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The head of South Korea’s 2018 Winter Olympics organizing committee, Cho Yang-ho, has resigned.
Cho Yang-ho said he wanted to focus on “urgent matters” with his business group, which includes the struggling Hanjin Shipping carrier, the Yonhap news agency reports.
Hanjin Shipping, South Korea’s largest shipper by assets, is facing severe financial difficulties and Cho Yang-ho needed to focus his efforts on restructuring and stabilizing the company.
Photo LA Times
Cho Yang-ho is the chairman of the Hanjin conglomerate, which also controls the nation’s flag carrier Korean Air, a corporate sponsor of the 2018 Games.
According to reports, Cho Yang-ho, who took on the role in 2014, was nearing the end of his two-year term.
The Winter Games are due to take place in Pyeongchang in February 2018.
In March, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it was confident South Korea’s preparations were “moving in the right direction”.
Cho Yang-ho said he had “truly put forward my very best efforts to work with every member of the organizing committee to prepare a successful Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2018.”
He said he would “continue to support Pyeongchang through to the Games in 2018”.
In April, Hanjin Shipping said it would ask creditor banks to restructure its debt. It had debt of 5.6 trillion won ($4.92 billion) and a debt-to-equity ratio of nearly 850 percent as at the end of 2015, according to the company.
Japan stock market traded low as the yen surged after the Bank of Japan decided against any extra monetary easing.
The Bank of Japan (BoJ) kept interest rates unchanged despite coming under pressure to take further action.
The central bank had introduced negative rates in January but this failed to provide a much needed boost for the economy.
The Nikkei 225 index finished 3.6% lower at 16,666.05. New economic data also showed a slip back into deflation while industrial production expanded.
Japan has for years been trying to boost its economy and end a period of stifling deflation.
One way to try to achieve this is by monetary policy, which is one of PM Shinzo Abe’s three key “Abenomics” policies to turn around the economy.
However, even negative rates – meaning commercial banks will be charged if they deposit money with the central bank – have not trickled down to get banks to lend more and companies and people to invest or spend more.
Inflation is still far off the 2% target.
The BoJ’s decision to hold rates also sent the yen currency soaring, which is likely to have a negative effect on the crucial export sector.
The yen rose nearly 2% against the dollar, with one dollar worth 109.33 yen.
Since the emergence of computers in the 20th century, advances in technology have played a major role in changing the way we do things, including the way we make money.
These days, we have what investors call Robo-Advisers. Do not fret about the name; there is nothing metallic about these advisers. These are basically software programs created to make investment decisions for investors. How cool is that-knowing that you now do not have to pay expensive fees for investment advisory?
Robo-Advisers are only beginning to gain popularity in the UK, but in the US, it’s a common term. Robo-Advisers work by providing investment advice to investors based on their individual profiles. Tired of getting that template advice from your investment manager at a premium? Robo-Advisers are developed using complex algorithms that take into consideration various investing factors which may affect an investor’s decision.
Units Established for Robo-Advice Firms
Last year, UK’s financial regulators discussed in depth about the subject of Robo-Advisers and the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) recently revealed that it will set up a specialised unit for Robo-Advice firms.
This move was confirmed in the regulator’s recent annual business plan; it revealed that it had accepted recommendation by the FAMR (Financial Advice Market Review) to develop a specialised unit for firms interested in launching Robo-Advice platforms.
Since last year several investment advice firms have launched Robo-Advice platforms while banks are also believed to be showing real interest in Robo-Advisers. This paradigm shift has not escaped criticism from wary investors as some worry about the risks involved in using such a platform to cater for their investment needs.
These fears were recently echoed by FCA Chair John Griffith when he said that the regulator was fully aware of the risks and potential rewards of Robo-Advisers.
‘Technology can drive down the cost of accessing products and services, and can push up the quality of service,” said Griffith, commenting on FCA’s recent annual business plan. ‘But it can present challenges to markets and regulators alike, including resilience, cyber-crime and financial exclusion.’
Not a Replacement for Comprehensive Investment Advice
This also implies that while costs are bound to be lower on Robo-Advice platforms, it would be premature to assume that Robo-Advisers will replace traditional investment advisers in their entirety.
This can be in the form of extended experience in the market as well as varying opinions from the advisory team. Therefore, Robo-Advisers can do some of the things that traditional investment advisers do, but they certainly cannot do everything.
With Robo-Advice, an investor fills in to the platform certain details about his/her investment profile including age, investment income, annual income, and risk appetite, among others from which the system draws conclusion on the best investments for the individual. As such, you could say that Robo-Advice works pretty much like WebMD, where patients input their health/injury profile to receive guidance on potential treatments. However, you never really get a prescription.
The same thing applies to Robo-Advice, the information you provide is used to generate leads on investments opportunities, but it never really invests on your behalf.
In summary, there are genuine concerns about the reliance on Robo-Advisers, but given the fact that these platforms are operated by fully regulated firms, it means that investors can at least be comfortable with their authenticity.
However, it is also good to note that Robo-Advice cannot be taken on face value and then directly implemented in an investment portfolio. Investors need to take into consideration all factors that may affect their investments decisions including those that cannot be put in a Robo-Adviser algorithm.
Fiat Chrysler has announced it is recalling more than 1.1 million cars worldwide over fears they may roll away after drivers get out.
There have been as many as 41 injuries because drivers mistakenly believed they had put the automatic cars in “park”.
The recall covers cars and SUVs whose gearshifts could be confusing to drivers.
More than 850,000 vehicles in North America are affected, along with just over 250,000 elsewhere.
The affected models include 2012 to 2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans and 2014/15 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs.
Fiat Chrysler said it would update the vehicles to automatically prevent them from moving, even if the driver fails to put the vehicle in park. The company did not say when the fix would become available to owners.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in February it had reports of 314 complaints, including 121 crashes after vehicles rolled away. Some hit buildings, drivers or other cars and many incidents occurred soon after the vehicles were bought.
Injury reports included three complaints of a fractured pelvis, and four others requiring some form of hospitalization.
An NHTSA spokesman said the agency would monitor the recall to ensure it took place as quickly as possible.
Fiat Chrysler said it began equipping the Charger and 300 with a new gearshift design for the 2015 model, while the Grand Cherokee was updated for the following year.
Volkswagen has announced it set aside more than double provisions for the diesel emissions scandal to €16.2 billion.
In 2015, VW told shareholders that €6.7 billion had been set aside for potential costs or recalls.
The increased sum included the cost of fixing cars that violate air pollution standards, buying back vehicles and legal costs.
The move comes as German carmakers agreed to recall 630,000 diesel vehicles to tweak engine software.
German transport minister Alexander Dobrindt said Mercedes Benz, Opel and Porsche as well as VW and Audi would adjust settings that increased levels of emissions such as nitrogen dioxide in some diesel cars.
Shares in Daimler fell 4.6% in Frankfurt after the Mercedes owner said it had begun an internal investigation into its diesel emissions testing at the request of the US Justice Department.
Daimler said net profit for Q1 of 2016 fell by a third to €1.4 billion, held back by costs associated with the launch of the new E-Class range. The bigger-than-expected decline came despite a 2% rise in revenue to €35 billion as sales rose 7% to 683,885 vehicles.
VW CEO Matthias Muller said he could not put a figure on the total cost of the emissions scandal until a final deal was reached with US authorities.
Nor could the company release preliminary findings from an investigation it commissioned from law firm Jones Day until reaching an agreement, it said.
VW still faced the DoJ fines as part of an expected civil settlement, as well as possible criminal charges.
On April 21, a US court disclosed details of a deal between VW and the DoJ for more than 500,000 American owners of its diesel cars affected by the emissions cheating.
The deal will involve buybacks and “substantial” compensation for owners of mostly two-liter vehicles.
The increased emissions provision pushed VW to an annual pre-tax loss of €1.3 billion, compared with a profit of €14.7 billion the previous year.
VW expected group sales to fall by up to 5% in 2016.
Chief financial officer Frank Witter said: “We are again operating in an exceedingly challenging environment in which global demand for new vehicles is declining, exchange rates and interest rates remain highly volatile and competition in many of our markets is intensifying.”
VW shares closed down 1.7% in Frankfurt on April 22 and are more than 40% lower than at this time last year.
Volkswagen has reached a deal with the US authorities in the diesel emissions scandal.
The German giant will offer “substantial compensation” and car buy-back deals as part of the settlement.
Final details of the packages offered will be announced in June, but a court had given VW and regulators until April 21 to reach a deal in principle.
In 2015, US regulators discovered that VW cars were fitted with software that could distort emissions tests.
The automaker subsequently said 11 million cars worldwide were affected.
Details of the preliminary agreement were announced in a California court. US district court Judge Charles Breyer said the settlement would include a buyback offer for nearly 500,000 2.0-litre vehicles.
He did not give details of how much car owners would offered in compensation, but said the deal between Volkswagen, the US government and private lawyers would be “substantial”.
Judge Charles Breyer said VW would also pay into an environmental fund and commit other money to promote green car technology.
The company told its shareholders in 2015 it had set aside $7.3 billion to help defray the potential costs of a recall or regulatory penalties, but that figure could rise. The company faces as much as $20 billion in fines for Clean Air Act violations alone.
VW installed software in the diesel engines to detect when they were being tested and cheat the results. Some models could have been pumping out up to 40 times the legal limit of the pollutant, nitrogen oxide, regulators disclosed.
The company’s lawyer, Robert Giuffra said: “Volkswagen is committed to winning back the trust of its customers, its dealers, its regulators and all of America.”
The agreements are “an important step forward on the road to making things right,” he added.
VW said in a statement that it “intends to compensate its customers fully and to remediate any impact on the environment from excess diesel emissions”.
The automaker said a deal in principle had been reached with the Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.
VW added that it had “reached an agreement on the basic features of a settlement with the class action plaintiffs in the lawsuit in San Francisco. This agreement will be incorporated into a comprehensive settlement in the coming weeks”.
The deal announced on April 21 covers mostly 2-liter vehicles.
Judge Charles Breyer said he expects an agreement between VW and regulators covering about 90,000 larger vehicles and SUVs to be addressed “expeditiously”.
The Olympic torch for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro has been lit in southern Greece.
Actress Katerina Lehou performing the role of high priestess lit the torch by using the sun’s rays.
The flame will be taken by various runners on an international relay that will culminate at the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 5.
The ritual was established 80 years ago for the Berlin Games, based on a ceremony in Ancient Olympia where games were held for more than 1,000 years.
Katerina Lehou offered a mock prayer to Apollo, the old Greek god of light and music, at April 21ceremony.
Wearing a long pleated robe, the actress knelt solemnly to the ground and lit the torch within a few seconds by using a concave mirror to catch the sunlight.
Photo NBC News
Katerina Lehou then delivered the flame to Greek world gymnastics champion Eleftherios Petrounias, the first runner in a torch relay that will conclude at the opening ceremony in Rio’s Maracana Stadium.
The chief organizer of the 2016 Olympic Games, Carlos Nuzman, promised to “deliver history”. He said the Olympics would unite Brazil, which is beset by political and economic crises.
“[The torch lighting] brings a message that can and will unite our dear Brazil, a country that is suffering much more than it deserves in its quest for a brighter future,” Carlos Nuzman said in his speech.
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff was forced to cancel her trip to ancient Olympia because of the impeachment threat she faces.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said the flame was “a timeless reminder that we are all part of the same humanity” despite the difficulties that Brazil is facing.
“Rio de Janeiro… will provide a spectacle to showcase the best of the human spirit. In just a few weeks the Brazilian people will enthusiastically welcome the world and amaze us with their joy of life and their passion for sport,” Thomas Bach said.
Before the flame arrives in South America it will begin a six-day relay across Greece, passing through the town of Marathon – which gave its name to the long distance race – as well as a camp for refugees and migrants in Athens, the International Olympic Committee has said.
The torch is due to arrive in Brazil on May 3 for a relay across the country, traveling through hundreds of cities and villages in every Brazilian state.
The Olympic torch will be carried by about 12,000 bearers.
A Mitsubishi Motors office in Japan has been raided by authorities following the revelation that the automaker had falsified its fuel economy data.
The officials searched Mitsubishi’s plant in Okazaki.
Mitsubishi has admitted that employees altered data to flatter mileage rates on more than 600,000 vehicles.
A government spokesman said they were treating it as an “extremely serious case” and that it had ordered Mitsubishi to submit a full report.
The authorities have set April 27 as the deadline for Mitsubishi Motors to hand over the report on the inaccurate testing.
Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said: “Based on [the findings from] the raid, and a report from the company, we would like to reveal the extent of the inaccuracies as soon as possible.
“We will deal with the situation in a strict manner and would like to make sure of the safety of cars.”
The Okazaki office is Mitsubishi’s second largest plant in Japan and is a manufacturing hub as well as a research facility.
The inaccurate tests involved 157,000 of Mitsubisi’s own cars and 468,000 vehicles produced for Nissan.
The issue affected models including Mitsubishi’s ek Wagon and eK Space, as well as Nissan’s Dayz and Dayz Roox.
All are “mini-cars” with 660cc petrol engines and are popular in Japan but have found little success in other markets.
Shares of Mitsubishi Motors were not traded on April 21 as no buyers could be found to match investors wanting to sell.
Instead, the Tokyo Stock Exchange set an indicated closing price of 583 yen, a 20% drop from yesterday’s close of 733 yen.
Shares in Mitsubishi had already fallen 15% on April 20, when news of the falsified data first emerged.
Mitsubishi had struggled for years to regain consumer trust after a defects scandal in the early 2000s that covered up problems such as failing brakes, faulty clutches and fuel tanks that fell off vehicles.
Volkswagen has reached a deal with the US authorities under which the automaker could offer to buy back up to 500,000 diesel cars in the US.
VW has also agreed a compensation fund for owners.
The German car giant is expected to reveal the deal to a Federal judge in San Francisco on April 21.
A VW spokeswoman, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Justice Department declined to comment.
The company could also offer to repair diesel vehicles if US regulators approve a fix at a future date, reports said.
In March, US District Judge Charles Breyer gave VW until April 21 “to announce a concrete proposal for getting the polluting vehicles off the road.”
Judge Charles Breyer said in March the “proposal may include a vehicle buy back plan or a fix approved by the relevant regulators that allows the cars to remain on the road with certain modifications.”
In September 2015, the EPA found that VW cars being sold in the US had a “defeat device” – or software – in diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested, and change the performance to improve results.
Some models could be pumping out up to 40 times the legal limit of the pollutant nitrogen oxide.
In March, VW CEO Matthias Muller said that a deal with US authorities over its emissions scandal could take longer and cost more than expected.
Matthias Muller warned that the €6.7 billion set aside to cover the costs of the scandal might not be enough.
Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors shares have fallen more than 15% after it said an unspecified number of its cars had failed fuel tests.
Mitsubishi will hold a news conference in Tokyo at 5pm local time about the issue.
The company’s president, Tetsuro Aikawa, will attend the briefing.
Mitsubishi shares closed down 131 yen at 733 yen in Tokyo – their biggest one-day fall in nearly 12 years.
NHK said the faulty tests could affect about 600,000 Mitsubishi-produced cars, including some vehicles it makes for rival Nissan.
Mitsubishi sold more than one million vehicles in 2015.
“One of our models was found to have failed part of a fuel economy test,” a company spokesman said.
In 2014 South Korean auto makers Hyundai and its affiliate, Kia, agreed to pay $350 million in US penalties for overstating their vehicles’ fuel economy ratings. They also resolved claims from car owners.
The Mitsubishi revelation follows last year’s emissions scandal at Volkswagen in which the German automaker was found to have installed devices in some models that fooled tests.