#BigDaily: Volkswagen fined for causing Delhi air pollution; Indians are buying less gold

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Volkswagen fined Rs 171.34 crore by green tribunal panel for causing air pollution in Delhi

A four-member committee set up by the National Green Tribunal has penalised German car manufacturer Volkswagen Rs 171.34 crore for contributing to air pollution in Delhi through excess nitrogen oxide emissions.

Volkswagen is accused of flouting environmental norms by using a cheat device in its diesel cars that lowered vehicle emissions only during tests.


China germinates first seed on moon

A small green shoot is growing on the moon after a cotton seed germinated onboard a Chinese lunar lander, scientists said.

“This is the first time humans have done biological growth experiments on the lunar surface,” said Xie Gengxin, who led the design of the experiment, on Tuesday.

Plants have been grown previously on the International Space Station, but this is the first time a seed has sprouted on the moon.


Beijing approves plan for Greater Bay Area to rival San Francisco’s Silicon Valley in the United States

The Greater Bay Area plan aims to link Hong Kong, Macau, and nine cities in the Guangdong Province — including the megacities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou — into a giant science and IT hub comparable to the combined size of San Francisco and Tokyo’s bay areas by 2035.

China hopes to achieve this by integrating the cities’ infrastructure and expertise in finance, manufacturing and technology by removing trade barriers, encouraging cross-border business, and eventually creating a single market.


Apple Releases Cases With Built-in Batteries for Latest iPhones

Apple on Tuesday released re-chargeable battery cases for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR that add several hours of battery life to the smartphones.

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant previously offered a similar case for its older iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 models. The new cases increase talk time from 20 hours to 33 hours on the iPhone XS, 25 hours to 37 hours on the XS Max, and 25 hours to 39 hours on the XR, according to Apple’s website. The cases can also be re-charged with inductive chargers.


Citigroup Reveals Female Employees Earn 29% Less Than Men Do

Citigroup Inc. offered an uncharacteristically blunt assessment of the pay gap between men and women in its global workforce Wednesday, revealing that female employees earn 29 percent less than men do.

The disclosure — a comparison of median total compensation — offers a more complete picture of pay, compared with the figures Citigroup and other big banks released last year under pressure from shareholders in the U.S. and regulators in the U.K.

The bank also reported that, among its U.S. employees, people of color earn 7 percent less than their white colleagues.


India’s e-commerce curbs could hit online sales by $46 billion by 2022: Study

India’s new foreign investment restrictions for its e-commerce sector, which includes giants such as Amazon.com Inc and Walmart-owned Flipkart, could reduce online sales by $46 billion by 2022, according to a draft analysis from global consultants PwC seen by Reuters.

Under the changes, e-commerce firms in India will from Feb. 1 not be able to sell products via companies in which they have an equity interest or push sellers to sell exclusively on their platforms.


Microsoft to set up 10 AI labs, train 5 lakh youth in India

Microsoft India plans to train 5 lakh youth in artificial intelligence across the country over the next three years and set up AI labs in 10 universities.

The company would also upskill 10000 developers in emerging technology areas.

The software major said 700 organizations including government bodies in the country are using its AI solutions now and nearly 60% of them are large enterprises.


Indians are buying less gold and electronics now

In December 2018, India’s imports recorded a year-on-year decline for the first time since September 2016, according to official estimates released from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Overall imports in the month fell marginally to $41 billion from $41.9 billion in December 2017 and $43.1 billion in November 2018.

The reduction in the country’s import bill is good for a developing economy like India, which is dependent on imports for some necessary items like oil. The recent/steady weakening of the rupee had made these imports even costlier.


Its owners in jail, Chandamama is up for sale

The magazine was launched in the year of India’s Independence and went on to become the country’s favourite childhood companion, at least until the digital explosion this century. But now, Chennai-based children’s magazine Chandamama is on the block.

On January 11, the Bombay High Court ordered the sale of the intellectual property rights of Chandamama, which has been in the custody of the official liquidator since 2014, with Geodesic Ltd — the company that owns the magazine — facing provisional liquidation on allegations of fraud and siphoning of funds.


Companies started by solo founders survive longer than those started by teams – Research

A widespread scholarly and popular consensus suggests that new ventures perform better when launched by teams, rather than individuals. This view has become so pervasive that many of the foremost investors rarely, if ever, fund startups founded by a solo entrepreneur. Despite this belief in the superiority of teams in the startup process, little empirical evidence has been used to examine this key question.

Research Paper

China smartphone shipments fell 20% year on year in 4Q of 2018, all brands combined.

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