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Digest

China trade talks produce some progress

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 24, 2007


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WASHINGTON

The United States and China concluded two days of high-level economic talks on Wednesday with a variety of minor agreements but failed to make progress in their dispute over China's undervalued currency. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the two countries agreed on a variety of next steps to be taken in such areas as financial services, energy and the environment and a deal allowing passenger flights between the U.S. and China to more than double by 2012. Paulson said the two sides also would cooperate in the development of clean energy technology, something critical in China, which depends heavily on coal-fired power plants.

ATLANTA

Sentence stiff in Coke secrets case

A federal judge ignored a former Coca-Cola secretary's plea for mercy Wednesday and sentenced her to eight years in prison for conspiring to steal trade secrets from the world's largest beveragemaker. U.S. District Judge J. Owen Forrester told Joya Williams, 42, that he was giving her a longer sentence than recommended by federal prosecutors and sentencing guidelines because, "This is the kind of offense that cannot be tolerated in our society."

SAN JOSE, Calif.

Eyebrows pop over Google investment

Google invested $3.9-million in a biotech start-up co-founded by Sergey Brin's wife, Anne Wojcicki, the Internet giant disclosed Tuesday. Brin, who co-founded Google in 1998, married Wojcicki in a secret ceremony in early May, the same month that Google's investment was made, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Experts in corporate governance said transactions involving the friends and family of top executives raise red flags. "This is especially true at firms where insiders exert effective control, " said Pat McGurn, executive vice president and special counsel of Institutional Shareholder Services. Brin controls 28 percent of Google's voting stock.

GENEVA

Tiny nation wants U.S. to pay up

The Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda is seeking compensation from the U.S. over its illegal restrictions on Internet gambling sites based overseas and on Tuesday asked other countries to join in as it targets Washington over its failure to comply with global trade rules. Antigua, the smallest country to successfully litigate a case in the World Trade Organization's 12-year history, also threatened to target American trademarks, copyrights and telecommunications companies after the WTO on Tuesday formally adopted a landmark decision reached in March that the United States' restrictions on online gambling were illegal.

new york

Pay mortgage on card, get benefits

American Express Co., seeking to tap new markets and boost sales, will allow consumers to earn perks including rewards points on airlines and hotels by charging their mortgage payments. The Rewards Mortgage program started Wednesday with American Home Mortgage Corp., spokeswoman Christine Elliott said.

[Last modified May 23, 2007, 22:40:11]


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