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Top Headlines - part 72

Royal Dutch Shell Secures Shale Gas Contract in China

Royal Dutch Shell Secures Shale Gas Contract in China

BUSINESS

  • Shell signs first-ever production sharing deal in China’s shale gas industry
  • China targets 6.5 billion cubic meters of shale gas production by 2015
  • Chinese shale gas reserves total around 36 trillion cubic meters – 50% more than US

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to a production sharing contract with state-run China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to explore and produce shale gas in the southwest of China.

The project will concentrate on the 3,500 square kilometer Fushun-Yongchuan shale gas block in Sichuan province. The deal is the first venture to be signed with a foreign company in China’s shale gas industry and is subject to approval by Chinese authorities.

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Could Starwood’s 24-Hour Check-In Shake Up Hotel Industry Status Quo?

Could Starwood’s 24-Hour Check-In Shake Up Hotel Industry Status Quo?

BUSINESS

  • Elite Starwood members get perks & anytime check-ins under new Your24 program
  • Starwood says new policies meet changing customer needs and demands
  • No major hotel chain has yet matched Starwood's offer

Hotel brand Starwood has launched a new benefit for elite members, called “Your24,” which lets members take advantage of 24-hour check-ins.

Your24 is one of several new elite benefits that make the award-winning Starwood Preferred Guest the “richest elite program in the industry,” according to the hotel chain.

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UPS Buys TNT Express To Up Competition In the Parcel Delivery Market

UPS Buys TNT Express To Up Competition In the Parcel Delivery Market

BUSINESS

  • UPS buys TNT Express for $6.77 billion
  • New combined company should save $582 million in operations & transportation
  • Carriers combined can compete in Asia-Pacific

The world’s largest delivery company has just gotten larger: Atlanta, GA, based United Parcel Service Inc. will purchase Europe’s second-biggest express mail company TNT Express NV for $6.77 billion. This is the largest acquisition in UPS history.

The combined company will have 475,000 employees worldwide, and is predicted to be worth $79 billion in annual sales. It will also be on-par with German-owned DHL, Europe’s largest carrier, which has nearly an 18% market share.

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PayPal Announces New Mobile Payment System PayPal Here

PayPal Announces New Mobile Payment System PayPal Here

BUSINESS

  • PayPal Here lets small business owners process credit card transactions through iPhones
  • PayPal Here currently available in North America, Australia and Hong Kong
  • PayPal anticipates new system will help win market share over competitors Square, Intuit and VeriPhone

Online payment giant PayPal has announced its new, much-anticipated mobile payment system, called PayPal Here, which lets small businesses process credit card transactions using an iPhone.

The company, a division of eBay, is also currently working on an app that will be compatible with the iOS and Android devices as well.

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Chinese Video Giants Youku and Tudou to Merge

Chinese Video Giants Youku and Tudou to Merge

FINANCE

  • Rivals to combine for $1 billion in stock
  • Ends lengthy court battle over copyright infringement
  • New company to hold one-third share of crowded Chinese market

Youku Inc. and Tudou Holdings Ltd., China’s two largest online video companies will merge in a $1 billion all stock deal.

The new company, to be called Youku Tudou Inc., will hold a one-third market share in the crowded Chinese video market. It will be headed by Youku chairman and CEO Victor Koo.

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Encyclopedia Britannica Ends Print Edition To Focus on Britannica Online

Encyclopedia Britannica Ends Print Edition To Focus on Britannica Online

BUSINESS

  • Print version of encyclopedia obsolete moment it is published
  • Sale of print volumes will end once stockpile is sold
  • Britannica faces competition from Wikipedia

Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., the world’s oldest English language encyclopedia, will discontinue the print version of the resource and now focus exclusively on Britannica Online.

Encyclopedia Britannica was first published in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1768, and an updated version is available every other year. The final print edition will be available until the 4,000 sets currently in stock sell out; the 32-volume set sells for $1,395.

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Verismo to Give Starbucks an Edge in Single-Cup Coffee Market

Verismo to Give Starbucks an Edge in Single-Cup Coffee Market

BUSINESS

  • Starbucks to launch Verismo, a new gourmet single-cup coffee machine
  • Starbucks still to sell K-cup packs for Green Mountain Company
  • Starbucks to open concept stores in Middle East, Africa and Europe

Starbucks Corp. plans to soon unveil the Verismo, a new machine that allows people to make single-cup coffee drinks at home.

The Verismo is the last component of Starbucks’ strategic three-year plan to infiltrate the single-serve market. The Verismo lets customers make espresso drinks such as lattes, as well as brew coffee, and is expected to pit Starbucks against Green Mountain, which presently dominates the US single-cup coffee market.

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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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