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‘Nature-positive’ solutions can create 395 mn jobs: World Economic Forum

Smart farming utilizing sensors and satellite imagery in Indonesia improved crop yields on average by 60 per cent.

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Unemployment rate of US

Geneva, Jul 15 : The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented job losses and economic uncertainty. As governments and businesses look to stimulate growth, a new study from the World Economic Forum on Wednesday found ‘nature-positive’ solutions can create 395 million jobs by 2030.

The Future of Nature and Business Report provides blueprints for businesses to tap into a $10.1 trillion business opportunity, focusing on industry actions that are nature-positive, meaning that they add value to nature.

The report is built on real world examples where business outcomes have been improved by nature-positive outcomes.

Smart farming utilizing sensors and satellite imagery in Indonesia improved crop yields on average by 60 per cent.

Suzhou Industrial Park’s green development in China has seen its GDP increase 260-fold partially through green development.

In Vietnam, people living in coastal communities saw their incomes more than double following the restoration of critical mangroves.

“We can address the looming biodiversity crisis and reset the economy in a way that creates and protects millions of jobs,” said Akanksha Khatri, Head of the Nature Action Agenda, World Economic Forum.

“Public calls are getting louder for businesses and government to do better. We can protect our food supplies, make better use of our infrastructure and tap into new energy sources by transitioning to nature-positive solutions.”

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Gold, silver prices now collapse after record run

Futures of silver, which surged to record levels after crossing Rs 70,000 per kilogram mark, have declined below the Rs 66,000 mark.

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Mumbai, Aug 12 : Futures of gold and silver which were touching new highs every other day lately have started to falter in line with international markets and traders booking profits.

The fall in gold prices, which is considered as a safe haven asset, has also been induced post Russia’s announcement that it has developed the first vaccine for novel coronavirus.

Gold futures slumped for the second straight day on Wednesday. Currently, the October contract of gold on the Multi-Commodity Exchange (MCX) is trading at Rs 51,672 per 10 gram, lower by Rs 257 or 0.49 per cent from its previous close.

It has, however, recovered from the day’s low of Rs 49,955 per 10 gram.

The slump was in line with the international spot prices where gold prices fell as US bond yields advanced and the dollar recovered.

Analysts, however, are of the view that the sentiments in the bullion market are still bullish and the yellow metal would soon be back on the upward trend.

Futures of silver, which surged to record levels after crossing Rs 70,000 per kilogram mark, have declined below the Rs 66,000 mark.

The September contract of silver is trading at Rs 65,758 per kg, lower by Rs 1,176, or 1.76 per cent from its previous close.

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Flurry of lockdowns interrupted recovery in July 2nd half: Bajaj Auto

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New Delhi, Aug 12 : The flurry of lockdowns across the country in many major cities and states interrupted the recovery in the second half of July, according to Rakesh Sharma, Executive Director, Bajaj Auto. “As a result the outcome in July was a bit lower than June retails,” he added.

In an interview with IANS, Sharma said the demand for motorcycles saw smart recovery to previous year’s levels by end June.

On the target for sales, he said “At the start of the quarter, our plan was to achieve cumulative sales of 1 million vehicles between domestic and export, including motorcycles and 3 wheelers. So far, we have achieved sales of just over 2,50,000 vehicles, including three-wheelers in July. Hence, barring unforeseen issues caused by Covid, we should be in line to achieve our Q2 objective of 1 million vehicles,” Sharma added.

Pent up demand is playing a major role in the recovery. “Certainly there is a strong element of pent up demand as there was a blank out of retails for almost 60 days. This has been a major factor in driving the rapid recovery to normalcy witnessed in June and early July,” he said.

He added that the experience of June and July suggests that demand can stage a recovery quite rapidly and is strongly as well as singularly dependent on the progression of COVID and the administration’s response to it. “Hence it is difficult to make forecasts. Our approach is to manage our business in shorter time horizons and recover faster than the industry,” Sharma said.

The three-wheeler segment is yet to pick up across domestic markets, he said. “With people working from home or avoiding the public transport, the demand for three wheeler transportation has taken a hit. This has severely impaired the earning power of 3 wheeler drivers and owners which weakens their ability to take loans or service them. Hence the recovery in 3 wheelers is very poor at only 40% levels,” he said.

Sharma said there is no evidence of downtrading. Bajaj Auto offers a range of motorcycles, starting from the affordable CT 100 and Platina to the KTM 390 series, priced above Rs 3 lakh. “We have not seen preference shifting towards CT100 kick-start, which is the most affordable motorcycle in the industry. On the contrary our new introduction – the Pulsar 125 has outperformed all brands despite being the most expensive 125 cc motorcycle in the market,” he added.

Here are the excerpts…

Q: How do you assess the month of July for Bajaj Auto and the two-wheeler industry?

A: The demand for motorcycles had started to show a smart recovery to previous year levels by end of June and this trend had continued in July. However, the flurry of lockdowns across the country in many major cities and states interrupted the recovery in the second half of July. As a result the outcome in July was a bit lower than June retails. Bajaj Auto’s performance was in line with the industry performance except for the mid 125 cc segment where we recorded handsome retails ahead of the industry and market share gains.

Q: How much capacity is Bajaj Auto operating at and what are the targets for the coming months?

A: At the start of the quarter, our plan was to achieve cumulative sales of 1 million vehicles between domestic and export, including motorcycles and 3W. So far, we have achieved sales of just over 2,50,000 vehicles, including 3W in July. Hence, barring unforeseen issues caused by COVID, we should be in line to achieve our Q2 objective of 1 MN vehicles. This volume is well within our manufacturing capacity.

Q: There is some evidence on the ground that the demand being seen is pent up demand of the last two or three months when the country was under lockdown. What is your view?

A: Certainly there is a strong element of pent up demand as there was a blank out of retails for almost 60 days. It is correct to assume that the decision making process of many customers was interrupted and with the roll back of the lockdowns , these customers are returning to the dealerships. This has been a major factor in driving the rapid recovery to normalcy witnessed in June and early July.

Q: What are the growth estimates for the company and industry for the coming months?

A: The experience of June and July suggests that demand can stage a recovery quite rapidly and is strongly as well as singularly dependent on the progression of Covid and the administration’s response to it. Hence it is difficult to make forecasts. Our approach is to manage our business in shorter time horizons and recover faster than the industry.

Q: How is Bajaj Auto adopting safety measures for the plants and retail dealerships?

A: We have undertaken abundant measures for safe operations of our facilities and to ensure that our employees also feel reassured about their well being. The measures include new work protocols, adequate social distancing, screening and monitoring, regular sanitisation, installation of safety features, training and communication. In doing this we have ensured compliance to Government standards. We have defined these protocols for our dealerships too and provided them with training and monitoring support under the Bajaj SECURE programme. The objective is also to ensure that the customers feel safe about visiting our dealerships.

Q: What is the outlook for three wheelers in the domestic market?

A: The three-wheeler segment is yet to pick up across domestic markets. With people working from home or avoiding the public transport, the demand for three wheeler transportation has taken a hit. This has severely impaired the earning power of 3 wheeler drivers and owners which weakens their ability to take loans or service them. Hence the recovery in 3 wheelers is very poor at only 40% levels. For the outlook to improve, there needs to be more passenger traffic and the finance companies need to recalibrate their risk and return assessment of the sector.

Q: How are the export markets performing for Bajaj Auto?

A: We are currently present in more than 70 countries, but we extensively study the pattern of demand and performance in around 50 countries. We see a mixed reaction on demand in these countries as compared to India. We believe that on an average the demand has reached 80% to 85% of the normal level. Our retail has reached 88% to 85% this July as compared to same period last year. In the case of exports, the inventory pipeline is generally higher due to transit inventory and that creates about a month’s lag between retail improvement and shipment improvement. We are hoping that its positive impact will be sensed from September at our end.

Q: What are the changing consumer trends being seen in these Covid times?

A: On the basis of June and July retails we have not observed any fundamental shifts in consumer preference and therefore in the market structure. Certainly in times of uncertainty the consumer does become more conscious of value and examines the proposition more robustly. However, if a proposition delivers substantive value, they are not shying away from paying more. It is being reflected in the market structure — in terms of the relative shares of each of the different segments of bikes — which has remained intact and there is no evidence of downtrading. Bajaj Auto offers a range of motorcycles, starting from the affordable CT 100 and Platina to the KTM 390 series, priced above Rs 3 lakh. We have not seen preference shifting towards CT100 kick-start, which is the most affordable motorcycle in the industry.

On the contrary our new introduction – the Pulsar 125 has outperformed all brands despite being the most expensive 125 cc motorcycle in the market.

Q: The rural markets seem to be outpacing the demand in the cities?

A: The rural markets were faster to recover but most urban and semi urban locations have also recovered apart from the very big cities like Delhi and Mumbai. Apart from these recovery has been quite secular and evenly spread.

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TikTok monitored device data in violation of Google policies: Report

While it is not clear why TikTok used the tactic to collect device data, it could be linked with its advertising goals.

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San Francisco, Aug 12 : TikTok secretly collected device data for months via its Android app using a technique that Google prohibits developers from using without consent of users, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Although the practice came to an end in November, the finding could add to the woes of the short video-sharing platform which is facing threat of a ban in the US over its data protection practices.

TikTok’s Android app tracked MAC (media access control) addresses — unique hardware identifiers for networked devices — for at least 15 months over 2018-19, according to the WSJ report on Tuesday.

TikTok managed to hide the tactic through an “unusual added layer of encryption”, according to the report.

The short video-sharing platform owned by Chinese unicorn ByteDance reportedly took advantage of a security hole to collect the data.

It is not known if iOS users also fell prey to such tactics which were banned several years ago by both Google and Apple.

When the Journal reached for a reaction, TikTok said that MAC addresses are not collected by the current version of the app.

While it is not clear why TikTok used the tactic to collect device data, it could be linked with its advertising goals.

While Google did not comment on the loophole, it said that it was investigating the finding.

The news of TikTok collecting MAC addresses of Android users comes after iOS 14 revealed that the app was accessing iPhone clipboards more than necessary, Android Authority reported.

The finding comes in the same month the US President issued an executive order, prohibiting transactions by any entity in the country with its Chinese owner within 45 day.

TikTok was among the 59 apps that India banned in June.

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