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Top Headlines - part 75

Google Buys Zagat To Up Local Content

Google Buys Zagat To Up Local Content

BUSINESS

  • Zagat buy offers reviews and deals on local restaurants, hotels and nightlife using Google maps
  • Google estimates 20% of its daily searches are for neighborhood establishments
  • Zagat's online home will remain a paid site

Google Inc. has purchased world-renowned dining review expert Zagat Survey in a bid to offer more local content. The acquisition will let people find local reviews and discounts for restaurants, hotels and nightclubs, using Google’s well-known online maps and mobile search engine.

Details of the deal were not released; however it is rumored that Google paid $100 million to $200 million for Zagat Survey. In a blog post, Marissa Mayer, Google vice president for local, maps and location services, said: “Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering, delighting people with its impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights. With Zagat, we gain a world-class team that has more experience in consumer based-surveys, recommendations and reviews than anyone else in the industry.”

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The McGraw-Hill Divide: Markets and Education

The McGraw-Hill Divide: Markets and Education

BUSINESS

  • McGraw-Hill increasing share repurchase to $1 billion in 2011
  • McGraw-Hill Markets unit expected to generate yearly revenue of $4 billion
  • Growing markets in China, India and Brazil promise double-digit growth

McGraw-Hill is to divide into two separate companies, with McGraw-Hill Markets centered on capital and commodities markets, and McGraw-Hill Education focused on digital learning and education services.

The divide is to be carried out by the end of 2012 as the first part of a new growth and value plan being implemented by the company to boost shareholder benefits through a threefold approach. The second and third parts of the plan are to cut costs to afford strong operating structures for the new companies and to push share repurchases to $1 billion in 2011. So far in 2011 the company’s share buyback has been in excess of $540 million.

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American Jobs Act Worth Nearly $450 Billion

American Jobs Act Worth Nearly $450 Billion

ECONOMY

  • American Jobs Act to create 1.9 million jobs, lower unemployment by 1%
  • Employed to receive additional take-home pay
  • Plan to cut social security taxes to 3.1%, senior citizens concerned

US President Obama is proposing a new $450 billion job creation package that includes tax cuts and project funding. The purpose of the American Jobs Act is to employ those who are jobless, while giving those who are working more money.

With lower taxes for employers and employees, Obama hopes people will spend more, thus boosting business for those seeking to employ new talent. US unemployment has remained at over 9% for more than two years. If enacted, the plan is expected to produce 1.9 million jobs and reduce unemployment by over 1%.

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Air France-KLM To Cut Costs Over €700 Million

Air France-KLM To Cut Costs Over €700 Million

BUSINESS

  • Lufthansa operating margin 3% ahead of Air France in first quarter
  • Air France sees red in first and second quarters, facing $6 million debt
  • Air France plummets more than 50% on Bloomberg EMEA Airlines Index

Air France-KLM plans to cut costs by between €700 million and €800 million in an effort to better compete with other airlines such as Lufthansa and British Airways.

Still feeling the effects of the financial crisis and weighed down by debt, Europe's biggest airline Air France-KLM is lagging behind its competitors. The airline has directed managers to apply additional savings measures between now and the end of 2011.

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9/11: Reviewing The Impact On The US Economy

9/11: Reviewing The Impact On The US Economy

WORLD

  • Ground zero reconstruction costs run to $11 billion
  • Insurers hit with bill for $40 billion; government pays $10 billion in compensation
  • Taxpayers shell out $4 trillion-$6 trillion in 9/11 ripple effect

The US economy is still feeling the fiscal impact of September 11 as New York readies itself for the ten-year anniversary of the attacks that claimed almost 3,000 lives.

A report compiled by New York comptroller William C. Thompson estimates the cost of the attacks, combining immediate and continuing loss, to be in the region of $83 billion to $95 billion. The immediate loss of wealth to New York City was thought to account for more than $30 billion, including the repair and reconstruction of New York’s buildings and infrastructure.

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Smart Car: GM Chevrolet Volt Makes Its Canadian Debut

Smart Car: GM Chevrolet Volt Makes Its Canadian Debut

BUSINESS

  • GM Chevrolet Volt smart car released to Canadian consumers on September 1
  • Volt named 2011 Car of the Year for technological innovation
  • Volt hit US market in 2010, but struggles against competitors such as Nissan

GM Canada President Kevin Williams officiated a ceremony to mark the release of GM’s Chevrolet Volt, a hybrid-electric car, to Canadian consumers in Oshawa, Ontario, on September 1.

While the first retail shipment went to GM’s Oshawa location, the smart cars will soon be available at dealerships in Quebec City, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa-Gatineau and Quebec for upwards of around CDN $41,550.

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Saab Takes Step To Secure Bankruptcy Protection

Saab Takes Step To Secure Bankruptcy Protection

BUSINESS

  • Saab applies for court protection from creditors to avoid falling into bankruptcy
  • Carmaker to present creditors a reorganization plan within three weeks
  • Saab only sold 30,000 cars last year, some 90,000 less than required to break even

Swedish automaker Saab has filed for bankruptcy protection as it attempts to secure funding to recommence its operations.

Production was halted several months ago when the company could no longer keep up with payments for its suppliers, with workers also having their salaries deferred. In its appeal for court protection, Saab said it would present a restructuring plan to creditors in three weeks’ time.

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US Falls to Fifth in Global Competitiveness Rankings

US Falls to Fifth in Global Competitiveness Rankings

ECONOMY

  • Mounting deficit, declining trust in politicians linked to pushing US down in rankings
  • Switzerland tops list with Western European countries dominating top ten
  • Advanced economies are stagnating while developing markets are rising

The United States has fallen to fifth place on the list of the most competitive economies in the world, according to a survey conducted by the World Economic Forum. Switzerland topped the list for the third year in a row, with Singapore jumping ahead of Sweden to take the second spot. Finland moved up to fourth ahead of the United States.

The World Economic Forum’s survey assesses global economies based on 12 “pillars of competitiveness” such as infrastructure, innovation and macroeconomic environment.

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Auto Sales: Great Hope For US Economy?

Auto Sales: Great Hope For US Economy?

BUSINESS

  • Chrysler sales up 30% in August; GM up 18%; Nissan up 19%
  • Honda profits plummet 27% on last year; Toyota down 13%
  • Hurricane Irene slashed car sales by 10,000

Auto sales in the US jumped 7.5% in August, fuelled by double-digit sales for Chrysler, General Motors and Nissan. Sales for Chrysler are up over 30%, with GM and Nissan securing significant gains of 18% and 19% respectively, says the New York Post.

Nissan’s Altima ranked second for sales of sedans in August. Ford sales rose more than 11% and Hyundai is up over 9%, reports cars.com.

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UK Retail Sales Slide in August as Inflation Rises

UK Retail Sales Slide in August as Inflation Rises

ECONOMY

  • UK retail sales slump in August with consumer confidence low and inflation high
  • Report shows like-to-like sales down 0.6% compared to August 2010
  • Shop closures expected to continue in lead up to Christmas

Retail sales figures in the United Kingdom declined in the month of August with consumers keeping a keen eye on their finances and jobs, according to a report by the British Retail Consortium.

Consumer confidence dropped for the third straight month while inflation continued to rise, driving spending down at the quickest rate in about four decades, reported Bloomberg. Retail figures were 0.6% lower than August 2010 in a like-to-like comparison of sales, which discounts sales from newly opened stores.

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