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De Beers Rolls out App to Clean up Sierra Leone Diamond Supply Chain

Global diamond giant De Beers is rolling out an app to help small-scale, artisanal diamond miners in Sierra Leone certify that gems they pry from the soil are legal, the Anglo American unit said on Thursday.

The initiative is the latest attempt by the industry to clean up its image and expunge the scourge of “blood diamonds” blamed for financing conflict, chaos and criminality in poor African countries, such as Sierra Leone and Liberia.

More widely, small-scale mining is often tainted by alleged links to insurgents or child labor, casting a cloud over supply chains for commodities such as cobalt, which is …read more

India Moves to Fix Inexplicable Cash Shortages

As India battled an inexplicable currency shortage across many parts of the country, the government has quickly moved to assure the nation that it is fixing the shortfall.

Hundreds of people this week have been encountering “Out of Cash” signs at automated teller machines which have run dry in some of the country’s largest states like Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar.

The Central Bank has said that printing of currency notes has been ramped up, supplies are being augmented to the worst-hit areas and there is enough cash in its vaults. It said ATM’s are emptying faster than usual as people …read more

SunPower Buys US Rival SolarWorld to Head Off Trump Tariffs

SunPower Corp. on Wednesday said it would buy U.S. solar panel maker SolarWorld Americas, expanding its domestic manufacturing as it seeks to stem the impact of Trump administration tariffs on panel imports.

The White House cheered the deal, saying it was proof that Trump’s trade policies were stimulating U.S. investment.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The news sent SunPower’s shares up 12 percent on the Nasdaq to their highest level since before President Donald Trump imposed 30 percent tariffs on imported solar panels in January.

“The time is right for SunPower to invest in U.S. manufacturing,” chief executive Tom Werner said in …read more

Merkel Wants European Monetary Fund With National Oversight: Sources

German Chancellor Angela Merkel backs the idea of a European Monetary Fund, provided national governments have sufficient oversight, sources close to her said before a visit by the French president.

President Emmanuel Macron, who will meet Merkel in Berlin on Thursday, is pushing hard for bold euro zone reforms to defend the 19-member currency bloc against any repeat of the financial crisis that took hold in 2009 and threatened to tear it apart.

His vision includes turning Europe’s existing ESM bailout fund into a European Monetary Fund (EMF). At one point, Macron also suggested the zone should have its own budget worth …read more

Chinese City Turns to Wind Power Lottery

The city of Yanan, a major wind power base in northwest China’s Shaanxi province, has introduced a lottery system to decide which wind projects will go ahead this year, a sign that grid constraints are forcing local governments to restrict capacity.

China has been aggressively developing alternative power as part of its efforts to cut pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Grid-connected wind power reached 163.7 gigawatts (GW) last year, up 10.1 percent on the year and amounting to 9.2 percent of total generating capacity.

But capacity expansion has outpaced grid construction, and large numbers of wind, solar and hydropower plants are unable …read more