Top Headlines - part 64

'Reel' Story: Tourism Theme Parks Get Inspired By Hit Films

'Reel' Story: Tourism Theme Parks Get Inspired By Hit Films

BUSINESS

  • Wizarding World of Harry Potter sees tourist success at Universal in Orlando
  • Walt Disney looking to open Avatar theme park in 2013
  • Chinese theme park based on martial arts expected to feature film favorites such as Bruce Lee

Theme park followers can look forward to next month when details of new additions may be revealed as Universal Studios Hollywood film studio marks its 100th birthday. Company executives say the yearlong campaign will include news of “theme park activities,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Past theme park watchers certainly know of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which opened in Orlando, Florida, this year to create what some call “frenzied excitement among muggles worldwide.”

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US States Throwing The Dice: Is Gambling a Good Business Bet?

US States Throwing The Dice: Is Gambling a Good Business Bet?

BUSINESS

  • Cash-strapped states launch legalized gambling venues to balance their budgets
  • State-sponsored gambling raises moral and financial questions
  • Cost-benefit analysis needed to help states determine whether gambling is a good business venture but unlikely to be made available

Every US state except Hawaii and Utah has some form of legalized gambling to raise revenue, but cash-strapped states are increasingly betting that more slot machines and blackjack tables will be good bets to meet future funding needs.

“Since the national economy started its nosedive in the summer of 2008, governors and state lawmakers across the country have been pushing new and expanded gambling measures to boost revenue, either for general state coffers or particular accounts, like education funding," reports the Patriot Ledger newspaper in Boston.

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BP To Touch $250 Million From Cameron International For Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

BP To Touch $250 Million From Cameron International For Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

FINANCE

  • Cameron International will pay $250 million to BP for Gulf of Mexico oil spill cleanup costs and individual damage claims
  • Deepwater Horizon disaster could cost BP $40 billion in total
  • BP required to evaluate pollution control technologies

Cameron International, which provides pressure management systems for the oil and gas industry, is to pay British oil company BP $250 million after legal proceedings following the April 20, 2010 oil spill, known as Deepwater Horizon, in the Gulf of Mexico.

Cameron and BP will both abandon their claims in the case, which was set to begin trial in February to determine fault in the leaking of over 200 million gallons of oil off the Louisiana coast. 

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M&A: Eldorado Gold to Buy European Goldfields for $2.4 Billion

M&A: Eldorado Gold to Buy European Goldfields for $2.4 Billion

FINANCE

  • Deal will create a company with an $11 billion market capitalization
  • Eldorado predicts production will exceed 1.5 million ounces of gold by 2015
  • Gold sector sees growing trend toward consolidation

Canada-based gold producer Eldorado Gold will buy EU-focused Canadian precious metals company European Goldfields for $2.4 billion in shares and cash, marking its largest acquisition.

Eldorado, the fifth-biggest gold company in Canada, expects the purchase to diversify its production base and to constitute a firm with a near $11 billion market capitalization. The company predicts an output increase to over 1.5 million ounces of gold a year by 2015.

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US Medicaid Takes 25% of State Spending, Eligibility Improves

US Medicaid Takes 25% of State Spending, Eligibility Improves

ECONOMY

  • 14 US states spent more than 25% of overall expenditure on Medicaid
  • Medicaid spending totaled over $398 billion for 2011, 10% more than last year
  • North Carolina is overpaying for Medicaid because of issues with new billing system

Overall US state spending on Medicaid has increased this year to nearly 25%, while education funding has dropped by 20%, according to a report by the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO).

The NASBO report shows that 12 states have spent more than 10% on Medicaid, while 14 US states spent over 25% and California has spent up to 40% this year. Meanwhile, in Maine, Nebraska and New Mexico, Medicaid spending dropped due to a decline in federal funding.

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EU Medicines Agency Backs Roche Skin Cancer Drug

EU Medicines Agency Backs Roche Skin Cancer Drug

BUSINESS

  • Zelboraf sales estimated to reach around $930 million by 2016
  • Six-month treatment costs $56,000 in the US; EU price yet to be set
  • Drug found to delay disease progression and boost survival rates

EU drug regulators have recommended Swiss company Roche Holding’s Zelboraf treatment of a certain kind of melanoma for approval. The drug, whose clinical name is "vemurafenib", could generate profits as high as $930 million by 2016.

Zelboraf received the go ahead for retail in the US in August. It works by blocking a protein that drives tumor progression in around 50% of patients with advanced skin cancer.

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ISTA Pharmaceuticals Says No to Purchase Offer from Valeant

ISTA Pharmaceuticals Says No to Purchase Offer from Valeant

BUSINESS

  • ISTA Pharmaceuticals Rejects $314 Million Proposal from Valeant
  • ISTA foresees revenue growth for 2012 with expansion of eye, allergy products
  • Valeant purchases Afexa and iNova, is seeking more acquisitions
  • FCC Approves New Valeant Deals, Requires Divestment

ISTA Pharmaceuticals Inc. has rejected a buyout proposal from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International for $314 million, calling the offer “grossly inadequate.” Valeant's Board of Directors fully supported the buy, which includes the purchase of ISTA's $13 million debt.

In letter dated last week, ISTA's President and CEO Vicente Anido reports that Valeant's offer was not in the best interest of the company's shareholders. ISTA expects substantial revenue growth for 2012 and the foreseeable future due to its successful eye-care and allergy medicines.

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Coca Cola Makes Partnerships to Produce A 100% Plant-Based Bottle

Coca Cola Makes Partnerships to Produce A 100% Plant-Based Bottle

BUSINESS

  • Coca Cola partners with three biotechnology companies to create plastic bottles made entirely from plants
  • Coca Cola, PepsiCo intend to launch environmentally conscious plastic bottle alternatives, but testing required before production can begin globally
  • Coca Cola becomes new official beverage of Orlando’s SeaWorld, replacing Pepsi

Coca Cola Company has signed a deal with three biotechnology companies – Virent Incorporated of Wisconsin, Gevo of Colorado and Avantium of the Netherlands – to create a plastic for use in making bottles that will be made 100% from plants.

Coca Cola’s VP of Commercial Product Supply, Rick Frazier said during the launch: “This is another big step toward our commitment to lead the industry away from the use of non-renewable fossil fuels in packaging and toward more sustainable alternatives. It will build on our innovative first-generation PlantBottle package, launched in 2009, that was made from 30% plant-based material.”

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Theme Park Expansions Make a Splash For the US Tourism Industry

Theme Park Expansions Make a Splash For the US Tourism Industry

BUSINESS

  • Sea World Orlando announces biggest expansion in its 40-year history
  • Tourism observers question continued popularity of theme parks
  • Affordable entertainment with family appeal should lead to continued popularity of theme parks

In the wake of Universal Studio’s instantly successful Harry Potter attraction, Sea World Orlando has announced the biggest expansion in its almost 40-year history. But as Orlando solidifies its status as the world’s No. 1 destination for theme parks, some observers question whether there is smooth sailing ahead.

Sea World announced two major parks to open this year with an even more ambitious project set to open in 2013. This year’s new openings include:

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Morgan Stanley To Shed 1,600 Staff In 2012

Morgan Stanley To Shed 1,600 Staff In 2012

FINANCE

  • Banking sector sheds 125,000 jobs in 2011 amid market volatility
  • Morgan Stanley to relocate 80 Singapore back-office workers
  • Morgan Stanley agrees to drop MBIA insurance claims for over $1 billion

Morgan Stanley will cut around 1,600 jobs from its 62,600-strong workforce in the first quarter of 2012 in the face of financial market instability.

The banking sector is reigning in on its employee numbers across the board, with Citigroup planning to cut 4,500 jobs, Bank of America set to axe 30,000 jobs over the coming years, and Swiss lender UBS planning on letting 2,000 of its 18,000-strong workforce go.

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