Business

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Business • Farming & Agriculture
Abu Dhabi: World's largest indoor farm to be built
Abu Dhabi: World's largest indoor farm to be built
Credit: unsplash.com / ThisisEngineering RAEng

Investor Rain Makers Capital Investment and farming technology company GrowGroup IFS are cooperating with the government of Abu Dhabi in order to build the world's largest indoor farm for "spinach, rocket, herbs and kale".

The project costs €150 million and is expected to produce 10,000 tonnes of fresh vegetables per year at 5% of the water costs that would normally be needed for conventional growth in Abu Dhabi.

Business
Nordstrom to stop selling fur and exotic animal skills by the end of 2021
Nordstrom to stop selling fur and exotic animal skills by the end of 2021
Credit: Mike Mozart from Funny YouTube, USA / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States, American department store chain Nordstrom has committed to banning exotic animal skins and real fur from its 355 stores. While other chains have adopted a fur-free policy in the past, Nordstrom will be the first US-based retailer to prohibit clothing and accessories made with skins of exotic animals.

Nordstrom's private labels have been free of fur and exotic animal skin for years, so the company's chief merchandising officer Teri Bariquit, and will encourage brands impacted by their new policy to "re-evaluate their use of fur and exotic animal skins."

Nordstrom will still sell products made out of the skin of cows, calves, sheep, lambs, pigs, goats and water buffalo but will exclude products derived from snakes, alligators, lizards, pythons, crocodiles, sharks, kangaroos, ostriches and stingrays.

Business • Economy
Disney to lay off 28,000 employees as Covid-19 affects its theme park business
Disney to lay off 28,000 employees as Covid-19 affects its theme park business
Credit: Joe Penniston (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In a memo sent to employees on Tuesday, Disney announced it would lay off 28,000 employees across its parks, experiences and consumer products segment. Around 67% of the laid-off workers were part-time employees.

The company blamed prolonged closures and capacity limits at open parks for the layoffs. While Disney's theme parks in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong have been able to reopen with limited capacity, both California theme parks have remained shuttered.

Business • Economy
EasyJet is "hanging by a thread" due to Covid-19 pandemic, union official says
EasyJet is "hanging by a thread" due to Covid-19 pandemic, union official says
Credit: unsplash.com/Frederick Tubiermont

According to a union official, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has left the British low-cost airline group EasyJet "hanging by a thread".

"If easyJet don’t have a good summer and make money next summer, I suspect none of us will have a job this time next year," pilots’ union official Martin Entwisle said in a now leaked recording of an EasyJet staff conference call. Entwisle claimed the information was shared by the company’s chief financial officer, Andrew Findlay, who allegedly warned that the company's situation was "even worse than their worst fears."

"The easiest way to put it is: the company is hanging by a thread," Entwisl added.

EasyJet has denied that Entwisl's comments "reflect what EasyJet or its finance officer said."

Business
Chuck Feeney's foundation achieves the goal of donating $8 billion fortune

Chuck Feeney, an Irish American who made billions from a duty-free shopping empire, has achieved the goal of giving away his $8 billion fortune through his Atlantic Philanthropies foundation and has signed papers to formally close it.

Feeny who lives in a small rented apartment in San Francisco has stated that "to those wondering about Giving While Living: try it, you’ll like it".

Business • Economy
Investment bank JPMorgan announces move of €200 billion in assets from UK to Germany following Brexit
Investment bank JPMorgan announces move of €200 billion in assets from UK to Germany following Brexit
Credit: unsplash.com / Igor Flek

According to reports by Bloomberg, the investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. is moving assets worth around €200 billion from the United Kingdom to Frankfurt, Germany. The reason for the move is the end of the transition period and the Brexit with the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.

Business • Economy
Spanish Supreme Court rules that riders for delivery companies are falsely self-employed
Spanish Supreme Court rules that riders for delivery companies are falsely self-employed
Credit: unsplash.com / Connor Houtman

The Spanish Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the riders are wage earners and are therefore now working as falsely self-employed. "The relationship between a rider and Glovo is of a labor nature," says the note issued by the Supreme Court, which adds that the company "is not a mere intermediary in the hiring of services between stores and rider"

Business • Real Estate, Housing & Infrastructure
Norwegian billionaire buys almost 4000 apartments in Berlin
Norwegian billionaire buys almost 4000 apartments in Berlin
Credit: unsplash.com / Jonas Tebbe

The Norwegian billionaire and adventurer Ivar Tollefsen enters the Berlin market for residential real estate through the Swedish housing group Heimstaden Bostad, which he controls. For approximately €830 million he will buy 3902 apartments in central situations of Berlin, according to Heimastaden Bostad.

According to the company, the rental space totals 282,000 square meters. This means that these are smaller apartments and stores with an average floor area of just under 67 square meters.

Protest against the project has already been organized in some apartment buildings. The Berlin district Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg has stated that they are examining the possiblity of a exercising a pre-emptive right of purchase.

Business • Economy
Facebook to open new office in Lagos in 2021
Facebook to open new office in Lagos in 2021
Credit: unsplash.com/Brett Jordan

Facebook will open its second African office in Lagos, Nigeria in 2021 to support the Sub-Saharan region, the company said in a statement.

“The opening of our new office in Lagos, Nigeria presents new and exciting opportunities in digital innovations to be developed from the continent and taken to the rest of the world," the Head of New Product Experimentation Ime Archibong said. “All across Africa we’re seeing immense talent in the tech ecosystem, and I’m proud that with the upcoming opening of our new office, we’ll be building products for the future of Africa, and the rest of the world, with Africans at the helm. We look forward to contributing further to the African tech ecosystem.”

Business • Consumer & Service
H&M terminates cooperation with a supplier in China because of crimes against the Muslim Uyghur people
H&M Store
H&M Store Credit: Mister No

The Swedish clothing company H&M announced that it is ending its cooperation with the Chinese supplier Huafu. The textile supplier, based in the Chinese province of Anhui, is said to have benefited from the forced labour system in the province, which is mainly inhabited by Muslim Uyghur people.

According to H&M, the company had an "indirect business relationship" with the supplier, even though there hadn't been any indications of forced labour, H&M decided to terminate the cooperation regardless.

Business • Consumer & Service
First Amazon Fresh opens Woodland Hills, in Los Angeles
First Amazon Fresh opens Woodland Hills, in Los Angeles
Credit: Amazon, Screenshot via YouTube

After an invite-only phase, the first Amazon Fresh grocery store has opened its door to the public in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles. Amazon is also introducing Dash Carts, shopping carts featuring a scale and a variety of cameras and sensors to calculate your shopping total. Echo Show stations featuring Alexa will help customers find items and products in the store.

Business • Economy
Spain: CaixaBank and Bankia merger blessed by shareholders
Spain: CaixaBank and Bankia merger blessed by shareholders
Credit: CaixaBank

Spanish banks CaixaBank and Bankia teams agreed to a merger that would create an entity with total assets of about 665 billion. Reuters reports that sources close to the deal confirmed the main shareholders greenlight the merger, to be signed in the next few days.

The new bank would surpass Santander and BBVA in the Spanish market with a combined market share of around 30%. Both Santander and BBVA would remain bigger globally, but not in Spain.

Business • Jobs & Careers
Spain: 75% of migrants are in elementary and precarious jobs, according to a Caritas report
Spain: 75% of migrants are in elementary and precarious jobs, according to a Caritas report
Credit: Caritas Spain

The Spanish Caritas has presented a report explaining that 94% of foreigners living in the country feel welcome, while 75% of them are employed in elementary and poorly paid jobs.

The Catholic organization has stressed the need to end the social and occupational segregation of this population, which is a burden for their complete inclusion. Following the report 42% of the foreign population has been in the country for at least 15 years.

Business • Consumer & Service
Peloton announced its first-ever quarterly profit amid Covid-19 pandemic-demand spike
Peloton Bike
Peloton Bike Credit: Peloton

Peloton, the connected fitness-equipment company, reported a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $89.1 million, the first-ever since the company went public a year ago. The company revenue totalled $607.1 million, up from $223 million a year ago.

During a conference call Thursday, the company CEO James Foley said: "The strong tailwind we experienced in March as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold has continued to propel the demand for our products into the fourth quarter and the first couple of months of the Q1 fiscal year 2021."

Business • Economy
Austria reports 20% decline in sales of new cars since beginning of 2020
Austria reports 20% decline in sales of new cars since beginning of 2020
Credit: GFreihalter (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

The Austrian car sales are heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to a -67% and -65% decline in sales in March and April. The market since then recovered to a low of -18% in June and went back to -20% in August.

The statistics are based on the registration number of new cars per month.

Business • Media & Advertising
Founder of Jelly Belly jelly beans launches "Gold Tickets" treasure hunt in the spirit of Willy Wonka against $49,99 entry fee
Founder of Jelly Belly jelly beans launches "Gold Tickets" treasure hunt in the spirit of Willy Wonka against $49,99 entry fee
Credit: unsplash.com / Patrick Fore

The Jelly Belly jelly beans founder, David Klein, has launched a "Gold Ticket Treasure hunt" for people in the United States. After paying an entry fee of $49,99 participants can hunt treasures in the different states of the US.

Different treasures can be found and per treasure, 1000 people can participant in hunting it. According to the announcement each treasure is valued at $5,000 and all participants can hunt for a grant treasure in the end which contains an all-expenses-paid trip to a factory.

Business • Health Care
Nine biopharmaceutical companies sign safety pledge for Covid-19 vaccine
Nine biopharmaceutical companies sign safety pledge for Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: unsplash.com/CDC

Nine biopharmaceutical companies have signed a safety pledge, committing to "developing and testing potential vaccines for COVID-19 in accordance with high ethical standards and sound scientific principles."

AstraZeneca, BioNTech, Moderna, Pfizer, Novavax, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and Merck have signed the pledge just a week after the CDC's vaccine distribution plans surfaced, suggesting a vaccine would be available by as early as late October.

Business • Health Care
Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine gets approved for second trial

Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine BNT162b2 has been approved for its Phase II/III clinical trial by German Paul-Ehrlich-Institut. If the trials prove successful, Pfizer and BioNTech will try to seek regulatory approval as early as October.

"A large, controlled Phase III study is a crucial prerequisite to prove the safety and efficacy of a vaccine. The integration of sites in Europe, and now especially in Germany, is aimed at supporting an approval in Europe," so BioNTech CEO and co-founder Ugur Sahin.

Business • Economy
Report: 45 of 58 Austrian publicly traded companies have all-male boards
Report: 45 of 58 Austrian publicly traded companies have all-male boards
Credit: unsplash.com / M. B. M.

According to a report from the consultancy Ernst & Young out of 58 Austrian companies that are publically traded at the stock exchange, only 13 have a female board member. In total out of 191 board members, only 14 are female.

Every fourth company does not fulfill the quorum of 30%.

Business • Consumer & Service
Amazon drivers are hanging smartphones in trees to get more work
Amazon drivers are hanging smartphones in trees to get more work
Credit: Wicked Monday

Smartphones dangling from trees became a usual sight near Amazon.com delivery stations and Whole Foods stores in the Chicago suburb thanks to an Uber-like app called Amazon Flex, that lets drivers make deliveries in their own cars.

Someone places several devices in a tree located close to the station where deliveries originate. Drivers then sync their own phones with the ones in the tree and wait nearby for an order pickup. 

For many with other jobs, it’s a way to earn extra money in their spare time. But with joblessness rising and unemployment payments shrinking, competition for such work has stiffened, and more people rely on it as their primary income source.

Business • Markets
German startup factory Rocket Internet to delist its shares from the Frankfurt and Luxembourg Stock Exchanges
Rocket Internet Logo
Rocket Internet Logo Credit: Rocket Internet

Almost six years after its IPO, German startup factory Rocket Internet announced Tuesday its plan to delist its shares from the Frankfurt and Luxembourg Stock Exchanges.

The company, now valuated at 2.6 billion, is offering investors 18.57 euros per share.

Business • Economy
GDP falls 9.7% record in the 2nd quarter and Brazil enters recession again
Closed stores in Santos, Brazil
Closed stores in Santos, Brazil Credit: Marcelo dos Santos

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Brazil had a historical fall of 9.7% in the 2nd quarter, in comparison with the first 3 months of the year, due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis,

With a pandemic, the Brazilian economy regressed to the level of late 2009.

Business • Jobs & Careers
Salesforce to extend work from home policy until August 2021, give six extra weeks of time off for parents
Salesforce to extend work from home policy until August 2021, give six extra weeks of time off for parents

Salesforce announced it is extending the work from home policy to all 49,000 employees until at least July 31. Previously, the company guideline allowed work from home until the end of 2020.

The company also announced it is expanding benefits, offering employees an additional $250 to purchase office supplies to work from home and giving parents six additional weeks of paid time off.

Business • Consumer & Service
Protesters set up a guillotine outside Jeff Bezos' mansion and demanded higher wages for Amazon workers
Protesters set up a guillotine outside Jeff Bezos' mansion and demanded higher wages for Amazon workers
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

Demonstrators gathered outside Jeff Bezos' mansion Thursday and constructed a guillotine outside his front door to protest Amazon workers' wages. The protest came the day after Bezos became the wealthiest person in history, according to Forbes, with a net worth surpassed $200 billion.

Protesters, led by former warehouse worker and outspoken Amazon critic Christian Smalls, called on the company to raise its minimum wage to $30 per hour.

Business • Economy
Insolvency administrator considers Wirecard not capable of being restructured
Insolvency administrator considers Wirecard not capable of being restructured
Credit: Leo Molatore (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

According to a progress report of the insolvency administrator Michael Jaffé the situation is too desolate for resturcturing, after years of reporting profits, but in reality accumulating losses.

Following the report a mountain of debt of more than 3.2 billion euros is offset by usable assets of only 428 million, which means that the company is over-indebted by around 2.8 billion euros. In liquid assets there are only 26.8 million euros left. These figures are the result of a long series of losses.

Business • Economy
Department store chain Lord & Taylor to close all its stores
Department store chain Lord & Taylor to close all its stores
Credit: Lord & Taylor

After 194 years in business, the American department store chain Lord & Taylor is closing all its 38 remaining stores after filing bankruptcy on August 2 and has begun liquidation sales.

"While we are still entertaining various opportunities, we believe it is prudent to simultaneously put the remainder of the stores into liquidation to maximize value of inventory for the estate while pursuing options for the company's brands," so Lord & Taylor's chief restructuring officer Ed Kremer.

Business • Economy
US: Powell announces new Fed approach to inflation that could keep rates lower for longer

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell announced a major policy shift Thursday to "average inflation targeting."

That means the central bank will be more inclined to allow inflation to run higher than the standard 2% target before hiking interest rates.

"Many find it counterintuitive that the Fed would want to push up inflation," Powell said in prepared remarks. "However, inflation that is persistently too low can pose serious risks to the economy."

Business • Economy
Jeff Bezos' net worth surpasses $200b
Jeff Bezos at Amazon Spheres Grand Opening in Seattle, 2018
Jeff Bezos at Amazon Spheres Grand Opening in Seattle, 2018 Credit: Seattle City Council from Seattle / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' net worth has reached approx. $202 billion, a $87 billion increase since January. Amazon's stock has seen a 25%-rise since June and 86%-rise since the start of the year, boosted mostly by online shopping during the pandemic.

Business • Health Care
F.D.A. issues emergency authorization for convalescent plasma as Covid-19 treatment
F.D.A. issues emergency authorization for convalescent plasma as Covid-19 treatment
Credit: Mehr News Agency / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of convalescent plasma as Covid-19 treatment as the "known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product." Even before the approval, around 70,000 people had been treated with convalescent plasma.

President Trump, after harshly criticising the speed of approval of treatments and vaccines, was pleased with the fast decision. "Today I am pleased to make a truly historic announcement in our battle against the China virus that will save countless lives. Today's action will dramatically increase access to this treatment," so the President.

Business • Economy
Airbnb files to go public
Airbnb files to go public
Credit: Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine (Public Domain)

Airbnb announced on Wednesday that it had confidentially filed to go public. Reports indicate the company could have an IPO as soon as the end of the year.

The company had been privately valued at $31 billion before this year and it must now convince investors that it can thrive and turn a profit in a new era of limited travel.