. “Under UK law & parliamentary privilege we can publish papers if we choose to as part of our inquiry,” he said.

The app maker, Six4Three, had acquired the files as part of a U.S. lawsuit against the social media giant. It’s suing Facebook over a change to the social network’s privacy policies in 2015 that led to the company having to shut down its app, Pikinis, which let users find photos of their friends in bikinis and bathing suits by searching their friends list.

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A Facebook panel is seen during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, in Cannes, France. VOA

News reports said the UK committee used its powers to compel an executive from Six4Three, who was on a business trip to London, to turn over the files. The files had been sealed this year by a judge in the U.S. case.

Also Read: Social Media Laws Should Be Tightened: Germany

Lawmakers from seven countries are preparing to grill a Facebook executive in charge of public policy, Richard Allan, at the committee’s hearing in London. They had asked for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear in person or by video, but he has refused. (VOA)