India allows steel plant
India’s environment ministry has cleared South Korean steel giant POSCO’s planned US$13 billion steel plant in eastern India, but has asked the company to spend more on social welfare, an official said on Friday. The clearance was given a few days ago and will allow POSCO to go ahead with the massive plant in Odisha State, the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. He did not give further details. The clearance came days before South Korean President Park Geun-hye is to begin a four-day visit to India on Wednesday. The Odisha steel plant would be the largest-ever foreign investment in India.
France battles US firms
France has started the year with an array of skirmishes against Amazon.com, Google Inc and other US Internet companies, in what is shaping up as a classic battle between comfortable Gallic tradition and disruptive modernity. On Thursday, the French Senate unanimously approved a bill that would ban Amazon from offering free shipping on books in France. Strongly endorsed by the French Ministry of Culture, the legislation is supposed to safeguard the existence of the country’s 3,500 bookstores, about 800 of which are independent. France’s national agency for data protection announced earlier that its sanctions committee had found Google to be in breach of privacy laws, based on the company’s March 2012 decision to merge different privacy policies for each of its services.
VW’s plans leaked
Volkswagen AG (VW), Europe’s largest automaker, will add a mid-sized sport-utility vehicle in the US and probably produce it in Chattanooga, Tennessee, two people familiar with the matter said. The Chattanooga factory is favored over VW’s plant in Puebla, Mexico, to build the SUV for North American customers, said the people, who asked not to be identified speaking in advance of an official announcement. Any decision will be part of a wider move to sell the model in other markets, such as the Middle East or China, though the version sold in that country would probably be produced locally, one person said. VW has expanded to become the world’s third-biggest automaker, ranking behind Toyota Motor Corp and General Motors Co, thanks to sales increases in countries such as China and Russia.
Tesla to upgrade chargers
Tesla Motors Inc, which is under investigation by US regulators over fires in its Model S sedan after battery punctures, will upgrade wall-charger adapters following reports of overheating in garages. The charger connectors, which tether Tesla-issued cables to wall outlets, will be mailed out in the next two weeks, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in an interview on Friday. Overheating can stem from inadequate household wiring, he said. The decision to provide the improved part follows a series of about a half-dozen incidents, described on a Tesla-owner Web site and in some cases relayed to US regulators, in which Model S wall plugs melted or smoked while vehicles were recharging. The redesigned adapter will include a thermal fuse designed to shut off charging if overheating is detected, Musk said.