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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 5, 2006

BUSINESS BRIEFS
Wholesale gas price rising 16

Advertiser Staff and News Services

The maximum wholesale price for gasoline is expected to rise 16 cents to $2.34 a gallon Monday for regular on O'ahu, according to Advertiser estimates.

That price excludes taxes and a retail markup. Hawai'i sets a ceiling on wholesale prices but does not regulate retail prices. State lawmakers are considering amending and repealing the controversial law. Under that proposal, next week's wholesale cap would be $2.13 a gallon.


WAL-MART TARGETS STRUGGLING AREAS

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., often accused by critics of harming local businesses, announced yesterday it plans to build more than 50 stores in struggling urban neighborhoods over the next two years to create jobs and help small establishments.

Chief Executive Lee Scott said yesterday the new stores would generate between 15,000 and 25,000 jobs and be located in neighborhoods with high crime or unemployment rates, on sites that are environmentally contaminated, or in vacant buildings or malls in need of revitalization.

Ten of those stores will anchor "Wal-Mart Jobs and Opportunity Zones" that will help local businesses, especially minority and women-run enterprises, with free advertising, grants to local chambers of commerce, and seminars and advice on doing business near Wal-Mart and with Wal-Mart.


CHINA TO BLOCK INTERNET CALLS

NEW YORK A U.S. maker of network management systems said it had received an order from Shanghai Telecom Co. for a system that can detect and block telephone calls placed over the Internet.

Shanghai Telecom, which has 6.2 million landlines, plans to use Mountain View, Calif.-based Narus Inc.'s system to improve its ability to block "unauthorized" Internet calls that connect to its phone system, bypassing its toll structure.

Use of Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is growing quickly across the world, threatening the business models of some phone companies.


NETFLIX SUING BLOCKBUSTER

SAN FRANCISCO Online DVD rental service Netflix Inc. yesterday accused Blockbuster Inc. of illegally copying its ideas in a patent infringement lawsuit challenging the video store chain's recent Internet expansion.

Netflix believes its patents cover perhaps its most popular feature the option of renting a DVD for an unlimited time without incurring late fees. That change, introduced by Netflix seven years ago, became so popular that Blockbuster last year stopped charging late fees for tardy rental returns to its video stores. Dallas-based Blockbuster once pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars annually from those late fees.