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Rollercoaster ride leaves Shanghai stock investors flat

Shanghai– Chinese stocks ended 2015 slightly higher despite a wild ride that saw trillions wiped off market capitalizations in a summer rout that shook global markets and prompted an unprecedented government rescue package. From January 1 to mid-June the Shanghai market – which had already surged by more than 50 percent in 2014 – leaped by 60 percent again. Then it slumped nearly a third in three weeks, before slowly recovering. After all the gyrations of the most volatile year in the quarter-century history of the modern Chinese stock market, the Shanghai Composite Index closed at 3,539.18 on Thursday, up 9.4 percent for the year. “It was the year of the ‘monkey market’ for Chinese stocks -- jumping up and down like a monkey,’’ said Professor Oliver Rui of the China Europe International Business …

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Atlanta airport celebrates 100-millionth passenger

Atlanta, Georgia — The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which serves more passengers than any other airport in the world, has reached 100 million passengers since Jan. 1, marking a milestone no other airport has ever reached, officials said. When anointed passenger Larry Kendrick flew in from Gulfport, Mississippi, on Sunday – one of the busiest travel days of the year – he was greeted with several prizes: Two round-trip tickets to anywhere, $500, and a Nissan Altima, presumably to go to places the planes will not fly. “I’m happy I could be part of it,” said the 35-year-old Kendrick in a statement released by the airport. Kendrick took his winning trip aboard Delta Airlines Flight 1256. Hartsfield-Jackson is Delta’s hub. Kendrick was identified through a series of accounting estimates and algorithms, airport officials …

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Microsoft to warn users about ‘nation-state’ intrusion

Washington— Microsoft has joined other online companies with a new policy alerting users if their accounts are being targeted by governments. “A key part of our work is identifying and preventing unauthorized access to your Microsoft account (including Outlook.com email and OneDrive) by anyone other than you,’’ Microsoft vice president Scott Charney said in a blog Wednesday. “We’re taking an additional step today. We will now notify you if we believe your account has been targeted or compromised by an individual or group working on behalf of a nation-state.’’ Microsoft said it already notifies users if accounts have been targeted or compromised by a third party but is taking the additional step of letting people know if it is likely that the attacker may be “state-sponsored’’ because “it is likely that the attack …

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German court rejects extending Etihad’s Air Berlin code-sharing

A German court rejected an effort by Etihad Airways to prolong a seat-sales sharing accord with Air Berlin Plc on 31 routes during the winter schedule, a potential setback to the German carrier’s struggle to return to profit. Etihad, the biggest shareholder in Air Berlin with a 29 percent stake, is examining the ruling by the administrative court of the state of Lower Saxony and expects to file an appeal next week, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier said Wednesday in a statement. The company stands by its German partner, it said. German regulators provided a temporary extension until mid-January to the airlines’ code-sharing pact on the routes in October, when clearance was set to expire. Judges at the court in Braunschweig ruled on Wednesday that Etihad and Air Berlin must halt the practice …

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US dollar outshines 16 major currencies

The dollar outperformed all of its 16 major peers in 2015 after the Federal Reserve began its first interest-rate-raising cycle in almost a decade. A gauge of the US currency posted a third year of gains after central bank policy makers deemed the economy strong enough to merit boosting rates from virtually zero. The yen had a record fourth annual decline, while the euro slumped a second year, as stimulus in Japan and the euro area widened the gap between monetary policy in those regions and the US. Divergence was the name of the game for currency traders in 2015 as U.S. policy makers inched toward tighter monetary conditions, while central banks elsewhere eased. That sent the dollar flying higher during the first three months of the year, before disappointing economic data …

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Airbus pushes back delivery of A320neo aircraft to early 2016

Paris/Berlin— European planemaker Airbus has pushed back the delivery of its first A320neo aircraft to the start of 2016, it said, missing a goal to hand over the revamped version of the jet to its initial customer by the end of 2015. The A320neo, seen as a profit driver for Airbus and its suppliers in coming years, won safety approval in late November, and Airbus said it was working with its development partners to bring the plane into operation. “All three partners continue working with all efforts and full focus towards bringing the fuel-efficient A320neo into service within the next weeks,” Airbus said in a statement, adding that the problem lay with documentation for the delivery, but without giving any further details. German carrier Lufthansa became the first airline due to take delivery …

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Asian stocks poised for second year of decline due to commodity rout

Asia Pacific stocks fell in light trading on the final day of the year, with the regional benchmark index heading for its first back-to-back annual decline since 2002, as energy shares followed crude oil lower. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index excluding Japan slipped 0.1 percent to 410.54 as of 8:10 a.m. in Hong Kong, with raw- material companies leading declines. The MSCI gauge that includes Japan headed for a 4.5 percent drop this year amid decelerating Chinese growth and a rout in commodities. That compares with a 0.2 percent advance for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and a 7.4 percent increase for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. “This year has been a very volatile and difficult year as the markets were assaulted by volatility from different asset classes,” Kelvin Tay, regional …

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Regulating use of cell phones Part I

The phenomenal growth in the use of cell phones worldwide is astounding. From 1984 to 2004, cell phones reached the first billion; the second billion took just eighteen months; the third billion took only nine months; and by the end of 2008, four billion cell phones are expected to flood the world. Today, many people are already asking if there are health risks in using cell phones. Many people are getting disturbed because many users of cell phones are experiencing some health conditions – although the health conditions may also be attributable to other causes as well. Many people are bothered by reports that some illnesses and ailments may be due to excessive use of cell phones – especially when a recent news item appeared that one well-known American politician …

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S. Korea exports show sharpest decline for six years in 2015

South Korea's exports fell last year at their fastest rate since the global financial crisis, with 12 straight monthly declines fuelled by a strong won and plunging oil prices. The government data published Friday is a grim annual report for a country whose exports account for roughly half of its economic output. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said exports were down 7.9 percent from the previous year at $527.2 billion -- the sharpest annual decline since 2009. Outbound shipments plunged 13.8 percent in December alone, the ministry said. A host of factors have contributed to the export downturn, including the rise of the South Korean won against Japan's yen, while its biggest trading partner China has embarked on a series of devaluations of its yuan currency. Low global oil prices have also been …

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