GOOGLE DEBATES OVER FACE RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY
Google executives are wrestling over whether to launch controversial facial recognition technology after a barrage of criticism over its privacy policies. Eric Schmidt, chief executive, said a series of public disputes over privacy issues had caused the management team to review its procedures and the launch of new technologies. According to Google executives, facial recognition is one of the key topics of internal debate.
STUDY DISPUTES PRU’S CLAIMS OVER AIA SALES
Prudential’s claims that its $35.5bn takeover of AIA will boost the amount of business sold by the pan-Asian company’s agents have been disputed by independent research. The Pru, which this week launched its $21bn rights issue to fund the deal, said in its presentations that it could deliver $800m of revenue improvements – or synergies – from combining with AIA.
WHITBREAD USES PROPERTY TO FILL PENSIONS GAP
Whitbread, the hotels, restaurants and cafés group, is to shore up the finances of its defined benefit pension scheme with a portfolio of properties that will guarantee payments of more than £100m over the next 15 years.
NYLON EFFORT TO HALT ACTION DISMISSED
The High Court yesterday dismissed an application by Nylon Capital, the hedge fund, to halt legal proceedings brought by Barclays connected to its decision to invest £250m of “seed capital” into Nylon’s flagship funds. Nylon was set up six years ago by former head of government bond trading and fixed-income derivatives at Barclays Capital, and at the time was one of the largest new hedge funds.
VAUXHALL CAR WORKERS TRADE PAY FREEZE FOR JOB SECURITY
More than 3,200 Vauxhall workers are bracing themselves for a two-year wage freeze. Vauxhall’s parent company, the Opel/Vauxhall European division of General Motors, said that it was close to a deal with unions, which have been told that the company needs to find €265 million (£225 million) a year in savings from its workers.
FLICKERING LIGHTS CAST SHADOWS ON EDF’S BRITISH SALE
The £4 billion sale of EDF’s British electricity distribution business is being hampered by concerns about the network’s poor reliability, the chief executive of Scottish and Southern Energy claimed yesterday. Ian Marchant said that SSE was one of three remaining bidders for the business.
The Daily Telegraph
BP FACES GROWING CALLS FOR BOYCOTT OF ITS US PRODUCTS
BP’s problems mounted on Wednesday as the number of followers of a Facebook group called “Boycott BP” grew to almost 34,000. The group was set up in the US by a man who calls himself “BayouLee”, referring to the name given to the part of Louisiana worst affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to date. The group’s aim is to encourage people to boycott BP petrol stations.
PADDY OFFERS CASH-FOR-ASH BET COVER
Insurers may have balked at offering passengers cover against the latest airport closures caused by Iceland’s erupitng volcano- but not Irish bookmaker Paddy Power. Paddy has started taking bets on volcanic ash closing specific UK and Irish airports for at least an hour on summer dates.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
JAPAN'S ECONOMIC RECOVERY SEEN TAKING HOLD
Japan's economy is getting a new lift from exports to Asian neighbors and rising consumer spending, suggesting the country’s recovery is gaining traction. A series of positive indicators and profit reports have given analysts and economists new optimism about Japan’s prospects, suggesting the world’s second-largest economy is following the US in pulling out of recession nd has so far avoided the slump that continues to haunt Europe.
JP MORGAN STEPS BACK FROM WAMU TAX BREAK
JP Morgan Chase is abandoning its demand for a $1.4bn tax break in exchange for a bigger upfront share of a Washington Mutual bankruptcy settlement, according to people close to the situation.