The extended English cricket season finally came to an end on Friday in suitably autumnal conditions at the Ageas Rose Bowl in Southampton. England sealed a 4-0 series win over the West Indies, Jonny Bairstow smashed an unbeaten century, and Liam Plunkett took a couple of spectacular catches. England's on-pitch performances, however, felt like a mere side-show following the brawling antics of star all-rounder Ben Stokes outside a Bristol nightclub. On hearing news of the bust-up, Twitter users were quick to see the funny side. As one user remarked, "someone needs to tell Ben Stokes you don't need a criminal record to enter Australia anymore"! Unfortunately, it's the Australians who are likely to have the last laugh. An England Ashes squad without the talent, fire and versatility of Stokes would be like a Great Britain Davis Cup team without Andy Murray, or a Tottenham Hotspur team without Harry Kane. Rather less threatening.
This week saw the release of Knight Frank's Global Cities 2018 report, which includes a section on how to build the ideal global city. Given a clean slate, Knight Frank's imaginary city would replicate the architecture of Paris, capture Denver's laid-back lifestyle, and mimic Singapore's "city in a garden" greenery. However, when it comes to sourcing smart city technology it is South Korea's capital, Seoul, that provides the inspiration. The routes for the city's night buses were influenced by analysing smart phone data on where late night calls were made. In the newly built Songdo smart city, near Seoul airport, there are no rubbish bins or garbage collections – litter is instead sucked into an underground disposal system, where it is either recycled or burnt as fuel. And parents can use Songdo’s CCTV network to watch their children playing outdoors, while sensors in car parking spaces inform residents that a spouse has arrived home. All very "smart" indeed.
The infamous no-frills ethos at Ryanair reached new extremes this week when it emerged that "having a pilot" is also seemingly on the list of paid for optional extras. The "pilotgate" scandal has reportedly forced Ryanair to cancel up to 750,000 bookings between September and March, and done little for either the company's profit margins or its reputation. A look back at the airline's previous public relations disasters provides rich pickings. Here is a selection of The Weekly's favourites:
- Ever keen to improve its punctuality statistics, a Ryanair aircraft once took off from its destination 30 minutes early, leaving 20 confused passengers behind!
- Always eager to keep passengers spending, Michael O'Leary reportedly admitted that "if drink sales are falling off we get the pilots to engineer a bit of turbulence. That usually spikes up the drink sales."
- A Ryanair aircraft in 2013 landed at the wrong Greek airport - arriving at Thessaloniki rather than the intended destination of Kefalonia. The less-than-comforting excuse being it was "too dark"!