Design seminar moved
to March 19 at City Hall
n TUPELO – The Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association has rescheduled today’s design seminar. The session, “Design Assessment Tools,” will be held Thursday, March 19.
The free event will be held in the Council Chambers at City Hall at 5 p.m. The final session, “Keeping Up Appearances,” will be April 16.
The design series is geared at teaching business owners about good design for their buildings and storefronts.
Toyota voices concerns
about parts suppliers
n A top Toyota executive said Wednesday the Japanese automaker is concerned about the fate of 20 percent of its parts suppliers who face a cash crunch because of the sluggish economy.
Jim Lentz, Toyota’s top U.S. executive, said he stressed the company’s concerns for U.S. suppliers during a 35-minute meeting with the Obama administration’s auto task force on Wednesday.
Lentz requested the meeting with the panel to discuss conditions of the U.S. auto industry, but said Toyota is not seeking any federal aid.
Lentz said Toyota has concerns about 100 of its top 500 parts suppliers in March and April because many are grappling with weak revenue from lengthy shutdowns in car assembly plants throughout the industry in December and January.
Budget deficit hits
$765B in five months
n Lower tax revenue and massive government spending on the bank bailout pushed the federal deficit to $765 billion in the first five months of the budget year, well on its way to hitting the Obama administration’s projection of a record annual imbalance of $1.75 trillion.
The Treasury Department also said Wednesday that the February deficit reached $192.8 billion. That’s a record for the month and up 10 percent from a year ago, but below analysts’ expectations of $205.7 billion.
With seven months left in the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30, the deficit already has shattered last year’s record annual gap of $454.8 billion.
Freddie Mac seeks
help after $50B loss
n Freddie Mac is asking the government for $30.8 billion in aid after posting a gargantuan loss of more than $50 billion last year as the U.S. housing market worsened.
The mortgage finance company posted a loss of $23.9 billion, or $7.37 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2008. That compares with a loss of $2.5 billion, or $3.97 a share, in the year-ago period.
The recent loss was driven by $13.2 billion in hedged trades, $7.2 billion in credit losses due to declining housing market conditions and $7.5 billion in writedowns of the value of its mortgage-backed securities.
Dell won’t reveal
details of layoffs
n ROUND ROCK – Dell Inc., the world’s second-largest computer maker, said Wednesday it is laying off workers around the world but would not say how many or where.
The company would confirm only that some of the employees are based at an assembly plant in North Carolina’s Forsyth County.
About a year ago, Dell said it planned to cut $3 billion from its annual expenses, in part by laying off 8,800 people, or 10 percent of its 88,200-member work force at the time.
As of Jan. 30, Dell indicated it had gone beyond that goal and lowered head count by 9,300.
Google to target ads
based on surfing habits
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google will use the information it collects on people’s Web surfing habits to show more ads tailored to their individual interests.
Under the program announced Wednesday, someone who frequents sites about dogs might see more ads for flea treatment products.
The program expands upon the Internet search leader’s efforts to figure out which marketing messages are most likely to appeal to different people at different times.
Apple launches smaller,
4-gig iPod shuffle
SEATTLE — Apple Inc. unveiled a minuscule new iPod Shuffle on Wednesday that takes its “smaller is better” mantra to a whole new level.
The third-generation Shuffle, a slim aluminum rectangle less than 2 inches long, takes up about half as much space as the previous version even as it doubles music storage space to 4 gigabytes. To achieve such a tiny form, Apple had to remove most of the buttons from the body of the $79 device and build them into the headphone cord instead.