c.2013 New York Times News Service
c.2013 New York Times News Service
AS PRICES COME DOWN, LED BULBS ARE CATCHING ON
Regulators and manufacturers, frustrated by consumer rejection of compact fluorescents, hope that bulb buyers will make a switch to bulbs using LED technology. For several years, manufacturers have been making LED lights that increasingly mimic incandescents, while steadily bringing down their prices. Regulators are getting involved, too. The Environmental Protection Agency recently finished overhauling lighting standards for its Energy Star program, making it easier for more LEDs to qualify for generous discounts. Several manufacturers began offering bulbs for around $10 or less this year.
FCC PLANS SWEEPING CHANGES TO BOLSTER AM RADIO
The Federal Communications Commission, seeking to revive the sagging fortunes of AM radio, has proposed removing or updating regulations that station owners believe have left many AM channels on the precipice of death. The commission announced late Thursday that it would begin seeking public comment on numerous changes, required before it adopts its final rules. The proposed changes, supporters say, could salvage a technology that once led Americans to huddle around their radios for fireside chats and World Series broadcasts but that has been abandoned for the superior sound of digital and online music and news outlets.
TWITTER’S NEW HOME HELPS REVIVE A SEEDY NEIGHBORHOOD
The middle stretch of Market Street in San Francisco, has befuddled mayors, investors and entrepreneurs for decades. Studded with check-cashing joints, strip clubs and dollar stores, the seven-block strip known as the Mid-Market had resisted cleanup efforts and resolutely remained the same: a seedy place to visit day or night. But in June 2012, Twitter moved in. Now 15 other companies, including Spotify, Square and Yammer, emboldened by Twitter’s move and a city tax incentive that largely makes them exempt from city payroll taxes if they relocate to the Mid-Market, have committed to take 1.3 million square feet in the Mid-Market, which the city has renamed Central Market.
QUALCOMM AND CERBERUS JOINING IN FOUNDERS’ BID FOR BLACKBERRY
BlackBerry may be on its last legs, but the company still has multiple suitors. A consortium that includes wireless company Qualcomm, private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management and BlackBerry’s co-founders, Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, is preparing a bid for the company ahead of a Monday deadline, according to people briefed on the process. Details of the group’s bid, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, were not clear. And the people briefed on the process said it could still fall apart. If the Qualcomm consortium does make an offer over the weekend, BlackBerry may announce its receipt of a proposal Monday morning.
U.S. AUTOMAKERS REPORT A ROBUST OCTOBER
The tempo for new-car sales in the United States accelerated after the 16-day partial government shutdown, leading each of the domestic automakers Friday to report double-digit sales gains in October and keeping the industry on track for its best sales total in six years. Although the sales gains looked especially strong compared with a weak October 2012, when Hurricane Sandy curtailed new-vehicle sales along parts of the East Coast, an underlying industrywide strength is evident, according to Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at the industry researcher Edmunds.com.
CURRENCY TRADERS ARE PUT ON LEAVE AMID INVESTIGATION
Nearly a dozen traders have been placed on leave at five large banks in recent days amid a wide-ranging investigation into potential manipulation of the foreign-exchange market. Authorities in Britain, the United States, Switzerland and Hong Kong are investigating whether traders colluded to rig some areas of currency trading, a market that overall generates more than $5 trillion of trades daily. In particular, they are looking at discussion logs in chat rooms between currency traders at various firms and whether those discussions corresponded with improper trading activity, according to people briefed on the investigation.
RBS TO SPLIT OFF $61 BILLION IN LOANS INTO INTERNAL ‘BAD BANK’
A little more than five years after being bailed out in the world’s biggest bank rescue, the Royal Bank of Scotland on Friday announced a plan aimed at speeding up its overhaul, returning money to taxpayers and making the company profitable. The bank said that it would separate about 38 billion pounds ($61 billion) of toxic assets into a separate entity within the bank. The creation of the “internal bad bank” came after the government had asked for a review four months ago into whether RBS should be split up; it opted against a breakup.