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Maggi fails lab test (again), investors flood Bitcoin exchanges, and more trending news

Nestlé’s Maggi has run into rough weather again. The food regulator in Uttar Pradesh found a high level of ash in a noodle sample collected last November, PTI reports. The Additional District Magistrate in Shahjahanpur has slapped a fine of ₹45 lakh on Nestlé, ₹15 lakh on its distributors and ₹11 lakh on Maggi sellers. Nestlé would appeal against the fine once it gets an official order. Maggi has encountered regulatory troubles before; it was banned for eight months in 2015 after some noodle samples tested positive for high levels of lead and monosodium glutamate.

The bitcoin frenzy is intensifying in India. Bitcoin exchanges such as Coinsecure, Zebpay and Unocoin have recorded a two-fold spike in registrations over the last few weeks, Economic Times reports. “We are flooded with requests,” said Vivek K, assistant vice president at Coinsecure. The cryptocurrency, which rose by 140% since August, hit the $10,000 mark yesterday. Some say that the bitcoin mania is of the “biggest bubbles of our lifetime.” India is in no hurry to adopt cryptocurrencies, but an online petition seeking legal status for bitcoins has got more than 15,000 signatures.

Every 10th drug sold in India and other developing countries is either a fake or of substandard quality. Consumption of such medicines could be fatal, according to a report by the World Health Organization, which tested 48,218 medicine samples from 88 countries. Falsification was more rampant in anti-malarial and antibiotics drugs and maximum fakes were reported from Africa, WHO said. Substandard drugs were responsible for 72,430 childhood pneumonia deaths globally.

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Customer service executives could be poring over your last Facebook post or Twitter update. Companies are training their agents on social media profiling techniques to provide support according to their customers’ mood, Times of India reports. For instance, an agent would adopt a casual tone for a customer with a cheerful recent post, said Amarpreet Kalkat, co-founder of Frrole. And somebody with an irate status update would get priority over others. Another firm in the space — Germin8 — tracks about 10,000 monthly conversations for brands such as Airtel, Cadburys, and Godrej.

A surprising revelation has emerged in the trade theft lawsuit between Uber and Alphabet’s self-driving unit Waymo. An ex-Uber staffer stated under oath at a pretrial hearing that the company had an internal unit to conduct corporate espionage and hid its efforts through means such as encrypted messaging. Richard Jacobs’ testimony has delayed the start of the trial to give Waymo time to investigate. The bombshell allegation adds to an already difficult month for Uber, which earlier revealed a concealed data breach affecting 57 million riders and drivers.

Idea of the Day: For leaders joining a new company, change presents an exciting and challenging opportunity — but for employees, it can be “profoundly unsettling,” says Otis Elevator Co. President Judy Marks. Leaders must make sure they focus on the people, Marks says.

“There’s no substitute for institutional knowledge. Let your team know you value their perspective and expertise. You’ll find allies, build trust and perhaps discover untapped opportunities.”

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