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Mon, Jan 12, 2009 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■COMPUTERS

India names Satyam heads

Indian authorities have named three business leaders to the board of outsourcing giant Satyam Computers in the wake of a massive fraud scandal that threatens to sink the company. Satyam is fighting for its life after founder and chairman B. Ramalinga Raju confessed to doctoring the company’s accounts by US$1 billion. Raju and two other senior executives have been arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust, among other counts. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs announced yesterday that the three new board members would be Deepak Parekh, head of the Housing Development Finance Corp bank; Kiran Karnik, the former head of Nasscom, a trade body of technology companies; and C. Achuthan, a legal expert and a former member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

■FUEL

Chavez denies cancelation

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Saturday that Venezuela’s program to provide heating oil to poor US families was never halted, despite concerns that deliveries might be interrupted. Venezuela’s Citgo Petroleum Corp had to make a public announcement that the aid would continue after its partner nonprofit group said Citgo stopped the free fuel shipments because of the world economic crisis. “They are speculating on all sides that Venezuela has suspended its program of cooperation with the poor of the US,” Chavez said. “No, it was never suspended.” Chavez did not address whether oil shipments were ever interrupted. Boston-based Citizens Energy Corp last Monday alerted households benefiting from the four-year-old program that oil shipments were in doubt.

■ELECTRONICS

Sanyo lowers forecasts

Japan’s struggling Sanyo Electric Co is set to downgrade its earnings forecasts for the year to March, expecting a strong yen to wipe out its net profit almost entirely, a report said yesterday. Sanyo, which is to become a subsidiary of Panasonic Corp later this year, will lower its forecast for group net profit from ¥35 billion (US$384 million) to almost zero for the full year to March, the Asahi Shimbun said. Its forecast of operating profit would be revised down by 40 percent to ¥30 billion from ¥50 billion, with sales expected to fall below ¥2 trillion for the first time in nine years, it said. The company’s earnings from microchip and other electronics parts are rapidly worsening due to the yen’s appreciation, the Asahi said, adding that the company would announce the revised forecasts this week.

■ELECTRONICS

iPhone books to hit shelves

Shortcovers expects to be turning iPhones into electronic books by month’s end. Shortcovers is releasing a mini-application that lets people read books, short stories or other written works on Apple-made smart phones in a direct challenge to electronic book devices sold by Amazon and Sony. Shortcovers software will be available for free download after it clears Apple’s vetting process and makes it to the virtual shelves of iTunes online App Store. “People aren’t reading less they are reading differently,” Shortcovers user experience director Pamela Hilborn said while demonstrating the application at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “Their attention spans are shorter.” Shortcovers plans to make money on best-selling books and other works to iPhone readers for US$0.99 a chapter, with the first chapters free so people can look about for “their next great read,” Hilborn said.

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