Tag Archives: scandal

Volkswagen ‘clean diesel’ scheme

Volkswagen admitted to methodically cheating on U.S. air emissions tests for years, to make nearly half a million diesel cars seem cleaner-burning than they are, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday in citing violations that could add up to $18 billion in fines. The company said it has also been alerted from the Justice Department, which the EPA said could pursue legal action.

The automaker enlisted a strategy advertising the efficiency of their fun-to-drive, powerful, “clean diesel” vehicles. Diesel versions of their most popular cars comprise more than a quarter of the brand’s sales in the U.S. and are a vital part of the company’s strategy for meeting tougher U.S. fuel economy standards going to effect in coming years. VW chose to specialize in diesel technology instead of electrics or hybrids.

“They were counting heavily on diesels to meet the fuel-economy numbers,” Matt DeLorenzo said, managing editor for news at Kelley Blue Book in Irvine, California. “This brings that whole strategy into question.”

VW TDI
“Volkswagen admitted to methodically cheating on U.S. air pollution tests for years, to make nearly half a million diesel cars seem cleaner-burning than they are.

VW employed a sophisticated algorithm, installed in the emissions-control modules that could detect when a vehicle was undergoing official emissions testing and turn on full pollution controls. The EPA referred this algorithm a “defeat device.” During normal driving, the cars pollute 10 to 40 times the legal standard for NOx, a component in urban smog, the agency estimated.

Financial liability for the company is unclear. The EPA could fine the company $37,500 per violation of the law and harm to the environment, which could equate to over $18 billion in fines.

Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn resigned after the scandal, after almost a decade in charge, Winterkorn stepped down. He expressed that he accepted the consequences of the mushrooming scandal that has wiped $22 billion off the company’s market value.

In order to “fix” the issue, Volkswagen has said that most of the affected cars will just need a software update, presumably to the engine always runs during the EPA testing, and always meets emission standards. That’s bad for drivers, because to be NOx emission standards, the cars in test mode sacrificed some fuel economy and performance.

Volkswagen announced on Sunday that it was suspending the sales of cars in the United States that had the defeat device.

The investigation is still ongoing.

Calling it quits

It’s no secret that Hollywood seems to be the spot where on screen romances are born and real-life love stories go to die. From Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston to Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds, seemingly perfect relationships are crashing and burning all the time.

A few days ago, “The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco and her tennis star husband, Ryan Sweeting added their names to the ever growing list of failed celebrity marriages. While sources have claimed that the couple had been unhappy for a while, most information regarding the divorce is being kept under wraps with both Cuoco and Sweeting asking for privacy.

This news has left one burning question on many people’s minds: what goes so horribly wrong in celebrity marriages?

While examining her failed marriage with fellow actor, Ryan Reynolds, Scarlett Johansson explained to Parade magazine, “Acting is a very strange world to be co-existing in. It’s very volatile. There’s always going to be the more successful person. It’s related to rejection. Because actors, if they’re not having success, connect it directly to unpopularity — to the fact that nobody wants them. It’s not necessarily true. I’m constantly rejected.” Johansson when on to say that she found true happiness with her new husband, a journalist, because they are both in very different fields which takes away the competition and by extension the resentment and jealousy.

Kaley Cuoco and Ryan Sweeting before they called it quits. Graphic from People
Kaley Cuoco and Ryan Sweeting before they called it quits. Graphic from People

Psychotherapist M. Gary Newman has another perspective. In his article, “Why Do Celeb Marriages fail?” Newman referred to some research he had conducted earlier on women’s happiness in their marriages. He explained that he had discovered that “Women who were happily married reported spending a daily average of over 30 minutes of uninterrupted time talking to their husbands. Unhappy women reported a daily average of less than 30 minutes, and 24 percent of those unhappy reported that they spent less than five minutes a day talking to their spouses.”

Of course, being married to celebrity practically guarantees that little time will be shared solely among spouses. Newman also suggests that the personal fulfillment that fame brings alleviates the need for couples to care for each other because they can create their own happiness by themselves:

“The individuals no longer truly need the other to live happily. Instead, they just like being together. Yet a couple needs to feel that life without the other is quite impossible. If a spouse does not feel a need to have the other in his or her life on a daily basis, that is a short step away from separation.”

Of course, while Johansson and Newman’s theories hold a lot of weight, there are also more obvious reasons for divorce such as cheating. High profile cheating scandals such as Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt’s back in 2005 and more recently, golf legend, Tiger Woods’ are usually what the public jump straight to when word of a new celebrity divorce surfaces. For Aniston and Pitt, their relationship ended when Pitt cheated on Aniston with his “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” co-star, Angelina Jolie.

While rumors swirled about Aniston and Jolie’s rivalry due to Pitt’s infidelity back in the day, recently Aniston has spoken out saying, “Nobody did anything wrong. You know what I mean? It was just like, sometimes things [happen]. If the world only could just stop with the stupid, soap-opera bulls–t. There’s no story. I mean, at this point it’s starting to become—please, give more credit to these human beings.”

There are so many reasons why a marriage can fail- add adoring fans, crazy work schedules, and insane amounts of money and these reasons seem even more evident. Hopefully as Kaley Cuoco and Ryan Sweeting move forward with their divorce, they find the closure that so many of their fellow stars have found.