Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
VW admits to "Voltswagen" rebranding was a stunt, issues apology
VW admits to "Voltswagen" rebranding was a stunt, issues apology
Credit: Volkswagen, via Twitter

Volkswagen (VW) has issued a statement saying "Volkswagen of America will not be changing its name to Voltswagen" after announcing the rebranding on March 30.

"The renaming was designed to be an announcement in the spirit of April Fool's Day, highlighting the launch of the all-electric ID.4 SUV and signaling our commitment to bringing electric mobility to all," a spokesperson of the company told NPR.

The stunt had not been taken well by both consumers and investors.

“Volkswagen of America developed and implemented a marketing campaign to draw attention — with a wink — to Volkswagen’s e-offensive and the market launch of ID.4 in the USA,” the company further said in a statement. “The intention was to generate awareness of an important corporate and industry issue in the country. We regret that the announcement rollout may have upset some people.”

Regional News • World
Eurasia Group finds politically divided US is biggest ‘risk’ to the world in 2021
United States Capitol
United States Capitol Credit: Bernt Rostad (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Ian Bremmer, president of the political risk consultancy Eurasia Group, has found that the United States' political situation poses a key risk for 2021, additionally to the Covid-19 pandemic, global data control and cyber conflicts, as well as the US-China conflicts.

"When you think about 2021, of course, you know, coronavirus is going to dominate the news continually. But the United States today is not only the most powerful country in the world, but it's also the most politically divided and economically unequal of all of the world's wealthy democracies. And President-elect Biden will take office in that environment. He will be seen as illegitimate by almost half of the country," Brenner said in an interview with NPR, adding in a Eurasia Group report that a "superpower torn down the middle cannot return to business as usual. When the world’s most powerful country is so divided, everybody has a problem."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Polls: Biden leads leads Trump 54% to 43%
Polls: Biden leads leads Trump 54% to 43%
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. Images The White House (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

In the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, the former vice president Joe Biden leads Donald Trump 54% to 43% among likely voters. It's the highest difference between both candidates since this poll began testing the Biden-Trump matchup in February.

In 2016, Donald Trump had 46% of the votes nationally but clinched a victory in key states in the Electoral College. The current poll shows Biden ahead in several key states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Workers in Washington defy USPS orders and reinstall mail sorting machines
United States Post Office mail collection boxes
United States Post Office mail collection boxes Credit: EraserGirl (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Postal workers in Tacoma and Wenatchee reinstalled machines for high-speed mail sorting that were dismantled after orders from the head of maintenance of USPS.

The orders have led to widespread fear that the USPS could not handle the millions of mail-in ballots expected during the November election.

According to an NPR report, 40 percent of the high-speed sorting

machines in the Seattle-Tacoma are were already dismantled and


Regional News • Americas • United States
Researchers predict that US Covid-19 death toll could reach 300,000 by December
Researchers predict that US Covid-19 death toll could reach 300,000 by December
Credit: Nations COVID-19 Response

Researchers at Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predict that the US Covid-19 death toll could reach 300,000 by December, almost twice as much as the current number of around 160,000 deaths, or "about five times the number of people who die of flu each year."

"In fact, if this projection pans out, coronavirus will likely be the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. for 2020, only behind heart disease and cancer," so global health correspondent Nurith Aizenman in an interview with NPR.

The forecast also took into consideration "states moving to stay-at-home orders and shutdowns once cases skyrocket" and "50% of schools will be doing online-only instruction" but it does not " assume widespread mask use, and that is what could change things," Aizenman added.

The researchers assumed 50% of people were wearing masks if "out and about", but assuming if 95% of people wore masks " about half of the deaths between now and December 1 would be prevented."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Voice of America will not extend visas for its foreign journalists
Voice of America building in DC
Voice of America building in DC Credit: Rhododendrites (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Voice of America, the federal government's international broadcaster, could face the loss of dozens of its international journalists as their visas will not be extended once they expire, reports NPR, citing three anonymous sources.

The decision not to renew visas could weaken the broadcaster operations, as it depends on native speakers of foreign languages to produce its content.