Archive for Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Briefcase

August 20, 2002

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France reports tourism still lagging post-Sept. 11

France is the world's No. 1 travel destination, but tourism officials are fretting over new numbers that show visits to the nation's top attractions still sagging in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The five principal museums and monuments that require tickets for entry registered nearly 10.1 million visits in the first half of 2002, an 8.5 percent drop from the same period a year ago, according to the Paris Office of Tourism and Conferences.

Some 11 million visited the five the Louvre, the Georges Pompidou Center, the Eiffel Tower, Cite des Sciences and the Musee d'Orsay in the first half of 2001.

Patricia Mounier, spokeswoman for the Louvre, said 2002 is likely to finish as an unexceptional year in terms of attendance.

Wall Street

Aquila sells pipelines

Aquila Inc. shares rose Monday after the company announced that it had sold its natural gas pipeline systems and 50 percent interest in a pipeline company for $265 million in cash.

Aquila's stock closed Monday up 59 cents, or 29 percent, to $2.64 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock hit a 52-week low of $2.04 on Friday.

Aquila said it would sell its Southeast Texas and Mid-Continent natural gas pipeline systems, including natural gas and gas liquids processing assets, and a 50 percent interest in the Oasis Pipeline Co., to Energy Transfer Co. Ltd., a privately-held company based in Dallas. Aquila said it would use the proceeds to pay down debt.

Agriculture

State report shows rain only slight help to crops

Crops and pasture conditions were generally unchanged or slightly worse even after widespread showers fell across much of Kansas, according the Kansas Agricultural Statistic Service's weekly crop report.

The report released Monday rated the state's corn crop as 50 percent poor or very poor, up from 49 percent the week before. The milo crop was 56 percent poor or very poor, which was unchanged from the previous week. Soybeans continued to hold up the best among the fall crops, with 39 percent rated poor or very poor, also unchanged from last week.

Pasture conditions continued to deteriorate with 71 percent rated poor or very poor. Last week 69 percent were rated poor or very poor.

Pirated recordings

Music industry sues Sprint, other companies

Seeking to block access to a Chinese Web site it says is trafficking in pirated music, the U.S. recording industry is suing four companies that control the domestic Internet's main long-haul pipelines.

The music industry wants an immediate federal court order that would compel AT&T Broadband, Cable and Wireless, Sprint and WorldCom's UUNet to prevent U.S. Internet users from reaching Listen4ever.com.

The record labels say Listen4ever.com offers thousands of copyright songs for illegal download including recordings that have not yet been commercially released.

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