World News - part 3

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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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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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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UNFCCC: Nations To Discuss Climate Change Next Week

UNFCCC: Nations To Discuss Climate Change Next Week

WORLD

  • UN Climate Change Conference 2011 scheduled for Nov. 28 - Dec.9.
  • Clean climate investment gap of $22.5 billion predicted by 2015
  • China world's largest carbon emitter, investment of $54 billion made in low-carbon tech

At the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference 2011 - which runs from Monday November 28 to December 9 in Durban, South Africa - world leaders will discuss ways to prepare for global climate change and how to limit greenhouse gas emissions as well as best practices and global policies.

The conference, also known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was first held in 1994.

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US Wants More Foreign Visitors: Will It Get Them?

US Wants More Foreign Visitors: Will It Get Them?

WORLD

  • Brand USA to welcome international visitors by making it easier to obtain visas and other initiatives
  • 37% drop in share of international tourist arrivals to US due to negative perceptions
  • Brand USA has access to $120 million in Electronic System for Travel Authorization fun

The US has launched a new agency, called ‘Brand USA’, to revive its long-ailing international travel market. This initiative marks America’s first-ever global consumer brand, and was stared by the Corporation for Travel Promotion (CTP) to promote the US to world visitors. These new promotion plans were announced at the recent World Travel Market in London.

US: Stagnant International Visitor Numbers

The United States has been one of the few industrialized nations in modern times without a coordinated international tourism marketing message. In the past 10 years, the world travel market increased by 60 million people, while visitation to the United States was flat.

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Study: Stem Cell Therapy Success In Repairing Heart Attack Damage

Study: Stem Cell Therapy Success In Repairing Heart Attack  Damage

WORLD

  • Stem cell injection boosts heart function 12% in one year
  • World’s biggest stem cell medical center opens in Beijing
  • Stem cell company Geron axes 40% of its full-time positions

Cardiac damage following a heart attack can be combated with a patient’s own stem cells, stem cell researchers have discovered.

Heart failure manifests as fatigue and shortness of breath, and is caused by cardiac muscle damage, which reduces the heart’s function. While traditional treatments seek to ease symptoms, the recent stem cell research breakthrough goes further to repair the heart with an injection of 1 million stem cells from other parts of the patient’s own heart.

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Newly Appointed NSW Labor Leader Calls For Suspension On Coal Seam Gas Licenses

Newly Appointed NSW Labor Leader Calls For Suspension On Coal Seam Gas Licenses

WORLD

  • Robertson announces decision to halt the issuance of new CSG licenses as well as suspend current licenses
  • CSG emissions could impact water supply and environment
  • Australia Greens question decision to suspend CSG licenses

New South Wales Labor leader John Robertson has announced a new policy calling for the O’Farrell Government to suspend all current coal seam gas (CSG) licenses as well as the issuing of coal seam gas extraction licenses and applications to expand existing operations.

According to Robertson, he feels that the CSG industry “doesn’t have a proven track record when it comes to things like water aquifer contamination” and fears the impact it could have on water quality as well as the atmosphere as a whole.

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FBI Shuts Down $14 Billion Internet Fraud Ring

FBI Shuts Down $14 Billion Internet Fraud Ring

WORLD

  • Online advertising scam impacted millions of hijacked computers
  • Malware redirected search queries from infected systems to sites featuring ads for their clients
  • Computers affected in 100 countries, including machines owned by NASA

The FBI has dismantled an internet fraud ring that illegally earned at least $14 billion from an online advertising scam that impacted millions of hijacked computers around the world, including some at NASA.

Six Estonian nationals have been arrested in Estonia and charged with five counts of wire and computer intrusion crimes relating to the fraud, which took place from 2007 to October 2011. A seventh suspect, a Russian national, is still at large.

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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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