5 Things to Know (26th November – 30th November)

It’s finally Friday!! Here are this week’s top news highlights:

NASA’s Insight Mission

The American space agency attempted to put another robotic probe on the planet. This robotic probe is being targeted at a flat plain, located in the north of the equator of the planet, known as Elysium Planitia. InSight successfully survived the first “7 minutes of terror”, which is the time that a probe takes to enter the planet’s thin atmosphere at hypersonic speed to slow to walking pace, and finally puts itself on the ground. InSight uses the same combination of parachute, retro rockets, and heat shield that was used by the Phoenix probe in Mars “Actic” in 2007. Engineers have been constantly observing the weather on Mars for any signs of dust storms or high winds that could hinder the success of this mission. As InSight heads down to the surface, it will transmit messages which will be relayed back to Earth via two satellites. The probe’s progress will also be tracked through radio telescopes at Earth. This investigation is dedicated to understanding the interior of the planet for the following aspects:

  • Where the rock layers are and what they are made of
  • The activeness of the planet
  • Whether the core of the planet is liquid or solid.

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GDPR complaints against Google’s location tracking

The European Consumer Organization which consists of 7 European countries have claimed that deceptive practices around location tracking do not permit the users in making a choice about whether to enable it and they are not informed about this tracking includes. Supposedly, Google is able to track the location of the user despite the location history option being turned off. In addition, a second setting, “Web and App Activity”, enabled by default, should also be turned off in order to completely prevent GPS tracking. Location data can give Google insights into the religious beliefs, political activity, and the sexual orientation of the user without the consent of the user, which is not ethical. Google said that they are constantly working on improving their controls to avoid the occurrence of such cases in future.

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Street food in Thailand is “hurting tourism”

Despite the contribution of the street food industry to the economy of Thailand, the government is working on making street vendors disappear. An expert on urban planning at Chulalongkorn University has said that a new concept “co-eating space” should be implemented to replace the unhygienic and old-fashioned street vendors that are prominent within the country. In addition, places under the BTS Skytrain must be reserved for ambulances and should be off-limits to street vendors. There are many other areas with pavements that are wider for street vendors and must be redesigned so that they are more appealing toward foreigners as well as Thais. The government must therefore, invest more in sanitary and waste disposal systems so that the activities of the vendors does not affect the nearby environment negatively.

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Ikea profits have fallen by a third

The world’s biggest furnishing retailer, Ikea, has invested in improving its online business as well as testing its stores in smaller city centres. The holding company which runs most of Ikea stores said that during the year, it invested  €2.8 billion, which funded 14 new distribution centres in order to cater for online business. Wind Farms in Finland and Portugal were also bought as part of its sustainability efforts. Last week, Ikea said that it was cutting 7500 office jobs around the world, with 350 of them in the UK, as it wants to focus more on its online operation. The chief executive and chief financial officer of Ingka have claimed that they’ve increased investments in order to transfer the business. Ikea stores around the world, are owned by 11 franchises, and Ingka is the biggest with about 367 stores. Next summer, Ikea is planning to open a city-centre store in Paris after the launch of similar outlets in London, Madrid and Stockholm this year. More of these stores will be opened in India, US, and China.

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Headquarters of Deutsche Bank raided

The headquarters of Deutsche Bank at Frankfurt have been raided by prosecutors in a money laundering investigation. The public prosecutor of the country said that two staff members assisted clients in laundering money through criminal activities. Police cars were spotted near the tower blocks which surround the headquarters of the bank. About 170 police investigated other Deutsche offices in the entire city. After the news, the shares of the bank immediately fell by 3%. Electronic documents as well as paperwork were seized by the officials during the raids. Moreover, it’s also connected with another major money laundering scandal at Denmark’s Danske Bank. At the start of November, the bank also confirmed that it was involved in processing payments for the Danish bank in Estonia. An investigation revealed that  €200bn had been channeled through the Estonian branch. In the past, Deutsche Bank has been sanctioned for failures regarding the tackling of money laundering which is why an auditor was appointed to monitor the efforts of the bank.

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