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Top Headlines - part 65

Online Video Views Soar In The US

Online Video Views Soar In The US

BUSINESS

  • 36.9 billion videos watched online in July in US
  • 85.5% of internet users in the US accessed online video content
  • Ads account for almost 10 billion videos views

The number of online videos watched in the United States jumped to 36.9 billion in July 2012 – a sharp rise from 180 million views during the same month last year.

Internet analytics company ComScore reported that 184 million internet users across the country accessed video content online, which represents 85.5% of people with internet connections.

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E-Books: Barnes & Noble Slipping Despite Microsoft Deal

E-Books: Barnes & Noble Slipping Despite Microsoft Deal

BUSINESS

  • Barnes & Noble aims to protect its hold on 25% of US e-book market
  • Microsoft deal should help, but won’t be finalized before 2013
  • Wider distribution of e-readers may be possible with Windows 8 devices
  • Nook to launch in the UK in October

Barnes & Noble, the largest bookstore chain in America, is struggling in a competitive market despite a deal with Microsoft intended to help it expand its share of the e-book market.

With annual sales over $7 billion and market capitalization of $740 million, Barnes & Noble aims to protect its hold on 25% of the US e-book market, but e-book sales are slowing. At the same time, sales of print books have also fallen.

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Major Retailers Team Up To Build Mobile Payment App

Major Retailers Team Up To Build Mobile Payment App

BUSINESS

  • Retailers developing Merchant Customer Exchange app have combined sales totaling $1 trillion annually
  • App to face competition from Google Wallet, Apple Passbook, Square, PayPal and others
  • Juniper Research predicts mobile payments to hit $1.3 trillion by 2017

Fourteen major retailers – including well-known names such as Best Buy, Lowe’s, Target and Wal-Mart – are teaming up to develop Merchant Customer Exchange, a smartphone payment application for retail customers.

Together, the members of the Merchant Customer Exchange have sales totaling $1 trillion annually and want to make their voice heard when it comes to setting mobile payment standards.

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China Cuts Rare Earth Production 20%, Creates Tense Trade Relations

China Cuts Rare Earth Production 20%, Creates Tense Trade Relations

WORLD

  • China cuts production of rare earth to respect new minimum output guidelines and help protect rare earth resources
  • China produces over 90% of world rare earth supply, holds 30% of world rare earth deposits
  • Japan, the US and Europe complain to World Trade Organization that China is violating free-trade rules
  • China aims for greater control over global rare earth pricing  

Chinese government officials have decided to curb China’s production of rare earths – minerals that technology makers rely on for high-tech products – by nearly 20%. As China produces over 90% of the globe’s rare earth supply, this decision is fostering tense trade relations with the US, Japan and Europe.

Output is being reduced to adhere to new production guidelines, requiring companies to meet minimum output levels that specify mines must now produce 20,000 metric tons annually and smelting operations need to produce 2,000 tons. The impact is a halting of operations at a third of China’s 23 mines and nearly 50% of its 99 smelting companies.

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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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