Sat, Feb 18, 2012 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

INTERNET

Facebook tests ID validation

Facebook on Thursday began testing a way for celebrities, journalists, athletes and others with massive followings to have their identities validated at the globally popular online social network. “The new process enables people to verify their identities by submitting a government issued ID,” Facebook said in an e-mail. “Once verified, they’ll also have the option to more prominently display an alternate name (nickname, maiden name, byline, etc) on their timelines in addition to their real name.” The validation option was being rolled out as a minor update to the Subscribe feature at Facebook for people with large numbers of followers. The benefits of confirming people’s identities online have been touted by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg at the company’s developers conferences.

AVIATION

Strike cancels 300 flights

Almost 300 flights were canceled at Frankfurt, Europe’s third-largest airport, yesterday after a small group of workers on the airport apron resumed a strike over pay and said the action could continue next week. The GdF trade union called on 200 workers to strike after failing to reach a pay deal with airport operator Fraport, which says the workers’ demands are too high. A spokesman for the GdF union said that while no strike action was planned for the weekend, they could resume action next week if Fraport did not meet their demands. The union must give Fraport 24 hours’ notice before launching any further strike action. Fraport has said the demands for increases in pay of up to 70 percent are “irresponsible” and called on the union to compromise.

PETROLEUM

Oil rises near US$103

Oil rose to near US$103 a barrel yesterday in Asia as signs of an improving US economy fueled investor optimism and a global stock market rally. Benchmark crude was up US$0.48 to US$102.79 per barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose US$0.52 to settle at US$102.32 per barrel in New York on Thursday. Brent crude was up US$0.24 at US$120.35 per barrel in London. Crude has jumped from US$96 earlier this month as a surge in stock markets suggests investor confidence in the US economic outlook is improving. Rising fears that a military conflict will erupt over Iran’s nuclear program and block oil supplies from reaching markets has also helped push crude prices higher.

SEMICONDUCTORS

Applied predicts profit

Applied Materials Inc, the largest producer of chipmaking equipment, rose as much as 6.6 percent after predicting higher profit than estimated, signaling that semiconductor makers are pulling out of a spending slump. Excluding certain costs, second-quarter profit will be US$0.20 to US$0.28 a share, the Santa Clara, California-based company said in a statement on Thursday. Analysts had estimated US$0.16 on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Customers are stepping up equipment spending to ensure they can meet demand for chips used in smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Samsung Electronics Co and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) are helping fuel the rebound, according to Patrick Ho, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co.

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