1 Lifeline for world’s biggest shipbuilder (Straits Times) South Korea’s National Pension Service agreed to a restructuring of bonds issued by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, helping the world’s largest shipbuilder tide over a financial crisis.
The decision comes after the shipbuilder, the Korea Development Bank and Export-Import Bank of Korea took steps to ensure repayment of the debts, the pension service said in a statement. Banks agreed to convert 80 per cent of loans to Daewoo Ship into shares and to extend maturity of the remainder.
The decision means the shipbuilder, unprofitable in each of the past four years, will likely get more time to make payments on bonds that are due this month. NPS is the biggest holder of the debt.
A decision on the financial restructuring of Daewoo was the biggest test for South Korea’s lenders after Korea Development Bank, the shipbuilder’s majority shareholder, allowed Hanjin Shipping to collapse last year after refusing to support its debt restructuring plan. KDB was in favor of restructuring the loans, saying Daewoo doesn’t have the cash to pay.
Hanjin’s demise stranded about a hundred container ships around the world and roiled the global supply chain, putting some 11,000 jobs at risk. A Daewoo shutdown could be much worse, jeopardizing up to 50,000 jobs and $34 billion of vessel orders from companies including AP Moller-Maersk and Statoil.
KDB and the Export-Import Bank of Korea said last month they would provide 2.9 trillion won in additional loans and swap about 1.6 trillion won of debt for equity if other creditors and bondholders agree to convert up to 80 percent of their debt and extend maturities for remaining loans by as much as five years.
2 Apple enters self-driving car race (Dawn) Apple is joining the fiercely competitive race to design self-driving cars, raising the possibility that a company that has already re-shaped culture with its iPhone may try to transform transportation, too.
Ending years of speculation, Apple’s late entry into a crowded field was made official with the disclosure that the California Department of Motor Vehicles had awarded a permit for the company to start testing its self-driving car technology on public roads in the state.
California law requires people to be in a self-driving car who can take control if something goes wrong. Apple confirmed its arrival in the self-driving car market, but wouldn’t discuss its intentions. Its interest in autonomous vehicle technology, however, has long been clear.
Like others, Apple believes self-driving cars could ease congestion, prevent millions of crashes and save thousands of lives annually in traffic accidents often caused by drunk or distracted motorists. Self-driving cars could also be a lucrative new market. And Apple has been searching for its next act for a while, one that will take it beyond its mainstay phones, tablets and personal computers.
Although iPhone’s ongoing popularity has helped Apple remain the world’s most valuable company, the company hasn’t had a breakthrough product since the 2010 debut of the iPad, currently in the throes of a three-year sales slump. The dry spell has raised doubts as to whether Apple lost some of its trend-setting magic with the death of co-founder Steve Jobs in 2011.
Apple will be vying against 29 other companies that already have California permits to test self-driving cars. The list includes major automakers, including Ford, General Motors, BMW, Volkswagen and Tesla, as well as one of its biggest rivals in technology, Google, whose testing of self-driving cars has been spun off into an affiliate called Waymo.
3 ‘Tablet toddlers’ sleep less (Gulf News) The more toddlers play with touchscreen devices the less they sleep, according to a study that suggests the findings could be cause for concern. For every additional hour using a touchscreen phone or tablet during the day, children aged six months to three years slept nearly 16 minutes less in each 24 hour period, researchers reported in the journal Scientific Reports.
But the study could not determine if the extra screen time was responsible for tiny tots sleeping less, or if the loss of shuteye had any adverse health effects. One expert not involved in the research said the results “should be interpreted with extreme caution.”
Sleep is critical for cognitive development, especially during the first few years of life, when the brain and sleep patterns evolve in tandem. Earlier research has shown that television watching and video game use are linked to sleep problems in children. But the burgeoning use of touchscreens by an even younger cohort remained unexplored.