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    Brazilian Meat Scandal Has A Global Impact On Food Trade

    Brazil is the world’s largest producer and exporter of meat that is facing the brunt of a major meat scandal. The Brazilian police launched Weak Flesh probe to identify meat producers involved in the scandal. The allegation was that leading meat producers bribed inspectors of the federal agencies to get approval for sales and exports of spoiled meat. The food giants BRF SA and JBS SA are involved in the scandal. Both these food producers are capable of processing more than 5 million chickens every day.

    The scandal immediately raised the concerns of global importers and several countries shunned the import of poultry and beef products from Brazil. The European Union is considering to ban the food products from the suspected giants. China combined with Hong Kong is also one of the largest importers of Brazil and the governments have already imposed restrictions on imposing meat from Brazil.

    According to the reports of the investigation, about 21 meat companies in Brazil including the aforementioned food giants are proven to have bribed the inspectors. They paid a huge sum to 33 federal inspectors to keep quiet while exporting contaminated or spoiled poultry and meat. JBS has promised to take action against the employee suspected of bribing the inspectors. The government suspended a BRF plant in Goias as it shipped seven cargos full of meat contaminated by Salmonella to the Europe. However, BRF has commented that national and international standards are thoroughly followed.

    Aside from the major food producers, small slaughterhouses that supply meat to the food giants are also suspected of adulteration. Pig heads and cardboard are often mixed with cold cuts and sausages. The spoiled smell is masked using acid. The sanitary inspection system of Brazil is highly regarded globally, but the new scandal has raised concerns. While the Brazilian police continue to assure that investigation is done on isolated cases, the importing countries are not willing to take the risk.

    Brazil exports 20% of global beef and 40% of global chickens. Brazil generated 10% of its annual revenue in 2016 through the import of beef and poultry. The shares of Brazil food producers plummeted following the scandal. The exports totaled to about $74,000 immediately after the restrictions and bans. Brazil generated a daily average of $63 million in exports prior to the food probe.

    Almost all the huge importers of Brazilian meat have either suspended imports or imposed severe restrictions on food from Brazil. This has created a higher demand for chicken and meat all over the world. The USA, another large producer of poultry is also incapable of meeting the demand after US chickens were affected by bird flu. Brazil and USA are responsible for about two-thirds of chicken trade globally. Practically, there is no other country in the world that could fill the void created by the ban on Brazilian meat. Competing producers like Argentina and others are trying to increase their exports to capitalize on the increased demand. Experts suggest that the demand for Brazilian meat owing to its high quality will dwindle quickly due to the scandal.

    Widower Files Law Suit After A Defective Robot Killed His Wife At Work

    Wanda Holbrook, a 57 year old woman from Grand Rapids, Michigan was working at Ventra Ionia as maintenance technician. On the fateful day of July 7, 2015, when Wanda was performing her regular routine maintenance checkup, a robotic equipment from another section took her by surprise and crushed her head, causing her to die on the spot. The coworkers found her later kneeling by the assembly with her head crushed between two assembly parts. After struggling to find the actual details, the widower Bill Holbrook filed a lawsuit for wrongful death on March 7th.

    The Ventra Ionia specializes in stamping and welding of trailer hitches and truck bumpers. While Wanda was inspecting the machinery in ‘100 cell’, a robotic arm from section 130 swung into her territory and pushed her head into the fixture. Her head was crushed between the plates as the robotic arm tried to place another hitch assembly. Wanda was found dead when her coworkers went searching for her in section 140 when some other operation was not working properly. The horrific accident killed Wanda Holbrook after she suffered pain, shock and fright consciously.

    According to the lawsuit, the robotic equipment malfunctioned in several ways. The equipment which belonged to section 130 shouldn’t have moved to another section. Also, when there is one hitch assembly loaded in the fixture, the robot should not have placed another hitch assembly. Wanda’s head was crushed between two assembly parts which clearly indicates that the second one was loaded when the first one was already in the fixture.

    The lawsuit was filed against five defendants, Prodomax Automation ltd, FANUC America Corporation, Flex-N-Gate LLC, Lincoln Electric company, and Nachi Robotic Systems inc. The defendants are responsible for manufacturing, installing and testing the robotic equipments. The defendants were accused of negligent and defective design and they are sued under product liability laws. Under the product liability law, the defendants failed to warn all the users against the potential dangers of using their products. The suit is filed with nine counts of failure by the defendants according to the product liability laws.

    Wanda Holbrook was a wife, mother and grandmother. The loss has been traumatic on the family because Wanda is the most lovable person within the family. According to her husband, Wanda was meticulous, careful and thorough in everything she does. She was an experienced technician who had been working at the same plant for more than 12 years. Bill remembers her wife saying that she loves her job when Bill asked her to work somewhere else with her experience.

    Ventra Ionia is not sued and it didn’t comment on the issue. The attorney representing the Holbrook family commented that they want to prevent the accidents in the future. The workers compensation claim is also in dispute and the Holbrook family is not yet compensated for the loss. The attorney added that filing the lawsuit was the only option to get justice when Ventra didn’t allow the investigators to access the records or enter the site. The lawsuit was filed for losses totaling more than $75,000.

    Trump Wants Pharma Companies To Lower Price And Increase US Production

    The US president Donald Trump met with the executives from the pharmaceutical industries and discussed on possibilities for growth in the sector. Similar to the meeting with the automobile executives, Trump has promised the pharmaceutical companies that the regulations will be lowered if the companies can bring the production to the USA. Currently, Americans have to deal with increased drug prices and several US drugs are not approved by the FDA yet. The increased cost of drugs also increase the insurance costs and several Americans are unable to get the right treatment at the right time due to lack of finances.

    Executives from pharmaceutical giants such as Merck & co, Johnson & Johnson and others were met by the president at the Oval Office. The president appreciated the pharma companies for delivering a terrific job so far. He wanted the companies to bring down the cost of drugs. Trump urged the companies to bring back production to the United States. When drugs are locally produced, the cost can be reduced. To facilitate this, Trump has promised to reduce the number of regulations. The president has shared the concerns of the pharma companies and agreed with the difficulty of opening for new plants. The pharmaceutical companies have to wait for a long time to open a new plant and they have to wait even longer to start making new drugs.

    The meeting was attended by Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and pharmaceutical executives from eight companies. The president has said that the drug prices must be lowered to reduce the cost of Medicare and Medicaid. He said that the White House will take efforts to hasten the approval process for the drugs that actually work. Only a portion of the meeting was released to the press and it was mentioned that the drug prices are huge in the present scenario. Senator Bernie Sanders also said during his election campaign that drug prices must be lowered to improve affordability of healthcare services.

    President Trump has said that it is disturbing to see terminally ill patients wait longer to get the drugs waiting for FDA approval. The president has hinted that a new trade policy will be enforced to make the foreign countries pay a god share of the drugs manufactured in the US so that the drug companies can have sufficient financial resources that can be used to develop new cures. He emphasized that China and Japan play the money market causing prices to increase in the USA.

    During the meeting, the president has also disclosed his plans to bring someone fantastic to the FDA. The CEO of Amgen said that his company focuses on curing and eradicating diseases. He added that his company brings 1600 new jobs to the market. The CEO of Eli Lilly welcomed the promised tax deregulations that would help the companies to grow quickly. The pharmaceutical executives hope that there is a huge opportunity for growth if Trump keeps up his promises.

    Airbus Taxi Is Expected To Become a Reality This Year

    The concept of transport is revolutionized with latest innovations. Last year, Airbus Group created a division named as Urban Air Mobility. The primary purpose of the division is to explore the possibilities of developing helicopter styled vehicles to carry passengers in urban cities. Similar to the current car sharing schemes, passengers can use a mobile app to book their seats on the self-piloted flying cars. This will greatly help to avoid the gridlock on the highly congested city roads. According to the chief executive of the group, the prototype for the vehicle will be ready by the end of 2017.

    Airbus developed Project Vahana for testing autonomous vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL). The CEO of Airbus, Tom Enders said in a press conference that he is hoping to demonstrate airborne taxi carrying one person on self-flying air tax by this yearend. He said that the prototype is in the experimentation phase and they are taking it very seriously. He added that cautious measures are taken to ensure that the new technology doesn’t add further to the already polluted environment. This project can also help in reduction of infrastructure cost because air transport eliminates the need to build bridges and roads that cost several billion to the government.

    Airbus is a leader in making commercial helicopters and it is testing new flying technologies including autonomous driving and using artificial intelligence. However, the spokesperson refused to reveal the amount of money invested in urban mobility program. The DLD tech conference in Munich excited the participants due to this announcement. The city designs and plans can change completely with the introduction of flying cars. The project Vahana sets out to determine the viability of urban aircraft vehicles useful in short haul trips before 2021. If this timeline is to be adhered to, prototype testing should be complete by this year end.

    Previously, Airbus announced that it is hoping to complete a full-scale prototype in 2017. Even though no details are revealed about the aircraft taxi, there are many speculations. The airborne vehicle is supposed to use a four-rotor engine design. The vertical takeoff will be facilitated by variable positioning. To reduce the ecological impact, the aircraft will feature an electric motor. The ground-based transportation systems already in place pollute the environment by means of their emissions.

    Flying cars have always amused the mankind and it was reserved for science fiction movies. Airbus believes that by ignoring the possibility of airborne taxis, the company won’t be able to keep up with the latest technology and innovations. The science fiction will be brought to life using advanced electric battery technology and pilot-free maneuvering system.

    There is no guarantee that such a vehicle will be available for transport in the future, but the tech world is waiting for the release of the prototype. Airbus has numerous challenges in the future even if the prototype is successful because human air traffic is new and the helicopter maker must establish regulations and safety features.

    British University Students Using Payday Loans to Fund School

    Everyone knows how expensive university and college have suddenly become. Across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, students are tens of thousands of dollars in debt by the time they leave the post-secondary institution and receive their piece of paper. And this debt doesn’t just include tuition, it also includes textbooks, food, the cost of living and so on. It’s tough to be a student these days.

    It turns out that university students, at least in Great Britain, are turning to payday loans and credit cards in order to fund their studies, says a new poll.
    According to a new study by Future Finance, a specialist offering legitimate loans, nearly one-third (31 percent) of university students use payday loans, credit cards and overdrafts to cover their expenses. This makes sense considering that 70 percent of students said their government loans don’t help.

    The numbers are concerning, but what may be even more worrisome are these three statistics:

    • One-quarter of students don’t think credit cards and payday loans are forms of debt.
    • 63 percent of students say they have a good understanding of finance.
    • 40 percent of students admit to not knowing what APR (annual percentage rate) means.

    Ultimately, students are utilizing alternative financial services without understanding finance.

    “It is worrying that significant numbers of students rely on credit cards, payday loans and overdrafts without even seeing them as debt,” said Brian Norton, CEO of Future Finance, in a statement. “For many students, going to uni is the first time they’re required to stand on their own feet financially. It’s a big change in their life and it can be a steep learning curve.”

    He added that governments, universities and parents need to do more to “support students” and “help nurture their financial awareness.”

    In England, the average student loan debt is approximately $55,000.

    This isn’t the first time that a study has reported the financial difficulties that students face.

    In October, a report came out that found nursing students and National Health Service (NHS) nurses take out no credit check payday loans so they can stay afloat and cover their day-to-day living expenses. The same report also discovered that many nurses took on a second job, took out a second mortgage and used debt to maintain their lifestyle.

    “These figures paint a shocking picture of the effects of pay restraint on hard-working NHS staff,” said Unison’s head of health, Christina McAnea, in a statement. “They’re having to sell or pawn their belongings, move house or ask relatives for financial help while doing critical and life-saving jobs in our health service.”

    Despite the ubiquitous use and dependence on payday loans, the federal government has taken a stern approach to the industry.

    In recent years, new rules, regulations and enforcement have prompted about 70 percent of payday loan stores out of the market. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been diligent in combating the payday loan companies that violate the laws in place to shield consumers from debt.

    Because critics have chastised the payday loan industry of trapping millions of borrowers into vicious cycles of debt, public officials have taken action by limiting or restricting the payday loan industry. Proponents argue, however, that payday loans are necessary alternative financial products because banks do not provide short-term, small-dollar loans to their customers.

    Donald Trump’s Trade Deal Promise Rekindles Hopes Of Brexit

    The decision of the British people to leave the European Union by means of Brexit vote in June has not been so great for the country. Britain has enjoyed innumerable trade benefits as a part of the European Union. The biggest threat to the UK is the possibility of losing its access to the single market. To break away from the European Union, Britain must repeal all direct and indirect European Union laws. The loss of access to the single market could have serious repercussions and this has resulted in the weakening of the Sterling in the past few weeks.

    In an interview with Times of London, Donald Trump has rekindled hopes in the minds of Brexiteers. Some of the officials of the UK government are in favor of Brexit while others are against it. Many economic experts say that hard Brexit is imminent, but it won’t be favorable for the British government. Amidst all these insecure emotions, Donald Trump has shared some positive news about new trade deals between the US and the UK. Trump commented that Brexit is going to be a good thing because the USA is looking forward to making new trade deals with the UK.

    Trump said in the interview with Michael Gove that USA will quickly make a trading deal with the UK as soon as the UK leaves the bloc. He admitted that he is a big fan of the UK and he wants the deal to be completed quickly and properly. This is great news for Brexiteers because losing access to the single market may not be the end of trading in the UK after all. Until now, the European Union had a better hand at the Brexit deal because Britain was set to lose more as a result of Brexit. However, support from the USA could mean a whole lot of possibilities for the UK.

    According to Trump, Theresa May had written to him asking for a meeting after he gets into the White House. Trump said that he wants to get something done quickly with the UK as soon as he assumes office. President Obama commented earlier that Brexit will push the UK to the back of the queue. However, Trump has a different opinion.

    Even if Donald Trump is enthusiastic about arranging a quick deal between the USA and the UK, it is not possible at the moment. Britain can’t sign a formal trading deal until it leaves EU completely. Brexit negotiations will take at least a couple of years and this means that new deal won’t materialize sooner as expected. The spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said that Britain is happy about the emotion and energy of Trump, it will not take measures to sign a free trade agreement while still being a part of the European Union. Trump’s comments will strengthen the hands of Britain as it enters the long process of Brexit negotiations. In her speech, Theresa May is expected to give the details of Brexit plan.