The daily business briefing: January 8, 2018

Top BBC editor resigns over gender pay gap, SpaceX sends secret payload into orbit, and more

A SpaceX rocket launch
(Image credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

1. BBC China editor resigns over gender pay gap

Carrie Gracie, the BBC's China editor, announced her resignation in an open letter posted Sunday on her personal blog, citing gender pay inequality at the British public broadcaster. The BBC has faced criticism recently for paying men more than women in similar jobs, and Gracie said that she learned when salary data was revealed in a July funding settlement how much less she made than male colleagues. The BBC had four international editors, of which she was one, and the two men in the role made at least 50 percent more than the women. Gracie said she was offered a raise but it was "far short of equality," and that there was now a "crisis of trust" at the broadcaster. A BBC spokeswoman said "fairness in pay" is "vital" at the organization.


2. SpaceX launches rocket on secret government mission

SpaceX on Sunday night successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket into orbit carrying a secret government payload, in its first mission of 2018. The classified mission, known as Zuma, includes a satellite built by Northrop Grumman, but few other details have been released. The launch was originally planned for late November, but it faced nagging delays. SpaceX managed to land the rocket seven minutes after launch. The company is trying to cut costs and turnaround times for space missions by reusing its first-stage rockets. SpaceX, the launch company started by tech innovator Elon Musk, faces its next big test in late January, when it is scheduled to make the maiden launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket, the most powerful since the Saturn V used to send astronauts to the moon.

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MarketWatch NPR

3. Stocks remain strong after starting year with gains

World stock markets remained near record highs on Monday, continuing the best January kick-off in eight years. European shares opened higher to reach their highest levels since 2015. Asian markets remained near peaks. The world index has gained 2.5 percent already this year, in just five trading sessions. U.S. stock futures were nearly flat, struggling to make further gains. Futures for the Dow, already up 2.3 percent this year, edged higher briefly early Monday, as did futures for the S&P 500, which has risen by 2.6 percent this year. The tech-heavy Nasdaq, up by 3.4 percent in the first week of 2018, also appeared to have a shot at opening the week with gains.

Reuters MarketWatch

4. Takata adds 3.3 million air-bag inflators to record recall

Takata has added 3.3 million faulty air-bag inflators to what was already the largest such automotive recall in history. The latest recall, announced over the weekend on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, covers air bags in some 2009, 2010, and 2013 vehicles made by Honda, Toyota, Audi, BMW, Daimler Vans, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar-Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Tesla. A chemical used in the explosion that inflates the air bags can deteriorate in high temperatures and humidity, causing a metal canister to break apart, which can cause injury or death. The Takata recalls now affect more than 42 million vehicles.

The Associated Press

5. Tech innovators and fans gather on eve of CES in Vegas

Preview events for the annual Consumer Electronics Show will be held on Monday ahead of the event's official kick-off on Tuesday. More than 180,000 people are expected to attend CES in Las Vegas, where 4,000 exhibitors will show off the latest innovations in everything from gaming to self-driving cars. "Every innovation lead of every company walks through CES and spends at least 24 hours there," said Meghan Conroy, CEO of health monitoring company CaptureProof. The Consumer Technology Association, which stages CES, will select 20 products for the CES Innovation Awards, which honor "outstanding design and engineering."

Voice of America USA Today

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