- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 5, 2007

National

U Coca-Cola Co., the world’s biggest soft-drink maker, may consider making a bid for Cadbury Schweppes PLC’s Snapple fruit-beverage unit, a move that would fit into its plan to expand with water and teas as soda consumption falls. Coca-Cola, based in Atlanta, will evaluate whether it can make an offer for the division or submit a joint bid with another company, spokesman Dana Bolden said.

U Google Inc., the owner of the world’s largest search engine, lost a bid to overturn a German court decision over the trademark rights to Gmail, the name of its Web-based e-mail service. The Higher Regional Court of Hamburg rejected Google’s appeal against the April 2006 decision in which a lower court denied Google the trademark rights to the name, ruling it was too similar to a mark used by a German businessman.

U The sci-fi adventure movie “Transformers” took in $8.8 million from Monday night screenings in advance of its official Tuesday release, providing a healthy lead-in for what studios hope will be a strong Fourth of July week at theaters.

U Apollo Management LP offered $6.35 billion for U.S. chemical maker Huntsman Corp., topping a bid from billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries Holdings LLC. The New York-based buyout firm offered $27.25 a share in cash, Huntsman said. That’s $2 more than Access’ recommended bid made on June 26 and 44 percent higher than the stock’s close the previous day.

International

U China is stepping up controls on dental care products, state media reported amid international alarm over Chinese toothpaste producers’ use of a potentially toxic chemical found in antifreeze. Countries in North and South America, as well as Asia, have recently halted imports of Chinese-made toothpaste due to its content of diethylene glycol, a low-cost and sometimes deadly substitute for glycerin.

U German-U.S. auto giant DaimlerChrysler said that worldwide sales of its Mercedes-Benz brand cars declined in June as a result of a shake-up of the model portfolio of its ultracompact Smart cars. DaimlerChrysler said it sold a total 117,200 cars worldwide last month, 1.3 percent fewer than in the same month last year.

U The British pound held its ground above $2 but eased back from a 26-year high posted earlier in the day with the Fourth of July holiday and looming European interest rate decisions limiting currency markets movement, dealers said. The pound rose as high as $2.0207 in early European trade — the highest level since June 1981, but stood later at $2.0161. The euro edged up to $1.3623 from $1.3610 late Tuesday in New York.

U Bank of England policy-makers are set to increase today British interest rates to 5.75 percent, a six-year high, as Britain’s economy grows faster than expected, analysts said. Some economists have forecast borrowing costs to hit 6 percent before the end of 2007.

U Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stepped up pressure on Brazil and Paraguay to ratify his country’s entry into a South American trade bloc, giving them a September deadline to do so. Mr. Chavez threatened to drop Venezuela’s bid to join Mercosur if the congresses of Brazil and Paraguay fail to ratify it.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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