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Can Tesla’s New Truck And Roadster Help it Escape “Production Hell”?

Tesla unveiled two new models last week, an electric semi truck capable of covering up to 500 miles on a single charge and an updated, upgraded version of its famous Roadster. But can the new models help the exciting but troubled automaker escape its current “production hell”?

The California-based automotive company’s latest announcements aren’t likely to reach stores anytime soon. However, Tesla as a company is facing very real challenges producing its Model 3 sedan, an affordable electric vehicle aimed at transforming the brand into a mass market one.

Tesla has, until now, produced high-end cars aimed at a market of customers interested more in cutting edge technology than affordability. But the Model 3 takes a different approach — one that could potentially create problems for the growth-focused company.

Contrary to Elon Musk’s ambitious projections and announcements, Tesla has struggled to keep pace with manufacturing its mass market vehicle. The company planned to produce 1,600 cars in September; it only managed to produce 220.

A Washington Post article from earlier this month reported that Tesla’s current “production hell” included broken assembly robots, sleepless nights for employees and a mounting pressure to deliver on the company’s production promises.

Around the same time as the Model 3 “production hell” hit full swing, Tesla announced its largest ever quarterly loss — a total of $671.1 million for the third quarter. Tesla also recently announced a series of layoffs, ostensibly due to employee performance problems.

The recent announcements breathed new public relations life into Tesla, but both the Roadster and the company’s new semi truck have resulted in the same questions from commentators — namely, when they will move from announcement to reality.

The new models have also come under scrutiny from industry experts, who believe the electric vehicle company’s ambitious plans for the commercial and industrial transportation industry are perhaps too ambitious to become true.

Key concerns from the trucking industry include the vehicle’s reliability, particularly compared to the 100-plus year old diesel technology used in today’s trucks. In this setting, dependability is a bigger selling point than technological innovation or green credentials.

Others include the time at which vehicles will be available. With Tesla’s reputation for delivering a quality product, albeit often late, major companies that depend on vehicular uptime might not be ready to put down deposits for a vehicle that may not ship on time.

The new Roadster, on the other hand, has won over praise from automotive journalists. With a 0-60 time of just 1.9 seconds, the proposed car could potentially be the fastest ever made when it enters into production.

In fact, the Roadster’s performance is so spectacular that numerous commentators have urged Tesla to build a racing team around the platform.

In short, it’s an exciting but difficult time for the innovative California-based automaker. Tesla is mired in “production hell” and aside from a few recent PR wins, doesn’t seem to have a proven way out of it. However, its recent announcements have certainly won the company attention.

Easyjet Weathers 17% Profits Decline From Price War

Basel, Switzerland - April 11, 2011: Operatives load luggage onto an easyJet branded Airbus A319-111 parked on the apron at Basel airport. The low-cost British airline easyJet carries more passengers that any other United Kingdom-based carrier, serving airports in Europe, Noth Africa and Eastern Asia. easyJet calls itself the web's favourite airline.

EasyJet’s annual profits have declined by 17% over the past year, with the company weathering a £101 million reduction in earnings due to currency fluctuations and the effects of a short haul flight price war.

The budget airline, which specialises in short haul flights between the UK and Mainland Europe, has suffered through a two-year price war with rival airlines, all competing for a lucrative market of weekend travellers.

Prices for short haul flights have been pushed down over the past two years due to an intense level of competition between airlines. Although the low prices have been good for consumers, a growing number of airlines are facing financial issues as a result of the aggressive pricing.

Earlier this year, German “semi-low cost carrier” Air Berlin filed for insolvency, ending operations at the end of October. UK-based Monarch Airlines also ceased trading recently, stranding over 110,000 passengers abroad as it abruptly closed its doors.

Compared to many of its competitors, easyJet appears to have weathered the effects of pricing wars relatively well. The company has increased its bookings over the past year and expects its revenue per seat to grow substantially over the next 12 months.

Chief executive Carolyn McCall, who is leaving the company for ITV, stated that the year was a “difficult” one for the industry as a whole. McCall noted that easyJet’s performance over the year had been “robust” and that the company had performed well in a difficult period.

Her optimism appears to be shared by investors, with easyJet shares increasing by 6% after the company’s financial results were released to the public.

Despite the slight decline in profits, easyJet hit several other performance targets over the year, often as other airlines faltered. It achieves a record-setting load factor of 92.6%, indicating that it filled its planes efficiently to maximise revenue per flight.

EasyJet also flew a record 80 million passengers over the course of the year, hitting its highest ever total amount. Analysts have described the airline’s financial outlook as “encouraging” — a rare description in an industry that’s recently become infamous for financial difficulties.

Both easyJet and other budget airlines have numerous opportunities ahead, with the coveted slots operated by former rival Monarch Airlines soon to become available to other carriers.

Monarch previously held valuable take-off and landing slots at two UK airports, operating from Luton and Gatwick. The slots are a lucrative asset for any airline, and it’s expected that a range of low-cost carriers will attempt to acquire them.

EasyJet also benefited from issues with its key rival RyanAir, which has seen more than 700 of its pilots leave over the past 12 months — an increase of 75% from previous years. Many of the pilots have attributed their decisions to boss Michael O’Leary’s “utter contempt” for staff.

Despite the resignations, the Irish low-cost airline planes to continue its expansion, announcing that it will hire up to 200 engineers across Europe as it puts into action plans to expand its fleet of aircraft from 430 to 585.

Uber “Covered Up” 2016 Hacking Attack That Compromised 57 Million Users

San Francisco, USA - May 12, 2016: Uber headquarters entrance in San Francisco with sign on the right. A woman is leaving the building through the front door. Reflections of Market street in the window.

Uber has ousted its chief security officer after it was revealed that the company “covered up” a massive cyberattack that compromised the personal information of more than 57 million users.

Chief security officer Joe Sullivan and deputy Craig Clark both resigned recently in response to the attack, which was disclosed earlier today by Bloomberg News reporter Eric Newcomer. The cyberattack is believed to have affected more than 50 million users and seven million drivers.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who replaced founder Travis Kalanick as CEO earlier this year, stated that “none of this should have happened,” referencing the attempt by Uber to hide the full effects of the hack. He also stated that Uber “will not make excuses” for the decision.

According to reports, former CEO Travis Kalanick was informed of the hack late last year. Uber did not disclose any information about the cyberattack to its drivers or users, potentially creating privacy issues for its customer base.

The hacked data included the names, phone numbers and email addresses of approximately 50 million Uber customers. Around seven million drivers were affected, with driver’s license data for approximately 600,000 people compromised.

The hackers reportedly targeted Uber’s Amazon cloud account, “breaking in” to the company’s online records. Uber paid out $100,000 to the hackers to ensure the security break-in wouldn’t become public and prevent the data from being shared with others.

Sullivan, who has attracted much of the public attention for the “coverup” of the hack, joined Uber in 2015. He previously worked for Facebook as an online security specialist, as well as auction platform Ebay.

Uber representatives have publicly stated that the hack did not affect sensitive user data, such as credit card numbers, location information or bank account data. The hackers also failed to access private personal information such as social security numbers or birth dates.

Uber’s failure to disclose the hack could potentially have legal repercussions for the company. In California, where Uber is based, companies are required by law to report any data breach that affects more than 500 residents of the state.

Downplaying the impact of the hack, Khosrowshahi stated that Uber “obtained assurances that the downloaded data had been destroyed” by the hackers, and that the company has since taken steps to improve its digital security.

Uber will also offer free identity theft protection and credit monitoring services to its drivers to limit the effects of the cyberattack. The company’s statement on the hack and its outcome can be read here.

The 2016 hack could be the latest legal issue in a long list of problems for Uber, which has been plagued by sexual harassment claims over the past year. The New York state attorney general’s office has reportedly opened an investigation into the company’s slow response to the hack.

Other companies have been fined hundreds of millions of dollars for similar data breaches that affected large numbers of users. A 2015 security breach at Anthem Inc cost the company over $115 millions in fines and settlements.

Concordia Healthcare “Overcharged NHS by 6000%”

a group of four young trainee nurses including male and female nurses , walk away from camera down a hospital corridor . They are wearing uk nurse uniforms of trousers and tunics.

A Canadian pharmaceutical company has been accused of deliberately overcharging the NHS more than £100 million over the past 10 years.

Concordia Healthcare, which was founded in 2012 and owns numerous pharmaceutical brands, allegedly hiked the price of liothyronine, a medicine used to treat thyroid disorders, by more than 6,000% over the past decade.

Although the company was founded just five years ago, Concordia has pursued a “growth via acquisition” strategy and operates a number of pharmaceutical brands. The company allegedly began its overpricing strategy in 2007.

According to the Competition and Markets Authority, Concordia began increasing the price of its thyroid medication in 2007. Over the last decade, the cost of a single packet of liothyronine paid by the NHS has increased from £4.46 to a staggering £258.19.

This price increase occurred despite the manufacturing costs of liothyronine remaining stable, according to a statement from the CMA.

Liothyronine is an essential medicine for treating a variety of thyroid conditions. People with an underactive thyroid — medically referred to as hypothyroidism — often use liothyronine to treat a deficiency of natural thyroid hormone production.

Hypothyroidism affects an estimated two people in every 100 and results in a variety of major symptoms, ranging from fatigue and lethargy to weight gain. Liothyronine is considered one of the only treatments for hypothyroidism for patients that fail to respond to levothyroxine.

According to the CMA, Concordia Healthcare could be fined as much as 10% of its worldwide annual revenue in response to the overpricing scandal.

In a statement, CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli stated that drug companies that “abuse their position and overcharge for drugs” force UK taxpayers to overpay for medical treatments and care.

Coscelli also stated that the CMA’s findings are “provisional” and that the company hasn’t yet been found to have violated competition law.

Concordia is not the only pharmaceutical company to face public and regulatory scrutiny for its pricing strategy. American drug giant Pfizer was recently forced to pay a record £84.2 million in fines after it was found to have overcharged the NHS for a vital anti-epilepsy medication.

The medication in question, which contains phenytoin sodium, is used by approximately 48,000 people in the UK to treat epileptic seizures. Pfizer reportedly increased the price of the drug by 2,600% overnight, resulting in significant unexpected costs for UK taxpayers.

According to the CMA, Pfizer’s decision took advantage of a practice by the NHS that prevents patients from being switched to alternative medication brands. As a result of the price increase, the NHS spent more than £50 million on the drug in 2013, compared to £2 million in 2012.

Pfizer was also found to have overcharged UK health services specifically, offering an identical drug for a significantly lower price to healthcare providers in other European countries.

The decision to find Pfizer is currently under appeal. Currently, the CMA has publicly stated that it will consider representatives from Concordia before moving forward with a legal decision over the company’s pricing tactics.

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