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TODAY'S PUZZLES / 03rd Week of 2005
Week Convergence into January, 14 2004
#Center Page
NBS100 Wireless Telephone updates its Stubblefield records to show that Cisco Systems Inc. is acquiring Airespace to Expand its Wireless Firewire or Wi-Fi Efforts, based on the NBS 1908 patent.
IBM Donates 500 Patents to the People of U.S. - Why?
China's Trade Surplus in '04 - US owes China $39Billion - Why?
NEWS Convergence - 02nd Week of 022005-02
NEWS Convergence - 012005-01
Yes90 NEWS That Was - 012005-01
NEWS OF THE WEEK - 012005-01
NEWS OF THE WEEK - 122004-50
NEWS OF THE WEEK - 122004-51
NEWS OF THE WEEK - 122004-52 (final week of 2004).
TIMELINE: Top Stories To Start The Week With: 012005-01

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Feature Stories - 032005-03 / Week Convergence Ending January, 14 2004

Stocks Buffeted by Oil Prices, Earnings
-----A jump in crude oil prices, largely mediocre earnings and a mix of economic data roiled the stock market last week, as investors held off on any major investments until a better view of the economy could be discerned.
-----On Friday, however, the markets staged a modest rally after the Labor Department reported a larger-than-expected drop in wholesale prices, staving off fears of inflation.
-----For the week, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.4%, the Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 0.1% and the Nasdaq lost 0.03%.

Storm Cuts Railroad's Capacity by a Third
-----Union Pacific Corp. said track damage from floods and washouts caused by punishing storms in California and Nevada might cut the number of trains serving Los Angeles by as much as a third for an "extended period."
-----The nation's largest railroad is making arrangements for rerouting some of the 90 trains that typically operate in the region each day, a spokeswoman said.
----- Union Pacific is bringing in contractors as well as workers from other regions to repair tracks and signals.
----- The railroad has no estimate of the financial effect of the Southern California flooding, the spokeswoman said. Union Pacific said the timing for restoring service on blocked routes depended on weather and the progress of repairs.

Oracle to Lay Off 5,000 as Takeover Takes Hold
-----A week after acquiring PeopleSoft, business software maker Oracle Corp. announced that it would lay off 5,000 employees -- most of whom probably work for its former rival, analysts said. Though details of who would be cut and when were not announced, rumors swirled through the industry.
-----By some accounts, Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison's famously cutthroat management style will be on full display: Pink slips may be delivered by express mail to employees at home over the weekend.
-----The widely expected purge by the Redwood City, Calif.-based company comes as the battered Silicon Valley job market just begins to recover from the crash of 2000.

Boeing to Shut Down Commercial Jet Plant
-----Boeing Co. said it would close the last commercial airplane production line in Southern California because of slow sales of its 717 passenger jet.
----- The shuttering of the sprawling Long Beach plant next year will have only a modest economic effect, because most of the 800 union workers will be transferred to jobs at a nearby Boeing factory that makes the C-17 military transport plane. But the plant's closing will mark the symbolic end of a chapter in the area's aerospace manufacturing history.
----- Separately, the U.S. and Europe averted a multibillion- dollar trade war -- for now -- by agreeing not to seek formal action from the World Trade Organization over claims of unfair government subsidies to Boeing and rival aircraft maker Airbus.
-----Instead, trade representatives said they would hold three months of talks.

State Farm Insurance Settles Overtime Suit
-----State Farm Insurance Cos. agreed to pay $135 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that it failed to pay overtime to 2,600 claims adjusters in California
-----The settlement, approved by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, is the latest multimillion-dollar payout in a wave of white-collar overtime lawsuits in California, where the laws governing this area are stricter than in other states.
-----Lawyers for the adjusters said the average award for each plaintiff would be $34,000, although those who worked for the company for eight years would receive an average of $64,000.
-----The State Farm adjusters, who filed their suit in 2000, said they worked an average of six to seven hours of overtime a week, including weekends, without premium pay.

Flying J Agrees to Buy Shell Oil Refinery
-----Shell Oil Co. said it would sell its Bakersfield refinery to one of the largest truck-stop chains in the U.S., giving a surprise reprieve to California motorists.
-----The deal with Ogden, Utah-based Flying J Inc. came weeks before the facility's planned March 31 closure. It could spare supply-strapped California the loss of 2% of its gasoline supply and 6% of its diesel.
-----Terms of the sale to closely held Flying J's refining subsidiary, Big West Oil, weren't disclosed. But sources familiar with the transaction said Shell, which had planned to spend $200 million to clean up and dismantle the facility, would receive $130 million for the 73-year-old refinery.
-----Hopes for a sale had been dashed last month when Shell said it had broken off negotiations with its leading suitor, New York investment firm Kelso & Co. Flying J was among a short list of earlier bidders.

IPod Sales Send Apple Profit Off the Charts
-----The popularity of iPod digital music players helped Apple Computer Inc. blow past Wall Street's expectations when it reported that quarterly profit more than quadrupled.
-----Although strong holiday demand for iPods led Apple's performance, the company said sales of its iMac desktop computers nearly doubled, lending credibility to its strategy of leveraging iPod to lure customers to its other products.
-----Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple reported a profit for its first quarter of $295 million, or 70 cents a share, well ahead of the consensus estimate of 49 cents by financial analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call. Revenue for the quarter that ended Dec. 25 was $3.5 billion
-----That compared with profit of $63 million, or 17 cents, on revenue of $2 billion a year earlier.
-----Just before its earnings announcement, Apple unveiled a $99 iPod and a $499 version of the Macintosh computer that will compete more directly against PC giants Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

Edward Jones Discloses Payments by Fund Firms
-----Los Angeles-based American Funds and six other mutual fund firms paid a total of $82.4 million to brokerage Edward Jones & Co. for selling their products through the first 11 months of last year, records showed.
----- The unusual disclosure was demanded by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other federal regulators, who said the St. Louis brokerage failed to tell customers that the funds on its "preferred list" paid millions of dollars to be there.
----- In addition to American Funds, a unit of Capital Group Cos., the preferred families are Federated Investors Inc.; Goldman Sachs Group Inc.; Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.; Lord Abbett & Co.; Putnam Investments, a unit of Marsh & McLennan Cos.; and Van Kampen Investments Inc., owned by Morgan Stanley.
----- The incentive payments are legal. But the SEC said Edward Jones violated securities law by failing to inform investors that it was being paid "undisclosed compensation" for recommending the mutual funds, creating potential conflicts of interest.
-----The brokerage agreed in December to disclose the arrangements and pay $75 million in penalties and restitution, which will be returned to customers.
-----Edward Jones is also the target of a civil securities fraud suit by California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer over the incentive payments. The brokerage has vowed to "vigorously defend itself" against the suit.

January 10, 2005 / NBS100 Wireless Telephone updates its Stubblefield records to show that Cisco Systems Inc. is acquiring Airespace to Expand its Wireless Firewire or Wi-Fi Efforts, based on the NBS 1908 patent. / YES90 / Reuters / January 13, 2005 - Internet equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. said Wednesday that it would acquire privately held Airespace for $450 million in stock and assumed options, a move that expands Cisco's offerings in the growing market for wireless data transmission.
San Jose-based Airespace makes equipment for wireless fidelity, or Wi-Fi, a technology that allows users to connect to the Internet or other networks without cumbersome cables, through the use of short-range signals.
Cisco, also based in San Jose, said the deal was subject to regulatory approval. It is expected to close in the company's 2005 fiscal third quarter, which ends in April.
The expanding Wi-Fi market, which is dominated by Cisco, has become increasingly complex as corporate customers require more sophisticated systems and services to help them install multiple access points with varying levels of security.
Cisco said the deal helped it to address a broader segment of the market. Airespace's products include WLAN controllers, Access Points, software and security.
"Airespace is a strong technological and cultural fit with an outstanding team," said Luca Cafiero, a Cisco vice president.
Cisco, whose appetite for acquisitions peaked in 2000 with more than 20 deals, bought 12 companies last year. The last deal of the scope of Airespace was Cisco's $500-million purchase of Linksys Group Inc., a maker of home-networking products, in March 2003.
Airespace in September won a key partnership with IBM Corp. to offer Wi-Fi systems to some of Big Blue's corporate customers. At the time, some analysts considered the deal a coup, given that IBM is among Cisco's largest customers. Airespace was backed by about $60 million in venture capital.


Center Page /

Top Stories To Start The Week With: 032005-03

IBM to Free 500 Patents
----- Yes90/ Reuters January 12, 2005-U.S. patent leader IBM Corp. plans to donate 500 patents for free use by software developers, marking a shift in intellectual property strategy for the world's top computer maker and a challenge to the high-tech industry.
-----Jim Stallings, IBM's vice president in charge of intellectual property, said Tuesday that the move was meant to encourage other companies to unlock patent portfolios to spur technological innovation.
-----As the leading provider of computer services, IBM also stands to benefit from helping other companies make use of new technology developed under the open licensing program.
-----The 500 patents cover areas such as storage management, simultaneous multiprocessing, image processing, database management and e-commerce.
-----IBM, which over the last decade has stood out as a leader among companies seeking to reap greater profit from its patent portfolio, will continue to receive royalties from thousands of patents it holds on chips, supercomputers and other products.
-----The donation coincides with an announcement by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that IBM topped the list of annual patent recipients for the 12th straight year in 2004, with 3,248 patents -- 1,314 more than No. 2-ranked Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. of Japan.
-----IBM's policy change puts it at the vanguard of a movement to redefine patent laws in less restrictive ways.
-----But Florian Mueller, campaign manager of a group lobbying to prevent software patents from becoming legal in the European Union, dismissed IBM's move as insubstantial.
----- "In Europe, IBM is a driving force behind the extension of the scope of patentability with respect to software," Mueller wrote on NoSoftwarePatents.com's website.
----- IBM was not available for comment on Mueller's remarks.
-----Shares of Armonk-N.Y.-based IBM fell 68 cents to $95 on the New York Stock Exchange.


China's Trade Surplus in '04 Hits 6-Year High
----- Yes90/AP January 12, 2005 - Surging exports helped push China's trade surplus to a six-year high of $32 billion in 2004, the Chinese government reported Tuesday.
----- December's trade surplus of $11.1 billion, the eighth straight month of surplus, was up 92.7% compared with the same month in 2003, the Ministry of Commerce said.
----- China's exports rose 35.4% in 2004 from a year earlier to $593.4 billion, while imports climbed 36% to $561.4 billion, the ministry said, citing customs statistics.
----- The $32-billion surplus was up 25.6% from that recorded in 2003 and the largest surplus since 1998, when the trade balance hit $43.4 billion.
----- The resurgence in China's trade surplus may revive pressure on Beijing from trading partners, especially the United States, to relax controls on its currency, the yuan.
-----China's exchange rate policies restrict the value of the yuan to a narrow band around 8.28 yuan per $1. Critics argue that the yuan is undervalued, making China's exports cheaper overseas and giving its manufacturers an unfair advantage.
-----Despite the surge in December's trade surplus, growth in both exports and imports slowed in December from the previous month and from the same month in 2003, the figures show.
-----Exports grew 32.7% in December from the same month a year earlier to $63.8 billion, outpacing a 24.6% increase in imports to $52.7 billion.


ByLines: Editors Note
Quincy Jones Bylines

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-----It just goes to show you, says Troy about the TV and Film industry -- "NOTHING IN THIS WORLD IS PERMANENT" . . . so follow the money - - and take some advice from a dinner-time chat with "Stonehead" -- Disappointments Are Great! Follow the Money . . . the Internet and the Smart- Daaf Boys.


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