Stephanie Lagopoulos latest articles

Will The US Approve Bill To Cut Airline Baggage Fees?

Will The US Approve Bill To Cut Airline Baggage Fees?

WORLD

  • Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieubill launches bill to reduce airline baggage fees
  • Over 70% of airline passengers frustrated by excessive carry-on bags
  • Baggage fees said to slow down airport screening process

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu has introduced a bill to the US Senate, seeking approval to reduce airline baggage fees in the United States. The new legislation would ensure passengers are permitted to travel with one checked piece of luggage and a carry-on bag for no additional charge.

The bill also states that passengers should be notified of any luggage restrictions and additional fees prior to arriving at airport check-in.

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De Beers: Oppenheimer 80-Year Ownership Over With Anglo American Buy

De Beers: Oppenheimer 80-Year Ownership Over With Anglo American Buy

BUSINESS

  • Anglo American pays $5.1 billion for bigger stake in De Beers
  • Anglo now owns 85% of De Beers; Botswana government holds 15%
  • Predictions indicate India, China, Gulf region to represent 40% of diamond demand by 2015

Anglo American Plc has paid $5.1 billion for the Oppenheimer family’s 40% stake in De Beers. The purchase marks the end of the family’s 80-year ownership of the diamond miner, which is the largest in the world. The De Beers deal was reportedly paid with cash and a $3.5 billion credit line.

Previously, Anglo had a 45% ownership and now it holds 85% in the diamond miner; the remaining 15% is owned by the Botswana government. Anglo has not had an acquisition of this size since three years ago, when it invested $5.5 billion into the Brazilian mine Minas Rio.

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Take Off For Boeing's Dreamliner Happens 3 Years Behind Schedule

Take Off For Boeing's Dreamliner Happens 3 Years Behind Schedule

BUSINESS

  • Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner completes first flight
  • Flight launch delayed due to global shared workload of aircraft pieces
  • Airlines cutting back Dreamline orders
  • Boeing sees improved Q3 share price

Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner has completed its inaugural flight from Hong Kong to Tokyo, operated by All Nippon Airways Co. (ANA), after a long three-year launch delay. The Dreamliner was first publicized nine years ago as Boeing’s reaction to the airline industry’s financial fall-out post September 11.

Originally, the launch was planned for 2008, and delays have since cost Boeing billions of dollars, but ANA President and CEO Shinichiro Ito still calls the Dreamliner a “game changer.”

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Consistent Nutritional Food Rating Proposed

Consistent Nutritional Food Rating Proposed

WORLD

  • US Institute of Medicine says food should rate fat, sodium and sugar content
  • Obesity rates have doubled in last 30 years
  • Without Obama administration system, may not be executed

A new report from the US Institute of Medicine says that food products need better nutritional content labels that clearly show fat, sodium and sugar content to help consumers make better diet choices.

It suggests a new nutrition label system, which would be visible on the front of food packaging, that uses a series of points, check marks or stars on a scale of zero to three, based on serving size. If key elements (sodium, fat, sugar) are balanced, the food gets a point. A healthy product could get a maximum of three points, while some foods or beverages may get zero points.

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Retailer Gap Inc. Closing Stores in North America, Heading Overseas

Retailer Gap Inc. Closing Stores in North America, Heading Overseas

BUSINESS

  • Gap Inc. to close almost 200 stores in North America
  • Plans underway to triple Gap stores in China to total 45 by 2014
  • Retailer to shake up business casual clothing

Gap Inc. plans to close almost 200 stores in North America by the end of 2013 due to increased competition from specialty retailers and a turbulent sales environment. The store closures will bring the total number of Gap stores in North America down to 700, a 34% drop from four years ago.

Art Peck, President of Gap North America said: “Over the next 26 months, we’ll look store by store at our specialty fleet and determine which stores meet the standards we’ve set for our brand. This is a continuation of our work since 2007.”

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Austerity Plan Protests Shutting Down Greece

Austerity Plan Protests Shutting Down Greece

ECONOMY

  • Rolling strikes continue in protest of Prime Minister’s €6.6 billion austerity plan
  • Government said it would not reach 2011 deficit target, falling short by €2 billion
  • IMF: bailout deal needs to be revised by EU according to new needs

Greece is shutting down with petroleum industry workers, who have declared a 10-day strike, the latest to join the list of protesters against Prime Minister George Papandreou’s €6.6 billion ($8.7 billion) austerity plan. In coming days, prison guards and hospital workers are expected to join the pack, with Greek tax inspectors set to strike next week.

The ongoing wave of protests follows the heated public-sector walk-out staged last week when ADEDY, Greece’s biggest public sector union, called to strike after European Union ministers hinted that they might renegotiate the terms of Greece’s most recent bailout. “They are not trying to save Greece. They are just killing workers,” ADEDY Vice President Ilias Vrettakos said in a rally speech. Some 20,000 supporters took part.

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Nokia Forges Ahead With Additional 3,500 Job Cuts

Nokia Forges Ahead With Additional 3,500 Job Cuts

BUSINESS

  • Nokia seeks to increase competitivity, cuts 3,500 jobs on top of 7,000 already announced
  • Romanian manufacturing plant shutdown cuts 2,200 jobs, other plants to follow
  • Nokia ups innovation, launching Symbian Belle smartphones in India

Nokia Corp. will cut 3,500 jobs worldwide by 2012 in an effort to reduce costs and better compete in the global smartphone market. Rivalry from Apple, Research In Motion and Google, as well as several Asian handset manufacturers, prompted the Finnish cell phone maker to attempt to slash operating expenses by €1 billion (US$1.5 billion) before 2013. years.

These new layoffs are on top of the 7,000 jobs already cut by Nokia earlier this year.

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Ikea Set to Speed-Up Expansion In China

Ikea Set to Speed-Up Expansion In China

BUSINESS

  • Ikea has nine stores in China, will now open three stores per year
  • Higher expansion pace than last few years forecasted going forward
  • Ikea focused on sustainability, with solar panel installations in California stores

Leading global furniture retail Ikea Group is set to open more stores in China to capture growth in the world's second-largest economy, with the goal to off-set dependence on the declining European market. Currently, Ikea depends on Europe for 80% of its sales, but expansion into China would permit the furniture company to reduce dependence on Europe, and cut prices by 1.5% by end 2011.

Sales for Ikea in China alone are growing at a faster rate than the entire company, Ohlsson added. Ikea currently has nine stores in China, and over the next few years, will begin expansion by opening three stores per year. The Swedish furniture giant will also continue to hire staff, after adding 4,000 new employees in 2010 alone.

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United Auto Workers Extend Contract Discussions

United Auto Workers Extend Contract Discussions

BUSINESS

  • UAW extends contracts with GM, Chrysler and Ford
  • Contract discussions first since 2009 US automotive bailout
  • Union will vote when contract terms are determined

After missing the deadline to finalize new agreement negotiations, the United Auto Workers union extended contracts with General Motors and Chrysler Group. Contracts with Ford were prolonged earlier in the week and are still being defined.

UAW leaders said to the media: “We are hopeful that an agreement can be reached soon. While we have made significant progress, we have not been able to secure a new agreement that we would recommend for ratification.”

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Google Buys Zagat To Up Local Content

Google Buys Zagat To Up Local Content

BUSINESS

  • Zagat buy offers reviews and deals on local restaurants, hotels and nightlife using Google maps
  • Google estimates 20% of its daily searches are for neighborhood establishments
  • Zagat's online home will remain a paid site

Google Inc. has purchased world-renowned dining review expert Zagat Survey in a bid to offer more local content. The acquisition will let people find local reviews and discounts for restaurants, hotels and nightclubs, using Google’s well-known online maps and mobile search engine.

Details of the deal were not released; however it is rumored that Google paid $100 million to $200 million for Zagat Survey. In a blog post, Marissa Mayer, Google vice president for local, maps and location services, said: “Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering, delighting people with its impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights. With Zagat, we gain a world-class team that has more experience in consumer based-surveys, recommendations and reviews than anyone else in the industry.”

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