China OKs new rail link
China has approved the construction of a new US$3.6 billion high-speed Shanghai-Hangzhou rail link using magnetic levitation technology, state media reported yesterday. National planning officials gave the go-ahead for the nearly 170km-long project, to be jointly funded by the central and local governments, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. But the long-expected approval of the rail link appears to be a major coup for Germany's Transrapid International Consortium in its promotion of the magnetic levitation, or "maglev," technology. The consortium, including Thyssenkrupp AG and Siemens AG, developed the world's only commercial high-speed maglev, a link between Shanghai Pudong International Airport and the city's eastern suburbs. That US$1.2 billion rail line uses a powerful magnetic field to suspend trains above the tracks. Its top speed is 430kph.
Nintendo Q3 profit falls
Nintendo Co, the world's biggest maker of hand-held game machines, reported fiscal third-quarter profit fell 43 percent. Sales gained on demand for the DS, the company's new dual screen hand-held game player. Net income was ?21.3 billion (US$205.8 million) in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with ?37.4 billion a year earlier, according to a Tokyo Stock Exchange statement. Sales rose to ?231.4 billion from ?228.2 billion. The maker of video game characters such as Super Mario Brothers is fending off Sony Corp's challenge to its control of the almost US$4 billion market for hand-held games. Sony's PlayStation Portable game player started sales in Japan on Dec. 12 and will reach stores in the US and Europe by March.
Google expands to TV
Internet giants Google and Yahoo moved into a new battleground in the search business on Tuesday -- video and television content. Google unveiled a service that allows users to search for the content of TV shows, allowing searches of shows on the Public Broadcasting System in the US, Fox News, C-Span and the National Basketball Association. "What Google did for the Web, Google Video aims to do for television," said Larry Page, Google co-founder and president of products. "This preview release demonstrates how searching television can work today." Google said the service can increase viewership by providing Google users with information on future airings of relevant programs. But it does not provide a direct link to video. Instead, based on the search request, it offers a list of relevant TV programs with still images and text excerpts. Yahoo has also launched a test service that lets its users search for content on Bloomberg TV, BSkyB and BBC.
Alitalia link-up urged
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Tuesday that he wanted to see Alitalia tying up with Air France-KLM once the Italian airline resolves its current financial troubles. "Alitalia has its problems to resolve and we will resolve them and we will go in the direction of one big airline company that puts together our two companies," he said at a news conference after a Franco-Italian summit. Air France-KLM, which holds a 2 percent stake in Alitalia, indicated in the middle of last year that it would be willing to acquire the Italian carrier if a restructuring plan rescues it from financial distress.