Headlines

Construction of a one-kilometer-tall tower slated to be the world's tallest has been delayed by its government-owned developer, in a sign of how a city that seemed to have limitless resources and ambition now is struggling to avoid a hard crash, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Nakheel Tower is the centerpiece of what the company just three months ago billed as a $38 billion commercial and residential project. The delay comes amid project re-evaluations by other developers as Dubai property prices drop.
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Ten Network's future has come under renewed focus after its majority shareholder, CanWest, admitted it might not be able to meet its debt repayments, The Age reported. The Canadian company said yesterday that revenue and expense projections suggested it would breach its loan conditions. It blamed "uncertain economic conditions". For the three months to November 30, CanWest posted a loss of $C33 million ($A40.2 million), compared with the $C41 million it earned in the same period a year earlier.
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With taxpayers tethered to its fate, Orchestra London moved a step closer yesterday to getting nearly a half-million dollars from city hall, The London Free Press reported. London's board of control unanimously recommended giving the operating grant to the symphony. Effectively, it had no choice: Without it, the orchestra would default on a $500,000 loan council guaranteed last month. The loan guarantee and grant make possible a turnaround by a symphony that had been on pace to run a fourth straight deficit topping $300,000.
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Shares in leading Indian outsourcers such as Infosys Technologies and Wipro fell on Thursday after one of their clients Nortel Networks Corp filed for bankruptcy, Reuters reported. Analysts said Nortel's work contributed only a small portion of revenue for the outsourcers, but the news dealt another blow to the export-driven companies that have seen their growth slowing sharply as a global economic turmoil crimped demand. Officials at the Indian outsourcers were not immediately available for comment.
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The U.K. government detailed a £21 billion ($30 billion) plan to help small and medium-size companies access credit, and held out the prospect of broader support to come, The Wall Street Journal reported. "We will not hesitate to look at other measures that are necessary to get the financial system moving," Prime Minister Gordon Brown told lawmakers. He said that there will be more help for companies struggling to get trade credit insurance and that the government is prepared to help the financing arms of U.K. auto firms.
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Viyella has shut 20 of its House of Fraser concessions, after the classic womenswear business fell into administration last week, Drapers reported. Viyella is understood to be shutting a further 10 standalone stores by the end of this week, leaving it with between 50 and 70 outlets. Poppleton & Appleby were appointed joint administrators of the business last week.
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Nortel Networks Corp., North America’s biggest maker of phone equipment, plunged in European trading after the Globe and Mail reported the company will file for bankruptcy protection as early as today. The board met last night to deal with “a financial crisis,” the newspaper reported, citing people working with Nortel and its creditors. Nortel will file in Toronto and an undisclosed U.S. location, the Globe and Mail reported. The company faces a $107 million interest payment tomorrow, the newspaper said. David Silke, a Nortel spokesman in Ireland, didn’t immediately return a call for comment.
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Japan’s corporate bankruptcies rose the most in eight years in 2008 as a deepening recession weakened sales and made it harder for businesses to get funds, Bloomberg reported. Bankruptcies climbed 11 percent from a year earlier to 15,646 cases last year, the fastest pace since 2000, Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd. said in Tokyo today. A total of 33 publicly traded companies went out of business in 2008, the most in the postwar period, the report said. Japanese companies have struggled to find investors willing to purchase their debt since the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September.
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Telecom operator TeliaSonera has given notice to 1,200 employees in Sweden as the recession continues to claim its victims, PC World reported. TeliaSonera is under pressure from trends including lower broadband tariffs and a move to mobile and IP (Internet Protocol) based services from fixed telephony, which is its main revenue source. The personnel cuts are part of a plan announced by TeliaSonera last February. The goal is to reduce its staff by 2,900 employees and save approximately 5 billion Swedish kronor (US$609 million).
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