Around the World

Exxon Mobil accused of misleading public

Britain’s leading scientific academy has accused oil company Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) of misleading the public about global warming and funding groups that undermine the scientific consensus on climate change. The Royal Society said Wednesday that it had written to Exxon asking it to halt support for groups that have “misrepresented the science of climate change.” Exxon Mobil said its reports “explain our views openly and honestly on climate change.” The company said it accepted that carbon dioxide emissions were “one of the contributing factors to climate change.”

United States, China to start economic dialogue

The United States and China are launching a new high-level economic dialogue meant to repair relations soured by trade tensions, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and a Chinese leader said Wednesday. The discussions will deal with long-range and big-picture issues that affect the U.S. and China, Paulson and Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi said in announcing the arrangement on the first day of his visit to Beijing. Relations between the countries, once buoyed by robust trade, have deteriorated in recent years as China’s trade surplus rockets ever higher and critics in Washington accuses Beijing of keeping its currency undervalued to make Chinese exports cheaper.

Microsoft plans external HD-DVD player for Xbox 360

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is introducing an external high-definition DVD player for the Xbox 360 video game console to match the Blu-ray disc functions of Sony Corp.’s (SNE) upcoming PlayStation 3. The software maker also announced Wednesday it will launch the Xbox 360 in India this week and in Africa next week. The rollout plans come as the company tries to shore up sales ahead of the arrival later this year of next-generation machines by its two top rivals — Sony and Nintendo Co.

News Corp. may start Chinese version of MySpace

News Corp. (NWSA) chairman Rupert Murdoch says his Chinese-born wife, Wendi Deng, is in China with the company’s executives to help launch a Chinese version of its popular MySpace social networking Web site, a newspaper reported Wednesday. Murdoch, speaking in New York, said the company is trying to find a way to enter the Chinese market without running into political obstacles and the “heavy weather” that Google Inc. (GOOG) and Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) have encountered, the London-based Financial Times said.

IMF-World Bank annual meeting ends

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank said Wednesday they were watching closely for any economic fallout from a military coup in Thailand, and agreed at the end of their meetings on the need to revive global trade talks and curb risks to global growth. The IMF and the World Bank last convened in Asia in 1997, as the region’s economies buckled under layoffs, bankruptcies, soaring prices and even social unrest.

Witness: Internet idol unaware of scheme

A major witness in the trial of a disgraced Japanese Internet maverick contradicted his earlier statements, testifying Wednesday he believes the entrepreneur didn’t know about the dubious dealings he is charged with. Ryoji Miyauchi, former CFO of Internet startup Livedoor Co., made the comments in one of the biggest trials Japan has had in years. Horie, 33, who plummeted from celebrity status after his arrest in January, has pleaded not guilty to charges of securities laws violations.

Toshiba to recall Sony laptop batteries

Toshiba is recalling 340,000 laptop batteries made by Sony Corp. (SNE) because of problems with recharging them, the latest in a string of embarrassing defects and production glitches for Sony. The recall affects 100,000 batteries for laptops sold in the United States, 45,000 in Japan, and the remainder in other parts of the world.

Nigeria to restore oil production loss

Nigeria is working to soon restore losses in oil production because of militant attacks on some pipelines, the country’s finance minister said Tuesday. Over the last eight months, Nigeria’s oil production has dropped 600,000 barrels a day to 1.9 million barrels from a projected 2.5 million barrels because of the attacks and violence in the oil-rich Niger Delta, said Finance Minister Nenadi E. Usman.

Election will benefit Brazilian economy

Interest rates are still stiflingly high, anyone starting a business must do battle with mind-numbing bureaucracy, and labor laws make it more expensive to fire incompetent workers than keep them on the payroll. But the bottlenecks in Brazil’s economy are a far cry from the meltdown many envisioned when President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office in 2003 as nation’s first elected leftist leader.

Silva is now seeking a second term in Brazil’s Oct. 1 election, vowing to stick to the market-friendly economic policies he embraced in his first term and that turned the ex-radical union leader into an ally of investors from Avenida Paulista in the heart of Sao Paulo’s financial district all the way north to Wall Street.

The incumbent’s nearest challenger – former Sao Paulo state Gov. Geraldo Alckmin – is seen as even more business friendly, making the presidential election, once an event fraught with uncertainty, a virtual cakewalk for investors.

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