San Diego Vows to Transition to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035
San Diego this week became the nation's first city to make a pledge to transition to all renewable energy. The move comes on the heels of a historic agreement reached in Paris last week, where 195 world leaders vowed to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Other cities like New York and San Francisco have said they intend to increase their use of renewable energy, but San Diego is the first to make it legally binding. In a unanimous vote, members of the City Council passed a measure requiring the city to use 100 percent renewable energy sources by the year 2035. The measure also mandates that half of the city's automobile fleet will be electric in five years. To reach its goal, a spokesman said, the city will count on residents installing solar panels on their homes to reduce their use of coal-powered electricity.
Blue Buffalo Pays $30 Million Over False All-Natural Ingredients Claims
Blue Buffalo agreed Thursday to pay $32 million to settle a class action filed by its customers over false advertising allegations. In a press release, the company denied any wrongdoing, instead blaming a former ingredient supplier and a broker for the use of non-natural ingredients. The issue of non-natural ingredients by Blue Buffalo was brought to light last year when Nestle Purina PetCare took the company to federal court. Purina alleged that testing from independent laboratories had revealed the use of non-natural ingredients in Blue Buffalo's food, contrary to the company's ads, which claim Blue Buffalo products are all natural. Purina also responded to this week's settlement, saying it is "pleased Blue Buffalo is beginning to accept responsibility for its false advertising and mislabeling." The statement also revealed that the company will continue with its separate false advertising claim against the company.
Chipotle Stock Downgraded on Latest E Coli Outbreak
Chipotle shares continued falling this week after the latest outbreak of E Coli hit the casual fast food chain. The stock has lost more than a third of its value since October 13, when its value peaked at $750.42 per share. The latest outbreak, which impacted five people in three states, prompted the shares to drop from $538.90 on Monday to below $500 Tuesday afternoon. A number of analysts have responded by downgrading the stock, even some who've considered a downgrade unnecessary after previous issues for Chipotle. When 150 people were infected with norovirus at a Boston Chipotle several weeks ago, JPMorgan analyst John Ivankoe called the outbreak a “phenomenally unlucky coincidence,” saying it would be rash to downgrade the stock at that time. The latest incident prompted Ivankoe to reconsider, and he dropped the stock from “overweight” to “ neutral”.
FAA Passes Drone Registration Requirements before X-Mas Rush
Americans receiving a drone as a Christmas gift this year will be required to register the unmanned aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration after the agency quietly passed new ruled governing drones earlier this week. The rules are in response to growing safety concerns as more and more drones are used across the country and a number of accidents involving remote controlled aircraft are reported. Insiders estimate that some 700,000 drones will be purchased during the holiday shopping period, prompting regulators to act quickly to establish a database of drone operators. Drone owners will be required to submit their name, home address and email address to the FAA, in an initiative that regulators hope will make drone owners fly more responsibly.
Morgan Stanley Cuts 1,200 Jobs
In response to its slowest quarter since the recession for bond trading, Morgan Stanley has cut some 1,200 jobs around the globe in recent days. According to reports, the cuts were broad-based, with the bank's fixed income and commodities business shedding about a quarter of its staff. About 730 of the layoffs were back-office jobs across a number of divisions. In a memo to employees Tuesday, leadership said the cuts will result in businesses that are “critically and credibly sized for the current market.”
Norwegian Man Turned $26 Into $886k with Bitcoin Investment
Thanks to the unprecedented growth in the value of bitcoins, Norwegian Kristoffer Koch discovered in 2013 that he had turned a $26 investment in bitcoins into an $886,000 windfall. While working on a thesis on encryption technologies in 2009, Koch purchased 5,000 bitcoins for 150 kroner $26.60). The busy scholar says he completely forgot about the investment until, in April 2013, media began covering the digital currency. Koch remembered the password to his bitcoin account, and discovered that the 5,000 bitcoins were now worth about 5 million kroner ($$886,000). Koch's timing couldn't have been better, as the value of bitcoins peaked that month at about $266 each. The value plummeted not long after that, reaching an all-time low of $50. Koch exchanged one-fifth of the stash and bought an apartment in trendy Toyen, an upscale neighborhood in Oslo.
Mozilla Shutters Firefox Mobile OS Business
Mozilla confirmed Tuesday that it is halting development of the Firefox Operating System, tabling nearly four years of development on a browser-based mobile operating system. "Firefox OS proved the flexibility of the Web, scaling from low-end smartphones all the way up to HD TVs. However, we weren't able to offer the best user experience possible and so we will stop offering Firefox OS smartphones through carrier channels," read an email statement from Denelle Dixon-Thayer, Mozilla's chief legal and business officer. The executive also noted that Mozilla will continue to “experiment with the user experience across connected devices”, as a way to continue the progress made with the Firefox OS.
Apple Plans for Pay TV Service Placed On Hold
Apple is putting its plan to launch a pay TV service on hold, according to multiple reports. The plan was first reported by the Wall Street Journal in March, with an initial launch date in September, to coincide with the release of the Apple TV smart television. According to reports, Apple encountered difficulty signing agreements with content providers and will table the idea for now. Apple had intended to offer a service for between $30 to $40 per month, prompting skepticism from other pay TV providers that charge more than twice that for basic packages. The company also wanted to include local stations in the service, but found out quickly that acquiring local content can be costly because many local stations are franchised or owned through an affiliate system. A spokesman for Apple declined to comment on whether the pay TV service was being shelved temporarily or canceled altogether.
DuPont, Dow Chemical Stocks Surge as Merger Rumors Spread
Rumors began swirling Wednesday that Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont have begun discussing a merger that would create a $130 billion titan in the chemical industry, prompting both stocks to surge. Shares of Dow Chemical spiked 11.7 percent to a record high of $56.82 at one point during the trading day, while DuPont jumped as much as 13.7 percent at one point and was very much on pace to see its biggest one-day gain ever. The merger talks were first reported Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal, who also said the combined company would then be split into three. The new companies would diversify the new company's agricultural, chemical and materials businesses. Neither company has been willing to speak publicly on the merger rumors, but multiple sources were reporting it by Wednesday afternoon.
Yahoo to Spin Off Core Business Instead of Alibaba Stake
Yahoo Inc. reversed course on Wednesday, caving in to shareholder opposition to its planned spinoff of shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Instead, the once-dominant Internet giant will package all of its Web assets into a new publicly traded company, as suggested by activist shareholder Starboard Value. Investors had expressed concern about the tax implications of the Alibaba divestiture, despite arguments from company leaders that the spinoff would be tax free for shareholders. The decision to shift focus is considered a major blow for Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who was hired away from Google in 2012 to bring life back into the once-mighty Internet portal.