Jan 26

Paul King, mine manager, inspects a Caterpillar Inc. haul truck at the Australian Bulk Minerals iron ore mine at Savage River in Tasmania, Australia, on Nov. 6, 2008. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg News

Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) — Caterpillar Inc., Sprint Nextel Corp. and Home Depot Inc. led companies today announcing at least 72,500 job cuts as sales withered and construction slowed amid a global economic recession that may persist through 2009.

The biggest layoffs were at Peoria, Illinois-based Caterpillar. The world’s largest maker of construction equipment said it’s cutting 20,000 jobs after fourth-quarter profit fell by almost a third.

Pfizer Inc., the New York-based drugmaker that’s acquiring competitor Wyeth for $68 billion, said it will close five factories and eliminate 19,000 jobs, or 15 percent, of the combined company’s workforce.

The firings came as American jobless claims hit a 26-year high, reaching 589,000 in the week ended Jan. 17, as shrinking demand for products and services forced companies to lower costs.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Apr 13

Would you want other people to know, all day long, exactly where you are, right down to the street corner or restaurant?

Unsettling as that may sound to some, wireless carriers are betting that many of their customers do, and they’re rolling out services to make it possible.

Sprint Nextel Corp. has signed up hundreds of thousands of customers for a feature that shows them where their friends are with colored marks on a map viewable on their cellphone screens. Now, Verizon Wireless is gearing up to offer such a service in the next several weeks to its 65 million customers, people familiar with it say.
WSJ’s Jessica Vascellaro tests out Loopt’s new buddy-tracking device to see whether it’s helpful for hooking up with friends or just another invasion of privacy.

Making this people-tracking possible is that cellphones today come embedded with Global Positioning System technology. With it, carriers have already offered mapping features such as turn-by-turn driving instructions. But they long hesitated to offer another breakthrough made possible by GPS — tracking of cellphone users’ whereabouts in real time — because of privacy and liability concerns. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mar 14


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The House of Representatives abruptly postponed a vote on a spy bill on Thursday after Democrats agreed to a Republican request to hold a rare secret session to discuss classified security matters.

The vote was reset for Friday.

The bill would revamp a 1978 surveillance law and reject President George W. Bush’s demand that phone companies that participated in his warrantless domestic spy program begun after the September 11 attacks be immunized from lawsuits. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , ,