January 30, 2006

Bizzy’s AM Coffee Biz-Econ Links (013006)

Free Links:

  • Hope they’re right — Economists quoted in USA Today on Friday afternoon think the weak 1.1% showing for GDP growth was a temporary setback, and not an indicator of slower growth to come.
  • Why didn’t the oil companies think of this? (/sarcasm) — US Internet companies snub Congressional hearing: “The leading US-based Internet companies are showing little interest in attending a Congressional briefing on worries that the firms are bending to the wishes of China’s censors. Microsoft and Cisco Systems have refused to attend the event, while Google and Yahoo are non-committal, officials said.” One word: Subpoenas.
  • I am SOOOOO not sorry this happened — Pixar axes Toy Story 3. Usually the third time is NOT the charm for a movie sequel.
  • I hope he asked Mrs. Berlusconi first — (Italian Premier) “Berlusconi Vows No Sex Until Voting” on April 9.
  • Once more, with feeling — Alan Greenspan retires on January 31, and to celebrate the Fed is expected to raise interest rates by another quarter-point. It’s probably necessary to keep inflation from coming back, but still, what a party pooper.
  • A lot of people left holding VERY big, empty bags — United Airlines’ parent company reported a $16.9 billion loss for the 4th quarter: “Most of those on-paper losses will be reversed within days, reflecting unsecured claims that will be settled for a fraction of the charges. The company is expected to disclose a multibillion-dollar gain when it leaves bankruptcy next week, formally accounting for overturning many of the losses.” Among the bagholders: UAL employees, whose pension plans were terminated back in May.
  • Now this is a cool idea — “Apple Offers College Lectures Via Podcasts.” No word on whether the company will make the lecture content or the lecturers themselves more interesting.
  • 40-year Quagmire Update — In a supposedly magnanimous move by the government, Vietnamese dissident Nguyen Khac Toan was released from prison after his jail sentence was reduced from 12 years to 4. But he still faces three years of house arrest. His crime? “Toan was judged to have emailed details about farmers’ demonstrations to Vietnamese groups overseas.”
  • What Google is helping to perpetuate“The editor of a campaigning Chinese newspaper supplement has denounced the authorities’ decision to shut it down.” According to the article, China is ranked 159th out of 167 countries in the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index.
  • China’s largest commercial bank, ICBC, just sold 10% of itself to a group of three different US financial firms. The fact that these two sentences wrap up the piece gives me reason to believe that they have no idea what they’re getting into: “China’s biggest lender, it announced last week that its 2005 profit had jumped by more than 20%. During 2005 it received a $15bn capital injection from the government to help it cope with a legacy of bad loans.”

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