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Wed, Apr 04, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Internet
Mexico City to go WiFi

All of Mexico City will be one free, wireless Internet hotspot by next year, Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said on Monday. The project "will accelerate the technological development of the city," Ebrard said after signing a contract with the Chinese telecoms and networking giant ZTE Corp (中興通訊). The project began as a hook-up for security cameras around the Mexican capital, he said. "Why connect 4,000 cameras with fiber [optic cable] if everyone has wireless?" he said. "If we are going to deploy 4,000 [security] cameras, I want them to be WiFi," Ebrard said.

■ Cemeteries

China to curb speculation

China plans to issue revised rules to curb speculation and the lucrative trade in grave plots, a state-run newspaper reported yesterday. Traditional preferences for graves, instead of smaller areas for urns carrying ashes, has resulted in soaring prices, the China Daily reported. It said in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province, the average price of a grave in a public cemetery was 7,800 yuan (US$1,000) per square meter, while the average house price was less than 4,000 yuan per square meter. The revised rules will say public cemeteries can sell grave sites only to customers who produce a death certificate, or they face a fine of up to 500,000 yuan, it said.

■ Banking

Lender files for bankruptcy

Subprime mortgage lender New Century Financial Corp filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday and said it intended to fire 3,200 workers -- 54 percent of its work force -- and sell the company's major assets. Once the second-largest provider of subprime mortgages in the US based on loan volume, the company said the firings would better position the company for a possible sale.

■ Telecoms

Bolivia plans nationalization

The Bolivian government has announced plans to nationalize the country's top telecommunications company, now controlled by Telecom Italia but formerly owned by the state. At a news conference in La Paz on Monday, Presidential Minister Juan Ramon Quintana announced the formation of a commission to plan the renationalization of the former National Telecommunications Co, now known simply as Entel. The committee of Cabinet-level ministers will be given 30 days "to move forward with negotiations that will allow us to recover the telecommunications company that is now in the hands of a private business," Quintana said.

■ Advertising

Google vies for DoubleClick

Microsoft Corp may have competition from Google Inc if it seeks to acquire Web advertising company DoubleClick Inc, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Last week, the Journal reported that DoubleClick was in active talks with several companies. Microsoft was reported to be interested in buying the online advertising company for up to US$2 billion. The newspaper, citing unnamed people familiar with the situation, said on Monday that Google has emerged as a contender, and Yahoo Inc and Time Warner Inc's AOL division have also talked to DoubleClick, which is owned by San Francisco private-equity group Hellman & Friedman. Negotiations were fluid, and a winner could be declared within days, the report said.

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