Top Headlines - part 69

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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Retail Record: US Sees $11.5 Billion Surge in Black Friday Sales

Retail Record: US Sees $11.5 Billion Surge in Black Friday Sales

WORLD

  • Black Friday attracts record 86 million shoppers making $11.5 billion in purchases
  • Cyber Monday online sales jump 25% to exceed $815 million
  • Internet sales outpace in-store sales, with 10% purchasing from mobile devices

In total, US retail sales for the Thanksgiving weekend are up over 15% from last year, reaching almost $52.5 billion. Almost 30 million shoppers went online and into stores on Thanksgiving Day.

The day following Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, more than 86 million customers went shopping, representing an over 6.5% year-on-year rise. Black Friday saw retailers rake in just under $11.5 billion in purchases, a record for the day.

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Roadblocks To Foreign Direct Investment In India Retail Industry

Roadblocks To Foreign Direct Investment In India Retail Industry

ECONOMY

  • Heavy opposition to FDI in India's retail sector, government to meet today
  • Participating foreign companies must invest minimum $100 million in next 5 years
  • Discussion represents a significant change in India’s legislation on foreign ownership

India’s cabinet has voted to allow foreign investment in the nation’s $500 billion retail sector, a move touted by India’s Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, who hopes it will provide farmers fairer compensation and create 10 million jobs.

Potential investors, including retail giants such as Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco, are eager to enter a market that analysts estimate will double to over $780 billion by 2015. Moreover, the Indian government promises foreign investment will curb India’s high inflation rate and low rupee, and reduce the waste caused by the rotting of 40% of fruits and vegetables prior to selling.

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Microsoft To Pay $100M For Video Search Engine VideoSurf

Microsoft To Pay $100M For Video Search Engine VideoSurf

FINANCE

  • VideoSurf video search features to be added to Xbox Live gaming network
  • VideoSurf privately owned with backing from Al Gore, Facebook operations chief Sheryl Sandberg and SurveyMonkey chief executive David Goldberg
  • Microsoft stepping up efforts to reel in rivals like Apple and Google

Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire VideoSurf, a specialist in internet video search technology. The California-based company provides services that allow users to search through high quantities of movies and television shows and other forms of video content.

No financial details were revealed, though leading tech blog TechCrunch reported the deal was worth almost $100 million. Microsoft first plans to introduce the technology to its Xbox Live service to allow users to filter through the various types of video content on its gaming network.

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AT&T Readies for $4 Billion Hit Over T-Mobile Merger Breakup

AT&T Readies for $4 Billion Hit Over T-Mobile Merger Breakup

BUSINESS

  • AT&T sets aside $4 billion as T-Mobile USA deal looks to falter
  • Company withdraws merger application with FCC pending anti-trust approval
  • FCC and DOJ say merger will be bad for competition and jobs

AT&T said it will take a $4 billion pre-tax charge in the event that its acquisition of T-Mobile USA collapses, in a move that would seem to be an acknowledgement of odds stacking up against the proposed merger.

The communications giant for the time being withdrew its application from the US Federal Communications Commission, but said it would continue its efforts to gain anti-trust approval from the US Department of Justice

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Nokia Siemens Sheds 25% of Workforce To Stay Competitive

Nokia Siemens Sheds 25% of Workforce To Stay Competitive

BUSINESS

  • 17,000 jobs to be cut from global workforce of 75,000
  • Nokia Siemens received $1.3 billion cash injection in September
  • Microwave technology sale to DragonWave could bring in $147 million

Telecom equipment maker Nokia Siemens Networks will cut 17,000 jobs to save $1.3 billion in operating expenses and production costs by 2013. The company, second only to Ericsson on the global telecom equipment making market, will concentrate cuts on its mobile broadband sector.

The job cuts are part of a bid to become an independent company, as Nokia Siemens attempts to fight off its rivals in servicing telecommunications networks.

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France to Pursue Construction of 60th Nuclear Power Plant

France to Pursue Construction of 60th Nuclear Power Plant

WORLD

  • French President confirms plans for next-generation Penly reactor
  • Socialists, Greens agree on pre-election deal to shut down 24 out of 58 nuclear reactors
  • Sarkozy says deal would be catastrophic for French economy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy confirms that France will proceed with a controversial construction project for a 60th nuclear reactor in Penly, northern France. Sarkozy made the announcement at a nuclear power plant in Tricastin in southern France, laying the foundation for a heated energy debate going into the 2012 presidential election.

Nearly ten days earlier, the main opposition Socialist party signed a tentative pre-election deal with the Greens to begin the gradual decommissioning of 24 of the country’s 58 nuclear reactors. The Greens, who have yet to officially endorse the agreement, will back Socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande on the condition that, if elected, he cuts France’s nuclear energy output from 75% of total production to 50% by 2025.

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KKR Tops Leveraged Buyout Charts With $7.2 Billion Samson Deal

KKR Tops Leveraged Buyout Charts With $7.2 Billion Samson Deal

FINANCE

  • KKR teams up with Itochu, Crestview and Natural Gas on Samson buyout
  • KKR losses total more than $590 million after writing down investments
  • Fee-related earnings jump almost $100 million, up $30 million on 2010

Global investment firm KKR & Co. LP has agreed to purchase private exploration and production company Samson Investment Co. in a deal worth $7.2 billion. KKR will proceed with the buy in conjunction with Japanese trader Itochu Corp. and investment outfits Crestview Partners and Natural Gas Partners.

Oklahoma-based Samson has been in operation for four decades and holds over 10,000 wells, 40% of which are in the US. Wells held by Samson in the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf Coast are excluded from the agreement. The company’s wells cover areas in shale formations holding liquid hydrocarbons including oil.

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Pharma Payout: Merck Loses $950M Settlement In Vioxx Investigation

Pharma Payout: Merck Loses $950M Settlement In Vioxx Investigation

BUSINESS

  • Merck to pay $321.6 million in criminal fines and $628.4 million in civil settlements
  • Vioxx illegally marketed for three years before being recalled in 2004
  • Shares fall 1.1% to $33.43

Merck & Co has agreed to pay $950 million to settle an investigation into the unlawful marketing of its Vioxx painkiller treatment, according to the United States Department of Justice.

The second-largest drug maker in the US will pay criminal fines amounting to $321.6 million and $628.4 million in civil settlement claims. It will also offer a guilty plea to charges of misdemeanor for marketing Vioxx as a rheumatoid arthritis treatment before receiving approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, as well as releasing false information about the cardiovascular risks of the drug.

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Brazil Blocks Chevron Drilling In Frade Oil Spill Probe

Brazil Blocks Chevron Drilling In Frade Oil Spill Probe

WORLD

  • Drilling rights suspended during investigation into Frade spill
  • Chevron accused of negligence; handed $28 million fine
  • Company unable to explain cause of leak

The Brazilian government has blocked oil company Chevron Corp’s drilling activities in the country pending clarification over a November 8 oil spill at the Frade field.

The state oil regulating body Agencia Nacional do Petroleo (ANP) said negligence on the behalf of the US company contributed to the spill, which saw some 2,400 barrels of oil leaked into the ocean around 370 km northeast of Rio de Janeiro.

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