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Around the business world

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Adidas World Cup balls selling hot: BERLIN ” Adidas AG CEO Herbert Hainer says since sales of its official World Cup ball, which debuted in December, went on sale, about 15 million of the 14-panel, thermobonded balls have been scooped up by buyers worldwide at prices up to $138 apiece.

Savers not seeing benefits from Fed rate hikes: WASHINGTON ” The borrower’s pain is not necessarily the saver’s gain. The cost of mortgages, home equity lines and credit card debt has gone up with each rate hike by the Federal Reserve. Savers, for the most part, have not seen comparable increases in their returns.

Senate approves Paulson as treasury chief: WASHINGTON ” The Senate Finance Committee approves the nomination of Henry Paulson to be the country’s next treasury secretary.



Wall Street stands pat: NEW YORK ” Stocks barely changed as they recovered from the previous session’s selloff and as traders await Thursday’s expected interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve.

WTO trade talks in danger of collapsons: NEW YORK ” The EU, U.S. and leading developing countries need to make difficult concessions this week on opening up their markets or risk the possible collapse of the WTO’s five-year global trade talks, the commerce body’s top official says.



Peru’s Congress approves trade pact with U.S.: LIMA, Peru ” Peru’s Congress overwhelmingly voted to ratify a free trade pact with the United States following more than six hours of debate that was interrupted by a small group of recently elected nationalist lawmakers burst onto the legislative floor in a show of opposition.

Honda expanding in U.S. ” GREENSBURG, Ind. ” Honda Motor Co., Indiana officials and analysts on Wednesday hailed the automaker’s decision to build a $550 million auto assembly plant in southeastern Indiana by 2008, saying the partnership would help capacity-constrained Honda ramp up its North American sales and transform a state hit hard by manufacturing job losses.



Fairs becoming more fuel efficient: FRANKENMUTH, Mich. ” The Bavarian Festival looks, sounds and smells like most other traveling amusement shows, except for one small detail: A 350-kilowatt generator powers the festival ” with biodiesel. The Bavarian Festival is one of a growing number of county fairs, carnivals and hometown festivals across the nation that will be powered by biodiesel this summer as amusement companies search for solutions for high diesel prices.

J. Crew’s stock soars during IPO: NEW YORK ” In the third biggest apparel retail IPO ever, J. Crew Group Inc.’s shares rise 25 percent in their trading debut after pricing higher than expected.

DaimlerChrysler to begin selling smart: DETROIT ” DaimlerChrysler AG will begin selling its funky, two-seat Smart car in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2008. The decision ” announced by CEO Dieter Zetsche during an appearance in Detroit ” is a watershed moment for Smart, which has not posted a profit since it was formed in 1998.

Senators urged to regulate hedge funds: WASHINGTON ” Senators are being urged to regulate hedge funds, the high-risk investment pools that traditionally served the very wealthy but are increasingly luring ordinary investors.

Morgan Stanley appeals lawsuit loss: NEW YORK ” Attorneys for Morgan Stanley asked an appeals court to overturn a $1.58 billion verdict in May 2005 in favor of billionaire businessman Ronald Perelman. The chairman of Revlon Inc. accused the financial management firm of deceiving him about Sunbeam Corp.’s failing finances in a buyout deal of his camping equipment company, Coleman Inc. Eds: Developing from 10 a.m. EDT hearing.

Microsoft strong on education: SEATTLE ” Although Bill Gates’ massive philanthropic foundation tends to get the most attention for its efforts to transform education, the company Gates co-founded also has increasingly delved into the world of academia. Microsoft Corp. sponsors technology contests, partners with academics and even runs its own large research center.

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