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More than 170 countries reached an agreement to halt the use of HFCs

More than 170 countries have reached an agreement to cut the use of chemical coolants called hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs used in airconditioners and refrigerators in place of environment-friendly alternatives. The Kigali deal is expected to have an impact equal to, if not greater than, the Paris Agreement at slowing down global warming. Estimates suggest that the deal can reduce rise in atmospheric temperatures by nearly one degree Farenheit. It could eliminate the equivalent of 70 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which is twice the carbon pollution emitted globally each year. Wealthy countries have committed to stop the production and consumption of HFCs by 2018, while much of the rest of the world such as China, Brazil and Africa have decided to do so by 2024. Some of the hottest countries have agreed on a later schedule of 2028.

Key Takeaway: 

A new landmark deal has been agreed upon by more than 170 countries to curb the use of hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs in place of planet-friendly alternatives; could have the impact of reducing global warming by almost one degree Farenheit.

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Publication Date: 
October 15, 2016

Eight of the top 10 best performing CEOs are from Europe

Eight of the top 10, including the top four, best performing CEOs of 2016 according to Harvard Business Review’s latest list are from Europe. The top four are Lars Rebien Sorensen of Novo Nordisk, a health company, Martin Sorrell, advertising executive of WPP, Pablo Isla of Inditex and Herbert Hainer of Adidas. The only US CEO in the top 10 is Nvidia’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, whose company makes graphics processors for gaming units. The other CEO to complete the list runs a Brazilian bank. European companies ranked higher in this year’s list because aside from measuring financial performance, the ranking also considered a company's environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings. Shareholders and the regulatory environment in Europe tend to make those issues a priority. The 2014 list which was based solely on financial performance had seven US-based CEOs and one European CEO in the top 10, with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ranking as number 1.

Key Takeaway: 

Harvard Business Review’s 2016 list of the world’s best performing CEOs features eight CEOs from Europe, one from Brazil and one from the US as part of the top 10, ranking higher among others on solid financial performance and environmental, social and governance ratings.

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Publication Date: 
October 13, 2016

Apple will open two research facilities in China

Apple announced it will open a second research facility in China next year at the manufacturing hub of Shenzhen, a month after it stated it will open its first research and development center in Beijing. Both centers will allow the company to collaborate more strongly with local partners to support and develop talent in the country. Apple plans to spend $45 million in its Beijing center which will be staffed by 500 employees. Analysts have said that the center will help the company understand the Chinese market and maintain good relations with the Chinese government.

Key Takeaway: 

Apple will open two new research and development centers in Bejing and Shenzhen, China, which will allow it to work more closely with manufacturing partners and local universities.

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Publication Date: 
October 12, 2016

Amazon introduced its own music streaming app

Amazon introduced a music streaming service competitor to Spotify and Apple Music called Amazon Music Unlimited. Monthly subscription fee is same as Spotify, at $9.99, but for Amazon Prime Customers, the price is cheaper at $7.99. Amazon sees the connected home as the next battlefront for music streaming, after desktop and mobile. The company hopes to get customers to switch to its streaming service with AI features that enable users to play songs by quoting lyrics, mentioning the period when the song was released or through the use of adjectives such as playing happy songs on Echo using voice or through the Music Unlimited app. Echo users also get a discounted price of $3.99. It will be initially available only in the US. Aside from Spotify and Apple Music, Echo competes with the recently released Google Home, a smart speaker that also streams music from Google Play.

Key Takeaway: 

Amazon launched a new music streaming app called Amazon Music Unlimited which also works with the Echo device to play songs with artificial intelligence; the service is a direct competitor to popular streaming services Spotify and Apple Music as well as the newly released Google Home, a smart speaker, that streams music from Google Play.

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October 12, 2016

Samsung cancels production of the Note 7

Samsung has officially ended the production and sale of the Note 7 over concerns that the phones overheat and catch fire after the replacement phones it sent out encountered the same kind of problem. The company has already asked customers to stop using their Note 7 devices. This decision will cost Samsung billions of dollars in lost sales. The US Consumer Products Safety Commission, Federal Aviation Administration and major airlines in the world have also asked users to stop using their Note 7s. Aside from the negative publicity and loss of brand trust, longer term issues arise like whether there should be more product testing and safety procedures in place before a product is announced or released, and whether other products will encounter the same problem as the Note 7 phones.

Key Takeaway: 

After its replacement phones encountered similar issues of overheating and catching fire, Samsung has decided to stop producing and selling Note 7 devices, which can cost the company billions of dollars.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 11, 2016

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