Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Today's Headlines

- Boston Scientific plans to proceed with its $25 billion offer to buy Guidant Corp. even after the cardiac device maker said profits will sink because of product recalls.
- Hedge fund investors, frustrated by the lowest returns in three years, say they are giving more money to managers who bet on stocks and macroeconomic trends because they expect them to post the biggest gains in 2006.
- Guidant was barred by US regulators from exporting heart-rhythm devices from its principal plant in St. Paul, Minnesota, because of quality-system failures.
- Natural gas is plunging for a third day in NY, dropping almost 30% in 10 days, as warmer-than-normal weather slashed demand for the furnace fuel.

Wall Street Journal:
- Beijing’s Communist Party leadership has announced a campaign against bad manners as the city prepares to host an international throng of Olympic spectators in 2008.
- NY State AG Eliot Spitzer served subpoenas on Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Vivendi Universal’s Universal Music Group as part of an industry-wide investigation into pricing of digitally downloaded music.
- US Retail spending over the holiday shopping period rose a strong 8.7%, with the biggest increase in sales of home furnishings and consumer electronics.
- A lawsuit by as many as 1,000 employees of Cintas Corp. against unions trying to organize at the company’s plants may deter workers from supporting further organizing drive.
- GM will introduce sport-utility vehicles that consume less fuel next year, including a new version of the Chevy Tahoe, to help it reverse a decline in sales.
- Sanofi-Aventis SA investors hoping the company’s obesity drug Accomplia will become a miracle cure risk being disappointed.
- Gamco Investors’ Mario Gabelli’s involvement in more than a dozen bids for airwave licenses from the FCC have become the focus of a federal lawsuit.
- North Korea wants to end food aid from the UN and private charities to limit the international presence in the country, citing Richard Ragan, head of North Korean operations for the UN’s World Food Program.

NY Times:
- Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is courting Toyota Motor, which has said it may build an engine plant in the Midwest.
- Louisiana planners are seeking to move an entire string of seaside Cajun towns and villages and their 4,000 residents in Cameron Parish as much as 20 miles inland.
- Sears Holdings, Target and other US retailers are tightening store policies to discourage returns because of the extra labor they involve.

NY Post:
- NYC’s Department of Health is buying radiation-detection equipment for 33 private city hospitals to prepare for the possibility of a “dirty bomb” attack.

- US companies, which contributed millions of dollars in relief following tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes in 2005, found their philanthropic works gave them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
- More than 10,000 Iraqi demonstrators backing Sunni Arab and secular Shiite politicians marched through the streets of Baghdad today to push for unity throughout the country.

- Britain and Sweden are the only European countries that are likely to meet their Kyoto Protocol commitments on greenhouse gas emissions, citing a UK study.

- Numerous mass graves with thousands of bodies have been discovered in Iraq since the ousting of dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.

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