A new mini-city has been constructed in Detroit for testing self-driving cars. Here are the other top news stories for July 21, 2015.
Novartis Earnings Decline
Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez Tuesday said the Swiss-based pharmaceutical giant reported second-quarter earnings below last year’s report. Novartis hopes to see improved numbers based on the recent FDA approval of its heart drug Entresto. Novartis believes the drug will increase revenues by $5 billion when its rollout is complete. The company’s second-quarter net income dropped 32 percent over the same quarter last year due in large part by poor performance from associated companies and the negative effects of the strong dollar. Net sales were down 5 percent and earnings fell to 77 cents per share from $1.11 last year.
Feds Lay Down the Law
In an attempt to prevent yet another case of banks being too big to fail, the Federal Reserve has issued new rules for the Global Systemically Important Financial Banks, adding surcharge requirements to be in place by 2019. For example, JP Morgan Chase faces a surcharge of 4.5 percent as it currently faces a $12.5 billion shortfall. Citigroup’s surcharge is 3.5 percent. The banks are required to hold an extra $200 billion capital cushion, and the Fed is charging banks that do not maintain that level. The American regulators are now holding U.S. banks to higher standards than their global competitors to avoid another bank-created recession.
Life is Short. Sweat.
The Ashley Madison website that invites married people to try to connect with others who want to cheat on their spouses is now trying to recover from a severe hack of users’ personal information. A group known as The Impact Team claimed to be responsible for the attack and for placing some personal data online from the attack. Ashley Madison’s site has 37 million users, and is owned by Avid Life Media of Canada. The hackers said they wanted the site taken down because it promised users all personal data would be protected for the cost of $19 but no actual protection was put in place.
Mississippi River Closed
A 14-mile portion of the Mississippi River was closed to maritime traffic Monday after a tow boat capsized and sank in the flood-swollen waters. The closure took place near St. Louis, where a tow boat sank with three crew members aboard. The workers were rescheduled. The tow boat sank with more than 9,000 gallons of fuel and other oils on board.
A Driving Course With No Drivers
The University of Michigan and the city of Detroit Monday opened a new road course where researchers can test their self-driving vehicles. The $10 million project has been supported by several automakers as well as chip maker Qualcomm and telecom company Verizon Communications. Any organization is invited to utilize the facility if not being first used by the university’s automotive test and design programs. Several automakers have already designed self-driving vehicles, which are hoped to be safer than those driven by humans. The new driving facility is actually a miniature mockup of a town stretched across 32 acres with four miles of road.
Meanwhile, Big Trucking News
Ford Motor Tuesday announced plans to launch a new luxury version of its F-150 pickup truck that would cost more than $60,000. The company says it is answering a demand from the U.S. market for trucks that can match the performance of German sedans. Thanks to low gasoline prices and better fuel economy in all vehicles, demand for more features in heavy-duty trucks and large SUVs are prompting Detroit’s automakers to rethink its production plans. The new luxury truck will include upgraded electronics as well as massaging seats.