Two designers from the Lot make coolers from sheep’s wool

Add value to sheep’s wool to create a completely biodegradable, made in France cooler. This is the funny idea that two young women from Lot had at the head of the company Chanvre & Co, based in Reyrevignes. Cinthia Born, former seamstress and Elodie Madebos, costume designer, have teamed up since August 2019 to create the first insulated bag without any plastic. They work for this with three sheep breeders from Lot and Tarn-et-Garonne.

“We found that 80% of French wool went to China to create clothes before returning often to France when we are the country of fashion,” explains Cinthia Born, one of the founders of Chanvre & Co. For better using this material, I went back to my sewing lessons, which reminded me that wool is an excellent insulator. This is how the idea of ​​a sheep’s wool cooler was born. “

A real tour of France

After a call for crowdfunding on the Ulule site, pre-orders are pouring in, around 651 pieces. The wool is harvested in the Lot, then goes to Gévaudan to be washed, goes to Limousin to be transformed into felt which is cut in Nantes. Two models of isothermal bags are available, including a family size, between 50 and 75 euros, under the Mouton Givré brand.

In one year, designers from Lot have sold nearly 1,500 copies of this eco-friendly cooler. To meet the demand, a new seamstress joined the team in September.

The hopes are on China (

The German carmakers could of course not be absent from the Beijing auto show despite Corona.

The German carmakers could of course not be absent from the Beijing auto show despite Corona.

Photo: AFP / Wang Zhao

Thundering bass sounds through the huge exhibition hall, a rapper in a baseball cap enthusiastically performs his verses, followed by three dancers in miniskirts and fishnet tights. The latest models from automakers are enthroned between them: dozens of SUVs, as huge as street armor, freshly painted in mint green and bright red. The video bloggers present enthusiastically whip out their selfie cameras.

The festive mood at the Beijing auto show that started on Saturday is well founded: the fact that around 80 brands can present their latest innovations on 200,000 square meters in Corona year alone is a demonstrative victory against the pandemic. In China, this currently seems possible because the health authorities simply barely register any infections – the capital Beijing has been virus-free for over 50 days.

Of course, strict rules still apply: visitors are only allowed to enter if they pass a camera with facial recognition software. Then they have to scan the “health code” on their smartphone, which proves that they have not traveled to a risk area in the last 14 days. The mask requirement also applies, but visitors to the Chinese capital no longer adhere to it too strictly: After a cigarette break in the courtyard or lunch in the cafeteria, the mouth and nose protection remains under the chin for some.

However, China’s most important auto show does not run off normally: While German was still a kind of unofficial official language in the corridors in recent years, there will be practically no foreigners to be seen in 2020. The vast majority of board members from Europe skipped the trip to China, probably to save themselves the two-week mandatory quarantine in a state-assigned hotel room.

But the expats present on site also remained unusually lazy, questions at the press conferences were undesirable. There are enough explosive topics: for example, forced labor in the Muslim province of Xinjiang, where Volkswagen also has a plant. Instead, the speeches on the stands of Daimler and Co. resembled downright hymns of praise for the Chinese market.

Indeed, this one is one of the rare success stories this year. After a brief but massive slump of almost 80 percent, sales have now been rising again for five months. As of August, vehicle sales even recorded a solid plus of 11.6 percent compared to the same period in the previous year. The “golden season” for car purchases in China has only just begun.

In the Middle Kingdom, German luxury cars in particular continue to enjoy great popularity. Daimler sells more than a third of all S-Classes in China worldwide; Often it is a question of young clients, for many it is even their first car purchase. Volkswagen also sells around 40 percent of all cars on the Chinese market and is currently investing two billion in catching up in the field of electromobility. For older Chinese in particular, driving a black Audi through the streets of Beijing is still considered particularly prestigious – that brand was considered particularly popular among powerful party cadres just a few years ago.

The gold rush mood of local carmakers seemed to be over long ago, and after two years of stagnation it threatened to give way to a serious hangover. But the corona crisis, which was overcome comparatively quickly in China, has significantly changed the situation: While the industry in Europe and the United States is still suffering massively, China has once again become the hope of the German auto industry. More critically, the dependence on the Chinese market – and thus also on the Chinese government – is increasing.

In contrast to the high-class gasoline-powered vehicles, for which “Made in Germany” still stands, the Chinese competition focuses primarily on electric cars. »BYD«, »Geely« and »Dongfeng« are the names of the brands that very few in Europe have ever heard of – at least for now. Most of them will try to do well abroad in the years to come. In terms of design and technical equipment, they have massively caught up with the traditional brands.

Driven by generous purchase incentives and state investments in technical infrastructure, the People’s Republic has long since developed into the largest producer and market for electric cars – more than half of all vehicles powered by electricity drive in China. The goals for the next few years are ambitious: By 2025, the Chinese government plans that vehicles with alternative drives will make up at least 15 percent of the market.


Can a restaurant cook refuse to cook red meat to perfection?

“During a lunch at the restaurant, I asked for my red meat to be well done. I sent her back twice because I felt she was still too bleeding. The second time around, the cook did not want to cook it more, considering that it would be a waste. I finally paid for my entire starter-main-dessert formula at 29 euros, although I did not eat this meat. Did the cook have the right to refuse to grant my request? “ asks Carla, Pontault-Combault (Seine-et-Marne).

Response from Murielle Gasnier, lawyer at UFC-What to choose:

“The cooking of a meat generally varies according to the piece, its quality, its thickness, its weight but also according to who is going to eat it. Cooking red meat is indeed a matter of taste: some people like it blue, rare, medium or well done. But it can also be justified for health reasons (example: risk of toxoplasmosis for pregnant women). This is the reason why the cook cannot in principle make himself the judge of your choice, that of having your meat cooked to perfection. This is particularly the case if, at the time of ordering, you were asked about the desired cooking or if your request was granted. Also, faced with the restaurant owner’s refusal to re-cook your meat, you could in turn have refused to pay for this dish, since you did not eat it.

On the other hand, if it is clearly and precisely indicated on the menu of the specific cooking of certain dishes (example: prime rib served blue or cooked at low temperature), or if your choice is a dish that does not the object of any cooking (example: tartare), the establishment would have the possibility of refusing your request, insofar as you were informed beforehand. Sometimes it’s all about arrangement. “

Loire-Atlantique: the Total refinery in Donges shut down due to a strike

Since Friday morning, the Total refinery in Donges (Loire-Atlantique) has been shut down due to a strike called by the CGT. This social movement aims to oppose the elimination of 64 positions linked to a project to modernize the site, we learned from management.

After the holding of a general meeting, “150 people from production voted to phase out the units at 5 am”, according to Fabien Privé-Saint-Lanne (CGT), quoted by Ouest France. The strike began while management and unions are discussing a project which plans to invest 450 million euros “on the platform to modernize it and restore competitiveness in the long term”, initiated in 2015.

The management presented last week to the unions a version of this project which foresees that Donges will work in the long term with 558 positions against 622 currently. “This project will be implemented gradually with early retirement until 2027”, indicated the management of the refinery.

Around 150 jobs also abolished at Grandpuits

It provides in particular “the construction of a control room of operational units to make our organization more efficient with an investment of around 50 million”, specified the management. To protest against the workforce reductions, a strike by production teams was initiated by the CGT on Friday morning.

Management has confirmed the shutdown of the site. “The refinery will shut down, because the workforce is following this strike”, underlined the management, specifying that “the shutdown is a procedure which will take place over a week”. Management assures us that “Total will continue to supply its customers”.

On Thursday, the group also announced the conversion of its Grandpuits refinery, in Seine-et-Marne, into green energies, with job cuts but “no layoffs”. 250 out of the 400 jobs on the Grandpuits platform today will be maintained. The refining stop is scheduled for the first quarter of 2021 and the end of the storage of petroleum products at the end of 2023.

Gathered in a general assembly on Friday, the unions called for the widest possible mobilization of employees, on October 6 in La Défense, during Total’s next social and economic committee.

The glamor fusion ends in court

Statistics show that in the European Union there are four marriages and two divorces per 1,000 citizens. The data is from 2017, the last available in the Eurostat service, but it works to understand that at the moment love (or persistence) is gaining. Nothing is said about the length of these marriages, but if the tone is set by how long the relationship between two iconic luxury giants has lasted, by 2020 a very low average awaits it. Tiffany’s and LVMH have been together for nine months and, without finishing the marriage, will be divorced in court.

This week a court in Delaware (USA) has set for January 2021 the date of the trial to determine whether the Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) group had grounds to break the merger agreement with Tiffany’s.

The famous New York jewelry chain has long been looking for ways to give a boost to the brand after the effect of the phenomenon Breakfast with diamonds it would have been losing strength. To achieve this they decided to be bought by the luxury conglomerate that already managed brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior and Moët & Chandon. LVMH, led by Bernard Arnault, saw the acquisition of the brand’s more than 300 stores as “an exceptional addition” to its “unique portfolio of luxury brands”. This was expressed by Arnault himself months after making the purchase intention public. In a statement, the director stated that “Tiffany’s is an emblematic company with a rich heritage and a unique position in the world luxury jewelry market.”

The operation, a political ball

With this movement, the one who was already the richest man in Europe got a place on the podium of the world’s major fortunes. In fact, at the end of 2019, Forbes pointed to him as the big winner of the year: his fortune had grown by $ 40 billion (about 34.3 billion euros) and exceeded $ 107 billion (about 92,000). million euros). He is currently, with a fortune equivalent to 96.2 billion euros, the third richest person in the world, behind Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Bill Gates (ex-Microsoft), but ahead of Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Elon Musk (Tesla).

The purchase was agreed for 14.5 billion euros at the end of last year and came to pass the filter of the vote of Tiffany’s shareholders in February. Everything was planned so that in the middle of this year the merger would be done. However, from February to September things got complicated. First for the covid-19 crisis, which has significantly hurt this market segment, but second for Donald Trump: LVMH explained in early September that it had received a letter from the French Foreign Ministry asking the company delay the operation until January 6, 2021 in the face of the US president’s threat to increase tariffs on French exports. This, added to the fact that Tiffany’s would have asked to extend until December 31 the formalization of the purchase (the limit had already been postponed and was set for the end of November) led the French group to back down.

The New York jewelry company responded with a lawsuit, which sought to oblige LVMH “to fulfill its contractual obligation.” “Under the terms of the agreement, LVMH assumed all antitrust liquidation risk and all financial risk related to adverse industry trends,” Tiffany’s justified in a statement. In addition, he argued that the request to delay the formalization of the agreement was in response to the fact that the French group had not yet made the necessary arrangements for various antitrust bodies in the world to give their approval. Bernard Arnault’s empire accused Tiffany’s, therefore, of having a strategy prepared for a long time.

The “mismanagement” of covid-19

The tug-of-war has dragged on all month and now, like any marriage that gets to this point, they only think about convincing the judge that they are the ones who are right. “I will show – said Tiffany’s CEO Roger Farah – that LVMH has breached its obligations and that the arguments to cancel the merger have no justification.” The company in question said at the same time that it was “fully confident” in being able to show that “Tiffany’s mismanagement during the covid-19 crisis is an adverse material effect.”

So now the responsibility lies with the U.S. judicial system, which will have a four-day trial next year to decide whether LVMH had the right to divorce or not.


Shadow unemployment: the gaps in the statistics

It’s five to twelve: Employment Agency in Hamburg
Image: dpa

Much more people than the official quota shows have nothing to do at the moment. This also applies to Germany, where many people had to go on short-time work.

Kcan that really be? The economy is plunging into the deepest recession in a long time because of Corona – but the officially recorded unemployment is rising only a little, almost at a snail’s pace? According to the Eurostat statistics office, the unemployment rate in the euro zone was 7.2 percent in March, but the latest figures for July mean that it has increased to 7.9 percent. According to these statistics, only around one million more people have been on the streets since March, a total of 12.8 million. But these numbers only show part of the truth. At the same time, millions of people have been forced to reduce their jobs to short-time work; others have lost their jobs but do not appear in the official statistics as unemployed.

Economists at the major Swiss bank UBS have therefore carried out a calculation of “shadow unemployment”. Their result: In the spring quarter, actual unemployment in the euro zone was 20 percent and now, in the third quarter, it is probably 15 percent. That is twice as much as in the Eurostat figures. In Spain, UBS economist Anna Titareva suspects that despite the recent decline in short-time work, there are still well over 20 percent non-working people, in Italy almost 20 percent, in France around 13 percent and in Germany around 12 percent.


Cocote, “committed French shopping engine” against Amazon

Cocote is a UFO. The small Orleans start-up defines itself as “a committed French shopping engine”. And committed, it is on all fronts: ethics, taxation, environment, economic patriotism, protection of personal data, transparency, offers, prices, labels… The henhouse is overflowing.

“Basically what we want to develop is a real alternative to Amazon,” says Olivier Decan, its 38-year-old founder. What I criticize other French sites for is either being very demanding and therefore offering a restricted product catalog, or saying yes to everything without any distinction. We want to offer a very broad offer, open to everyone, but with more information. “

4 million products and soon 20 million

Launched in September 2019, already brings together 4 million products and targets 20 million by the end of the month. All areas are covered: food, fashion, beauty, home, multimedia, transport and even professional equipment.

READ ALSO> Anti-Amazon platforms, our selection

For now, the platform is a comparator. Buyers are returned to the seller’s website at the time of the transaction. But by the end of December, Cocote will also become a marketplace, with more than 2,000 traders, both online and physical. Cocote has just raised 106,000 euros in crowdfunding on We do Good, after an initial fundraising of 160,000 euros.

Cocote’s strength is its weighting tool for research. From the home page, you can position several sliders to define what is important to you during the purchase: relevance, price, proximity, speed of delivery, labels or reviews.

“We do not have a sponsored ad, all sellers are on the same level, argues Olivier Decan. It is the consumer who indicates his preferences to sort the results. We indicate the distance to which each product is located and an Ecoscore, on the same model as the Nutriscore, informs the customer if his purchase is more or less responsible. “

A generous cashback program

As the platform aims to be virtuous for the planet and employment in France, it is this Ecoscore that will determine the amount of cashback you will receive as a reward for your purchases. To use the poultry metaphor, this virtual currency has been called “coconut”. “We donate 50% of our total income to our users every month, which is unheard of,” prides Olivier Decan. The sum is distributed according to the amount and the Ecoscore of the customer’s purchases. Some can receive up to 50 euros per month. Cocote also claims not to sell any personal data.

For sellers, the model is Freemium: the service is free below 50 euros in monthly sales and commissioned at 7% above. An extremely attractive price when we know that most marketplaces charge commissions between 12% and 20%.

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