Business News: Jamacian Casinos; Cuba Looks Elsewhere for Goods; Euro Talks Collapse

By: AP
By: AP

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) -- Legislators in Jamaica have unanimously approved two bills that will allow casinos to be built on the island for the first time.
Jamaica currently has only a few hundred slot machines at hotels in the capital of Kingston and in popular tourist areas.
Religious groups on the conservative island have long opposed casinos, saying they will lead to problems.
Jamaica had approved a law two years ago that legalized casinos, but the measures approved Friday by senators allow those interested to apply for a gambling license.

HAVANA (AP) -- Brands like Kellogg's, Gatorade, Hormel and Hunt are on display at a Havana exposition center as representatives hawk some of the few U.S. products that can legally be exported to Cuba.
But cold numbers belie the enthusiasm on the convention center floor. Cuban purchases of U.S. goods have plunged as the island turns to countries like China, Brazil, Vietnam and Venezuela, which offer cheaper deals, long-term credits and less hassle over payment and shipping.
Figures from a group led by U.S.-Cuba trade analyst John Kavulich show U.S. sales of food and agricultural commodities to Cuba rose from $138 million in 2001 to a peak of $710 million in 2008. That plummeted to almost half that last year at $358 million.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp. has settled with Apple Inc. on their outstanding patent disputes.
In a joint statement Sunday, the two companies said they also signed a 10-year license agreement that will extend to current and future patents held by one other.
Apple and HTC had battled patents over various smartphone features since March 2010, with the Cupertino-based firm accusing HTC phones that run on Google's Android software of infringing on its patents.
HTC chief executive Peter Chou says ending the litigation will allow his company to focus more on product innovation.
HTC has grown as the first maker of phones running on Android software. But its sales faltered from the second half of 2011 in a market increasingly divided between Apple and Samsung Electronics Co.

PARIS (AP) -- Negotiations over next year's European Union budget have collapsed after a dispute between member states and the European Commission over a shortfall in the 2012 budget. The talks, which essentially ended before they began, could be a sign of trouble ahead for longer-term EU budget issues.
At issue was a (euro) 8.9 billion ($11.3 billion) shortfall for 2012, according to the European Commission, which asked the states to cover the sum. Several states imposing spending cuts at home questioned the amount.
In a statement on his website, the European Parliament lead negotiator Alain Lamassoure said the commission must submit a new proposal before talks, which face a Tuesday deadline, could continue.
The only agreement Friday was for (euro) 670 million in aid to Italian earthquake victims -- but not how to fund it.

BEIJING (AP) -- The head of China's planning agency says a steep decline in growth has ended but the economy is not ready for a recovery.
The chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, Zhang Ping, says the economy should achieve the government's growth target of 7.5 percent this year.
"The figures do indeed indicate an obvious trend of the Chinese economy stabilizing and rebounding," Zhang told a news conference Saturday during a congress of the ruling Communist Party.
"That said, we should not let down our guard," Zhang said. "Our conclusion is that the foundation is not solid enough for a rebound in the Chinese economy and therefore we need to step up our efforts."

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