It’s not just VW - it’s the entire auto industry

German government tests have shown diesel cars to emit many times more poisonous nitrogen oxide than allowed, The New York Times reports. The cars included models made by Jeep, General Motors and Mercedes-Benz.  Indeed, studies are showing that Volkswagen was hardly alone in flouting pollution limits. While VW is accused of illegally manipulating test results, other carmakers in Europe just took advantage of a loophole that allows them to throttle down emissions controls whenever there is risk of engine damage — which in some cases is nearly all the time.  The news has energized environmental groups to push for tougher regulations in the European diesel market, and some politicians are now calling for an end to favorable fuel taxes. “It’s just a question of who’s cheating legally and who’s cheating illegally,” said Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, a professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen. “They’re all bad.”

Food feud: Amazon Fresh takes on the UK’s supermarkets

The UK’s supermarket chains, already embroiled in a long-running price war, now face an assault on a new front, as Amazon launches the Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service. The Telegraph reports that some industry experts have been skeptical of the idea, pointing to the already intense competition in the UK food market and arguing that a fresh food delivery service couldn’t be done without a proper supply chain. However, Amazon Fresh has launched with an offer of 130,000 products, including big name brands such as Kellogg’s cornflakes and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, as well as a range of Morrison own brand produce.

Solar job losses tied to subsidy cut

The UK’s solar power industry says it has lost more than half of its 35,000 jobs due to changes in government energy policy, just at a time when solar power has eclipsed coal as a major generator of the country’s electricity. The Guardian reports that experts believe ministers had cut subsidies too far and too fast.  Indeed the current estimate is that some 18,000 jobs have gone in less than a year. Jonathan Selwyn, chairman of the Solar Trade Association, said companies had been “very hard hit” and many were now trying to change their business models or concentrate on overseas markets.

LGBT ads challenge India’s taboos

Advertisers in India have started to embrace LGBT themes, challenging conventional attitudes which regard discussing such issues as taboo. A report in Ad Age highlights examples, such as a startup which has released an online ad featuring a lesbian woman hoping to win her father's approval; a clothing brand which cast transgender models in a fashion shoot to showcase a sari collection; and a Hindustan Unilever tea brand helping launch a transgender musical act. Koninika Roy, advocacy manager of Mumbai-based LGBT rights group Humsafar Trust, described the recent ads as “a very important step towards acceptance".

Fiat Argentina withdraws ‘misogynistic’ car manual

Finally, we are pleased to report that Fiat Argentina has withdrawn a manual that referred to women as "co-pilots" and men as "alpha males" after complaints on social media branded it ‘misogynistic’. The BBC reports that the brochure, which was given to new owners with the official paperwork, advised that, if the woman “co-pilot” had a short skirt or the “alpha male” driver had wandering hands, she should ride in the back, so the driver can focus on the road. In a post on the official local Twitter feed, Fiat Argentina said it had never intended any "disrespect".

 

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