AG FORUMS TO FOCUS ON INVASIVE SPECIES: Keeping fire ants, blackberries and other invasive species in check will be the topic of symposiums Tuesday and Wednesday. They will be from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Harvest Hall at the Stanislaus County Agricultural Center, 3800 Cornucopia Way, off Crows Landing Road, west of Ceres. The events are open to people interested in control of these insects and plants on farms, riverbanks and other places where they can do damage. Tuesday's symposium will deal with several control efforts, funding options and other topics. Wednesday's will focus on preventing accidental spreading of the species via equipment. The symposiums are free, but there is a $10 fee each day for lunch. People planning to attend must contact Lisa Alamo at 491-9320, ext. 121, or email@example.com by Friday. The event is co-sponsored by the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, the resource conservation districts in the county, and other entities.
MOTOROLA CAVES IN, TO SPLIT CELL OPERATION: Motorola Inc. bowed to pressure from investors Wednesday, announcing a plan to split its struggling cell phone business from other operations to form two separate publicly traded companies. The widely expected deal comes as the suburban Chicago cell phone maker faces a second straight year of agitation from billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who has become increasingly frustrated with Motorola's eroding phone sales. Executives said the move will allow the two companies to better focus on their respective strengths and weaknesses, while accelerating the turnaround plan for the cell phone unit, which has seen its fortunes slip after trend-conscious customers lost interest in the Razr flip phone.
AG DEPARTMENT WEIGHS DISCLOSURE RULE CHANGE: Under pressure from the food industry, the Agriculture Department is considering a proposal not to identify retailers where tainted meat went for sale except in cases of serious health risk, The Associated Press has learned. Had that been the rule in place last month, consumers would not have been told if their supermarkets sold meat from a Southern California slaughterhouse that triggered the biggest beef recall in U.S. history. The plan is being considered as the USDA puts the final touches on a proposed disclosure rule. Agriculture Department spokesman Chris Connelly confirmed Wednesday that the agency is weighing whether to make naming the stores mandatory only for so-called "Class I" recalls, which pose the greatest health hazard. The Chino recall was categorized as "Class II" because authorities determined there was minimal risk to human health. Currently, the government discloses only a recall itself. It does not list which retailers might have received recalled meat or vegetables.
FLIGHTS CANCELED FOR INSPECTIONS: American Airlines canceled about 325 flights Wednesday so its crews could inspect some wire bundles aboard its MD-80 aircraft. The canceled flights represent about 14 percent of the estimated 2,300 flights that the nation's biggest airline had scheduled for the day. The highest concentrations of the cancellations were in the airline's hubs at Dallas- Fort Worth and Chicago O'Hare international airports. American initially put the number of cancellations at 200, but the estimate grew as the day progressed because the airline holds off on cancellations as long as possible. The entire fleet of MD-80s was being inspected.
NETFLIX TO CREDIT CUSTOMERS FOR OUTAGE: Online DVD rental leader Netflix Inc. said Wednesday it will provide a 5 percent credit on the monthly bills of customers whose shipments were delayed by its Monday outage. Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey would not disclose the number of customers affected, saying only that "it was not a majority" of the company's 7.5 million members. He also would not reveal the total amount credited to customers, saying the credit will not have a material impact on the company's financial operations.The outage resulted in a one-day delay for people expecting to receive DVDs on Tuesday.
24: Percentage of chief information officers who consider finding skilled technology professionals to be their greatest challenge, according to a survey by Robert Half Technology.
23: Percentage who say providing staff with adequate professional development resources to keep skills current is the greatest challenge.
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