Top Headlines March 2012 - part 2

How Is The Euro Crisis Impacting The Travel Market?

How Is The Euro Crisis Impacting The Travel Market?

WORLD

  • Euro crisis affecting hotel expansion decisions in EU zone
  • Indian hoteliers having trouble raising occupancy due to Euro crisis  
  • Mediterranean cruise lines with increased capacity struggling to attract more US passengers 

No surprise that the Euro financial crisis has major consequences for its 17 members, but it also has an impact on the world travel industry in ways that are both predictable, and in some cases surprising.

Take hotels, for example. No shock that Hyatt Hotels Corp. says it is weighing the financial crisis in evaluating its expansion plans.

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Pepsi Gets Competitive with 8,700 Jobs Cuts, More Marketing & India Partnership

Pepsi Gets Competitive with 8,700 Jobs Cuts, More Marketing & India Partnership

BUSINESS

  • Pepsi job cuts expected to save $1.5 billion by 2014; additional $600 million to be spent on marketing
  • Pepsi forecasts earnings will fall 5%
  • Pepis targets Indian market with new health drink launch in partnership with Tata Global Beverages

Pepsi Co Inc. plans to cut 8,700 jobs in 30 countries as well as expand marketing in hopes of increasing sales to take back the title of the world's largest soft drink manufacturer from rival Coca-Cola Co.

The cuts represent 3% of Pepsi’s global workforce, and, combined with other cost-cutting measures, are expected to save the soft drink maker $1.5 billion by 2014.

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Amazon to Open First Brick and Mortar Location

Amazon to Open First Brick and Mortar Location

BUSINESS

  • Rumors indicate first physical Amazon store could open in Seattle before end of the year
  • Store a test run for profitability of retail locations
  • Amazon hoping to recuperate costs of Kindle Fire

Online retailer Amazon Inc. is rumored to be taking its first steps into the real world according to various news outlets, which are reporting Amazon could open a retail location in Seattle before the end of year.

Amazon has yet to confirm or deny the reports.

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Petition Urges Apple to Investigate Unsafe Working Conditions in China

Petition Urges Apple to Investigate Unsafe Working Conditions in China

BUSINESS

  • Apple’s manufacturing partner questioned regarding unsafe work conditions
  • Apple to investigate accounts of debilitating work-related injuries at Foxconn factory
  • Apple and Motorola continue to battle over patent infringement issues

Despite recently releasing its 2012 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, Apple is under scrutiny for the working conditions in manufacturing partner Foxconn's Chinese plants. Well-known sources, including the New York Times and This American Life, have published accounts of life threatening injuries at Foxconn's Shenzhen factory.

In an effort to expose these conditions, self-proclaimed Apple "super-user" and Washington, D.C. communications consultant Mark Shields decided to start a petition at Change.org upon hearing a recent radio report from This American Life. The report alleged poor working conditions at factories operated by Chinese companies that have contracts to build iPhones, iPads and other popular Apple products. 

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Hawaii's Tourism Comeback Fueled By Air Travel

Hawaii's Tourism Comeback Fueled By Air Travel

BUSINESS

  • Tourism in Hawaii during recession plunged nearly 15% from 2007 to 2009
  • Hawaii’s tourism numbers now on upswing
  • Reasons for revival include new emphasis on air service and help from US government

The latest tourism statistics show that Hawaii’s visitor count was up by 4% in 2011 over the previous year, recording nearly 7.3 million visitors total.

During the recession, tourism in Hawaii plunged close to 15%, and though the new numbers are still short of the state’s record year in 2006, the outlook is good. "We have seen a healthy demand for Hawaii globally," says Mike McCartney, president of the state-run Hawaii Tourism Authority.

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US Adds Jobs, Unemployment Drops to 3-Year Low

US Adds Jobs, Unemployment Drops to 3-Year Low

ECONOMY

  • Unemployment drops to 8.3%, lowest since February 2009
  • Nasdaq Composite hits 11-year high; Treasury debt prices fall as investor expectations change
  • Political scientists expect employment news to boost Obama's campaign

The jobless rate in the US has dropped to 8.3%, marking the lowest rate in three years, according to US Labor Department data.

Growing at a rate of 200,000 jobs per month, the economy is looking up. Prior to the latest unemployment data, economists had expected stagnant employment growth in January.

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Japan's Big Electronic Manufacturers Register Record Financial Losses

Japan's Big Electronic Manufacturers Register Record Financial Losses

FINANCE

  • Panasonic could see losses of more than $9.2 billion
  • Sharp’s facing losses of $3.8 billion
  • Sony may lose upwards of $3 billion

Japanese electronics giants Panasonic, Sharp and Sony are all racing toward record loses for the fiscal year ending in March.

Losses can be attributed to competition from foreign rivals, especially South Korean-based Samsung Electronics, as well as weak demand for the trio’s televisions. The yen reached its highest post World War II value in October 2011, and the strength of the currency is eroding away at the profit of Japanese exporters.

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Dassault Secures Multi-Billion Dollar Contract To Build Jets For India Air Force

Dassault Secures Multi-Billion Dollar Contract To Build Jets For India Air Force

BUSINESS

  • Dassault wins a near $11 billion deal to build 126 India aircraft vehicles
  • Lower pricing and India’s familiarity with French warplanes said to be contributing factors in France’s win
  • Britain disappointed by India’s offer to Dassault, asks them to reconsider

In what is being dubbed the biggest fighter deal in the world since the early 1990s, French air craft manufacturer Dassault has won a contract to build 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) Rafale fighter jets for the Indian air force, totaling nearly $11 billion.

However, a defense ministry source indicated that with the necessary training and maintenance the entire deal could reach at least $15 billion. In a statement from an Indian government source: "France's Dassault has emerged as the lowest bidder, and further commercial negotiations will take place with the company before signing a formal deal.”

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Making History: Facebook Files for IPO

Making History: Facebook Files for IPO

FINANCE

  • Facebook could be largest technology IPO debut in US history; also 6th largest IPO overall in US and 15th worldwide
  • Facebook market cap could reach between $75 billion and $100 billion
  • Majority of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising

Facebook Inc. has filed paperwork with regulators for inclusion on a US stock exchange. The online social network did not list an exchange but did file for the ticker “FB”.

In the filing, Facebook said it hopes to raise $5 billion; however, some analysts say that figure is more likely $100 billion. It will take months before the final figure is set.

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Amgen Looks to Micromet Deal to Solidify Stake in Cancer-Fighting Industry

Amgen Looks to Micromet Deal to Solidify Stake in Cancer-Fighting Industry

BUSINESS

  • Amgen to buy Micromet for $1 billion  
  • Amgen interested in Micromet oncology treatments, namely leukemia drug blinatumomab
  • Roche and Celgene also seeking biotechnology acquisitions

Amgen Inc., one of the largest biotechnology firms in the world, has struck deal for over $1 billion to purchase Rockville, MD-based biotechnology firm Micromet. For $11 a share, Amgen will add Micromet pharmaceuticals such as blinatumomab, a leukemia drug in Phase 2 trials, to its repertoire of oncology treatments. 

Blinatumomab is presently being tested for effectiveness at curbing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lymphoblastic leukemia. June 2011 trials found 9 out of 12 patients on the drug went into full remission from acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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