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Summary

  1. Sports Direct to add employee representative to its board
  2. Shares in Sports Direct rise 5.9% after pledge to end zero-hours contracts
  3. Pound jumps 1% against the US dollar
  4. FTSE 100 falls 0.8% to 6,826 points

Live Reporting

By Bill Wilson

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night

That is it from Business Live for today. Do join us again at 6am on Wednesday. 

Dow, Nasdaq, S&P up... but dollar down

The Dow Jones has closed slightly ahead on Tuesday, ending the day up by 0.3%, as did the S&P 500.

Meanwhile, the tech-based Nasdaq moved to a new high at 5,274.53 points.

But the dollar was down roughly 0.9% against the pound, with one dollar getting you 88.91 pence. 

The pound meanwhile was at $1.3426 against the dollar, up by roughly 0.9%.

Zika virus puts Miami tourism on edge

Florida's economy may suffer now the Zika virus is being locally transmitted.

 In July, Miami became the first city on the US mainland to experience local transmission of the zika virus. Efforts to contain the virus are focused on two districts, home to two world-class tourist attractions, Miami Beach and the trendy neighbourhood of Wynwood. The local authorities are concerned that fears over Zika will harm the tourist industry. The BBC's Luis Fajardo reports.

Sports Direct: Never mind the ballots

BBC Business correspondent Emma Simpson tweets...

'A historic day for European monetary policy'

Zero Hedge tweets....

Now boarding...

So is Sports Direct the first UK firm to add a workers' representative to the board? The TUC says First Group got there first. 

View more on twitter

Golden oldie or dead wood?

When you find yourself as the veteran in the workplace...

Ashley's 'no-brainer'

Chris Johnston

Business reporter

Mike Ashley
BBC

That "video statement" from Mike Ashley has arrived at BBC Towers. The Sports Direct founder says adding a workers' representative to the company's board will be a "great benefit". 

"It is very difficult when you've not involved with everything that's going on and you're therefore not in touch with everything - that input is invaluable," he says. 

"I think it will be the one no-brainer that Sports Direct should have been doing. I want to be the pioneer who gets it done ... I am going to make it happen."

Yesterday's news

Greta Van Susteren
Getty Images

The Wall Street Journal's Steven Perlberg tweets following Fox News presenter Greta Van Susteren's decision to resign today:

View more on twitter

More (or less) Sports Direct

We'd like to bring you more detail about that unexpected Sports Direct announcement, but sadly the statement only runs to the one sentence. So here it is in all its glory:

The company announces that Mike Ashley will be making a video statement outlining that he has recommended (and the board has agreed) that in future there should be a worker's representative appointed to the Board of Sports Direct in order to give workers a voice at the highest level and to help ensure that all staff are treated with dignity and respect.

Mylan faces new EpiPen probe

EpiPen
Getty Images

New York is investigating whether Mylan Pharmaceuticals broke the law by writing contracts to provide EpiPens to some schools systems, state attorney-general Eric Schneiderman said.

An insider said the New York attorney-general's office has subpoenaed documents from Mylan over the EpiPen scheme. There have been allegations that schools using Mylan's EpiPen4Schools program, which offers them to schools for free, were contractually barred from buying products from Mylan competitors for a year. 

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Amy Klobuchar have asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the allegation. 

Mylan did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The move follows the outcry over huge price rises for the EpiPens in recent years.

BreakingSports Direct board move

Mike Ashley
Getty Images

Sports Direct plans to add a "worker's representative" to the company's board "to give workers a voice at the highest level and to help ensure that all staff are treated with dignity and respect".  

It made the announcement in a statement issued almost two hours after the London market closed.

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley will make a video statement outlining the move. We can't wait for that to land.

Its shares jumped almost 6% today - but are still down close to 40% since the start of the year.

Fox News settles Carlson lawsuit

Gretchen Carlson
AP

It's not been a great day for the Fox News channel. First it settles a sexual harassment case brought against it by former presenter Gretchen Carlson for a reported $20m. The network has also issued an apology to the long-serving anchor.

Next, another presenter, Greta Van Susteren, reveals her decision to resign. Fox News has not given a reason for her abrupt departure after 14 years, but one source described it as a financial disagreement.  

Ms Carlson's lawsuit resulted in the departure of Fox News chief executive, Roger Ailes, in July. 

More here.

But Krugman says no post-Brexit recession

US economist and Nobel prize winner tweets...

War on Want joins the Sports Direct fray

Charity takes jaundiced view of company review...

Nicola Sturgeon announces £500m business fund
Nicola Sturgeon announces a £500m fund to help Scottish businesses as she sets out her government's plans for the next year.

Banks drag FTSE lower at close

FTSE close on 6 Sep
BBC

The FTSE 100 has closed down by 0.78%, or 53.37 points, at 6826.05.

Redrow, Wales' biggest house builder, had earlier said pre-tax profits had risen 23% to £250m.

Redrow shares were up nearly 9% by close. Other housebuilders were also boosted, with Berkeley Group, Persimmon and Barratt gaining strongly.

Bankers led the fallers, with Standard Chartered, Lloyds, HSBC and Barclays losing between 2% and 3%.

Top tips on getting a pay rise

Dr Amanda Goodall explains...

Women are 'as pushy on pay rises' as men but less likely to get it, a new study suggests.

'Veggie Pret' to stay

Emily Young

Business reporter

Veggie Pret
Pret-A-Manger

An experiment with a vegetarian Pret-A-Manger is to become permanent.

Chief executive Clive Schlee said in a blog that he hoped to open more.

The company opened the store in Soho, London earlier this year. It expected sales to fall by 30% - but in fact found that they rose.

Sports Direct AGM set to be lively affair

Will 'open day' stunt appease critics?

Before Wednesday's Sports Direct AGM it is worth a reminder that last week the heavily-criticised retailer said it would invite non-shareholders to an open day to coincide with the annual meeting.

Access to the AGM has traditionally been restricted. Attendees will be permitted to observe the AGM before being allowed to question the board.

However it is a moot point whether an open day will soothe investors, given the hammering Sports Direct shares have taken this year.

Knives sharpening for Hellawell

Another body calls for Sports Direct chair to go...

Keith Hellawell
BBC

We are encouraged by Sports Direct’s intention to conduct an external report evaluating the board later this financial year, but the Chairman’s [Keith Hellawell] position remains untenable and the review needs to be conducted under the leadership of a new chairman, otherwise we are unlikely to see change.”

Ashley Hamilton ClaxtonCorporate Governance Manager at Royal London Asset Management

Sports Direct review - 'surprisingly hard'

Not the whitewash some had predicted...

Sports Direct store
PA

The investigation is surprisingly hard on the company. Many had predicted a whitewash, as the law firm involved, Reynold Porter Chamberlain, does other work for Sports Direct. Instead it has found "serious" shortcomings and a "hierarchical model that placed workers in an uncertain and difficult position".

Dominic O'ConnellBBC Radio 4 Today business presenter

Read more from Dominic here on the timing of the Sports Direct review.

Sports Direct - 'shareholders should speak up'

As AGM looms on Wednesday...

With the Sports Direct AGM due to take place on Wednesday, it is a chance for institutional shareholders, including the likes of Hermes Investment Management quoted earlier, to express any disquiet they may have.

Oliver Parry, head of corporate governance at the Institute of Directors (IoD), says it is "crucial they make their voices heard".

New Bank of India chief signs on...

Dr Urjit R Patel takes over as governor...

Dr Urjit R Patel taking over as governor
Bank of India

Dr Urjit Patel began his stint as the Reserve Bank of India Governor

Volkswagen in US trucks deal

US trucks
AP

Volkswagen has bought a 16.6% stake in US truck maker Navistar for $256m.

It already has a big business in so-called heavy vehicles, with the ownership of the truckmakers Scania and MAN.

But until this deal, it did not have a presence in the US market.

It will meet a familiar rival there, Daimler is the big player in the US truck market with its Freightliner brand.

More from Hermes on Sports Direct report

Leon Kamhi, the head of responsibility at the fund manager, told The World at One that today’s report, commissioned by the firm, which apologised for conditions at its Shirebrook warehouse and admitted "serious shortcomings" in working practices was “a very positive step forward”.

Sports Direct chairman should 'step down'

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

A shareholder in Sports Direct has praised the retailer for its review of working practices but says investors do not plan to change their vote of no confidence in Sports Direct chairman Keith Hellawell.Leon Kamhi, head of responsibility at Hermes Investment Management, told the World at One that Mr Hellawell should be replaced by a "strong, credible individual with experience of chairing a FTSE company".   

McHomes

McDonald's
AP

Believe it or not, there are parts of the world in which McDonald's workers are in high demand. Bloomberg reports that branches in Hungary have been offering accommodation to employees, in an attempt to attract staff to an area with chronic labour shortages.

Cashiers at Lidl in Prague and software developers in Bucharest are being offered similar perks, apparently.

ARM and Softbank: 'Business as usual - only better'

Following the completion of SoftBank’s acquisition of ARM Holdings on Monday, the Japanese tech firm and the chip designer have put out a statement saying they aim for "business as usual - only better".

Softbank said it was interested in ARM due to the expected take-off of the "internet of things" - think internet-enabled fridges and the like - and added that it would invest in ARM.

Softbank shares fell 0.58% in Tokyo trading on Tuesday.

South Africa avoids recession

Matthew Davies

Editor, BBC Africa Business Report

South Africa’s economy grew by 0.6% year-on-year in the second quarter, so the country has narrowly avoided falling into recession. It contracted by 0.1% year-on-year in Q1

It grew by 3.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, after contracting by 1.2% quarter-on-quarter in Q1.

It’s slightly better than analysts were expecting.

Adieu, Australia central bank governor Stevens

Leisha Chi

Business reporter in Singapore

Glenn Stevens, outgoing governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia
Getty Images

Australian central bank governor Glenn Stevens presided over his last policy meeting today.

There weren't any monetary or market fireworks. The Reserve Bank of Australia, as expected, kept interest rates at a record low. Stocks fell and the Australian dollar rose.

But Mr Stevens leaves behind quite a legacy.

He's been at the helm for a decade, which makes him one of the regions longest-serving officials. 

He's faced his fair share of criticism. The country's Telegraph newspaper once ran a story on him asking "Is this the most useless man in Australia?"  

However he has since guided Australia through the financial crisis as well as one of the longest-ever economic expansions in modern times.

Mr Stevens officially steps down on 18 September and his deputy Philip Lowe is set to take over.

New power-cut phone number

Lightning flashes in the night sky over South London
Getty Images

People who want to report a power cut in England, Scotland and Wales can now ring a three-digit number - 105 - to get through to the firm in charge of their local electricity network, according to the Energy Networks Association (ENA).

David Smith, Chief Executive of ENA, said: “Significant network investment means power cuts are not a regular or widespread occurrence for people, however, our research makes it clear that there’s still a need to provide a simple, memorable number they can call should they experience one."

"This is particularly important when there’s bad weather, as severe storms can cause damage to power networks and disrupt the electricity supply into people’s homes."

Zero hours and Sports Direct

Live page reader Mark Kelly writes...

"While I'm suspicious of the fact that it only applies to certain employees, the announcement that Sports Direct have ditched ZHCs [zero hours contracts] is great. But unless these offers of fixed hours start at being full time, with part time contracts making up the minority, and everyone getting a proper living wage, the entire endeavour is pointless.

"The argument against ZHCs isn't about scheduling, it's about making ends meet."

'First flat-pack truck'

Financial firms lead FTSE 100 lower

The UK's top share index is losing ground, as a drop in Asian-focused bank Standard Chartered and Provident Financial weighed on the market.

The FTSE 100 index fell 0.22% to 6864.21 points in early afternoon trading.

Sports Direct not changes not enough, says MPs' chairman

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Iain Wright led questioning of Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley in Parliament

The chairman of the Commons business, innovation and skills committee says the Sports Direct review of staff working conditions "doesn't go far enough".

MPs' committee chairman Iain Wright told the Today programme there should be "a wider, more independent review of corporate governance practices".  

Sports Direct 'still needs independent review'

The TUC has called for an independent review into Sports Direct's working practices.

"An apology is always a good start, but this is too little, too late. What we really need is an independent investigation... A report written by a law firm which previously represented Mike Ashley and management simply won’t cut it. Sports Direct cannot be allowed to mark their own homework," said TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady.

One of the company's legal advisors RPS conducted a review of working practices on behalf of the firm, and is to conduct a more in depth review which will include corporate governance.

Tehran 'supports' stable oil market

Bijan Zanganeh
Getty Images

Mohammed Barkindo, the secretary general of oil producers' group OPEC, has been meeting Iran's oil minister in Tehran, to discuss global oil market conditions, and it seems to have reaped rewards.

Bijan Zanganeh (pictured) has been quoted on Iranian state TV saying the country supports an oil price of $50-60 per barrel and any measure to stabilise the market,

"Iran wants a stable market and therefore any measure that helps the stabilisation of the oil market is supported by Iran,"  the minister said.

Protesters removed from London City Airport