From Volkswagen and Glencore to the Black Cab protest: Here's what got us talking this week

Catherine Neilan
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Volkswagen was found cheating on emissions test (Source: Getty)

There was an alarming protest in Croydon (with an excellent response from Debenhams). There was an eyebrow-raising development in the world of robotics. And somewhere in the CIty, some window cleaners were left hanging. On the side of skyscraper. For several hours.

Here's what got us talking this week

Could you fall in love with a robot?

1) Volkswagen's reputation disappeared in a puff of smoke

In what must go down as one of its bleakest times in history, Volkswagen's share price ended the week down around 30 per cent as the car giant became engulfed in an emissions-cheating scandal.

The crisis, affecting 11 million cars and for which VW is setting aside €6.5bn to deal with, has already claimed at least one scalp - chief executive Martin Winterkorn - though it's not expected to end there. VW's reputation is in the toilet and the threat of contagion is such that the crisis dragged share prices down across the industry. After all, reduced emissions come with a cost.

Late on Friday Volkswagen confirmed that Porsche boss Matthias Muller would be taking on the reins reluctantly given up by Winterkorn - but the car giant also detailed a wider restructure that will take place as the company attempts to draw a line under the scandal.

2) Buy-to-let or bust?

Demand for housing may be going through the roof - with one study claiming there are 11 house-hunters for every available property - but buy-to-let investors are starting to struggle. One in five of them will go out of business in the next two years, as a combination of covering damage and rent arrears alongside a new punitive tax make the once-lucrative investment look less inviting.

Just why is the apparently business-friendly George Osborne punishing landlords?

3) Taxi drivers jammed the City

We might not like it, but we learned why.

4) Big Trouble in Little China

George Osborne might be feeling bullish about the opportunities in China, but the fallout from last month's Black Monday is still being felt, with manufacturing data painting a gloomy picture. Glencore had a sorry week, with its share price falling to its lowest point since listing, and oil prices slid further, while British steelmakers have urged government assistance in the face of falling prices and rising competition.

Given the timing, we wondered whether it was right to prioritise closer relations between the two countries

5) Boring bosses are harming the UK's economy

They could even be the solution to the productivity puzzle.

Leisurely Reads

First up something that is more a leisurely view than a leisurely read: watch this video of two drivers involved in a 35-minute stand-off over who should back down and clear the way.

Runners in fancy dress tackle the 26 mile course

If that's not your tipple, how about a marathon drinking session? We're not joking: 26 miles mixed with 20 wine tasting stops. You literally stagger over the finishing line.

New Zealand World Cup performance so far will not rank particularly high in the annals of the country’s proud rugby history. But, as this article explains, there was enough in the performance to demonstrate why the All Blacks have become so synonymous with sporting supremacy - and why association with the brand is so attractive to businesses.

Infographic of the Week

Do you live in London's happiest (or unhappiest) borough?

Great Reads from Elsewhere

We live - by and large - a in free-market country. But opinion polls show that people support renationalisation, price controls, rent controls and “affordable” housing. Why do the British dislike the free market so much?

The Pope might have shown Apple who's boss this week, with his US visit disrupting the iPhone 6S launch, but as this article points out, Apple Stores have become the new temples.

The Last Word

Farron "worse than Clegg" says Liberal Democrat defector

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