>'Humane' feature controversial
Online food delivery service platform Eleme announced on Wednesday it will release a new feature that will allow diners to give delivery workers more time to deliver meals.
Eleme said in a statement that the new feature will add a button on the consumer's page after payment, saying, "I am willing to wait five or 10 more minutes". If the user is not in a hurry, they can click on the button to give the delivery person a little more time.
The statement is the company's response to an online article that aroused wide public attention on delivery workers' safety.
The article revealed that delivery work has become a highly dangerous career driven by tight delivery times assigned by the algorithms of food delivery platforms.
Often allocated with a number of orders and pushed by tight deadlines, delivery workers frequently violate traffic rules, potentially endangering themselves and others, the article said.
Many netizens were unimpressed by Eleme's response, with some seeing the company's new directive as a way to shift the responsibility of delivery workers' safety to customers.
Yang Wenzhan, a civil and commercial lawyer at Zhongdun Law Office based in Beijing, said it is the platform that makes the rules and forces delivery workers to take risks.
When the topic became widely discussed, the platform announced the new "humane" feature, but it is suggesting that consumers should be the group with more tolerance, he said.
>Oxford vaccine trial on hold
Clinical trials for the University of Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine have been put on hold due to a possible adverse reaction in a trial participant, drug maker AstraZeneca said Tuesday.
"Our standard review process was triggered, and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee," the company said in a statement. "This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials."
AstraZeneca, which is working with the University of Oxford on a coronavirus vaccine, began its phase 3 clinical trials in the US last week.
NBC News has confirmed that the pause has affected trial sites in the US.
>LVMH scraps deal with Tiffany
Louis Vuitton owner LVMH is scrapping its $16.2 billion acquisition of Tiffany, a deal that would have been the biggest ever in the luxury industry.
The luxury-goods giant said Wednesday the merger agreement signed last November provides for a closing deadline of no later than Nov 24, 2020.
But Tiffany had requested extending the date to Dec 31, and the French minister of foreign affairs had directed the company to defer the deal until after Jan 6 due to a US threat of taxes on French goods.
The company said in a statement that it will not be able to complete the acquisition of Tiffany "as it stands."
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the luxury retail sector hard, sending Tiffany's same-store sales down 44% and throwing the LVMH deal into doubt.
Investors worried whether the French company overpaid, and LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault was looking to lower the price of buying the US jewelry chain, according to people familiar with the matter.
>China-EU rail links vital
China-Europe rail freight services hit a record high last month, helping maintain the global supply chain amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the country's top railway operator said on Wednesday.
The number of freight trips between the two destinations hit a record 1,247 last month - up 62% year-on-year - China State Railway Group said. The trains carried 113,000 standard-sized shipping containers, up 66% year-on-year.
Proactive measures have been adopted to ease the mounting pressure on port transportation capacity due to surging demand for China-Europe rail freight services, the company said, adding that online services offered by e-commerce website 95306.cn have enhanced port clearance efficiency.
It said it has stringently implemented regular epidemic prevention and control measures and engaged in regular video consultations with countries along the rail routes to ensure their smooth and safe operation.
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