Top Headlines - part 75

What Is the Future of First-Class Air Travel?

What Is the Future of First-Class Air Travel?

BUSINESS

  • Passengers can pay up to four-times economy fare for business, and eleven times for first class
  • First-class travel numbers steadily diminishing
  • Airlines sometimes eliminating first-class, adding business seats or looking at ticket price alternatives

Though first-class travelers can still take advantage of early boarding, more legroom and free drinks, airlines are re-thinking whether passengers are willing to pay vastly inflated prices for diminishing perks.

With a huge price disparity between coach and business or first class, passengers can expect to pay up to four times the normal economy fare for business, and eleven times for first class, according to consumer resource site The Credit Blog. “Airlines make big money from consumers who elect to fly first class,” the site adds.

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Japan Approves $11.5 Billion In Taxpayer Funds For TEPCO Aid

Japan Approves $11.5 Billion In Taxpayer Funds For TEPCO Aid

WORLD

  • Japan approves $11.5 billion disaster relief fund for TEPCO
  • Demand for nuclear power could drop 15% before 2035
  • Tokyo determining how to dispose of nearly 45 million cubic meters of remaining radioactive waste

Japan’s government has approved a plan to provide Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) with relief funds totaling nearly $11.5 billion in an effort to address the costs incurred by the March 11 tsunami – rendering the Fukushima nuclear power plant out of commission and injuring nearly 160,000 victims by way of radiation leaks and evacuation.

This perceived bailout plan from the local government, which uses public funds, came on the heels of TEPCO’s release of updated figures showing massive mid-year net losses, with the expectation of losing over $8 billion by year end. The $11.5 billion fund is anticipated to cover the cash-strapped utility until the close of its fiscal year in March 2012.

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De Beers: Oppenheimer 80-Year Ownership Over With Anglo American Buy

De Beers: Oppenheimer 80-Year Ownership Over With Anglo American Buy

BUSINESS

  • Anglo American pays $5.1 billion for bigger stake in De Beers
  • Anglo now owns 85% of De Beers; Botswana government holds 15%
  • Predictions indicate India, China, Gulf region to represent 40% of diamond demand by 2015

Anglo American Plc has paid $5.1 billion for the Oppenheimer family’s 40% stake in De Beers. The purchase marks the end of the family’s 80-year ownership of the diamond miner, which is the largest in the world. The De Beers deal was reportedly paid with cash and a $3.5 billion credit line.

Previously, Anglo had a 45% ownership and now it holds 85% in the diamond miner; the remaining 15% is owned by the Botswana government. Anglo has not had an acquisition of this size since three years ago, when it invested $5.5 billion into the Brazilian mine Minas Rio.

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Apple to Fix Battery Bug with Update to iOS 5

Apple to Fix Battery Bug with Update to iOS 5

BUSINESS

  • Apple confirms bug in iOS 5 is affecting battery life
  • Beta version of update to software to fix bug has been released
  • Apple to introduce new sandboxing rule for developers from March

Apple has confirmed that the issue affecting battery life in some iPhones running iOS 5 is due to a bug in the operating system. The Cupertino-based firm plans to release a software update to address the issue some time during the next few weeks.

Almost as soon as the latest version of the operating system that powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch was released last month, users began complaining that the batteries of their devices were using up their charge much more quickly than before. One person even claimed, in conversation with the Guardian, that his phone’s battery life was draining by as much as 10% every hour.

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Chesapeake Energy’s $3.4 Billion Win

Chesapeake Energy’s $3.4 Billion Win

BUSINESS

  • Chesapeake Energy Corp to lease a portion of Utica Shale, Ohio starting mid-December
  • Deal could earn Chesapeake up to $3.4 billion
  • Chesapeake to collaborate with Enterprise Products Partners LP on a propane pipeline

Future business transactions could earn independent natural gas producer Chesapeake Energy Corp $3.4 billion. The company recently announced plans to lease a portion of its Utica Shale, Ohio, natural gas land, to a yet unnamed “international major energy company.”

Following the projected signing of the agreement in mid-December, Chesapeake’s new business partner will gain 25% interest in approximately 650,000 acres of Utica Shale land. Chesapeake presently owns 570,000 of these acres, with the rest owned by Enervest Ltd.

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Income Inequality In America Widens

Income Inequality In America Widens

ECONOMY

  • Income in America has risen nearly 18% for those in bottom 20% earning bracket
  • Income increase of 275% for top 1% of wage earners
  • Imbalanced wealth distribution sparks protests, including Occupy Wall Street

A recent analysis conducted by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) furthers the concern that income inequality in the US has grown considerably over the last few decades and has ultimately contributed to the continuing downward spiral of our economy.

According to the CBO report, since 1979 on average income in America has risen by approximately 18% for those in the bottom 20% of the income bracket, almost 40% for the middle class, and a whopping 275% for the top 1% of income earners – doubling their share of the nation’s income.

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5,000 Jobless As Whirlpool Scales Workforce Back By 10%

5,000 Jobless As Whirlpool Scales Workforce Back By 10%

BUSINESS

  • Whirlpool slashes full-year revenue forecast by over 35%
  • Arkansas plant to close; Polish operations to be moved to Germany
  • Whirlpool stock down more than 40% so far in 2011

Appliance manufacturer Whirlpool will let 5,000 employees go, or around 10% of its global workforce, to combat falling demand and higher material costs.

Despite a doubling of Whirlpool’s profits in the third quarter, the company has brought down its expectations for full-year revenue by more than 35%. Sales of larger appliances such as washing machines have been slowed by the economic recession. Hiking up its sales prices in the face of climbing material expense has not made the company exempt from falling demand.

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Saab Saved From Brink Of Death By Chinese

Saab Saved From Brink Of Death By Chinese

BUSINESS

  • Chinese automobile companies reach tentative deal to buy Saab
  • Saab days away from bankruptcy
  • Up to $1.5 billion may be needed to turn company around

Chinese automakers Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Company and Pang Da Automobile Trade Company have tentatively agreed to buy Swedish automaker Saab Automobile. The deal comes days before Saab would have been forced to declare bankruptcy.

Saab has been struggling financially for over the past year: in 2006, the company sold 133,000 vehicles, but by 2010, that number was down to 31,700 vehicles. In March 2011, production was halted due to lack of funds, with the company filing for protection from its creditors in September.

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Take Off For Boeing's Dreamliner Happens 3 Years Behind Schedule

Take Off For Boeing's Dreamliner Happens 3 Years Behind Schedule

BUSINESS

  • Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner completes first flight
  • Flight launch delayed due to global shared workload of aircraft pieces
  • Airlines cutting back Dreamline orders
  • Boeing sees improved Q3 share price

Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner has completed its inaugural flight from Hong Kong to Tokyo, operated by All Nippon Airways Co. (ANA), after a long three-year launch delay. The Dreamliner was first publicized nine years ago as Boeing’s reaction to the airline industry’s financial fall-out post September 11.

Originally, the launch was planned for 2008, and delays have since cost Boeing billions of dollars, but ANA President and CEO Shinichiro Ito still calls the Dreamliner a “game changer.”

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America Grows 2.5% As Spending Resumes

America Grows 2.5% As Spending Resumes

ECONOMY

  • US GDP grew 2.5% in the third quarter
  • Americans save less due to less income, increase spending
  • Unemployment claims drop, rate forecast to remain near 9%

Gross domestic product grew 2.5% this quarter, up 1.3% from the previous quarter, mirroring the median forecast by a Bloomberg economic survey. Third quarter growth, which exceeded its pre-recession peak, rose due to a sudden increase in public consumption and company investment.

Household purchases, which account for the majority of GDP, increased by 2.4%, exceeding economists' forecasts. Corporate spending on goods increased by over 17%, the largest increase in roughly a year. Company investments contributed 1.2% to overall national growth.

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