Tag Archive | "reuters"

“Zombie Apocalypse” Crashes Blog Website

A post from the blog website of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drove too much traffic that it actually caused the site to crash on Thursday. The post is about hurricane preparation but used “zombie apocalypse” to trigger the curiosity of Americans and get them to read the blog.

The Zombie Apocalypse campaign is the effort of the Public Health and Preparedness department of the CDC to spread information and awareness regarding the hurricane season which will begin on June 1st.

The blog post started by saying that there are a lot of emergencies that we should prepare for and sited “zombie apocalypse” as one of those emergencies.  Also, it was released days before the forecasted “Judgment Day” on May 21 which added a flavor on the campaign. A couple of weeks ago an evangelical broadcaster based in California predicted that May 21 is the “judgment day” or end of the world.

Dave Daigle, CDC spokesperson, told Reuters on Thursday that if you are prepared for a zombie apocalypse, you are prepared for all other emergencies.

Zombies became mainstream after George Romero successfully released a horror film entitled “Night of the Living Dead” in 1968. The movie was about flesh-eating zombies that roamed the eastern seaboard after a radioactive contamination. Zombie is a term that comes from a voodoo practice wherein victims are stripped of their consciousness.

Daigle said that they aim to reach a young demographic to raise awareness about disaster preparedness. The campaign did just that as it went viral on several social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

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Apple iPhone 5 Release May Be Delayed

Reports say that the much anticipated release of the celebrated iPhone 5 will be pushed back. Apple’s regular schedule of releasing new gadgets at the beginning of summer may be upset by the release of iPhone 4 under Verizon Wireless February of this year.

The company is facing a possible production problem due to shortages in the parts and components Apple imports from Japan. Several industries have been affected by the series of earthquakes and the huge tsunami that struck Japan barely two months ago. Traditionally, new iPhones are announced during the Apple’s June Worldwide Developers Conference.

On Wednesday, MacRumors published a statement allegedly from an employee of AT&T saying that Apple has informed them that they are not planning to release the new iPhone in June but a new version should be expected soon. Unfortunately, AT&T, as supposedly mentioned by one of their employees, was not given a fixed date.

AT&T refused to deny and neither confirm this rumor. David Siegel, AT&T spokesperson, said that the company will not comment on the issue as Apples’s policies prohibit them from commenting on any issue regarding their upcoming products and release dates.

Reuters has already cited three people who have “direct knowledge” of Apple and said that the iPhone 5 release will be pushed back to September in time for the new operating system – iOS 5.

However, Craig Mathias of the Farpoint Group refuses to believe all these rumors. He also said that Apple has since been extremely consistent with their release dates and will only believe the rumors when it actually happened.

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Is Skype Really Better With Facebook than Google?

As two of the biggest networks battle to gain collaboration with Skype, Facebook is more aggressive than Google. Analysts, however, say that the world’s biggest social network may actually be a better fit.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that both Google and Facebook are trying to win partnership with Skype separately. Skype is currently the leading web video telephone services used by millions all over the world for cheap online communication.

Two undisclosed sources told Reuters that discussions about partnership are still in the preliminary phase however any deal that will stem out from this assures a joint venture partnership. One of the sources said that any partnership with Skype right now is valued at $3 to $4 billion.

Technology analysts and enthusiasts are rooting on Facebook, saying that the well-loved networking site that will complement Skype by giving it great features it currently lack.

Rory Maher, an analyst from Hudson Square Research, said that there is no doubt that Google will benefit from this partnership, but it is a bit sketchy compared to Facebook. He added that Google already has video and chat capabilities that Skype offers.

Moreover, Maher said that communication is very vital to Facebook and what its users do. It would be very interesting if Skype features will be enjoyed by Facebook users.

Skype was founded on 2003 and just last year, they boast a 124 million clientele. However, only 8.1 million of their total customers pay for their services to make traditional phone calls.

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Credit Card Executives Have High Hopes for the Future

For the first time in a very long time- or at least since the recession started- credit card executives are seeing bright sunny days and are looking far beyond the losses brought by the financial crisis. This is a really good thing considering the fact that the government is planning to tighten their grip on credit card companies.

Over the past few months, credit card company losses are falling. The overwhelming consumer acceptance of the smartphone payment systems and all other technologies has given credit card companies the opportunity to garner long-term revenue growth.

Now, executives strongly believe that they can easily do something to work around the effects of the recent regulatory changes of the card industry.

Credit card executive Stephen Eulie said that he is still very optimistic. There are no negative effects of our current economy that they cannot do something about, he said. Eulie spoke to Reuters in the credit card industry conference conducted every year.

In the recent years, most of the topics discussed in the conference are about the new regulations in place. Talks about the credit card law passed in 2009 and its lingering effects dominated the previous conferences. The Dodd-Frank financial reform law was also constantly a hot topic in the previous years.

However, banks are more positive and credit card companies are tapping new technologies this year to invest in developing countries wherein people use credit card as a luxury and not a necessity.

One of the conference attendee said that that the credit card industry has stopped finding ways to cease the regulations, and started looking for ways on how to get around it.

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Japan to Stop Pumping Radioactive Water into the Ocean

Fukushima Nuclear Power PlantJapan is ready to end pumping radioactive water into the ocean by Sunday, according to a report released by Reuters. This action is expected to help alleviate the concerns coming from Japan’s neighboring countries because of their fear of spreading radiation from the current nuclear crisis in Fukushima power plant.

However, there have been problems in restoring Fukushima’s cooling system that might cause more radioactive water to be pumped out into the ocean once the storage capacity of the power plant complex runs out.

Japan still struggles to restore its control over the Fukushima nuclear power plant after the immense earthquake and tsunami struck the country’s northeast region on March 11. The country is still facing a massive economic and humanitarian crisis.

An official from the nuclear safety agency said Japan’s nuclear crisis is the worst incident since Chernobyl.

Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency’s deputy director-general Hidehiko Nishiyama said they cannot perceive what the outlook of the power plant would be in the future. He said they would like to regain stable cooling and position a path toward regaining control over radiation as soon as possible.

Recently, Japan was criticized by South Korea and China because of how they are handling the crisis in the nuclear power plant.

On Sunday, Japanese casted their votes in the local elections. Many thought of it a way for Japanese to vent out their anger over how Prime Minister Naoto Kan handled the nuclear crisis. Opponents strengthened as they plan to force his resignation once the crisis in Japan ends.

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Large Manufacturers in United States Led Wall St Profit View

Three large U.S. manufacturers reported results that topped Wall Street’s expectations. It cited recovering demand in all aspects from corporate jets to equipment so they can run factories more effectively.

Rockwell Automation, Textron Inc, and United Technologies Corp posted increased gains in the recent quarter. They said they were growing more optimistic in the recovery of the economy, most especially in rising markets.

Scott Donelly, chief executive of Textron said they are chiefly motivated by the pick-up in the demand of business jets and commercial helicopters.  That reflects relative stability in global economies and improving confidence in general business.

Textron, which creates Bell helicopters and EZ-Go golf carts, is rising from an abrupt two-year slump in demand for corporate jets. They are expecting profits to grow more than three times this year as returns rise by about 11 percent.

Rockwell Automation sells machines and equipments to factory owners. They saw strong demand growth from rising markets and abruptly increased its profit forecasts for the year 2011.

The largest maker of elevators and air conditioners in the world United Tech said the demand for supplies to maintain air conditioning equipment and jet engines enhanced their results in the quarter.

Their sales increased to $14.9 billion, which is up to 6 percent. Both profit and sales topped the forecasts of the analysts. Textron reported fourth-quarter gain of 33 cents per share, except one-time items, leading the 25 cents that analysts had forecasted, Thomson Reuters said.

Rockwell informed their fiscal first-quarter profit was $150.1 million or $1.04 per share in comparison to year-earlier earnings of $76.6 million or 53 cents per share.

Thomson Reuters said analysts looked for a profit of 88 cents per share on average.

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Steep Drop in Citigroup Trading Illustrates Revival Obstacles

A sharp drop in bond trading revenue forced Citigroup Inc. to move their fourth-quarter profit far below their expected figures. This placed doubts over the claim of Chief Executive Vikram Pandit that the bank had turned the corner.

The bank’s first full-year profit since 2007 showed poor fixed income results that left Pandit and other top executives faced with numerous questions about what had probably gone wrong at the bank.

The results showed 4 cents a share or 50 percent less than the amount expected by analysts. This stirred worries that the bank has yet to resolve the operational weaknesses that have plagued it for several years.

The fixed-income revenue of the bank fell 58 percent from the third quarter as compared to a 7.9 percent decrease at major rival JPMorgan Chase & Co. The banks’ contradicting trading results made several investors unsure of what to expect while other financial firms report their profits this week.

Trading is an unstable area throughout the banking industry, said Lee Kyriacou, a former banker and a partner at the consulting firm Novantas.

Trading revenues were hit in some parts by an adjustment in accounting rooting from a market perception that Citi debt was less risky. However, the results stressed fundamental weaknesses as well.

According to Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach in a report during a conference call, this was one of the weaker quarters for trading. He acknowledged Citi’s investment back has also experienced difficulty in other areas and that it fell to eighth place from fourth in Thomson Reuter’s rankings.

Citigroup reported a net profit of $1.3 billion or 4 cents per share for the fourth quarter. The EPS was 50 percent below the expectations of  analysts, Thomson Reuters said.

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