The DailyBrief

Wednesday November 30, 2016

Global consumer companies, including Unilever, Nestle, Kellogg and Procter & Gamble have sourced palm oil from Indonesian plantations where labor abuses were uncovered, Amnesty International said on Wednesday. Children as young as eight worked in “hazardous” conditions at palm plantations run by Singapore-based Wilmar International Ltd and its suppliers on the Indonesian islands of Kalimantan and Sumatra, Amnesty said in a report.

Indian police say they are looking for Sagar Thakkar, a man in his early 30s also known as Shaggy, who they believe masterminded a telefraud scam. Callers posing as Internal Revenue Service officers threatened US citizens into paying fictitious tax penalties electronically. The department last month brought grand jury charges against 56 people in India and the United States for “telefraud” scams run from call centers in India. At least 15,000 people lost more than US$300 million in an “enormous and complex fraud” running since 2013.

If you’ve been living in a bubble of Apple Inc’s creation you might be forgiven for wondering how Samsung Electronics shares hit a record high in Seoul on Wednesday. After all, isn’t this the same South Korean company that has endured months of humiliation over the global recall of its self-immolating Note 7 smartphones? That faces lawsuits and losses running into the billions of dollars over the fiasco? And mounting criticism over its opaque ownership structure? It turns out that a little concession to shareholders dressed up as genuine reform proved enough to refocus attention on the fact that Samsung is so much more than just a handset maker. Now, about those Apple shares.

Weddings are usually an extravagant multi-day celebration, but when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi banned high denomination notes, it cast a dark shadow over such festivities. Within hours of Modi’s surprise November 8 announcement, 500 and 1,000 rupee (US$7.25, US$14.50) notes — some 85% of all cash in circulation — were withdrawn, leaving millions across the vast country out of pocket. “This has soured the happiness and left a bad feeling,” said groom Jatin Pal. The move coincided with the start of India’s annual wedding season, when thousands marry during a three-month period deemed auspicious in the Hindu faith.

Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune, who appeared in 16 films by legendary director Akira Kurosawa, is well-known for that rare combination of physical power and grace that he embodied in his roles. But at the start of his career, in films like Rashomon (1950), his rugged charm came as a shock to Japanese audiences, says Steven Okazaki, whose new documentary Mifune: The Last Samurai, charts the life of the actor.