■ AirlinesJapan Air reverses loss
Japan's biggest air carrier, the Japan Airlines Corp, said it earned ¥82.96 billion (US$79 million) in the first half of the year, reversing a loss from a year earlier as an increase in international travelers more than offset a rise in fuel prices. The profit compared with a loss of ¥57.59 (US$545 million) last year. Revenue in the period, which ended June 30, rose 14 percent to ¥1.08 trillion as the number of travelers increased following a slump related to the SARS outbreak last year. Rising exports of high-tech goods from Japan increased the airline's freight revenue. However, Japan Airlines warned that profit for the full year would fall short of its previous forecast because it expected fuel prices to remain high. The airline now forecasts net profit of ¥23 billion for the year ending next March, down from its earlier forecast of ¥36 billion, but up from a loss last year of ¥88.6 billion.
■ Fast food
McDonald's triples profits
The Japanese operation of McDonald's said its profit tripled for the first nine months of the year after it remodeled hundreds of stores and closed dozens of unprofitable outlets. McDonald's Holdings Japan, which is half-owned by the McDonald's Corp, reported net profit rose to ¥2.05 billion (US$19.2 million) for the nine months ended Sept. 30 from ¥672 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 3.2 percent to ¥230 billion, while same-store sales rose 4.5 percent for the period, the company said. New menu items such as the Chicken Filet-O and Hello Kitty happy meals helped drive the growth in sales.
Golfer sues shipbuilder
A judge ordered a shipbuilder in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to stop using Tiger Woods' name and a photograph of his yacht for financial gain. The golfer's lawyers sued in federal court Oct. 29, contending his contract barred the boat manufacturer from using Woods to promote the company, but it did so anyway. US District Judge William Zloch said Christensen Shipyards agreed to a preliminary injunction stopping it from disclosing information about the 46.5m yacht and using or displaying Woods' name and likeness for any purpose. Lawyers for both parties didn't immediately return a call on Friday. A hearing is set for Monday. Woods' lawsuit accuses the Vancouver, Washington, shipyard of starting a "widespread national campaign" using his name and photos of the yacht. The lawsuit claims more than US$75,000 damages for Woods, citing privacy violation. Compen-satory damages could reach US$50 million because of Woods' celebrity, the lawsuit claims. Woods married Swedish model Elin Nordegren on Oct. 5 at a Barbados resort, and they later set out on the yacht Privacy with a crew.
Microsoft widens warnings
Criticized for a program that only provided some of its largest customers with warnings on security problems in its products, Microsoft Corp now says it will give all computer users early word on such issues. Beginning this month, the Redmond software giant will make public in advance how many security fixes it plans to release in its regular monthly bulletin, how severe the problems are and what products are affected. Microsoft typically releases security patches on the second Tuesday of each month, with the early warnings posted on its security Web site the previous Thursday.