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Government clamps down on railroad fuel surcharges

WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators on Friday banned excessive fuel surcharges by railroads and imposed strict rules on the fees that many companies this week credited with bolstering their quarterly earnings, though the savings were unlikely to trickle down to consumers.

In its decision, the Surface Transportation Board said the railroads must link the surcharges directly with the actual fuel costs for specific rail shipments.

The ruling prohibits ``double-dipping,'' meaning that fuel costs can't be calculated into certain price hikes if the shipments already have other fuel surcharges.

The Surface Transportation Board also is proceeding with a proposal to monitor the fuel surcharge practices of the rail industry by imposing mandatory reporting requirements on all large railroads.

Windows Vista under fire over `illegal practices'

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Microsoft Corp.'s rivals renewed their call Friday on EU regulators to act against what they say are ``illegal practices,'' alleging that the new Vista operating system is the company's attempt to extend its monopoly to the Internet.

They asked the European Commission to take a decision ``as fast as possible'' on a complaint they filed last February. It had accused Microsoft of working to keep its existing monopolies and trying to extend its market dominance into other areas, including Web-based computing.

Microsoft had no immediate comment beyond saying that the rivals, represented by the group the European Committee for Interoperable Systems, were not saying anything new.

Halliburton profits drop, earnings beat estimate

HOUSTON -- Oil industry services provider Halliburton Co. was upbeat Friday despite a 40 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit, citing heavy demand for its oil-field equipment and personnel and predicting more of the same for 2007.

Earnings fell to $658 million, or 64 cents per share, compared with $1.1 billion, or $1.04 per share, during the same period a year ago. But the prior-year results included $540 million of income, or 51 cents per share, that came from a tax benefit.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for earnings of 61 cents per share.

Coca-Cola worker taped allegedly stealing secrets

ATLANTA -- A former Coca-Cola secretary charged with conspiring to steal trade secrets from the beverage giant was caught on surveillance cameras removing documents from her office last June, sometimes late into the evening.

A Coca-Cola security expert testified Friday at Joya Williams' trial that a handful of concealed cameras were installed at the Atlanta-based company's headquarters to monitor Williams' movements in different parts of the sprawling complex.

The surveillance video, played for the jury on Friday, was made after Pepsi received a letter last May purportedly from a co-defendant in the case stating that the person was willing to sell confidential Coca-Cola documents and samples of products that Coca-Cola was developing to the highest bidder.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 27, 2007
Words:466
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