Business briefs, June 28

Business briefs, June 28
Oklahoman Published: June 28, 2012
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Business briefs

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ExxonMobil CEO shrugs off fears

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson says fears about climate change, drilling and energy dependence are overblown. Tillerson acknowledged in a speech Wednesday that burning fossil fuels is warming the planet, but he said society will be able to adapt. The risks of oil and gas drilling are well understood and can be mitigated, he said. And dependence on other nations for oil is not a concern as long as access to supply is certain. Tillerson blamed a public that is “illiterate” in science and math, a “lazy” press, and advocacy groups that “manufacture fear” for energy misconceptions in his speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. He highlighted huge discoveries of oil and gas in North America in recent years that have reversed a 20-year decline in U.S. oil production. He also trumpeted the global oil industry's ability to deliver fuels during two years of dramatic uncertainty in the Middle East, the world's most important oil- and gas-producing region.

Pilots to vote on company offer

Union leaders at American Airlines agreed to let pilots vote on a company proposal for deep cuts in labor spending, just two days before a bankruptcy judge could have imposed even tougher terms. A union spokesman said Wednesday that the Allied Pilots Association board voted 9-7 to order a ratification vote on American's offer, reversing a board decision from last week. American said that with the pilots' vote now set, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane would postpone his decision on whether to throw out the airline's contracts with pilots and other employees for several weeks. The union said pilots would begin voting in mid-July and results would be counted Aug. 8. Separately, American said it also would resume negotiations with flight attendants and mechanics next week.

Official praises ad-skipping DVR

Dish Network Corp. chairman Charlie Ergen says his company's ad-skipping DVR, the Hopper, has a side benefit: It keeps children from watching ads about junk food and alcohol. Ergen made the comments before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology on Wednesday. “Allowing your kids to watch TV doesn't have to mean they have no choice but to see commercials for junk food and alcohol,” he said, according to prepared remarks. Englewood, Colo.-based Dish is in a legal fight with CBS, NBC and Fox over its Hopper digital video recorder. Flip on the set-top box's “PrimeTime Anytime” service, and the machine records four hours of TV every night from ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox while stripping out commercials. The broadcasters suing Dish say the service violates licensing agreements. Dish has said its service is not much different from how people use other DVRs.

Barclays to pay settlement

Barclays PLC and its subsidiaries will pay about $453 million to settle charges that they tried to manipulate interest rates that can affect how much people pay for loans to attend college or buy a house. Britain's Barclays is one of several major banks reportedly under investigation for such violations. The incidents occurred between 2005 and 2009 and sometimes took place daily, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Wednesday in announcing the settlement. A $200 million civil penalty levied against Barclays is the largest in the CFTC's history.

Samsung tablet sales halted

A judge ordered Samsung Electronics Co. to halt sales of its Galaxy 10.1 tablet computer while the court considers Apple Inc.'s claim that the South Korean tech giant illegally copied the design of the popular iPad. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said Apple's lawsuit appeared likely to prevail. Koh had earlier said the two products are “virtually indistinguishable,” but she declined in December to take the dramatic step of prohibiting sales of the Galaxy 10.1. She changed her mind after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit told her to take another look at Apple's request for an injunction.

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