Top Headlines September 2011 - part 3
BUSINESS September 22, 2011 | 6:17 PM
- Google redesigns flight section after acquiring travel industry software firm ITA Software
- Google not pursued for industry claims that the buy gives it an unfair advantage
- Google develops travel services by buying restaurant review site Zagat and launching Hotel Finder
Travel websites such as Kayak and Orbitz face competition from Google as the search engine redesigns its flights section.
The change comes in the wake of a major acquisition by Google earlier this year: the search engine purchased travel and airline software development firm ITA Software in April for nearly $700 million.Read more »
BUSINESS September 22, 2011 | 4:04 PM
- GM to offer workers early retirement payouts to bring in cheaper labor
- Payout offer part of a deal with United Auto Workers union
- GM to save an estimated $57,000 per year per employee under early retirement plan
General Motors is looking to reduce labor costs by persuading high-paid workers to take early retirement as part of a four-year deal with the United Auto Workers labor union.
The signing of the agreement between the Detroit-based pair will see the United States’ biggest carmaker offer some 10,000 skilled-trade employees up to $75,000 in retirement incentives to replace them with cheaper labor.Read more »
ECONOMY September 22, 2011 | 12:08 PM
- Uneven growth between developing and developed nations
- Growth forecasts for Euro zone down from 2% to 1.6%
- US economic growth projections down from 2.5% to 1.5%
The International Monetary Fund has adjusted its global growth outlook for 2011 and 2012 from 4.3% and 4.5%, respectively, to a two-year 4% growth rate.
The IMF, which consists of over 187 nations, says in its latest edition of the World Economic Outlook report: “Global activity has weakened and become more uneven, confidence has fallen sharply recently, and downside risks are growing.” The IMF estimates a decline in this year's growth for developing nations from its original prediction of 6.6% to 6.4%. It also adjusted next year's forecast for developing economies from 6.4% in June to 6.1%.Read more »
BUSINESS September 22, 2011 | 10:24 AM
- Google’s social network opened to public; remains in beta testing
- Hangouts, improved SMS support among new features added
- Facebook expected to respond with raft of new developments
Google launched the next phase of its attack on Facebook by opening its social networking website to the public.
Launched in June, Google+ underwent not quite three months of limited field trials. While still in beta testing, Google has now removed the invitation-only restriction as it tries to lure away Facebook’s 750 million users.Read more »
WORLD September 22, 2011 | 10:00 AM
- Death toll from tobacco use set to rise to 8 million annually by 2030
- US anti-smoking campaign uses text messaging to reach citizens
- EU “ex-smokers are unstoppable” initiative web pages get 500,000 hits
With tobacco use climbing worldwide, it is likely to claim over 8 million lives a year by 2030. This increase will put significant strain on world healthcare systems, and governments are now actively launching initiatives to galvanize international efforts against tobacco use.
Needing to reach over a billion smokers in the world, health organizations have had to get more creative than traditional poster campaigns.Read more »
ECONOMY September 21, 2011 | 1:45 PM
- Debt plan to increase tax for wealthy, reduce health costs
- Plan to cut corporate loopholes, end Bush tax cuts
- CBS poll: 56% agree with Obama's debt proposal
Obama is promoting a new debt plan aimed at cutting the US deficit by more than $3 trillion over the next 10 years. The debt reduction package calls for nearly $1.5 trillion in new taxes that target the upper class.
The plan also promotes the cutting of Medicare and Medicaid benefits by over $580 billion and includes savings from the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan equaling $1 trillion. Obama's proposal does not call for any changes in Social Security and the age of eligibility for Medicare.Read more »
BUSINESS September 21, 2011 | 10:03 AM
- Netflix to spin off its DVD rental business
- Market value falls 53% as customers leave due to price hike
- 600,000 more customers to end subscriptions before end September
Netflix will divide its DVD and online media rental services into two separate entities, in another move that has proved unpopular with subscribers. The company will cut loose its DVD by mail rental business into a wholly owned subsidiary called Qwikster, while streaming services will continue under the Netflix name.
Netflix has a US subscriber base of over 24 million, but recently customers have begun leaving in droves following the announcement of a 60% hike in monthly subscription fees in July.Read more »
FINANCE September 20, 2011 | 6:33 PM
- Clean energy backing jumps 30% in 2010, after recession low in 2009
- China produces over 50% world’s photovoltaic modules, 50% wind capacity
- Small-scale project investment increases more than 90%
In 2010, spending on clean energy rose 30% to $243 billion. The industry experienced a compound annual growth of over 35% in the four years to 2008, but the recession saw figures plummet in 2009.
The greatest investment segment in the 2010 clean energy rebound involved utility-scale projects such as solar parks and wind farms, reports the World Economic Forum.Read more »
BUSINESS September 20, 2011 | 5:15 PM
- WEF names 16 companies for innovative environmental and economic excellence
- China’s Broad Group singled out as a producer of zero-energy air conditioners
- Companies chosen hailed as industry role models that proactively engage with stakeholder groups and positively influence environment
A report by the World Economic Forum identifies 16 companies in emerging economies for implementing innovative and rapid growth solutions while maintaining highest standards of environmental and social practices.
The 16 “New Sustainability Champions” come from diverse nations such as China, Costa Rica, Egypt, and South Africa, with companies such as Suzlon, Woolworths and Natura among those named.Read more »
BUSINESS September 20, 2011 | 4:44 PM
- BP acquires remaining 50% stake in biofuel producer Tropical BioEnergia
- Oil giant also buys additional share in sugar and ethanol producer CNAA
- Brazilian biofuel operations to expand significantly over coming years, says BP
BP will buy out the remaining 50% stake of Brazilian ethanol producer Tropical BioEnergia to take full control of the company. BP Biofuels agreed to pay some $71 million for the combined 50% share held by Maeda Agroindustrial and LDC-SEV Bioenergia as part of the Tropical BioEnergia joint venture.
The partnership between the three companies began in 2008 when BP Biofuels began its ethanol operations in Brazil at a mill in Edeia, Goias state.Read more »