US beef still a no-no: poll
Over two-thirds of Japanese oppose resuming imports of US beef, the crux of a bitter 22-month trade rift over mad-cow-disease fears, a poll showed yesterday. A panel of Japanese scientists studying the safety of North American beef imports indicated on Monday they are likely to recommend lifting the embargo, but failed to reach a final decision on the wording of their report. The public remains wary of US beef, with 67 percent against a resumption of imports and just 21 percent in favor, according to a poll conducted by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper over the weekend. Some 12 percent were undecided, according to the poll of 1,998 people. The percentage of respondents opposed to the resumption of US beef imports increased by four percentage points from October last year, the Asahi said.
iMesh offers music sharing
Popular peer-to-peer, file-sharing service iMesh introduced new software that allows users to legally share and buy music online. The service introduced on Tuesday offers access to 17 million music files. About 15 million will be available for free. Another 2 million protected releases will be sold for US$0.99 per song, with the company paying record labels a portion of the revenue from each downloaded or shared song. The new service is being offered free for a 30 day to 60 day introductory period, and will cost US$6.95 a month after that. "This takes the peer-to-peer experience, turns it on its ear and it becomes a pay service," said Bob Summer, executive chairman of iMesh. The move comes after New York-based iMesh paid US$4.1 million to the recording industry in July last year to settle a copyright-infringement lawsuit.
Rakuten tightens TBS screw
Japanese online shopping mall Rakuten has raised its stake in major Japanese broadcaster TBS to over 19 percent in an apparent move to pressure TBS to accept its merger proposal, Jiji Press reported yesterday. Rakuten said on Oct. 13 it had ac-quired a 15 percent stake in TBS and proposed setting up a single parent company for the two firms to marry their strengths in traditional and new media. TBS has also received a management buyout proposal from one of its investors -- an invest-ment fund operated by former bureaucrat Yoshiaki Murak-ami that held a 7.45 percent stake in TBS as of the end of last month. TBS is now studying both proposals, reportedly in a cautious manner. TBS's anti-takeover panel was due to hold a meeting later yesterday to discuss an anti-takeover scheme.
DataSafe for dummies
Dell Inc announced an all-inclusive way yesterday to help consumers who've accidentally deleted precious photos or lost valuable data because of a hard-drive crash. Starting in November, Dell will install its "DataSafe" option on new Dimension E310 and E510 and XPS 400 desktop computers. For US$99, consumers get a second, 80-gigabyte hard drive inside the computer which acts as a mirror, continually backing up data on the primary drive. Larger disk sizes are planned. While consumers could conceiv-ably buy an extra hard drive and third-party software and do the same thing, the idea was to make it simple for consumers, spokesman Liem Nguyen said. Included software will monitor the health of the drives and alert users to any problems.