Proposed right to repair labelling scheme gets backing from Australia’s consumer watchdog


The Australian Competition Consumer Commission (ACCC) has backed the Productivity Commission’s proposed idea of introducing a labelling scheme that could assist consumers in making more informed decisions about electronics they purchase in the future.

“Rather than broad, indicative, non-binding durability guidance issued by a regulator, consumers, suppliers, manufacturers would find far greater benefit from prominent labelling by manufacturers of minimum trouble-free lifespans,” the ACCC said in its submission [PDF].

“As manufacturers have detailed knowledge of the materials used methods of construction they are far better placed to provide this information to consumers.”

The ACCC advised that if such an approach were to be taken, the label should not limit consumer guarantees. but rather apply as a further warranty alongside consumer law rights include information clearly stating an expected period from purchase that the product should function without failing.

“If implemented appropriately, a manufacturer product labelling scheme will equip consumers to make better informed purchasing decisions would be likely to drive greater inter-brcompetition between products that do not normally compete on product durability,” the ACCC said.

The Productivity Commission previously suggested as part of its inquiry into right to repair that a labelling scheme could help consumers better understthe life of a potential product, after being unable to find any clear evidence that manufacturers deliberately design products to fail early.

“There might be merit in some labelling scheme to help consumers understhow easy it is for their product to be repaired its durability,” Productivity Commissioner Paul Lindwall said last month.

Lindwall pointed out that such a labelling scheme exists in France could work in Australia, particularly as the cost to replace a product is often less expensive than to repair.

“The labour-intensive nature of repair is such that the relative price of new electronics (produced in mass in a capital-intensive factory) has fallen rapidly in real terms while repair costs have grown with labour costs,” he said.

The consumer watchdog has, on the contrary, opposed the idea to introduce a “super complaints” mechanism for consumer groups, saying it would have a “profound impact” on ACCC’s existing resources priorities. Rather, it insisted that its “ongoing processes” to address any “emerging” Australian Consumer Law issues was adequate.

“Dealing with a super-complaint … would force the ACCC to deprioritise existing projects priorities to achieve the deadline imposed by a super complaints process,” it said.

“The ACCC’s current process allows the agency to identify react to potential ACL market issues identified by consumer groups, gather evidence effectively, both from these organisations from broader market intelligence. In this respect, we consider the proposed super-complaints process to be duplicative as the purported benefits are already been captured by existing mechanisms.”

A product labelling scheme specifically for smart devices is something that the Department of Home Affairs has considered introducing as part of its commitment under the Cyber Security Strategy 2020. It noted that labelling products to guarantee a minimum period of security updates could help consumers make more informed purchasing decisions relating to the cybersecurity of their products.

“Cybersecurity labels may help consumers make more informed purchasing decisions at the point of sale. The Government is seeking industry feedback on a graded label similar to energy efficiency ratings, an ‘expiry date label’ which would indicate the length of time a smart device is guaranteed security updates, or the status quo,” it wrote in its submission [PDF].

At the same time, the Department of Home Affairs said introducing cybersecurity standards for smart devices could be another potential option.

“As a complement or alternative to cybersecurity labelling, the government is considering mandatory standards for consumer-grade smart devices. The government is seeking feedback on applying some or all of the standard ESTI EN 303 645, which requires manufacturers to deploy security updates in a timely way,” it added.

The Department of Agriculture, Water Environment has also thrown its support for a product labelling scheme to be introduced, but suggested that if it were to be introduced, the regulator costs costs to industry in designing new schemes needed to be considered.

“Further consultation with industry might indicate that expanding existing, verified labelling schemes already established on the Australian market may provide an optimal approach,” the government department said in its submission [PDF].

“For example, consideration could be given to leveraging the ARL (Australasian Recycling Label), which is the only evidence-based, national recycling labelling program on the Australian market. APCO (Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation) administers the ARL Program has the exclusive licence for the ARL in Australia New Zealand.”

It further added that the Productivity Commission could consider other options beyond labelling to improve consumer knowledge about premature obsolescence of products. These could include use of label digitisation such as low-cost electronic tagging, the development publication of public databases or consumer awareness campaigns, which could also be utilised to inform consumers when making purchase decisions, the Department of Agriculture, Water Environment said. 

MORE ON RIGHT TO REPAIR MOVEMENT 



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Inflation angst spreads to India bonds as Reserve Bank downplays risk




India’s sovereign bond market is pricing in growing inflation risks, even as the central bank sees the price pressures as transient.


The yield on India’s benchmark 10-year bond jumped 16 basis points in July, the most among similar-tenor notes from other Asian sovereigns, as retail inflation remained persistently above the Reserve Bank of India’s 2%-6% target range.


Still, the RBI is widely expected to leave its key rates unchanged on Friday continue with its easy monetary stance, as it prioritizes growth after the economy was ravaged by the deadly wave of Covid-19 infections. Governor Shaktikanta Das has insisted that recent inflation readings are only “a transitory hump.” Although, bond investors are skeptical.


The spike in inflation may not be transient while some lower readings are in the offing, it will pick up from December, according to Marzban Irani, chief investment officer for debt at LIC Mutual Fund Asset Management Ltd. “Yields are already at ultra low levels need to correct. I see the 10-year going to 6.5% then even to 7% in a year’s time,” he said.


The RBI, unlike central banks in New ZealSouth Korea, is constrained from taking a hawkish stance as India’s economic recovery is still nascent. Growth showed signs of cooling in June as the slow easing of lockdowns hurt activity. Economists still see consumer inflation picking up pace to 5.7% 5.2%, respectively, for the final two quarters of 2021, according to a Bloomberg survey.


India’s central bank has so far managed to keep yields low by conducting bond purchases, softening the blow from the near-record amount of sovereign debt sales this fiscal year, but there are signs that traders’ patience is wearing thin. The benchmark 10-year bond yield surged to 6.23% last month, the highest since March, as investors pushed for higher yields at an auction, prompting the RBI to seek help from underwriters to rescue the sale.


Even though steady rates are a given at this week’s rate review, any talk of policy normalization could further pressure bond yields higher. However, traders aren’t ruling out unconventional moves that the RBI is known to do as it navigates the growth versus inflation dilemma.


“The Governor has been clear that the policy focus remains on revival of growth,” said Suyash Choudhary, head of fixed income at IDFC Asset Management Ltd. “Inflation will likely continue to be viewed as transitory focus will remain on orderly evolution of the yield curve.”

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Tokyo Olympics 2021 LIVE, women’s hockey QF: GER 0 | 2 ARG at half time


Indian women’s hockey team

On Day 10 of Tokyo Olympics 2021, all eyes would be on India women’s hockey team who will play their first quarterfinal in Olympics history against the strong Australian side today. The India vs Australia hockey match will begin at 8:30 am IST. India would be hoping a good performance from sprinter Dutee Chdiscus-thrower Kamalpreet Kaur, who was one of the two athletes to meet the automatic qualification mark [64.00m] moved into the final ranked second in qualification.

Tokyo 2020 Medal Tally

ALSO READ: Tokyo Olympics 2021 India contingent: List of Indian athletes, officials

 

India’s last hope in shooting

 

Former Navy man Sanjeev Rajput, now into his third Olympics, young Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, who is on his Olympic debut, will look to bring cheers to the Indian shooting contingent in Tokyo, when they compete in the men’s 50m Rifle 3 positions qualification round, at the Asaka Shooting range on Monday, the 10th concluding day of the shooting competitions.

 

Rajput Tomar are ranked sixth second in the world in this most gruelling shooting event on schedule.


Both Indians will have to fight hard for a top-eight spot, given the presence of the likes of defending Olympic champion Sergey Kamenskiy of Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) world No. 1 Istvan Peni of Hungary in the 48-strong field, among other heavyweight 3P exponents.


The Indian shooters have had a dismal outing in Tokyo, with only Saurabh Chaudhary making it to the finals of the 10m air pistol event but finishing seventh. All the other shooters in pistol, rifle shotgun shooting have dished out sub-par performances.

 ALSO READ: Olympics 2021: India men’s women’s Hockey full schedule, squad, timings


India today’s schedule

Athletics: 


  • Dutee Chin Women’s 200m Heat 4: 7:25am IST.

  • Kamalpreet Kaur in Women’s Discus Throw Final: 4:30pm IST.

 
Equestrian: 


  • Eventing Second Hose Inspection: 6am IST.

  • Fouaad Mirza in Eventing Jumping Individual Qualifier: 1:30pm IST

  • Eventing Individual Jumping Final: 5:15pm IST.

 Hockey:
 
India vs Australia in Women’s Semifinal: 8:30am IST.
 
Shooting: 


  • Sanjeev Rajput Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar in Men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions Qualification: 8:00am IST.

  • Men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions Final: 1:20pm IST.

 
Important international events today 


  • 6.50 AM — ATHLETICS: Men’s Long Jump final (look out for Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria Jamaica’s Tajay Gayle)

  • 8.40 AM — ATHLETICS: Women’s 100m Hurdles final

  • 1.30 PM 4.30 PM – FOOTBALL: women’s semis – USA vs. Canada Australia vs. Sweden

  • 6.10 PM – ATHLETICS: Women’s 5000m final (watch for Netherland’s Sifan Hassan, Kenyans Helen Obiri Agnes Tirop, Ethiopians Gudaf Tsegay, Senbere Teferi Ejgayehu Taye)

 

Tokyo Olympics 2020 live telecast India streaming details
 
The live broadcast of India’s Olympics matches will take place on Sony Sports Network. Sony TEN 1 HD/SD, Sony TEN 2 HD/SD Sony SIX HD/SD with English commentary. Sony TEN 3 HD/SD to live telecast Tokyo Olympics 2021 with Hindi Commentary. DD Sports will live broadcast India matches on its Direct-to-home DTH service.
 
The live streaming of Olympics 2021 will be available on Sony LIV App website.
 
Stay tuned for Olympics 2021 live updates….
 



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Germany protesters slam ‘unbearable level of arrogance’ as lockdown fears loom


Thousands turned out in Berlin on Sunday to protest the German government’s anti-coronavirus measures despite a ban on the gatherings, leading to clashes with police the detention of some 600 protesters.

Local authorities had banned several different protests this weekend, including one from the Stuttgart-based Querdenker movement, but protesters in Berlin defied the ban.

Berlin’s police department deployed more than 2,000 officers to try disperse the protests, but it said officers who sought to redirect protesters or disblarger groups were “harassed attacked.”

A demonstrator walks through Berlin-Charlottenburg with a plastic bucket placed on his head reading ‘Absolutely safe against the stupidity virus’, in Berlin, Sunday Aug. 1, 2021, during a protest against coronavirus restrictions. (Fabian Sommer/dpa via AP)

“They tried to break through the police cordon pull out our colleagues,” Berlin police said, adding that officers had to use irritants batons.

NYT WRITER HITS FAUCI IN SCATHING OP-ED

As the crowds made their way from Berlin’s Charlottenburg neighborhood through Tiergarten park toward the Brandenburg Gate, police warned via loudspeaker that they would use water cannons if protesters did not disperse. By Sunday evening, police had detained about 600 people, according to German media, protesters were still marching through the city.

Demonstrators walk along Bismarckstrasse in Berlin, Sunday Aug. 1, 2021, during a protest against coronavirus restrictions. (Fabian Sommer/dpa via AP)

Demonstrators walk along Bismarckstrasse in Berlin, Sunday Aug. 1, 2021, during a protest against coronavirus restrictions. (Fabian Sommer/dpa via AP)

Germany eased many of its coronavirus restrictions in May, including reopening restaurants bars. Still, many activities, such as dining indoors at restaurants or staying in a hotel, require proof that an individual is either fully vaccinated, has recovered from the virus or can show proof of a recent negative coronavirus test.

Although the number of new coronavirus cases in Germany remains low compared with neighboring countries, the delta variant has sparked an increase in new infections in the last few weeks. On Sunday, Germany reported 2,097 new cases, an increase of more than 500 over the previous Sunday.

Hundreds have turned out in Berlin to protest the German government’s anti-coronavirus measures despite a ban on the gatherings, leading to arrests clashes with police. (Fabian Sommer/dpa via AP)

Hundreds have turned out in Berlin to protest the German government’s anti-coronavirus measures despite a ban on the gatherings, leading to arrests clashes with police. (Fabian Sommer/dpa via AP)

CORONAVIRUS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The Querdenker movement, the most visible anti-lockdown movement in Germany, has drawn thousands to its demonstrations in Berlin, uniting a disparate mix on both the right the left, including those opposing vaccinations, coronavirus deniers, conspiracy theorists right-wing extremists.

Earlier this year, Germany’s domestic intelligence service warned the movement was becoming increasingly radical put some of its adherents under surveillance.

Police arrest a demonstrator at an unannounced demonstration at the Victory Column, in Berlin, Sunday Aug. 1, 2021, during a protest against coronavirus restrictions. (Fabian Sommer/dpa via AP)

Police arrest a demonstrator at an unannounced demonstration at the Victory Column, in Berlin, Sunday Aug. 1, 2021, during a protest against coronavirus restrictions. (Fabian Sommer/dpa via AP)

Wolfgang Schäuble, president of Germany’s parliament, sharply criticized the Querdenker movement Sunday, encouraging people not to be fooled by “cheap slogans.”

“If practically all experts worldwide say the coronavirus is dangerous vaccination helps, then who actually has the right to say, ‘Actually, I’m smarter than that?’” he told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. “To me, that is an almost unbearable level of arrogance.”

CLICK HERE FOR FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE 

Police arrest a demonstrator at an unannounced demonstration at the Victory Column, in Berlin, Sunday Aug. 1, 2021, during a protest against coronavirus restrictions. (Fabian Sommer/dpa via AP)

Police arrest a demonstrator at an unannounced demonstration at the Victory Column, in Berlin, Sunday Aug. 1, 2021, during a protest against coronavirus restrictions. (Fabian Sommer/dpa via AP)

The protests follow other demonstrations against coronavirus measures around Europe.

More than 200,000 people turned out Saturday in France to protest vaccination requirements for the third straight weekend, at times clashing with police. Some 80,000 others protested in cities across Italy last weekend.



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Square to scoop up Afterpay for AU$39 billion



Image: Afterpay

Australian buy now, pay later success story Afterpay has entered into an arrangement with US payments player Square that will see it become part of the Jack Dorsey enterprise.

The pair announced the scheme implementation deed on Monday, under which Square has agreed to acquire all of the issued shares in Afterpay. The transaction has an implied value of approximately $29 billion — AU$39 billion — based on the closing price of Square common stock on 30 July 2021 is expected to be paid in all stock. 

Based on Square’s closing price of $247.26 per share, this represents an implied transaction price of approximately AU$126.21 per Afterpay share, a premium of approximately 30.6% to Afterpay’s latest closing price of AU$96.66.

Following completion of the transaction, Afterpay shareholders are expected to own approximately 18.5% of the combined company on a fully diluted basis.

Afterpay is touting the transaction as one highlighting the strength in the Australian tech scene Square said the addition of Afterpay would allow it to add further features to its ecosystem, more customers.

Square plans to integrate Afterpay into its existing Seller Cash App business units, which it said would enable the smallest of merchants to offer a buy now, pay later function at checkout, give Afterpay consumers the ability to manage their instalment payments directly in Cash App, give Cash App customers the ability to discover merchants offers within the app.

“Square Afterpay have a shared purpose,” said Dorsey, co-founder CEO of Square, also CEO of Twitter.

“We built our business to make the financial system more fair, accessible, inclusive, Afterpay has built a trusted braligned with those principles.

“Together, we can better connect our Cash App Seller ecosystems to deliver even more compelling products services for merchants consumers, putting the power back in their hands.”

In a statement, Afterpay co-founders co-CEOs Anthony Eisen Nick Molnar said the acquisition would further accelerate growth, particularly in the US, allow the platforms to offer access to a new category of in-person merchants, provide a broader range of new capabilities services.

“We are fully aligned with Square’s purpose and, together, we hope to continue redefining financial wellness responsible spending for our customers,” they said. “The transaction marks an important recognition of the Australian technology sector as homegrown innovation continues to be shared more broadly throughout the world. It also provides our shareholders with the opportunity to be a part of future growth of an innovative company aligned with our vision.”

Afterpay in February reported its results for the first half of 2021, making a net loss after tax of AU$79.2 million at the end of the six-month period. As of June 30, Afterpay boasted more than 16 million consumers nearly 100,000 merchants globally.

Releasing its FY21 results on the same day as the Square announcement, Afterpay said approximately 25,000 new customers are joining its platform globally per day. For the full year, Afterpay posted gross profit of AU$675 million, on revenue of AU$925 million.

Afterpay has its major base in Australia. It currently employs 600 local staff but has plans to grow that over the next year. It also has staff based in London, New York, San Francisco, China.

Speaking previously, Einsen said while Australia has an innovative, “entrepreneurial spirit”, given the population size, it often lacks the specific experience needed to build the global platforms needed for fintech businesses.

“Yes Australia has made some great progress, but so has everyone else. Many studies indicate our competitiveness as a location to base a fintech business has actually declined over the last decade, which means that other countries are moving quickly to take up these opportunities,” he said in February.

The closing of the transaction is expected to occur in the first quarter of calendar year 2022 by way of a recommended court-approved scheme of arrangement, subject to certain conditions.

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