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Top Headlines - part 74

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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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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