More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal

More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal
Volkswagen has admitted it installed illegal software into 11 million 2.0 liter and 3.0 liter diesel engines worldwide (AFP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Volkswagen emissions scandal

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission
Analsyts say it is irresponsible to link the crash of a Ukraine International Airline Boeing 737-800 to the 737 MAX accidents (AFP Photo/INA FASSBENDER)

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 commercial jet.

QZ8501 (AirAsia)

Leaders see horror of French Alps crash as probe gathers pace

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Friday, September 15, 2017

Modi, Abe get India's first bullet train going as ties deepen

Yahoo – AFP, Jalees ANDRABI, September 13, 2017

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan's Shinzo Abe shake hands in front
of a Shinkansen bullet train during a 2016 meeting in Kobe (AFP Photo/JIJI PRESS)

New Delhi (AFP) - As India's premier Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe prepare to break ground on the country's first bullet train project Thursday, experts say the collaboration could signal a massive leap for its overburdened and deadly railways.

India's colonial-era rail network carries some 22 million passengers daily, making it one of the busiest in the world. But it is also among the most dangerous.

A government report published in 2012 said almost 15,000 people were killed every year in rail accidents, describing the deaths as an annual "massacre" due mainly to poor safety standards.

Modi has pledged to invest billions of dollars to modernise the country's crumbling railway infrastructure, which is plagued by delays, and the bullet train was one of his key election promises ahead of a landslide victory in 2014.

As New Delhi and Tokyo seek to forge closer ties to combat China's growing regional influence, the project offers a diplomatic and economic boost.

The premiers will lay the foundation for the bullet train network in the western city of Ahmedabad -- connecting Modi's home state of Gujarat with India's financial capital Mumbai.

Japan is a pioneer in high-speed rail transport -- with its Shinkansen bullet train ranked among the fastest in the world.

With projected top speeds of up to 350 kilometres (217 miles) an hour -- more than double the maximum speed offered by the fastest trains operating in India -- it will reduce travel time between the two cities from eight hours to at most three-and-a-half hours.

The new train, which will have a capacity of 750 passengers, is also expected to be safer than the country's creaking rail network, the world's fourth largest by distance.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi 
visit Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, on September 13, 2017 (AFP Photo/

'Balance China's hegemony'

Modi recently replaced his railway minister after a series of derailments, including one last month in which at least 23 people were killed in northern Uttar Pradesh state. Nearly 150 died in a similar accident in November.

The agreement for the 508-kilometre network was signed in 2016, with plans to make it operational by December 2023.

Nearly 85 percent of the total project cost of $19 billion will be provided by Tokyo in soft loans, with repayment over 50 years.

Abe's visit to Ahmedabad comes ahead of Modi's 67th birthday on Sunday and many have dubbed it as part of his practice of "birthday diplomacy".

The right-wing Hindu nationalist leader hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping in Gujarat on his birthday in 2014.

"India's relation with Japan is designed to balance China's hegemony," Rajrishi Singhal, a Mumbai-based independent policy consultant, told AFP.

India's crumbling rail infrastructure is in desperate need of modernisation, with 
a report in 2012 describing the 15,000 deaths on the network each year as a 
'massacre' (AFP Photo)

The two countries have close security ties and hold regular joint military exercises.

A proposed joint investment of billions of dollars in Africa is set to be the cornerstone of the relationship, Singhal said.

"India truly values the relationship with Japan and we look forward to further boosting our bilateral ties in a wide range of sectors," Modi tweeted Tuesday.

There are more than 1,500 Japanese companies in India, including auto major Suzuki, the largest car maker in the country.

The success of Suzuki and others transformed India's auto industry, which employs millions today.

Experts are pinning similar hopes on the bullet train project.

"Just like Suzuki changed India's car market and brought millions of jobs, the bullet train will change the entire industry," Singhal said.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

With fossil fuel bans, e-cars shift into higher gear

Yahoo – AFP, Tangi QUEMENER, September 11, 2017

Chinese companies are betting big on electric cars, like the 'LeSEE' concept car
internet company LeEco Holdings Ltd unveiled in last year. (AFP Photo/STR)

Frankfurt am Main (AFP) - Beijing's announcement that it is considering joining France and Britain in banning petrol and diesel cars from its smog-clogged roads promises to accelerate a push towards electric vehicles -- a race in which Chinese carmakers have everything to gain.

As the global auto industry braces for a shake up, here's what you need to know.

What's it all about?

While France and Britain have said they plan to outlaw sales of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040, Beijing has not yet set a date for its proposed ban.

But if China, the world's largest car market, turns its back on fossil-fuel powered cars, it could change the auto industry forever.

With annual sales of some 24 million vehicles, China is home to one in every four new cars on the planet. By 2024, analysts at AlixPartners forecast sales will climb to 42 million annually, accounting for 36 percent of the global market.

By comparison, France and Britain each record sales of some two million new cars per year.

"If China says no more ICE (internal combustion engine), the rest of the world will follow because the rest of the world can't lose China's market. It's too big," says Bill Russo, managing director of Gao Feng Advisory Group in Shanghai.

The mooted driving bans promise to be a hot topic of discussion at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) this week, Europe's top industry showcase.

What does it mean for carmakers in China?

By law, foreign carmakers are required to team up with Chinese companies if they want to do business in the country.

With China also mulling quotas for electric vehicles -- another move that could jolt the industry, traditional auto giants from Europe, the United States and Japan have no time to waste in expanding their ranges of hybrid and electric cars, experts say.

The benefit from electric cars will depend in part how electricity is generated. 

"European carmakers will have to step up their efforts in electric vehicles if they don't want to be chased out of the market, because their current offerings are insufficient," says analyst Stefan Bratzel, head of Germany's Center of Automotive Management.

Electric cars only account for 1.7 percent of total sales in China at the moment, but spurred by government incentives the figure has been growing steadily and could skyrocket in coming years.

Chinese carmakers have bet big on the cleaner engines of the future, and account for 96 percent of electric vehicles sold in the country -- compared to a market share of just 43 percent in the traditional car sector.

Anticipating the industry revolution, Chinese firms already dominate the production of electric motors and batteries. "This poses a real problem for the European industry," says Laurent Petizon of AlixPartners.

The era of the combustion engine "will end on a time schedule where China can assure itself that its own domestic carmakers are capable of delivering the solution they would like to see on the road," Russo predicts.

Is this good news for the environment?

Not necessarily. While pedestrians and cyclists in pollution-plagued mega-cities may breathe easier around the purring of electric cars, how 'green' the vehicles are depends on how clean the manufacturing process was.

In China, fossil fuel plants with their climate-altering carbon emissions still power the bulk of the country's factories.

Promising to clean up its act, the government has said it wants 20 percent of Chinese power consumption to come from low-emission energy by 2030, up from 11 percent currently.

In France, which derives 75 percent of its energy from nuclear power, a massive switch towards electric cars would theoretically translate in a significant reduction of harmful carbon emissions.

Any electric car boom will also bring scrutiny to the environmental footprint of battery production, from the extraction of raw materials like lithium to the complex recycling of toxic components.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Daimler to offer electrified versions of all Mercedes 'by 2022'

Yahoo – AFP,  11 September 2017

Every Daimler will have its electric or hybrid version

The world's largest luxury carmaker Daimler plans to offer an electric or hybrid version of every Mercedes-Benz model within five years, its chief executive said Monday.

"By 2022, we'll have the entire Mercedes-Benz product portfolio in electrified version as well, to offer a maximum of choices for our consumers," CEO Dieter Zetsche told investors. "The time is right."

Daimler's announcement comes as the IAA international car show gets underway in Frankfurt this week, where more than 200 new cars will have their world premiere.

The change will mean more than 50 vehicles bearing the Mercedes three-pointed star boast all-electric or hybrid drive.

With ever-more-capacious batteries and falling costs, it was "realistic to expect that by 2025, an electric driveline could be in the range of the cost of a combustion engine driveline," Zetsche said.

Meanwhile, Daimler will only offer fully electric versions of its Smart city cars by 2020 -- "the first conventional car brand that will offer its entire portfolio with e-drive only," he added.

The electric transformation at Daimler won't happen at the flick of a switch.

Executives aim to find some 4.0 billion euros ($4.8 billion) of savings to maintain the 10-percent margin Daimler achieved in 2016 and 2017 -- despite lower profitability from electric cars.

Electric vehicles only offer "half the margin of an ordinary car," financial director Frank Lindenberg said.

But Germany's automakers have been rattled by a diesel emissions cheating scandal, which has so far cost the world's largest car firm Volkswagen more than 20 billion euros.

Suspicion has since fallen on other manufacturers, including Daimler.

And executives and politicians have scrambled to avoid draconian measures to reduce air pollution, including mooted diesel driving bans in some cities.

While the worst appears averted for now, most in Germany agree combustion engines are living on borrowed time as a "bridge technology" to future emissions-free vehicles.

European economic heavyweights France and Britain announced this year they plan to ban combustion engines from 2040.

And a surprise announcement from China -- the world's biggest car market -- that it was mulling a ban of its own has ramped up the pressure for carmakers, although Beijing has yet to name a firm date.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Electric cars catch on in Dutch company lease fleets

DutchNews, September 7, 2017

Part of the HaskoningDHV fleet. Photo: Royal HaskoningDHV

Large companies in the Netherlands are moving over to electric cars, according to a report in the Financieele Daglad on Thursday. 

Engineering group Royal HaskoningDHV said on Thursday that its fleet of 500 leased cars would be 100% electric by 2021. Energy companies Nuon and Eneco are also moving towards an all-electric fleet while phone, TV and internet company KPN will have only cars which operate on biogas, hydrogen or electricity from 2025. 

Sales of fully-electric cars severely lag behind those of conventional vehicles. in the first six months of this year, 240,000 cars running on petrol, diesel or LPG were sold in the Netherlands, compared to only 3,634 all-electric cars. 

Nevertheless electric car sales were up 90% on the 2016 period.

Related Article:

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Post-Harvey Houston faces a car crunch

MSN – AFP, Thomas B. Shea, 6 Sep 2017

As Houston residents contend with flooded homes and lost belongings in the upheaval left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, many face another urgent priority: getting a new car.

Having a vehicle is a necessity in the sprawling Texas metropolis with few public transportation options.

But as many as a half million cars were washed away or irreparably deluged after the storm dumped a year's worth of water on the city in a matter of days.

Local auto dealerships that survived the storm are reporting brisk business as Harvey's victims seek an essential tool for traversing a city that was built for the automobile and features two massive highway loops that surround the downtown.

"There is a high demand going on now," said Ezequiel Zepeda, a salesman at Houston Direct Auto, a used car company.

Zepeda these days is juggling a torrent of incoming calls and a perpetually full voice mail from residents as well as from workers with non-governmental groups and rescue organizations such as the Red Cross.

"I had a couple come in earlier and both of them bought a vehicle, which doesn't happen often," he told AFP. "I have customers even before I get to work."

Prices of cars have held steady for those already in Zepeda's lot prior to Harvey because many became wet, but did not suffer damage. But Zepeda has boosted prices on many vehicles acquired after the storm due to spiking demand.

More car casualties than Katrina

Major hurricanes like Harvey usually result in numerous car losses, but the toll is expected to be even bigger than other catastrophic storms in recent years.

Appraisal firm Black Book estimates about 500,000 cars will need to be replaced due to Harvey, double the more than the 250,000 hit by Hurricane Sandy in the New York region in 2012, and the 200,000 pummeled by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf coast in 2005, according to Cox Automotive.

That could give Detroit a boost at a time when the American car industry is feeling the effects of a cooling North American auto boom. But analysts do not expect to see the impact immediately in car industry financials.

"When it does occur, (it) is likely to be greater than was the case with Sandy, because more vehicles are estimated to have been damaged this time around," said Ryan Brinkman, an auto industry analyst at JPMorgan Chase.

Around 150,000 people already have notified insurers of losses, but far more filings are expected, according to the Insurance Council of Texas.

"It might take weeks for victims to be compensated because of the inability to reach or even locate some vehicles," said Mark Hanna, a spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas, who estimates the total economic impact at $2 billion.

Typical insurance policies allow holders to purchase a small car if their vehicle is damaged in a storm, or receive reimbursement for a rental, Hanna said.

Rental car giant Avis has waived late and extension fees in the hurricane-ravaged area.

"We are moving vehicles into the affected areas as quickly as possible to increase inventory to meet our customers' needs," said Katie McCall, a spokeswoman at Avis Budget Group.

Ford is offering $1,000 rebates for the purchase of new cars.

Some will go without

Unsurprisingly, car purchases are easiest for those buyers who don't need to line up financing, or await an insurance payout.

"If there's a cash deal, I show them the vehicle, they sign the contract and 45 minutes later they walk out the door with the vehicle," said Zepeda.

But some Houstonians will no doubt go carless as they await insurance payouts while putting any available cash into vital home repairs.

"There will be thousands that will be unable to replace their cars immediately," said Andrea French, executive director of TAG Houston, a non-governmental organization that advocates for more public transit solutions.

That could boost the odds that more consumers opt to go into the "black market" of used cars that are not insured, which already accounts for about 15 percent of the Texas market, she said.