French Government Orders Striking Fuel Refinery Employees To End Strike

By Willard W. Hughes, The Chicago Times

October 12, 2022

PARIS – The French government announced it will order striking refinery workers back to work after fuel shortages threaten France’s national security.

Union workers at an ExxonMobil Esso France fuel depot have been on strike for weeks which has led to fuel shortages, social tensions, and poses a threat to the French nation’s survival as winter looms.

France’s energy ministry has invoked their right to requisition refineries in order to force workers, particularly union workers that threaten the survival of the nation, back to work.  According to French law, workers that refuse to work during the requisition period could be fined or imprisoned.

The instigator of the strike is the far left General Confederation of Labour union, which has forced its members to remain on strike at the Normandy based Gravenchon-Port Jerome fuel depot, despite an agreement between management and other unions.  

The General Confederation of Labour union plans to challenge the government’s requisition order.

Rivian Stock Plummets After Massive Vehicle Recall

By H. Mannheim, The Chicago Times

October 11, 2022

NEW YORK – Shares of Rivian Automotive Inc shed 7.3% on Monday after the electric-vehicle maker announced a massive recall last week.

Rivian, which is financed by Amazon, announced last Friday a recall of nearly 13,000 vehicles that may have a loose fastener that could cause the vehicle to steer out of control.  The recall constitutes nearly every vehicle produced by the company since it ramped up production in the third quarter.

Despite an initial vehicle production estimate of nearly 23,600 vehicles for 2022, production shortfalls and current economic conditions have caused Rivian’s share price to drop 67% during the year.

Toyota Announces Possible Leak Of Customer Data

By Jeff L. Tucker, The Chicago Times

October 8, 2022

TOYOTA, JAPAN – Toyota Motor Corporation announced Friday that nearly 296,000 pieces of customer data has been leaked from its T-Connect service.

Toyota revealed that 296,019 email addresses and customer numbers of those using the company’s telematics service T-Connect, which connects vehicles via a network, may have been leaked.  It is estimated that affected customers are those who signed up to the service’s website using their email addresses since July 2017.

Toyota did say that third party access could not be confirmed during a recent investigation of the data server, but did confirm that third party access “could not be completely ruled out.”  To ease nerves, Toyota added that customer’s sensitive personal information was not leaked.  However, the leaked emails and numbers could lead to spamming and phishing scams for affected customers.

Musk Ordered To Close Twitter Deal By Oct 28

By Brooks M. Deering, The Chicago Times

October 7, 2022

DELAWARE – A Delaware Chancery judge ordered Elon Musk to complete his acquisition of Twitter by October 28 to avoid a trail.

Musk, CEO of Tesla, announced he would return to his original agreed price of $54.20 a share if the embattled social media company dropped all pending litigation.  However, Twitter management refused the offer.

According to a court filing in Delaware, Musk’s attorneys argued that Twitter’s insistence on continuing litigation, despite Musk’s agreement to continue the deal, is gambling with stockholder’s interests and placing the entire deal in jeopardy.  The filing also claimed that dropping the pending litigation will also allow time for Musk to put his financial ducks in a row to complete the deal.

Twitter responded by claiming Musk’s court filing was another delay tactic and accused Musk of being disingenuous.

When Musk had attempted to pull out of the deal due to Twitter’s refusal to release data on the number of fake accounts they hold, Twitter sued Musk in July in order to force the deal to a close.  The pending litigation may be Twitter’s key to ensuring Musk secures the necessary financing, which Musk’s attorneys said can be completed by October 28.

However, Twitter’s lawyers claim that an unnamed corporate representative of one of the leading banks involved in the deal testified that Musk has yet to send them a borrowing notice nor communicated that he intends to close the deal.  Yet, Twitter did admit that it had received a letter from Musk and his attorneys expressing interest in closing the deal at the original price.

Merck To Allow Sinopharm To Sell Covid Drug In China

By Brooks M. Deering, The Chicago Times

September 29, 2022

NEW YORK — Merck & Co announced on Wednesday that it will allow China based Sinopharm to distribute and import Merck’s COVID-19 antiviral drug molnupiravir in China, pending approval by the Chinese government.

In a statement, Merck said it reached a cooperation framework agreement that grants Sinopharm  distribution and exclusive import rights of the medicine on the Chinese mainland.  In addition, Merck agreed to allow Sinopharm’s affiliate, China National Biotec Group, to manufacture the drug under a transfer technology agreement.

Northrop Grumman: Delivers Over 100,000 Artillery Guidance Kits To US Army

By John McPhaul, The Chicago Times

September 29, 2022

FALLS CHURCH, VA — Northrop Grumman Corporation announced Wednesday the delivery of more than 100,000 Precision Guidance Kits for 155mm artillery projectiles to the U.S. Army.  The PGK replaces standard fusing for conventional projectiles currently in inventory.

US Army

“PGK’s precision provides a critical capability to artillery units, enabling forces to rapidly achieve mission success by reducing the number of rounds required to defeat targets.  Throughout our 100,000 deliveries, we’ve maintained superior performance, surpassing the Army’s objectives for both accuracy and reliability,” said Dave Fine, vice president for armament systems, Northrop Grumman. 

According to Northrop Grumman:

“Once implemented, PGK will be one of the largest production programs within the U.S. Department of Defense to integrate this crucial capability that allows authorized users to acquire two signals from GPS satellites to achieve superior positioning accuracy.”