Official GDP forecast cut
The government said on Friday it was cutting its economic growth forecast for this year from 4.5 percent to 3 percent because of the impact of the global slowdown. The figure was still higher than the 2.5 percent predicted by the central bank or analysts’ expectations of 2.05 percent. In the first quarter of the year, the GDP of Latin America’s dominant power grew only 0.2 percent compared with the previous quarter and only 0.8 percent when compared with the same period of last year. Over the past few months, the government has taken a series of steps to stimulate the economy and boost growth, including lowering taxes and bringing the base interest rate to a historic low of 8 percent to spur domestic consumption.
Judge limits Apple evidence
Apple Inc was barred by a federal judge from using a court order blocking US sales of Samsung Electronics Co’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer as evidence in a patent-infringement trial set to start on July 30 in San Jose, California. US District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose ruled her order last month barring sales of the Tab is of “limited value” in the upcoming trial, and the “prejudicial effect to Samsung would greatly outweigh any relevance for the jury,” according to a Thursday ruling made public yesterday. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit yesterday denied Samsung’s request to lift a ban on sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer pending appeal.
Facebook buys out Acrylic
The engineer behind Canadian startup Acrylic said on Friday that he was closing up his one-man shop and joining the design team at leading social network Facebook. Facebook confirmed that it has bought Acrylic in an “acqui-hire” that brings on board founder Dustin MacDonald, the creator of mobile gadget applications for newsfeeds and digital wallets. Acrylic’s best-known applications — Wallet and Newsfeed — were not acquired by Facebook in the deal. Facebook recently bought startups Spool and TagTile in “talent acquisitions” aimed at helping it stay in synch with users as they shift increasingly to using smartphones and tablet computers.
Fresh IMF funding sought
The nation yesterday announced the completion of a US$2.6 billion IMF bailout, but said it was seeking fresh loans to support an economy emerging from decades of war. The IMF on Friday released the final installment of the bailout agreed in July 2009, two months after Colombo defeated Tamil rebels in a major offensive to end the drawn-out conflict. The drawing down of the final installment of the bailout package marked the longest engagement Sri Lanka has had with the IMF and the single largest facility from a multilateral institution, the central bank said. It did not say how much Colombo hoped to secure from the IMF by way of fresh loans, but Ministry of Finance sources said the government was looking at more than US$500 million as a first step. The original July 2009 IMF bailout was secured when the nation’s foreign reserves had dropped to the dangerously low level of US$1 billion, or just sufficient to support a couple of weeks’ imports.