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Tesla told France there was no sign of technical fault in Paris crash

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Tesla Inc has told the French government there is no indication that a fatal accident in Paris involving a Tesla Model 3 taxi was caused by a technical fault, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.

Paris taxi company G7 has suspended the use of the 37 Model 3 cars in its fleet after the accident on Saturday evening, which involved one of its drivers.

BFM TV reported that the driver had been placed under formal investigation for suspected manslaughter. Under French law, a formal investigation means there is “serious or consistent evidence” implicating a suspect in a crime. It is one step closer to a trial, but such investigations can be dropped.

One person was killed in the crash and 20 injured, three of them seriously.

“We have been in contact, of course, with Tesla’s management and they tell us that there is no technical problem to flag on their vehicles,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal told reporters.

He added that the government was waiting for the outcome of the ongoing judicial investigation.

Still in shock four days after the accident, witnesses told Reuters the car ploughed through metal posts, a row of pay-to-ride bicycles, a recycling bin full of glass and hit pedestrians and a van before finally coming to a halt.

“I thought it was an attack. There was glass, dust … it was as if there had been a blast,” Tillard Diomande, who was serving clients from behind his bar in a nearby restaurant, said.

The vehicle, which had stopped at a red traffic light, suddenly sped forward, hitting and dragging with it a cyclist who later died, a police source said, citing the driver’s own version of events, witnesses and video surveillance.

The driver tested negative in an alcohol test, the police source said.

It was not clear whether the car was operating in Tesla’s Autopilot mode, which handles some driving tasks.

NO SAFETY ALERTS

Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari told RMC radio that he had spoken with the chief executive of Tesla Europe, who told him there had been no safety alerts about the Model 3.

He added that the automaker, which collects detailed data from the sensors and cameras on its vehicles, notified him that it had provided the relevant technical data to investigators.

Tesla, which is at the forefront of the electrical and self-driving vehicle revolution and has a market value of nearly $1 trillion, has not responded to requests for comment.

G7 Deputy Chief Executive Yann Ricordel told Reuters the accident occurred while an off-duty taxi driver was taking his family to a restaurant. The driver tried to brake but the car accelerated instead, Ricordel said.

Last year, the U.S. auto safety regulator opened a formal review into over 200 complaints about sudden acceleration of Tesla cars, but the regulator later said it found no defects in Tesla’s systems, saying the accidents were caused by “pedal misapplication”.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) did not consider software defects in its investigation, and French investigators need to look at software as a potential cause, Philip Koopman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said on his blog posting.

Video of the scene obtained by Reuters showed the wreckage of a black Tesla and debris strewn across the street. The vehicle’s left-hand side was crumpled, the front left wheel collapsed and the windscreen shattered.

The car appeared to have collided with a white van, which suffered front-end damage. Other footage circulating on social media showed members of the public tending to the wounded and shocked bystanders in the aftermath of the accident.

Tesla boss Elon Musk was named 2021 “person of the year” by both Time magazine and the Financial Times for triggering a historic shift in the auto industry towards electric vehicles, and also sending rockets into orbit with his space company.

Tesla’s Model 3 topped European car sales in September, marking the first time an electric vehicle has done so in monthly charts.

The NHTSA said in August it had sent teams to review 31 Tesla crashes involving 10 deaths since 2016 where it suspected advanced driver assistance systems use.

It ruled out Autopilot in three of the crashes.

Musk has repeatedly defended Autopilot and in April tweeted that “Tesla with Autopilot engaged now approaching 10 times lower chance of accident than average vehicle.”

 

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Elizabeth Pineau in Paris; Additional reporting by Alain Acco in Paris, David Shepardson in Washington and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco; Writing by Richard Lough and Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Jason Neely, Philippa Fletcher and Matthew Lewis)

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Apple poised as Peloton's saviour among news the company is pausing equipment production – MobileSyrup

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A recent report from CNBC regarding Peloton’s manufacturing rate helped plummet the company’s stock by 24 percent in a single day.

The media outlet reports the exercise bike manufacturer has temporarily halted production of its fitness products because of a drop in consumer demand.

Internal documents revealed bike productions will pause in February and March. Production of Bike+ was halted back in December and won’t resume until June. The Tread treadmill won’t start manufacturing again for six weeks until February. Further, production of Tread+ was previously halted and likely won’t resume this year.

This fueled ongoing rumours surrounding the fitness company’s production problems, with Insider reporting Peloton will lay off 41 percent of its staff in its sales and marketing departments.

Once noted as the darling of connected exercise equipment, the company is now struggling. CNBC says that Peloton overestimated how many people would buy its products after a jump in sales tied to at-home workouts during the pandemic.

Now experts are saying the only way to save the Peloton is if tech giant Apple purchases it. Financial advice publication, The Motley Fool, reports Apple has the cash to spare and “wants to be a force in health and wellness.” However, the article also notes a possible acquisition would “benefit Peloton far more than it would Apple,” given the fitness company’s smaller “market opportunity.”

Peloton CEO John Foley has denied that production is slowing or halted and says media reports are “incomplete and out of context.”

“Rumors that we are halting all production of bikes and Treads are false,” Foley wrote in a letter of response.

However, he did acknowledge layoffs may soon be on the horizon.

“We now need to evaluate our [organizational] structure and size of our team, with the utmost care and compassion. And we are still in the process of considering all options as part of our efforts to make our business more flexible,” he wrote.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Sources: CNBC, Insider, The Motley Fool

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Latest research says combination of throat and nose swabs provides better COVID-19 rapid test results: Nova Scotia Health – CTV News Atlantic

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In a Canadian first, Nova Scotia researchers say COVID-19 rapid tests that include both throat and nose swabs provide greater accuracy in detecting the virus.

Up until now, the instructions provided by the manufacture has been for nasal swab only.

Now, based on research led by Nova Scotia Health’s microbiology team, public health is recommending Nova Scotians using rapid tests swab both their throat and nose when collecting their sample.

In a release Friday, Nova Scotia Health said its working to update the current testing instructions that people receive when they pick up a rapid test.

The research was prompted by public discussion theorizing that a combined sample may produce more accurate results.

Speaking to CTV Thursday, Dr. Todd Hatchette, the chief of the province’s Division of Microbiology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, said researchers found using a single swab on a person’s throat first, and then in both nostrils is more effective at detecting Omicron than doing either site alone.

“When we tested just over 1,500 people, we found that either the nose or the throat both detected about 60 per cent of people, but if you did a combined nose / throat, it detected over 82 per cent of people,” said Hatchette.

The research started about a week ago. Officials at the microbiology lab worked with volunteers at the Halifax Convention Centre testing site to collect the data.

In Friday’s release, Nova Scotia Health says collaboration with volunteer-based community rapid testing sites was key to the project’s success and allowed the project to rapidly answer a question that many jurisdictions across the country have been asking.

The investigation compared results of a common rapid take-home test using three sample sites: nasal swab; throat swab and; combined nasal/throat, the release said. All results were confirmed with PCR testing. Compared to PCR test results, samples from nasal or throat swabs each detected 64.5 per cent of cases; however, combining the nose and throat swabs increased sensitivity to 88.7 per cent.

This research project has been submitted for publication.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, speaking Friday from Ottawa, welcomed the Nova Scotia swab study.

“I’ve asked our laboratory network, our laboratory experts, to take that into account and see whether we can provide some sort of guidance,” Tam said. “But, of course, I think we’ve been discovering that the Omicron variant may be behaving a bit differently to the previous variants, so this approach, this swabbing, might be useful.”

One thing to note, public health is advising that if only one location of the sample is being used, it should be the nasal swab, as the throat swab alone is not as effective as the nasal swab.

Nova Scotia is the first to report research results supporting a combined throat/nose collection method for self-administered rapid antigen tests.

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Gold price next week: a breakout or a sideways trap? All eyes on hawkish Fed and stocks volatility – analysts – Kitco NEWS

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(Kitco News) The gold market surprised with a breakout above $1,830 an ounce this week. And analysts say next week will be pivotal in whether gold breaks out or gets stuck in the sideways price action again.

In an unexpected move, the precious metal surged to two-month highs this week, with investors flocking to safe havens as volatility rocked the equity markets ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting next week.

With stocks and the crypto space selling off, money has to go somewhere, RJO Futures senior market strategist Frank Cholly told Kitco News.

“Gold rallied this week due to all the weakness in the equity market. Bitcoin is down pretty good too,” Cholly said. “We have a bottom in gold. The question is, are we going to go lower and stay sideways or climb towards $1,900. The precious metal needs another close above $1,830. It’s critical to hold that level before a move above $1,850.”

The move in gold did surprise some analysts because of how swift it was, said Gainesville Coins precious metals expert Everett Millman.

“The gold market has been going sideways for several months. To see a breakout in either direction was a bit surprising. Coming into this week, sentiment in the gold market was very negative. Many big banks were projecting the gold price to go down. This ended up playing in gold’s favor as negative sentiment set us up for a reversion in another direction,” Millman said.

Also, rising oil prices and strong retail demand have contributed to higher price levels in gold. “Higher oil does make it more expensive to get gold out of the ground. We could see constraints in the gold supply being mined. Plus, the real demand for gold is still strong. The U.S. Mint saw 12-year highs in gold sales, while the Perth Mint saw 10-year highs. Average retail investors are still buying gold at the fastest pace in ten years,” Millman added.

All eyes are on how markets will react to the Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting, scheduled for Wednesday. Cholly estimates to see a steeper sell-off in U.S. equities as the central bank maintains the same level of hawkishness.

“We could go through a more meaningful correction in equities. We’ll have more evidence of the Fed’s direction. And the stock market likes to throw tantrums to get the Fed’s attention. Next week, gold’s strength will hinge on equities moving lower and reallocation of money into precious metals. Silver may even become the leader as we move forward,” Cholly pointed out.

If gold does break above $1,850, it opens the door for $1,870-80 and eventually $1,900, he added.

Fed in focus

The Fed meeting, which will be followed by the central bank Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference, is the biggest macro event next week.

Analysts expect to get more hawkish clues in terms of the first rate hike in March and more clarity around the potential balance sheet runoff. Currently, markets are pricing in four rate hikes in 2022.

“With the Omicron wave now past its peak nationally, there is little to hold the Fed back, particularly if next week brings news of a further acceleration in wage growth,” said Capital Economics chief North America economist Paul Ashworth. “A dissenting vote, to raise rates immediately, from one of the hawkish regional Fed Presidents – who will be voting as part of the annual rotation – could also add fuel to the recent bond market sell-off.”



There is also a risk that the Fed could get even more hawkish by announcing the completion of the tapering process immediately, said ING chief international economist James Knightley.

“The Federal Reserve meeting will be the main focus, and we strongly suspect that we could see the announcement of the ending of QE asset purchases brought forward from the mid-March end-point currently signaled, to an immediate cessation, “Knightley wrote. “In an environment where the economy has fully recovered the lost output from the pandemic, where unemployment is back below 4% and where inflation is at near 40-year highs, it seems strange to say the least for them to continue stimulating the economy.”

Other key data releases to keep an eye on will be Tuesday’s CB consumer confidence, Thursday’s Q4 GDP number, jobless claims and durable goods orders, as well as Friday’s PCE price index.

“We expect to learn that fourth-quarter GDP growth was a slightly disappointing 4.0% annualized. But markets may focus more on the Employment Cost Index (ECI). Private wage growth hit 4.6% y/y in the third quarter and could have climbed as high 5% in the fourth, which would make a March rate hike a near-certainty,” Ashworth noted.

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