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Russian social media CEO quits, flees country PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by LAURA MILLS, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:56

MOSCOW (AP) — The founder of Russia's leading social media network — a wunderkind often described as Russia's Mark Zuckerberg — has left his post as CEO and fled the country as cronies of President Vladimir Putin have made steady inroads into the company's ownership.

The slow-motion ouster of Pavel Durov from the network known as VKontakte, or "In Contact," is the latest sign that independent media outlets in Russia have become increasingly imperiled.

Although months in the making, the loss of Durov's leadership in VKontakte means that the space for free speech on the Russian web could shrink even further.

Users on VKontakte were even spreading jokes this week that the new nickname for the "In Contact" website should be "In Censorship."

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Delta navigates nasty winter, tops profit forecast PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by DAVID KOENIG, AP Airlines Writer   
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 08:05

DALLAS (AP) — Delta is making more money by filling more seats on its planes and fuel costs inch downward from last year.

Delta Air Lines Inc. said Wednesday that net income in the first quarter was $213 million, up from $7 million a year earlier.

Excluding items such as restructuring costs, Delta earned 33 cents per share. Analysts were expecting 29 cents per share.

Revenue is up 5 percent to $8.92 billion, matching analyst forecasts.

Passengers did 4 percent more flying than in the same period last year even though bad weather caused Delta to cancel more than 17,000 flights in January and February. The storms cut Delta's revenue by $90 million.


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Ovation guitar factory in Connecticut is closing PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by DAVE COLLINS, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 13:51

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — An Ovation guitar factory in the western Connecticut hills that produced instruments for music legends from Paul Simon to Cat Stevens to Glen Campbell will be closing in June after 47 years and production of the Ovation line in the United States will stop, the manufacturer's parent company told the shop's 46 workers this week.

One former factory worker called it "the end of an iconic American brand."

Fender Musical Instruments Corp., based in Scottsdale, Ariz., and maker of the iconic Stratocaster electric guitar, said in an announcement Tuesday that it was ceasing domestic production of Ovation guitars and closing the New Hartford factory, citing "current market conditions and insufficient volume levels." The company also said it is consolidating production of U.S.-made acoustic instruments.

Ovations will continue to be manufactured outside the U.S., Fender spokesman Jason Farrell said Wednesday. He said Fender also builds Ovations in China, South Korea and Indonesia.

"We are committed to providing the same high quality musical instruments our artists, consumers and customers expect and demand, and will continue to support the brands that are currently being produced in New Hartford," Richard McDonald, senior vice president of Fender, said in a statement.

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Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer   
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 06:35

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota kept its position at the top in global vehicle sales for the first quarter of this year, outpacing rivals General Motors and Volkswagen.

Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday that it sold a record 2.583 million vehicles in the January-March period, putting the Japanese automaker ahead of Detroit-based GM at 2.42 million and Volkswagen of Germany at 2.4 million.

Toyota's first quarter sales rose by more than 6 percent from the same period the previous year. GM's sales grew 2 percent, while Volkswagen's added nearly 6 percent.

Toyota finished first last year with a record 9.98 million vehicles in sales, remaining the top-selling automaker for a second year in a row. General Motors Co. finished second and VW third.

Toyota is targeting sales of more than 10 million vehicles this year. No automaker has sold that many in a year. Toyota officials say being No. 1 is not that important, and they want to be No. 1 in customer satisfaction.

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