Top Headlines - part 62

Toyota USA Recalls 700,000 Vehicles Over Safety Risks

Toyota USA Recalls 700,000 Vehicles Over Safety Risks

BUSINESS

  • Toyota recalls 700,000 Venzas, Camrys and Tacoma pickups over safety concern
  • Camry, Venza recalled to fix silicone grease leaks; Tacoma needs steering wheel repairs
  • Japan sees increase in auto sales due to a recent government subsidy for eco-friendly vehicles

Toyota Motor Sales USA recently announced a recall on nearly 700,000 vehicles due to safety concerns. These recalls affect nearly 116,000 Venzas from 2009-11, approximately 71,000 Camrys from 2009, as well as about 495,000 Tacoma pickups from 2005-9.

According to Toyota, there is concern that during the installation of the contact-type stop lamp switch silicon grease may have reached the inside of the switch, causing an increase in electrical resistance.

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Common Drugs Could Be Available Without Prescription In the US

Common Drugs Could Be Available Without Prescription In the US

BUSINESS

  • FDA reveals plan to allow patients greater access to drugs
  • Drug manufacturers could apply for drugs to be made available over the counter
  • FDA considers speeding up drug approvals

The American Food and Drug Administration is mulling a change in policy that would make drugs for many chronic conditions available without a prescription and also would speed up approval for new drugs.

The recently announced proposal involves drugs sold for high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, asthma and migraines. The goal is to reduce the amount patients spend on pharmaceuticals as well as reduce the time doctors spend on routine visits.

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Netflix Could Be On The Look Out For A Cable Provider Partner

Netflix Could Be On The Look Out For A Cable Provider Partner

BUSINESS

  • Netflix CEO reportedly in talks with US cable providers
  • Partnership would allow Netflix to compete against HBO and other rivals
  • Customers would be able to bundle Netflix and other services

According to recent industry rumors, video streaming giant Netflix Inc. chief executive Reed Hastings has been in talks with several US cable providers about establishing a partnership. The partnership would allow Netflix to compete against its rivals, while allowing customers the option of bundling Netflix with their cable service.

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley technology conference last month, Hastings said: "It's not in the short term, but it's in the natural direction for us in the long term. Many (cable service providers) would like to have a competitor to HBO, and they would bid us off of HBO."

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Layoff Rumors Could Be A Sign Of Things To Come At Yahoo

Layoff Rumors Could Be A Sign Of Things To Come At Yahoo

BUSINESS

  • Blog reports Yahoo CEO plans thousands of layoffs
  • Layoffs part of major restructuring aimed at increasing revenue
  • Yahoo losing advertising revenue to competitors

America’s most popular Internet portal Yahoo! Inc. is on the verge of thousands of layoffs, reports The Wall Street Journal blog All Things Digital. Rumors say the layoffs are part of new chief executive officer Scott Thompson’s plan to restructure the company by finding new revenue streams and business models.

Layoffs would likely come in the product department and could begin in a few weeks. Additional layoffs also could come in the research and public relations departments.

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Google’s New Privacy Policy: Benefit or Threat to Users?

Google’s New Privacy Policy: Benefit or Threat to Users?

WORLD

  • Google streamlines 60+ privacy plans into one
  • EU and privacy groups oppose Google sharing user information across multiple Google-owned sites
  • Google aims to improve user experience across its platforms

Google is proceeding with much-publicized plans to streamline 60+ privacy policies into one overarching policy that covers various Google platforms and services. This change will allow Google to compile and share an individual’s browsing data and web history across various Google-owned sites (e.g: Blogger, gmail, Youtube, Google +) once logged into Google.

User information was not previously shared across different services.

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Florida: Sunshine State’s Tourism Market Brighter Than Ever

Florida: Sunshine State’s Tourism Market Brighter Than Ever

ECONOMY

  • Record 85.9 million visitors came to Florida last year
  • Florida tourism continues to outpace rest of US
  • Florida hotel room occupancy rates up 7% so far in 2012 

Florida’s tourism marketing arm Visit Florida reports that regional tourism reached record highs in 2011, logging more visitors than ever: The “Sunshine State” lured 85.9 million travelers last year, exceeding the previous high of 84.5 million in 2007.

There were increases in travel from across the board, including US residents from in-state, from out of Florida and a jarring jump in oversea visitors. Chris Thompson, the agency’s president and chief executive, pointed out that these visitors came despite what he called “challenging economic times.”

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Apple World's Most Valuable Company Worth $500 Billion

Apple World's Most Valuable Company Worth $500 Billion

FINANCE

  • Apple shares worth over $540 per share
  • Apple exceeds second place corporate giant Exxon by nearly $100 billion
  • Apple CEO receives $378 million in payment package

Apple recently became one of only six US companies to ever reach the $500 billion level in market value – although none of its predecessors have managed to maintain that status for long.

Investors, however, remain hopeful after Apple's last quarter report showed over $46 billion in revenue, marking one of the largest quarterly gains in the history of any technology firm.

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Who Ordered The First Passenger Boeing 747-8?

Who Ordered The First Passenger Boeing 747-8?

BUSINESS

  • Unnamed buyer thought to be from Middle East
  • Plane to receive modifications to turn it into “jewel of the sky”
  • Boeing behind schedule for delivery of 747-8s

Boeing Co., the world’s second-largest airplane manufacturer, handed over its first passenger 747-8 Intercontinental to a secret VIP customer who is having the aircraft modified into a “jewel of the sky”.

The buyer, who is unnamed, is thought to be from either the ruling families of Qatar or the United Arab Emirates or the royal family of Kuwait.

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Middle East Attracts Major Hotel Investment

Middle East Attracts Major Hotel Investment

BUSINESS

  • Hotels in Dubai, Saudi Arabia outperforming other markets in Middle East 
  • 9 Starwood brands to branch out to Middle East in next 3 years
  • Hyatt to open 3 hotels in Saudi Arabia in next 4 years

Hotels in Dubai and Saudi Arabia outshined other markets in the Middle East last year and are continuing to drive revenue, room rates, and occupancy says Ernst & Young (E&Y) in its recent Middle East Hotel Benchmark Survey.

“Dubai and Saudi hotels have held their own and continue to improve their RevPar [revenue per available room, an industry benchmark], occupancy and room rates,” Yousuf Wahbah, Partner and Head of MENA Transaction Real Estate, told Gulf News.

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US Retailers Struggle With Financial Losses

US Retailers Struggle With Financial Losses

BUSINESS

  • Sears loses $2.4 billion, to close 120 stores
  • Target records profit margin down 28.4%
  • Gap sees profit drop 40%, will close 189 stores

Major American retailers Sears Holding Corp., Target Corp. and Gap Inc. reported losses as high as 40% in the fourth quarter as they attempted to attract price-conscious shoppers.

Sears lost $2.4 billion, marking its largest quarterly loss in nine years. Heavily dependent on malls stores, Sears announced in December it was closing up to 120 under-performing locations.

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