Volkswagen to Pay for Californian Clean Air Standards

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Volkswagen settled another one of its cases that regard the Californian clean air standards.

On September 18th, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency found that Volkswagen bypassed the Clean Air Act. The automaker installed engine control units in an inappropriate way. Two years afterward, the emissions scandal is still unraveling its large array of consequences. The company has to cover a settlement to a total of 10 states, including Washington. This is the first time these states managed to demand prejudices according to the Clean Air Standards legally.

The Infringement of Clean Air Standards Demands $157 Million Settlement

On Thursday, Volkswagen managed to solve another hurdle of its 2015 emissions scandal. The German automaker agreed on its settlement with 10 American states, leaving behind another series of lawsuits. Thus, the company is going to cover prejudices amounted to $157 million. The multi-million funds will go to Oregon, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Washington. All these regions adopted the Californian clean air standards.

This settlement is not the same one with a 2016 agreement that was made with a total of 44 states for $603 million. Last year, the lawsuit involved products with 2-liter engines. This time, the settlement regarded vehicles with diesel engines with six cylinders and a capacity of three liters.

The Case Will be Used as Precedent in Future Federal Lawsuits

Eric Schneiderman, the New York Attorney General, stated that this victory marks the first time when the ten states above received penalties according to their own emissions laws. This is not just a one-time case. This settlement will mark a historical precedent. Experts are sure that this case will prove to be an unfailing pillar in the future federal endeavors. This is because the President of the United States expects fund cuts for environmental enforcements, leaving California and New York alone in their fight against infringements of clean air standards.

Since the outbreak of its 2015 emissions scandal, Volkswagen had to cover a total of $20 billion expenses. These costs went to car repairments, bought back vehicles, and a series of lawsuits and civil fines related to the environmental impact of its products. The silver lining in all these clouds is that EPA allowed the company to put on the market a series of cars with 2015 model diesel engines. These proved to have everything in order according to the clean air standards.

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BuzzFeed to Go Public in 2018 as a Media Tech Company

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BuzzFeed is the voice of the new generation and it might go public in 2018 as a media tech company.

BuzzFeed has been around the block for ten years now. Not only that, but the company managed to introduced a new type of media format that suits the needs of modern society best. The centerpiece of its agenda is creating and promoting viral content. This term denominates a part of viral marketing that is powerful enough to create a phenomenon where many readers are promoting and sharing the post through their social media profiles because they loved it so much. According to several reports, the company is preparing itself for a 2018 IPO as a media tech company.

The Received Funds from NBCUniversal Might Make the 2018 IPO Plans Come True

According to several reports published in the media, BuzzFeeds has big plans for the year to come. The company is already getting ready to file for an initial public offering. This means that everybody will be able to acquire stocks in one of the most resounding media companies of the modern society.

Moreover, this move signals the company’s endeavor to create a source of capital for an explosive business expansion. BuzzFeed managed to build a large community of professionals over the years. The online website makes it a usual thing to publish content on a daily basis. Moreover, each piece has the potential to become viral content. This gigantesque work is possible thanks to its own community of reporters, cartoon artists, contributors, and also amateurs.

The move that propelled the company towards this decision in an instant was a huge November event. This was when NBCUniversal decided to invest in BuzzFeed a total of $200 million. The goal of these large funds was to accelerate the growth of the company. The two organizations also have a partnership regarding the advertising domain. Thus, as long as BuzzFeed is successful, so is NBCUniversal going to be.

The First Official Media Tech Company Will Open the Door to other Similar Platforms

The CEO of BuzzFeed, Jonah Peretti, stated that he received many buying offers from media companies over the years. However, he has no intention to give up on its huge project. This is why he left the selling idea for the intention of filing for an IPO in the first half of 2018.

If these plans succeed, the company will open an opportunity door for all modern online media platforms that transcended the traditional format of newsfeeds and obtained a hybrid between a media and a tech company. The CEO of Buzzfeed has also mentioned that the platform will obtain the title of a media tech company once it goes public.

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New Taxi Law Keeps Uber Away from Denmark

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Denmark has just approved new taxi law that is banishing Uber away.

Uber Technologies may be managing a system of taxi cars. However, the company proclaimed itself as a tech organization that only provides a platform and a set of services. This definition presented a new concept that took lawmakers aback. Thus, in the lack of a specific law text, Uber took entire countries by storm and presented the first modern alternative to traditional taxis. However, the political theater seems to be catching up with this type of startups. A new taxi law in Denmark has just put a strain on Uber.

The New Taxi Law Claims Mandatory Gear for Vehicles

In light of the political movement, Uber announced that it would cease its activity in Denmark on April 18th. However, the company will not leave entirely without a fight. The new taxi law stipulates the request for obligatory gear. This is seat sensors and fare meters. Most of the traditional taxis are already endowed with this mandatory equipment. However, it is a serious problem for Uber.

The ride-hailing company doesn’t own any of the cars that pick up their clients. Instead, it reinforces strong collaboration between the company and its contractors, which are the drivers themselves. This party has to provide the vehicle while the company takes care of the logistics and other technical aspects of the business. Thus, it is not up to Uber to upgrade the cars according to the new taxi law.

“For us to operate in Denmark again the proposed regulations need to change. We will continue to work with the government in the hope that they will update their proposed regulations and enable Danes to enjoy the benefits of modern technologies like Uber.”

Uber Will Keep its Aarhus Operations Open Beyond April

Uber has been active in Denmark since the year of 2014. However, the company met great resistance against its business format within the country. Local taxi drivers, organizations, and even politicians criticized Uber for its lack of respect for their legal standards. Over the past three years, Uber managed to employ around 2,000 Danish drivers and gain a community of 300,000 users.

The company has also opened headquarters in Aarhus that is taken care of by 40 engineers. The location does not only operate locally, but it provides tech solutions for international Uber services. Even though on April Uber will withdraw its practices from Denmark, the company plans to keep the Aarhus location up and running.

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After Thumbs Down, Banks Are Considering Snap a Good Investment

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Underwriters have finally recognized Snapchat as a good investment for Wall Street firms.

Wall Street was buzzing on Monday with the array of banks that gave their blessings to Snapchat. While they highly advised their clients against this initial public offering in the beginning, the vanishing messaging app has just received an impressive number of “buy” ratings. There were a few “hold” ratings among them. As a consequence, several small Wall Street companies considered Snapchat a good investment and hurried to buy some shares.

Snap Had its Shares Soar to $23.83 which Signaled a Good Investment

On Monday, the shares of Snap Inc. soared almost 5%. The event came soon after several IPO underwriters reevaluated the company and gave it a much needed “buy” classification. It did not pass an entire month since Snap went public.

While this was the boldest IPO move coming from the tech industry over the past three years, the trading was unstable. Many investors frowned upon the company losing massive waves of users. They were enticed by the upgraded copycats over other social media platforms that offered them more features than Snap.

In light of the lost momentum, analysts registered either neutral or negative ratings. Despite a powerful start, Snap turned out to be one of the most disapproved stocks on Wall Street. However, things changed for the better on Monday. At least eight banks related to IPO released positive ratings. Some of them were even Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. As a consequence, Snap had its shares soar 4.79% to $23.83.

Analysts Changed their Ratings Due to Large Snap Potential

The reason behind this sudden change in the evaluation was the potential of the company. Snap Inc. is currently dealing with an accelerated decrease in users number, strong rivals, and negative revenue because of massive expenses. However, analysts expect for all this to turn for the better.

Their explanation lies in the difference between complex business formats like Facebook and the startup Snap. While others tapped into a large list of monetization strategies, Snapchat is still at the beginning of converting its business into a profitable one.

Thus, Snap won the day by revealing its growth potential. Moreover, analysts consider that the remaining community that chose not to leave Snapchat is loyal to their favorite social media. Once the number of users grows steady, publishers will start asking for more ad spots on the ephemeral messaging chat.

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Global Airline Routes Might Get Stronger After a Possible Collaboration

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China Southern is in talks with American Airlines over a shareholding strategy to boost global airline routes.

China Southern Airlines Company Limited is the largest airline as far as the fleet is concerned in China. The organization consolidated a great position at a global level as well. It is the fourth largest carrier that transported the most passengers in the world. Along with Air China and China Eastern Airlines, it is known as the Big Three airlines in the country. As of recently, the company admitted a negotiation line with the American Airlines. This new collaboration might spark up the industry and improve global airline routes.

Shares of China Southern Airlines Rose to Highest Point in Three Months

China Southern Airlines Co. saw its shares rise to their highest value in the last three months. This boost was generated by the latest news. Asia’s biggest carrier admitted that it opened up the discussion of a possible tie-up with the American Airlines Group Inc. The collaboration might allow the American airline to buy a stake of China Southern.

On Sunday, during an exchange filing, the Chinese company confessed the possibility of a market strategy with the American Airlines over a stake purchase, but also other business ideas. On Monday, the stakes proliferated 5.3% to HK$5.74 in Hong Kong. The first similar collaboration occurred as recently as 2015. Delta Air Lines Inc. purchased a 3.55% share in China Eastern Airlines Corp for a total of $450 million. Thus, the newly opened negotiations can make the American Airlines the second U.S. airline to be the owner of a Chinese carrier’s stake.

Beijing Wants to Empower its Carriers through Stronger Global Airline Routes

This initiative comes on behalf of the Chinese company. The capital city, Beijing, is in full operations to expand its global airline routes. However, it needs the support of private capital to make things happen. The mixed-ownership strategy is, in fact, a power unity that can improve key aspects in the organization. China Southern Airlines needs better competitiveness and efficiency to become a first-tier company.

At the moment, China Southern has routes from Guangzhou to key cities in the United States, such as New York, Hawaii, Chicago, and Boston. It is also part of the SkyTeam alliance. The company is already collaborating with other two American carriers, namely Delta and Virgin American. Together they share a number of same flights.

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FCC Moves to Banish Illegal Robocalls

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FCC wants to track down and block illegal robocalls.

Robocalls have made life easier for illegal intentions, yet harder for households. These annoyances look just like regular phone calls except that at the other side of the line is a robot who doesn’t listen. Instead, they are repeating the text they’ve been programmed to deliver. This system of prerecorded calls is not safe. Scammers have been taken advantage of this for ages by pretending to call from official institutions and asking for funds. Because of their intrusive nature, FFC wants to banish illegal robocalls for good.

FCC Will Collaborate with Phone Companies to Identifiy Illegal Robocalls

On Thursday, the Federal Communication Commission announced that the authorities are planning a series of rules against illegal robocalls. Through them, the FCC hopes to be able to identify and block phone scams. For this, they need to cooperate with phone companies to target unassigned or illegitimate phone numbers.

According to the Chairman of FCC, Ajit Pai, there are around 2.4 billion artificial calls that contact people each month. He stated that the majority have a fraudulent nature.

“Robo-calls are the No. 1 consumer complaint to the FCC from members of the American public.”

The Public Punishes Corporations as Well if They Force Robocalls on Them

Other reports from FCC show that there is at least 1 in 10 Americans who has been falling victim to such a scam. Companies also had something to lose if they tried to appeal to this marketing channel. For instance, PayPal back in 2015 managed to force some of its users to agree on their new robocall campaign. However, as the organization started to receive large waves of criticism even from lawmakers, PayPal redrew this strategy from the market.

Ajit Pai is more concerned with the illegal robocalls than those coming from corporations and institutions. The practice that bypasses security is the spoofing method. Contacted people see an official phone number calling them when scammers are actually using another number. This way, the origin of the call is deceitful.

Thus, the proposal targets illegal robocalls mostly. The authorities may finish their paper by the end of the year. The public can also play a proactive role and submit their feedback. This way, Americans are one step closer to having a peaceful evening without annoying artificial calls. Telecommunications companies are also on board with this direction, especially Verizon and AT&T.

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Tencent’s Next Interest Is in Chinese Video Streaming Service

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A popular Chinese video streaming service gained the support of major investment holding companies.

Kuaishou is a video streaming service that is held in high esteem by young Chinese users. Tencent Holdings Ltd. saw the great potential of this business. This is why it organized a fundraising on behalf of the video sharing app. The final sum rounded up to a total of $350 million USD. This is just a secondary step in the company’s plan to go public on the United States market sometime at the end of 2017.

The Video Streaming Service Attracted Investors as Baidu, DCM, and Sequoia

The new round of funding for the popular Chinese video streaming service was designated for one purpose only. The company will use this financial support to streamline the user experience and improve its research and development operations.

Kuaishou explained the new direction of its business with a focus on artificial intelligence and the latest technologies in video analytics. This way, the company wants to ramp up its position on the market and entice new users with latest tech products.

The success of Kuaishou previosuly inspired other investment holding behemoths to support the business. These are DCM, Baidu, and Sequoia. However, the new round of fundraising didn’t reveal their second participation. On the other hand, Kuaishou will not receive financial support only.

Tencent Saw a Great Bussiness Opportunity in its New Project

On the contrary, the company managed to close a partnership with Baidu and Tencent. Together, they are going to improve the technology and product of the Chinese video streaming service. The ultimate goal is to attract new users through a top-notch experience on the platform.

The founder and chairman of Tencent, Pony Ma, is excited for the new project and partnership with his company.

“Kuaishou has brings people closer with their focus on the recording and sharing everyday lives. It’s a product that closes to users for its warmth and vigor.”

Tencent acknowledged the trend that is going to help video content expand into an even bigger market in the future. By merging their efforts together, Kuaishou and Tencent will complete their unique user insights, professional expertise, and conquered tech boundaries to come up with groundbreaking methods to seize business opportunities.

At the moment, the popularity of Kuaishou created a large community of 400 million global users. The social media application offers them a creative way to capture their everyday life on live stream or video clips. Afterward, they can share their work with the world. The tackled topics are usually inspired by everyday life. However, there are also beauty tutorials and quirky entertainment.

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Costco Brings Fresh Groceries to Your Door

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Costco is partnering up with Shipt to bring fresh groceries from door to door in some U.S. states.

Costco Wholesale Corporation managed to become back in 2015 the world’s second largest retailer. The membership-only warehouse club was encompassed only by Walmart. However, the main competition is between Costco, Sam’s West, and BJ’s Wholesale Club. They are all targeting businesses and large families that are interested in buying quality products in bulk at low prices. To consolidate its position, Costco is ready to deliver fresh groceries from door to door.

The New Delivery of Fresh Groceries Will Start off in Tampa

On Tuesday, Costco announced a new partnership with an ambitious, young startup called Shipt. The two of them are going to work side by side to manage orders from customers. This marks another major effort for brick-and-mortar stores to compete with online services.

The new option for clients will be available in Tampa for starters. If everything goes according to plan, Shipt will be ready to conquer other 50 countries. By the end of the year, the startup projects to cover more than 30 million businesses and households.

Retailers are struggling to remain relevant in an industry with thin margins. Home delivery of fresh groceries represents an expensive way to win customers over. This strategy simulates the activity of an online store that saves the users from making any trips to the local market and from waiting in line.

The Delivery Services Experience a Productive Period

Thus, the delivery sector experienced a boom recently as more traditional companies desire to offer premium services to their customers. Such prosperous solutions are Instacart, Google Express, Amazon Fresh, and FreshDirect.

Moreover, major organizations such as Walmart and Kroger teamed up with behemoths in the transportation domain. Thus, they are testing an innovative delivery approach with Lyft and Uber. In an effort to save customers time, Sam’s Club, one of the main rivals of Costco, launched a drive-by pickup system at its own locations.

The startup Shipt is not at its first major such quest. The delivery service has already signed contracts with Whole Foods Market, Harris Teeter, and H-E-B. At the beginning of the month, Shipt won another contract from the supermarket chain, Meijer. The retailer was content with its development. Thus, the company will rely on Shipt services to deliver fresh groceries in six Midwestern states.

Shipt employs a subscription business format actually. Customers have to pay an annual fee of $99. Once they purchase their membership, they can enjoy unlimited deliveries. They have one hour at their disposal to pick up their order when the package is dropped off.

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Enterprises to Build Applications in IBM Cloud Soon

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IBM will enable developers to build applications through its new blockchain service.

International Business Machines Corporation managed to score in 24 consecutive years a record thanks to its broad number of patents created for businesses. One of such innovative projects regards a connection between its cloud computing services and enterprises’ need to build applications. The result is a blockchain code borrowed from the Hyperledger Project.

Developers Will Be Able to Build Applications with Hyperledger Project

On Monday, the American multinational technology firm inaugurated its latest product called IBM Blockchain. This is the first time the organization enables developers to build applications directly on its IBM Cloud service. From now on, clients will be able to create personalized technology at the level of an entire enterprise.

The new service will use Hyperledger Fabric which is the result of collective work. At the beginning of 2016, the Hyperledger Project started by the Linux Foundation asked worldwide developers for codebase proposals. In the end, the new asset was a construct of several incubated technologies, such as Digital Asset Holdings and libconsensus from Blockstream. IBM was itself a contributor to this project through its own project called OpenBlockchain. The product was later on named as Fabric.

The chaincode Fabric has the capacity to conduct 1,000 transactions in the span of a second. IBM stated that the blockchain is going to become the main business logic of any enterprise. The technology is endowed with all the necessary processes for large organizations to build applications. The company continued by admitting that it collaborated with SecureKey Technologies, a tech company, and a consortium of Canadian banks to come up with a complex digital identity network.

IBM Blockchain Will Be Released at the End of 2017

As a result, IBM Blockchain is going to be a network of networks where consumers have it easier to navigate through. The asset is going to be officially launched by the end of 2017. Basically, it will allow users to prove their identities and get fast access to important accounts such as bank accounts, utilities or driver’s license. The banks that will take part in this social innovation are Bank of Nova Scotia, Bank of Montreal, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, and Canadian Imperial Bank.

A blockchain first emerged on the market as a way to organize the cryptocurrency bitcoin. Later on, it developed into a modern digital shared record of transactions that happen without the approval of centralized power. There is only an online network of computers that handles this record. IBM put its blockchain technology to use for business giants such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Northern Trust Corp, and the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation.

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Wall Street Bonuses Scored Highest Value Since 2013

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Wall Street Bonuses hit a record height last years despite low profits for the industry.

The financial services sector in New York City saw a major revenue increase last year. Employees that empower this industry received $138,210 in Wall Street bonuses for the year of 2016. This financial improvement has spectacular surge in bank profitsto thank for. This is the first time in three years when the profits escalated so quickly. By comparison, industry workers received just a 1% boost to their salaries.

Wall Street Bonuses Soared 21%

On Wednesday, the New York State Comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, released a new financial report. One of the main findings of the document highlights a huge discrepancy between the worth of financial industries. While the bank’s employees and brokerages got to take home a 1% profit, the Wall Street bonuses soared 21%.

Another odd fact was that in 2016, the Wall Street profits suffered a plunge in numbers actually. Despite this profit decay, the employers were generous in the compensation area. In the Wall Street world, bonuses are declared between December and March. These consist not only of cash, but also of stock as well. This is why some employees might get their hands on their gratification in several years from now.

The source of generous bonuses might have something to do with stock prices for banks that increased since November. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase saw a boost of more than 30%. At the same time, the Bank of America left all the others behind thanks to a 50% increase.

Only 10% of Employees Benefited the Bonus

On the other hand, Michael Karp, the CEO of Options Group, a top recruiting company, stated that only up to 10% of employees benefited the Wall Street bonuses. It was only 2015 when trading business faced massive difficulties and had to lower the bonuses for employees by 15%.

“Since DiNapoli’s survey focuses on tax credits, much of the increase came from the appreciation of deferred stock bonuses vesting this year,” Karp explained.

The comptroller’s report didn’t divulge numbers. However, the document did specify the bonuses for 2015. The securities industry paid an average of $388,000. This makes the average bonus for the year of 2016 to hit a total of $500,000. The recently disclosed report shows only average bonuses. On the other hand, employees aren’t remunerated equally across the securities industry. Those in the front office such as bankers and traders earn significantly more than the others.

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