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Sat, Jul 15, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Aviation
We interview, you pay

Australia budget airline Jetstar has found a new way to cut costs and boost profits: charge job applicants for their interviews. "It's a cost recovery process for Jetstar," airline spokesman Simon Westaway told the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday. "We're making nothing on this." Jetstar charges prospective international flight attendants A$89 (US$66) for an interview. The Qantas Airways subsidiary expects to interview more than 1,000 applicants for the 240 jobs on offer.

■ Banking

Citibank punished for glitch

Japan's financial watchdog said yesterday it had punished Citibank Japan, ordering it to improve its computer system and submit a report, over a problem in May that botched hundreds of thousands of bank transactions and affected 97,000 individual customers for a week. The Financial Services Agency ordered Citibank, NA Japan branches to fundamentally re-evaluate and redevelop their current system of governance, internal control and outsourcing following a series of system failures involving transaction processing that affected thousands of individual and corporate customers earlier this year.

■ Computers

Apple drops legal action

Apple Computer has dropped its legal challenge against two Internet publishers who reported secret details about its new products, attorney Kurt Opsahl of the Electronic Freedom Foundation said on Thursday. Apple let the deadline to challenge an earlier appeals court ruling pass and filed court paperwork indicating it had abandoned the option, said Opsahl, who represented news Web sites PowerPage and AppleInsider in the case. Apple argued in court that the information could only have been leaked to the Web sites by someone who violated a confidentiality agreement with the company and that the Web site operators had to tell them who it was.

■ Automobiles

Ford halves dividend

Ford Motor Co, the second-largest US automaker, halved its dividend on Thursday to help stem losses at its North American unit. The payout for shareholders falls to US$0.05 a share from US$0.10 with the third quarter, Ford said in a statement. Ford is cutting spending after a US$1.6 billion pretax loss in its North American auto operations last year. The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker in January announced a plan to cut 30,000 jobs and shut 14 North American plants by 2012.

■ Energy

Exploration bids invited

China will allow foreign companies a rare chance to conduct exploration for oil and gas in parts of the resource-rich Tarim Basin in the northwest of the country, the country's top energy company said yesterday. The China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the nation's largest oil and gas producer, said it will invite bids from foreign companies for exploration in nine potential oil and gas blocks in the basin. CNPC said in a statement on its Web site that several foreign oil companies had already expressed an interest in participating in projects in the Tarim Basin but provided no names. The statement suggested that a major motive of permitting foreign participation was to attract technological know-how from overseas.

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