Japan may get TPP invite
Eleven countries negotiating a proposed free-trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific appear to be on the verge of formally inviting Japan into the talks, diplomatic and industry sources said on Thursday. Top trade officials from the 11 countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks were meeting yesterday in Surabaya, Indonesia, ahead of the annual APEC trade ministers’ meeting this weekend. Japan struck a deal with the US last week to get Washington’s support to join the TPP talks.
Viacom’s YouTube suit fails
For the second time in three years, a federal judge has dismissed Viacom’s US$1 billion copyright lawsuit against YouTube, saying the online video site does not have to police itself, as long as it removes infringing videos when copyright owners give notice. US District Court Judge Louis Stanton in New York ruled on Thursday that Viacom never proved YouTube was aware of thousands of videos Viacom said were stolen from its TV networks. Viacom Inc says it will appeal. YouTube owner Google Inc says the ruling marks an important day for the Internet.
Parties agree on land bill
India’s main political parties have struck a “broad consensus” on a contentious land acquisition bill to better reward landowners whose property is bought for industrial development, a minister says. The bill seeks to give property owners fairer prices for their land — a politically charged issue that has delayed many projects, including construction of a US$12 billion plant by South Korean giant POSCO in eastern India.
Lufthansa faces strike
The union representing 33,000 workers at Lufthansa AG say they will stage a short-term strike next week after the latest round of wage negotiations ended with no new deal. Ver.di union said in a statement yesterday that airports across the country, including Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and Cologne, will be affected by the one-day strike on Monday. Lufthansa says it will have to cancel flights, but had not yet worked out a new flight plans with specifics. Lufthansa on Wednesday rejected the union’s demand for wage increases of 5.2 percent over the next year and job guarantees.
Chrysler loses on Fiat 500e
Chrysler Group stands to lose US$10,000 on every battery-powered Fiat 500 it sells in California, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said on Thursday. Marchionne said Chrysler’s new Fiat 500e gets the equivalent of 174km per gallon and will travel 140km on a single charge. However, the true cost of the car leaves the automaker with a steep loss on every sale, Marchionne said during a speech at the Society of Automotive Engineers annual banquet.
SAP reports rising profits
Business software maker SAP says net profit increased 17 percent in the first quarter, as its remote cloud-computing business showed strong growth to complement its longstanding sales of software that runs on company premises. Profits rose to 520 million euros (US$680.7 million) from 444 million in the same quarter a year ago. Revenues rose 7 percent to 3.60 billion euros. SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe said that “SAP had a very good start to 2013” and that “the business mix is working.”