Category Archives: Business

Business

Walmart fined for improper disposal of hazardous waste

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American-based retail giant Walmart has been recently criticised for dumping pollutants from its stores into drains of 16 California counties. The retail giant will have to pay a fine of  $81 million as part of the plea after it pleaded guilty to improper disposal.

For more than a year, the retailer has been facing criticisms for various reasons. Now the company has pleaded guilty of dumping hazardous waste in various sites in California. Walmart will now have to pay this huge amount in order to settle misdemeanour charges around the issue. The fine also covers misdoings in Missouri. This also brings an end to an investigation that lasted for about a decade.

The retailer admitted that it negligently dumped the pollutants into the drains across California and also tossed waste into local trash bins. Some material was improperly taken to product return centres throughout the US, without any safety documentations.

It was also pointed out by the officials of Walmart that the case covered incidents which had happened between 2003 and 2005, but they insisted that the company has now changed its procedures. Brooke Buchanan, spokesperson for the company, said that they have fixed the problem and are obviously happy that this is a final resolution.

Business

All Nippon Airways begins 787 Dreamliner operations

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The All Nippon Airways of Japan has once again started the commercial flights of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This is the first time flights were resumed since the planes were grounded due to safety reasons.

After resuming the service, the first plane landed at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Sunday, May 26, 2013, after a short flight from Sapporo in northern Japan. Meanwhile, other airlines in the country have already started with 787 flights, but All Nippon Airways (ANA) is the biggest Dreamliner customer of Boeing, with 17 planes.

Overheating battery problem on an ANA flight led to a plane being grounded back in January 2013. This incident was followed by a separate battery-related emergency on Japan Airlines flight. Since then, planes have been modified with new battery systems and have also been given approval to fly again by the US Federal Aviation Authority. The Dreamliner flight on Sunday, May 26, 2013, was the first of five that were scheduled by ANA during May 2013. The airline will begin a full commercial schedule on June 1, 2013.

The first test flights were conducted in April, 2013.

Business

McDonald’s defends obesity allegations

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Fast food giant McDonald’s was recently faced with allegations that it serves unhealthy food which causes obesity. Don Thompson, the company’s chief executive, defended these concerns and said that they do not sell junk food.

Thompson added, “We sell a lot of fruits and veggies at McDonald’s and we are trying to introduce even more.” These comments were made by Thompson at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting, where six out of 13 shareholder questions were related to McDonalds’s role in obesity epidemic and a few dozen protestors rallied outside the company’s suburban Chicago campus. In recent years, McDonald’s has come under increased pressure over its high-calorie food, which has contributed to the obesity in the US.

In 2012, the company agreed to provide nutritional information on its menu, after a long time opposing the change. The company has also been trying to erase its junk food reputation by offering fruit smoothies, salads and apples in its Happy Meals.

Thompson also disputed allegations that the company targets African-Americans by using prominent black athletes like gymnast Gabby Douglas and basketball player LeBron James. The chief executive defended the company by saying that it did not particularly target minority communities or children.

Business

Amazon announces e-book fan fiction sales in US

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Internet shopping giant Amazon has announced that the fan fiction authors will be able to sell some of their work on the firm’s Kindle e-book platform. The fan fiction is literature that is inspired by popular films, books and TV shows and were written by enthusiasts.

This recent move has been taken looking at the difficulty of publishing outside blogs and online fanzines due to copyright issues. A deal has been made with Warner Brothers, enabling fan fiction that is based on three TV series to be self-published. The series include The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girls and Pretty Little Liars, which is under the agreement between Amazon and Allow Entertainment which is owned by Warner Brothers Television Group.

Authors will be able to upload their writing for sale through a new platform which is called Kindle Worlds. The service will be initially available only in America. So far, no launch date has been announced for the platform. 35% will be received by the authors for the overall price of their work in royalty payments if they have written 10,000 words or more.

20% will be received by the authors of works of 5,000-10,000 words under a new pilot scheme for the shorter series.

Business

China to help Indian companies with marketing

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On May 16, 2013, industry body Assocham said that China is interested in helping the Indian exporters market their products in that country. The widening trade deficit with China has been a major issue of concern for India. This issue was raised for discussion during a meeting between the Chinese Vice Ministerof  Commerce, Chen Jian and DS Rawat, Secretary General.

The statement from the chamber said, “China is keen to help Indian exporters to market their products in its country”. Even the Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce agreed to facilitate Assocham SME exhibitions in various provinces. China, in order to provide a mechanism for the same, will help the chamber to identify a nodal officer in China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

India has asked China to open up its markets in areas like IT and pharmaceuticals, where the South Asian giant has an edge. The Indian exports to China include petroleum products, machinery, transport equipment, pharmaceuticals, precious metals and other products.

The Assocham said that China has emerged as the largest supplier of merchandise goods to India, which can at times hurt the interests of Indian manufacturers. Therefore, Indian manufacturers must also get a greater access to the neighbouring market.