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Top Headlines - part 62

Russian Space Agency Losing Trust After Another Satellite Mission Failure

Russian Space Agency Losing Trust After Another Satellite Mission Failure

WORLD

  • Russia’s space program faces another mishap, affecting telecom services in Indonesia and Russia
  • Use of Proton-M rocket carriers suspended
  • Russian space agency now faces much doubt and scrutiny, struggles to maintain trust
  • Strict quality control issues being put in place in all of Russia’s rocket parts plants 

In an unfortunate follow-up to a series of mishaps in Russia’s space program, the country recently failed to launch two multi-million dollar satellites that were intended to provide Indonesia and Russia with telecom services.

Once a leader in the space industry, Russia’s space agency now faces much doubt and scrutiny among peers and onlookers.

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Report: Global Average Internet Connection Speeds Up To 2.6 Mbps

Report: Global Average Internet Connection Speeds Up To 2.6 Mbps

WORLD

  • Average internet connection speeds up to 2.6 Mbps from 2.3 Mbps
  • Top-fastest internet nations: South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, the Netherlands and Latvia
  • China logs 16% of source internet attack traffic, US 11%

World average internet connection speeds have increased to 2.6 Mbps in the first quarter of 2012 up from 2.3 Mbps at the end of 2011, says cloud platform leader Akamai in its recent “State of the Internet” report. Year-on-year, this new speed marks a 25% rise.

Better infrastructure, faster networks, more sophisticated technology and higher competition are said to be the leading drivers of the change.

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McDonald's Sales Stagnant, Faces Tougher Fast-Food Competition

McDonald's Sales Stagnant, Faces Tougher Fast-Food Competition

BUSINESS

  • McDonald’s revenue down 0.1% in US; 0.6% in Europe; and 1.5% in Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa
  • Drop attributed to customers cutting budgets and unsuccessful advertising 
  • Competitors Burger King, Taco Bell and Wendy’s marketing aggressively to bring in sales

Marking its poorest performance since 2003, the world’s largest restaurant chain McDonald’s Corp reported stagnant July sales as a result of the weak economy and insufficient advertising.

Revenue at home in the US fell by 0.1%, while Europe, which accounts for 40% of the company's business, dipped 0.6% due to slow business in Germany and several Southern European markets. Although key growth areas for McDonald's, Asia Pacific and the Middle East and Africa saw a drop of 1.5%.

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Dutch Automaker Spyker Suing General Motors For $3 Billion Over Saab Deal Damages

Dutch Automaker Spyker Suing General Motors For $3 Billion Over Saab Deal Damages

BUSINESS

  • Spyker claims GM blocked Saab sale to Chinese company to force Saab into bankruptcy
  • Saab now being bought out by National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB consortium
  • Analysts say it will be difficult for Spyker to prove its case

Dutch automaker Spyker NV has filed a lawsuit on behalf of its subsidiary Saab against General Motors for $3 billion, claiming GM blocked Saab’s sale to the Chinese to force Saab into bankruptcy.

Filed with United States District Court in Michigan and intended to cover compensatory and punitive damages as well as legal fees and interest, the lawsuit says: “When Saab found a way to secure liquidity and continue as a going concern with the help of Chinese investors, GM was determined to scuttle the deal by any means necessary, including the publication of false information about its rights under the parties' contracts."

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International Airlines Group Braces For Possible Spanish Eurozone Exit

International Airlines Group Braces For Possible Spanish Eurozone Exit

BUSINESS

  • IAG, holding company to Spain’s Iberia, creates crisis management plan
  • IAG saw $482 million pre-tax loss in Q1 2012 due to Iberia's $325 million operating loss
  • IATA anticipates industry net income loss of 62%

International Airlines Group (IAG) - the world’s largest airline group and holding company to Spain’s Iberia airline - is developing a contingency plan for Spain’s possible withdrawal from the Eurozone.

A crisis management group is reviewing possible impact and will seek input from external advisors.

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Food Leader Kraft Sees Product Price Increases Up Profit

Food Leader Kraft Sees Product Price Increases Up Profit

BUSINESS

  • Kraft increases product prices to offset rising price of commodities (corn, other)
  • Kraft using Cadbury for overseas distribution
  • Kraft to split in two as of October; Kraft Foods Group Inc. to oversee business in North America, while Mondelez International Inc. to focus on snacks abroad

One of the world’s best-known food companies Kraft Foods Inc. has exceeded analyst predictions for second quarter profit by raising the prices of its food products as part of a larger strategy for the business’s future success.

Kraft increased product prices in an attempt to offset the rising price of commodities in light of this summer’s drought in the Midwest, which is expected to impact the cost of Kraft products for the rest of the year as corn prices rise.

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Samsung Profits Soar Thanks to Galaxy Smartphones

Samsung Profits Soar Thanks to Galaxy Smartphones

BUSINESS

  • Samsung sees profit nearly double from 2011
  • Samsung phone shipments in second quarter nearly doubled number of iPhones sold
  • Sales in emerging markets key to Samsung’s continued growth

Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest technology company by revenue, has reported a record-setting second quarter thanks to its Galaxy line of smartphones, allowing it to overtake rivals.

The majority of Samsung’s sales come from its mobile division, which includes networking equipment, smartphones and personal computers. In addition, Samsung remains the world’s top television and memory-chip manufacturer.

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Merck Drugs Face Fierce Future Competition From Generics

Merck Drugs Face Fierce Future Competition From Generics

BUSINESS

  • Sales of Merck diabetes drugs Januvia and Janumet soar
  • Asthma drug Singulair generates $5 billion per year for Merck
  • Generic drug competition looms for Singulair, Maxalt and other top Merck brand drugs
  • Osteoporosis, insomnia drugs expected to be new star products

Pharmaceutical leader Merck & Co second-quarter revenue rose 1.3% to $12.3 billion, beating industry forecasts as sales of its diabetes drugs Januvia and Janumet soared.

Analysts predicted tough generic competition for Merck’s asthma medicine Singulair to have a bigger impact on its financials, but a rise in sales of its vaccines, diabetes and HIV treatments proved the stronger factor.

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Nintendo Puts Hope In Upcoming 3DS XL Widescreen, Wii U Launches

Nintendo Puts Hope In Upcoming 3DS XL Widescreen, Wii U Launches

BUSINESS

  • Q1 sales down 9.7% at 84.8 billion yen
  • 3DS sales top 1.86 million units, Wii sales at 710,000 units
  • 3DS XL due for release, Wii U to be released before Christmas

Nintendo posted a net loss of 17.2 billion yen ($221 million) for the first quarter ending June 2012 as the company continues to struggle with the strong yen and stiff competition.

The figures show an improvement on the same period last year, when Nintendo reported a loss of 25.5 billion yen, buoying hopes of a return to profit this year.

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Apple Growth Slows Due To Lower Product Prices, Lost Market Share In China

Apple Growth Slows Due To Lower Product Prices, Lost Market Share In China

BUSINESS

  • Apple net income and revenue slow to rate of 20% in 3Q, lowest growth in over 2 years
  • Apple sells 26 million iPhones, 17 million iPads from April to June
  • Apple faces tough competition from Samsung's Galaxy S3 and HTC's One X smartphones

Apple’s net income and revenue grew at a rate of around 20% in the third quarter of 2012, marking its lowest growth rate in over two years and underperforming against analyst earning expectations for only the second time in ten years.

In sales volume, with 26 million iPhones and 17 million iPads sold between April to June, Apple did moderately well this past quarter. While iPhone sales were at the low end of the expected range with an increase of 28%, iPad sales surged unexpectedly by 84%.

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