Prices hit new record high
World oil prices hit a fresh record high point close to US$125 per barrel yesterday, extending this week’s record run after OPEC insisted the market was well-supplied and driven by speculators. New York's main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery next month, spiked to a historic US$124.73 per barrel at 0600 GMT in European deals. But it eased later to US$124.24, a rise of US$0.55 from the closing price in New York on Thursday. “The oil market is so overwhelmingly bullish at this point ... it is looking at the US$125 mark as its next target,” said Victor Shum, senior principal at Purvin and Gertz energy consultancy in Singapore.
China bans drink, chips
China said yesterday it had banned sales of a soft drink made by Coca-Cola and two flavors of Procter and Gamble’s Pringles potato chips due to fears they contained harmful substances. China’s quality control watchdog reported on its Web site that 593 food items imported in January and February were unfit for consumption after traces of harmful substances were found. Two batches of Pringles “spicy salad sauce” and “crispy baked” flavors, imported from the US by Zhuhai-based Kangrui Trade Company were found to contain potassium bromate, a chemical which may cause cancer. Coca-Cola’s berry-flavored Fanta soft-drink imported by Shanghai Xiaolong Information Trade Company was also banned for containing too much benzoic acid, which can attack the liver and the kidneys.
Konica Minolta to pay up
Japanese office equipment maker Konica Minolta said yesterday that it was ordered to pay a penalty for failing to declare income of some US$17 million. Konica Minolta Holdings Inc said it and its subsidiaries inadvertently concealed ¥1.8 billion (US$17.4 million) in income for two years to March last year. It was ordered to pay some ¥1.2 billion in additional taxes as a penalty, a company spokesman said. The total income that the company failed to declare during the two years, including other cases of accounting errors, amounted to more than ¥2 billion, he said.
MySpace to allow sharing
Social networking site MySpace said on Thursday it will soon enable users to quickly share profile data with Web sites operated by Yahoo Inc, eBay Inc and others. MySpace aims to save its users keystrokes and allow them to export their photos, videos and lists of friends. “There’s this concept that social networks are walled gardens,” said Amit Kapur, MySpace’s chief operating officer. “We’re taking those walls down.” Other sites that can receive the MySpace data include Twitter and Photobucket.
Facebook to boost safety
Officials from several US states say Facebook has agreed to implement more than 40 safeguards to protect younger users. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says the changes are designed to thwart sexual predators, fraud and online bullies at the popular online hangout. He is one of the attorneys general who announced the agreement on Thursday. Facebook has agreed to ban convicted sex offenders from using the service and will make it harder for older users to search online for subscribers who are under age 18. Facebook will also join a task force seeking better ways to verify the ages of users.