Top Stories

January 09, 2017


Singapore government to develop a national action plan to tackle antibiotic resistance

Singapore is developing a national action plan to tackle the problem of some bacteria becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. The response will be aligned with a global action plan to tackle the growing problem of resistance to antibiotics endorsed at the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly of the World Health Organisation. One of the key objectives of the global plan was to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance through effective communication, education and training. The World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2016 was celebrated worldwide from 14-20 November 2016 to meet these objectives. Dr Hsu Li Yang, Associate professor and Programme leader of the antimicrobial resistance programme at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health in NUS, Singapore said, “We are ‘addicted’ to antibiotics – it has become an integral part of human medicine and the livestock industry.” (Biotech.Asia)


Dieselgate: UK motorists launch class-action suit against VW

Thousands of British motorists have launched a lawsuit against Volkswagen over the “dieselgate” emissions scandal, in a claim that could end up costing the carmaker billions of pounds. The group of 10,000 VW owners has filed a class action lawsuit against the German car firm, seeking £30m, or £3,000 each. If VW ends up having to pay the amount to each one of the 1.2 million people in the UK who own affected cars, including its Skoda, Audi and Seat marques, it would cost the company around £3.6bn. The German firm has yet to reach a settlement with British and European owners affected by the scandal, despite reaching a £15bn settlement with 500,000 US drivers, in which the company admitted using “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests, making its cars appears greener than they were. Jacqueline Young, head of group litigation at Slater and Gordon, said: “VW has shown utter contempt, not just for the rights and health of their UK consumers but also for the environment. This legal action is the best opportunity that British customers will have for holding VW to account over this scandal.” (Edie)

Corporate Reputation

Fiat Chrysler ups the ante as automakers respond to Trump

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU.N) on Sunday said it will invest $1 billion to modernize two plants in the U.S. Midwest and create 2,000 jobs, upping the ante as automakers respond to threats from President-elect Donald Trump to slap new taxes on imported vehicles. FCA’s announcement that it would retool factories in Ohio and Michigan to build new Jeep sport utility vehicles, also highlighted the auto industry’s keen interest in getting relief from tough fuel economy rules enacted by the outgoing Obama administration. General Motors Co Chief Executive, Mary Barra, on Sunday said tax reform and “streamlining regulations … are just two areas that would be extremely beneficial” for Trump to address. People familiar with company said on Sunday that FCA’s investment decisions were not related to Trump’s recent attacks on Ford Motor Co, GM and Toyota Motor Corp for building cars for the U.S. market in Mexico. (Reuters)

Human Rights

Mexican Veterinarians Sue Idaho Dairy for Human Trafficking

Six Mexican veterinarians who say they were recruited to work at an Idaho dairy farm as animal scientists have filed a federal human trafficking lawsuit against the dairy’s owners and the lawyer who arranged work visas, claiming they were instead forced to work as laborers, milking cows and shoveling manure for about a year. The veterinarians had been promised that they would oversee animal health and reproduction programs at Funk Dairy Inc. in the small southern Idaho town of Murtaugh and were brought to the U.S. on TN visas for professionals from Mexico and Canada, said the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Boise on Tuesday. The lawsuit claims the veterinarians were illegally forced to work as general laborers despite having professional worker visas, received substandard housing and lower wages than promised and were threatened with deportation if they did not do their assigned work well. (ABC News)

Responsible Investment

Kevin McCloud’s sustainable housing firm launches £3m crowdfunding drive

HAB Land (‘Happiness, Architecture, Beauty’), a sustainable housing development firm led by Grand Designs TV presenter Kevin McCloud, has announced a fresh crowdfunding drive with the aim of raising up to £3m. The company today publicly launched a new five-year mini-bond for potential investors at eight per cent annual equivalent rate (AER), after an initial pre-launch of the offer open only to HAB’s family of existing partners and investors raised more than £600,000. Now open to all investors, entry level investment is set at £1,000 with a minimum two-year term. Part of the HAB family of companies founded Kevin McCloud in 2007, HAB Land buys land across the UK to build “housing schemes and neighbourhoods that are underpinned by sound sustainable values”.  McCloud, who works as director of HAB Land and chairman of HAB Housing, said investors in the firm would be able to see potential returns “through social and environmental means” as well as gaining a good financial return. (BusinessGreen)

Image source: Dr. JJ Farmer (CDC) / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0