Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Lamborghini aims to double sales; FARC rebels end half-century war; White, male and well-off grads dominate professional jobs

1 Lamborghini aims to double sales (Khaleej Times) Lamborghini Chief Executive Officer Stefano Domenicali has said the luxury automaker expects to at least double production to 7,000 vehicles a year by 2019 once it rolls out a new SUV.

Domenicali said that the automaker plans to cap yearly production of its supercars at 3,500. He also expects SUV production will be at least as high but could be higher depending on demand. The Italian automaker is part of Volkswagen Group. Domenicali said Lamborghini also plans to boost its worldwide dealer network by about 20 per cent to 160, from the current 132.

About 30 percent of its dealers and sales are in the US, its largest market. Lamborghini sold a record 3,245 vehicles worldwide in 2015, including just over 1,000 in the US. Lamborghini is adding 500 employees and doubling the size of its Sant'Agata Bolognese plant in Italy as part of an investment worth hundreds of millions of euros announced in 2015. The new SUV will go on sale in 2018 starting at around $200,000.

Lamborghini is joining a number of luxury carmakers that have entered the profitable SUV market, including VW's Porsche unit. Domenicali said he wants to keep brand volume limited. The company unveiled its Centenario Roadster in California, and said the company had already sold out of the 20 roadsters it was building at a starting price of 2 million euros before taxes. Lamborghini is owned by Volkswagen through its Audi brand.

2 FARC rebels end half-century war (San Francisco Chronicle) Colombia's government and the country's biggest rebel group reached a historic deal Wednesday evening for ending a half-century of hostilities in one of the world's longest-running and bloodiest armed conflicts.

President Juan Manuel Santos hailed the agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia as an opportunity to turn the page on decades of political violence that has claimed more than 220,000 lives and driven more than 5 million people from their homes. He said he would hold a plebiscite on Oct. 2 to give Colombians the chance to vote on the accord. Without their approval implementation can't begin.

In Colombia's capital of Bogota, some 400 people gathered in a plaza to watch on giant screen the agreement being announced by negotiators in Havana who have been working around the clock in recent days to hammer out the final sensitive details left to the end of the four years of talks. "We've won the most beautiful of all battles: the peace of Colombia," the chief FARC negotiator, Ivan Marquez, said at the announcement in Havana.

The accord, whose final text has yet to be published, commits Colombia's government to carrying out aggressive land reform, overhauling its anti-narcotics strategy and greatly expanding the state's presence in long-neglected areas of the country. Negotiations began in November 2012 and were plagued by distrust built up during decades of war propaganda on both sides.

The rebel army was forced to the negotiating table after a decade of heavy battlefield losses that saw a succession of top rebel commanders killed by the US-backed military and the its ranks thinned by half to the current 7,000 troops.

3 White, male and well-off grads dominate professional jobs (Richard Adams in The Guardian) White, male and better-off graduates continue to dominate the professional classes more than three years after leaving university, even after quality of qualifications and other factors are taken into account, according to data compiled from universities in England.

The study by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) found that professional employment rates of students graduating in 2011 were as much as nine percentage points lower for black, Bangladeshi and Pakistani graduates than for white graduates.

The analysis found smaller but persistent gaps between male and female graduates, with 79% of men in professional occupations or study, compared with 74% of women, even though more women were in jobs overall.

Substantial gaps were also seen among graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds compared with those from better-off areas, suggesting that an effort to widen access to professional occupations such as law and accounting still has a long way to go.

The single minority ethnic group that saw its prospects brighten was that of ethnic Chinese graduates, whose professional employment rates improved compared with a similar survey in 2009, and whose 2011 cohort enjoyed employment rates similar to those of their white peers.

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