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Sat, Aug 26, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ software

IE7 Release Candidate 1

Microsoft Corp released a near-final version of its Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) browser yesterday, and the company said the free Web-surfing software is on track for completion by the end of the year. Internet Explorer 7 Release Candidate 1 contains all the features Microsoft hopes to include in the final product, its first major update for the program in years. Among the bells and whistles is the ability to open multiple "tabs" in the same browser window -- a popular function in rival Mozilla's Firefox browser -- plus updated security functions. The near-final release is aimed at industry professionals and tech experts who may help the world's largest software company spot last-minute kinks and bugs. Tony Chor, a group program manager with Internet Explorer, said Microsoft is currently planning to make the final version of IE7 broadly available in the last three months of this year, barring any unexpected problems.

■ beverages

Indian cola ban upheld

The High Court in the southern Indian state of Kerala yesterday temporarily upheld a ban on production of soft drinks by the Indian subsidiaries of Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo Inc. Kerala banned sale and production of Coke, Pepsi and other soft drinks after a New Delhi-based environment group said earlier this month that the products contain high levels of pesticides. Coca-Cola India and PepsiCo India -- both of which operate bottling plants in Kerala -- have challenged the ban in the state's High Court and yesterday they sought the court's permission to continue production until judges deliver their verdict in the case. But the court said in a written order that the prohibition will stand until it hears the case on Sept. 11. While Kerala has imposed a total ban on the soft drinks, six other states have banned the beverages at schools, hospitals and government offices. Both companies say their products adhere to uniform international standards.

■ investment

Icahn, Lichtenstein split

US billionaire investor Carl Icahn ended his alliance with Warren Lichtenstein to seek changes at KT&G Corp, South Korea's biggest tobacco company, causing speculation the pair may sell their stakes. A fund controlled by Icahn disclosed the change in a regulatory filing in Seoul yesterday. The move comes after Icahn and hedge fund manager Lichtenstein campaigned for KT&G's management to sell assets and return money to investors. The former state tobacco monopoly this month announced a share buyback and increased dividend payments. "This can only lead others to believe that they are getting ready to sell," said Jung Kyun-sik, who helps manage US$1.5 billion at Shinhan BNP Paribas Investment Trust Management Co in Seoul.

■ economy

Japanese CPI inches up

The Japanese government said yesterday core consumer prices rose 0.2 percent last month from a year ago as deflationary pressure continued to ease. However, the increase of the core consumer price index (CPI), which excludes volatile prices of fresh food, was lower than the average market expectation of a 0.5 percent rise. This month's core consumer CPI for Tokyo -- the leading indicator for national price trends released a month earlier -- remained unchanged from a year earlier, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said in its preliminary report.

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