Boeing pulls a fast one on the US Army
Boeing Co. has apparently been taking advantage of the US army, four times over the course of the last five years to be exact. The Pentagon’s inspector general has found that Boeing has been installing used helicopter parts, while charging the Army for new ones.
Under the contractual agreement awarded to Boeing, used parts were allowed in some instances, yet “Boeing significantly overstated estimates.” One instance included charging $2,286 for an aluminum “bearing sleeve” that should have cost $10. The latest audit made by the inspector general revealed that the U.S. Army had been overcharged by as much as $16.6 million.
The latest report also calls the competence of the Army into question when dealing with complex negotiations with Boeing. Henry Kleinknecht, the former director for pricing and logistics for the inspector further elaborates that: “Unfortunately, the Army does not have a cost/price analysis group, much less an experienced one.”
Boeing denies the allegations.
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Germany will invest abroad, not domestically
A recent Wall street Journal survey suggests that in the coming year, German firms will not be staying local, but investing abroad. Of some of the larger companies surveyed, BMW, Siemens and Adidas all said they will be investing in emerging economies and the U.S. while avoiding further investment in Germany and Europe. Mid-size companies surveyed gave a similar response.
High costs of production is among the most commonly cited reason for this shift, in particular, the rising energy prices in Germany. Energy utility company RWE, for example, will refrain from further investment, due to Germany’s policy of marginalizing conventional energy sources such as gas, coal and oil, while offering government subsidies to renewable sources. RWE generates the majority of its electricity using non-renewable forms of energy.
Another reason why Germany may further lose its attractiveness for investment is the lack of sales growth in Europe. Angela Merkel’s government has been under scrutiny for its policies aimed at boosting competitiveness by depressing labor cost, thereby increasing the already existing economic issues in other European countries. The euro-zone crisis acted as an amplifier to this situation, depressing overall demand across the continent.
Foreign interest in investing in Germany has also been decreasing, from €58.6 billion in 2007 to €5.1 billion ($6.9 billion) in 2012.
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Slavery – A relic of history? Not according to the Global Slavery Index
Recently published statistics from the Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index 2013, reveal that 29 million people worldwide are modern day slaves.
Ranked first was Mauritania, in West Africa, possessing the highest ratio of an estimated 150,000 out of a population of 3.8 million, who are working under modern-day slavery conditions. Haiti and Pakistan ranked second and third respectively.
Even in developing nations, slavery-like conditions still exist, with 4,000 people being enslaved in the UK.
This was the first slavery index compiled, and published. It is hoped, by making such information public, governments will desist from ignoring the horror of slavery, and take action to resolve the issue.
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