APPLE BOOSTS IPHONE, IPOD MEMORY, PRICE: Apple Inc. updated its iPhone and iPod Touch lineup Tuesday, doubling the memory and setting a new premium price for its high-end models. The latest iPhone features 16 gigabytes of memory and retails for $499. The previously released 8 GB version of the hybrid cell phone, multimedia player and wireless Internet device costs $399. The new iPod Touch comes with 32 GB of memory and retails for $499. The older 16 GB and 8 GB versions of the combination multimedia player wireless Internet gadget cost $399 and $299, respectively. The new devices are available through Apple's online and retail stores. The updated iPhone also is available through AT&T Inc.'s online and retail stores. Apple said that all iPhone and iPod Touch models come with updated software that the company announced in January. It includes a new maps application and the ability to watch movies from the iTunes movie rental service.
CRUISE SURCHARGES COME UNDER REVIEW: Florida's attorney general is reviewing whether cruise lines such as Carnival Corp. and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. adequately disclosed surcharges they started billing passengers this month to offset rising fuel prices. Attorney General Bill McCollum has received 150 complaints from customers regarding the fuel surcharge, spokeswoman Sandi Copes said Tuesday. The charge was announced in November by both cruise lines and it began to be applied on voyages beginning Feb. 1. Authorities said their primary concern is the adequate disclosure of surcharges at the "point of sale." The attorney general's office was reviewing whether the charges were applied to passengers who had already booked a cruise when the announcement was made. Both cruise lines have said that they provided customers with enough time to cancel their sailings with no penalties. Carnival and Royal Caribbean, the world's top two cruise operators, began a $5 per person, per day fuel "supplement." Both Miami-based cruise lines said the charge applies only to the first and second guests in each stateroom and does not exceed $70 per person, per voyage. Other cruise firms also have added fuel surcharges.
CHRYSLER PRODUCTION RESTARTS AFTER DEAL: Struggling parts supplier Plastech Engineered Products Inc. has agreed to resume sending parts to Chrysler, temporarily halting a financial dispute that had closed four of the automaker's assembly plants. The deal announced Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit means Plastech would start making interior and exterior parts on its second shift Tuesday afternoon, allowing Chrysler to restart production at the factories. The four Chrysler plants, as well as one shift at a fifth, were shut down Monday due to a lack of door panels and other interior and exterior parts from Plastech, which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Chrysler said in a statement that its factories were going back on-line starting with Tuesday's second shift. About 10,500 workers had been idled by the dispute, which threatened to spread to all 14 of the automaker's assembly plants.
DISNEY EARNINGS BEAT WALL STREET FORECAST: The Walt Disney Co.'s quarterly profit fell 26 percent from a year earlier, when it benefited from the sale of a magazine and entertainment channel, but the media conglomerate notched a 9 percent jump in revenue powered by growth in its cable and television division. For the fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 29, Burbank-based Disney reported net income of $1.25 billion, or 63 cents per share, compared with $1.70 billion, or 79 cents per share, in the prior-year period. Still, the results beat Wall Street expectations. Prior-year results included gains from the company's sale of its shares in US Weekly magazine and the E! Entertainment channel and the discontinuation of its ABC Radio business. Excluding the one-time items, earnings grew 29 percent to 63 cents per share from 49 cents in the prior-year period. Revenue grew to $10.45 billion compared with $9.58 billion in the same quarter a year earlier.
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1 (tie), 3: In a survey of more than 130 countries, ranks of Denmark, New Zealand and Canada as the countries that report the highest level of well-being, according to a Gallup Poll.
6: Rank of the United States, behind Venezuela and Australia (tied for fourth).
0: Number of countries in mainland Asia or Africa that make the top 10.
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