Friday, May 20, 2005

Today's Headlines

- OPEC will keep production at current levels to meet global demand regardless of how much prices fall, the group’s president said.
- French President Chirac’s popularity plunged 9 points to 38%, the lowest since at least April 2002, a week before a referendum on the European Union constitution, according to a survey by polling company BVA.
- The US military began an investigation after photos of Saddam Hussein appeared in a British tabloid newspaper, including one image of the ousted Iraqi dictator in his underpants in jail.
- Time Warner, having pared its debt by $11 billion in three years, plans to start paying the company’s first dividend since the AOL acquisition.
- Toyota, Nissan and Honda said they will further increase production of cars and trucks outside of Japan as they win market share in the US and Europe.
- Microsoft must make it easier for developers of free programs to work with Windows by June 1 or face new European antitrust charges.
- Businesses and consumers are already changing investment and purchasing plans to adapt to higher energy prices, eventually reducing the energy dependence of the US economy, Fed Chairman Greenspan said.
- The US Justice Department is creating a Web site that will offer the public a single location for information from state and city registries of convicted sex offenders.

Wall Street Journal:
- Pfizer, Merck and other drugmakers are in no rush to test whether statins can be used to ward off cancer, because preventing the disease has only limited profit potential.
- Tiffany & Co., Zale and other jewelry chains are vying for bigger outlets and better space to keep pace with fast-growing sales.
- Sales of National Basketball Association apparel have slumped amid a lackluster season.
- Shanghai GM sold more cars in China in April than any other automaker, and its two-month total was double that in the two previous months.

NY Times:
- Iraq acknowledged it was the aggressor in the war with Iran that began in 1980, citing a joint statement in Baghdad from the Iraqi government and Iran’s foreign minister.
- European Union countries are split into fast-growing and lagging economies, creating a challenge for the European Central Bank to devise an appropriate monetary policy for all.
- GM said only its Chevrolet and Cadillac brands will continue to field a full line-up of vehicles, while the other six brands sold in the US will offer few choices.

NY Post:
- Some ad agencies want to be paid based on the success of their campaigns instead of fees tied to labor and other costs.

Dow Jones Newswires:
The US Treasury wants to amend a bill aimed at strengthening regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that would require the government-chartered companies to reduce their portfolios.

London-based Times:
- S&P, a unit of McGraw-Hill, may start the first private equity fund index to increase transparency in the industry.
- A human embryo was cloned for the first time in the UK by a group of British scientists.

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