- - Sunday, October 30, 2011

SHOPPING

Target to open stores at midnight for Black Friday

NEW YORK | As the run-up to holiday shopping intensifies, Target Corp. said that its stores will open at midnight Thanksgiving night, beginning the traditional “Black Friday” shopping day four hours earlier than it did last year.

The Minneapolis-based chain’s 1,700 stores will stay open for 23 hours and close at 11 p.m. on Nov. 25. Target spokeswoman Susan Kahn said the change was a response to customers’ demands.

Retailers have expanded their Black Friday hours each year recently. The season’s kickoff overtook Thanksgiving Day last year, when Sears Holdings Corp. opened most Sears and Kmart stores Thanksgiving morning for the first time. Toys R Us stores opened at 10 p.m. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., whose supercenters already operate around the clock, opened most of its other stores by midnight last year.

EUROPE

China warns Europe it won’t play ‘savior’

SHANGHAI | China’s state media Sunday warned that the country will not be a “savior” to Europe, as President Hu Jintao left for an official visit to the region including a Group of 20 summit.

Mr. Hu’s visit has raised hopes that cash-rich China might make a firm commitment to the European bailout fund, but in a commentary, the official Xinhua news agency said Europe must address its own financial woes.

“China can neither take up the role as a savior to the Europeans, nor provide a ‘cure’ for the European malaise. Obviously, it is up to the European countries themselves to tackle their financial problems,” it said.

The Group of 20 major economies will meet in the French city of Cannes on Thursday and Friday, just a week after European Union leaders reached a last-ditch deal to tackle its debt crisis.

Europe is seeking to expand the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) to one trillion euros ($1.4 trillion), possibly through a special purpose investment vehicle or the International Monetary Fund. China, holder of the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves at $3.2 trillion, said it wanted more clarity before investing in the bailout fund after head of the EFSF, Klaus Regling, held talks in Beijing to try to win help.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Kodak hopes patent sales can avert bankruptcy

ROCHESTER, N.Y. | Picture this: Kodak - the company that invented the first digital camera in 1975, and developed the photo technology inside most cellphones and digital devices - is in the midst of the worst crisis in its 131-year history.

Now, caught between ruin and revival, Eastman Kodak Co. is reaching ever more deeply into its intellectual treasure chest, betting that a big cash infusion from the sale of 1,100 digital-imaging inventions will see it through a transition that has raised the specter of bankruptcy.

Kodak popularized photography over a century ago, but it has stumbled in attempts to reinvent itself as a profitable player in digital imaging and printing. Playing catch-up, the company has been hawking the digital patents since July, a move financial analysts say could fetch $2 billion to $3 billion or possibly more.

Patents have become highly valuable to digital device makers who want to protect themselves from intellectual property lawsuits. In July, an alliance made up of Apple and Microsoft purchased a raft of patents from Nortel Networks for $4.5 billion. A month later, Google bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, in part, to gain hold of the company’s 17,000 patents.

AIRLINES

Australian mediator orders end to Qantas lockout

SYDNEY | Qantas planes were set to fly again Monday after Australia’s workplace mediator ordered an end to a bitter industrial dispute that saw the carrier ground its entire fleet.

The ruling by Fair Work Australia will bring relief to tens of thousands of stranded passengers left in limbo since the airline locked out staff and canceled all flights indefinitely on Saturday.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said aircraft could be back in the air by Monday afternoon. Nearly 70,000 people in 22 cities around the world have been affected.

Justice Geoffrey Giudice, part of the industrial umpire panel, said the decision allowed for further negotiations between Qantas and unions over the next 21 days to try and hammer out their differences.