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Thu, May 11, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Forex
Exporters want won action

South Korean exporters called yesterday for swift government action to curb the rising won. Five business groups, led by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), warned that the won's strength against the greenback was hurting exports. "The government must take quick steps to prop up our global competitiveness. The pace of the won's appreciation is too steep," they said in a joint statement. The won rose 2.3 percent against the US dollar last year but has jumped more than 8 percent so far this year. "The government is ready to discuss an increase in the foreign exchange stabilization fund," Budget Minister Byeon Yang-kyoon told reporters.

■ Computers

HP unveils new notebooks

Hewlett-Packard Co unveiled laptops with spiffier designs as well as more powerful processors on Tuesday. Six of seven new HP notebooks will run on dual-core chips from either Intel Corp or Advanced Micro Devices Inc, and a business-targeted model allows users to swap the cellular broadband module if they switch carriers. The offerings include two consumer lines that come in a glossy, piano-black finish with inlaid patterns, a departure from plain black exteriors. Some models have a built-in Webcam or more powerful graphics cards. The new computers will be available later this month, HP said.

■ Health

DuPont sued over Teflon

A lawsuit representing millions of owners of Teflon coated cookware was filed in US District Court in Des Moines, Iowa, seeking to combine complaints from 16 US states into one master case. The suit, filed on Monday, claims that DuPont Co failed to disclose possible health risks from using the nonstick cookware. It also claims DuPont continued to tell the government and consumers for years that Teflon was safe even though its own studies showed the material could become toxic when heated at temperatures easily reached when a typical stovetop is set on high. It asks the court to require DuPont to create a fund for independent research into whether Teflon is harmful; to replace all existing Teflon cookware products or pay owners compensation; and to stop making, selling and distributing Teflon coated products.

■ Beverages

Coke Japan recalls bottles

The Japanese unit of US beverage giant Coca-Cola Co will expand a recall to withdraw 2.37 million bottles of soft drinks laced with iron powder, company officials said yesterday. Earlier this month the subsidiary had announced a withdrawal of 570,000 bottles of six soft drinks manufactured between March 26 and March 30 at a factory in central Japan. It said it will expand the recall to 27 beverages and include drinks manufactured before March 26. The company said that the bottles may contain a small amount of iron powder which would not be harmful if injested.

■ Automobiles

Toyota's profits rise 17.2%

Toyota Motor Corp yesterday reported a 17.2 percent jump in annual net profits to a record ¥1.37 trillion (US$12.35 billion) as it won more market share from struggling US rivals. Toyota said revenue rose 13.4 percent in the year to March to ¥21.04 trillion, also an all-time high. Operating profit increased by 12.3 percent to ¥1.88 trillion. In the current year, however, Toyota forecast a drop in net profits to ¥1.31 trillion.

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