1 India cities’ upgrade raises steel hopes (Gulf News) Varanasi, Hinduism’s holiest site on the Ganges River in northern India, is one of 100 places earmarked to receive trillions of rupees to transform their ageing infrastructure and become ‘Smart Cities,’ replete with affordable housing, improved sanitation, and better transportation.
To build it all, India plans to triple its steel-making capacity, making it the world’s second-biggest producer, trumping Japan, and reviving an industry that a year ago was on its knees. “India is one of the bright spots for the global steel industry,” said Bijoy Thomas, a senior analyst at India Ratings & Research.
India used about 63 kilograms of steel per person last year, compared with 493 kilograms in China, according to the World Steel Association. That low consumption base, and the promise of a government-backed boom in construction, has prompted a flurry of expansion plans as steel prices recover from a slump in 2015.
India’s biggest producer, JSW Steel Ltd, plans to build two new plants of 10 million tons each in the resource-rich states of Odisha and Jharkhand, and spend billions more expanding its existing mills in an effort to double its size by 2030. Rival Tata Steel Ltd has sought environmental clearances to expand its two plants in India by 4 million tons a year.
India’s ambitious plans could force the country increasingly to turn to global markets to get enough coking coal and iron ore, Thomas said.
There are also plans for a metro system, part of a new urban rail policy approved this month that would bring new subways to 15 Indian cities and expand networks at 12 others. All of it will require millions of tons of additional steel.
2 Burger King’s own crypto-cash (BBC) Fast-food chain Burger King has launched its own crypto-currency, called WhopperCoin, in Russia. Customers will be able to claim one coin for every rouble (1.3p) they spend on the Whopper sandwich.
Russians will be able to buy a Whopper with the virtual cash, once they have amassed 1,700 whoppercoins. The company said it would release Apple and Android apps next month so people could save, share and trade their wallet full of whoppercoins.
Burger King has partnered with crypto-cash start-up Waves to create and run the scheme. The tech company will run the blockchain ledger for the coin to keep track of who has coins and what has been done with them. Customers will be able to claim their coins by scanning a receipt with a smartphone.
The crypto-currency is a stand-alone system that has some technical similarities to Bitcoin but is distinct from it. This means the company would be able to shut the system down if it found it was being abused. Waves said that it had already generated 1bn whoppercoins to use in the loyalty scheme.
3 South Korea test bed for self-driving cars (Khaleej Times) A test bed area for autonomous cars will be built west of Seoul by the end of next year to put test vehicles through real world road and traffic conditions, officials said.
Ground-breaking for K-City will be held in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi province, to build the 320,000 square-metre facility for 11 billion won ($9 million). The facility will have simulated roads that like highways, downtown areas, city outskirts and communal environments and have 35 different driving conditions such toll gates, tunnels, intersections, construction sites and even train track crossings, ministry officials said.
Pot holes, narrow streets and pedestrian crossings have also been added for testing the vehicles, as well as Wi-fi and fourth-generation wireless technologies. The section for highway driving will be completed by end of October and the entire K-city by end of next year, officials said. The area will be opened to private companies, academic institutions and start-ups to test their products.