China accuses U.S. of 'information imperialism'
BEIJING — Beijing issued a stinging response yesterday to Hillary Rodham Clinton's criticism that it is jamming the free flow of words and ideas on the Internet, accusing the United States of damaging relations between the two countries by imposing its "information imperialism" on China.
Foreign Ministry spokes-man Ma Zhaoxu defended China's policies, saying the nation's Internet regulations are in line with Chinese law and do not hamper the cyber activities of the world's largest online population.
Clinton, in a speech Thursday, criticized countries engaging in cyberspace censorship, and urged China to investigate computer attacks against Google.
SENATE OPPOSITION TO BERNANKE GROWS
WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke yesterday faced mounting Senate opposition to another four-year term, even as the White House described President Obama as confident about his confirmation.
Four Democrats have said they definitely will vote against Bernanke on the Senate floor.
Two other senators who voted for him in the Senate Banking Committee last month are said to be reassessing their support.
Many other senators have not made their inclinations known, suggesting a vacillation in the Senate over Bernanke and his stewardship of Wall Street both before and since the financial crisis.
GE NET INCOME FOR QUARTER DOWN 19%
General Electric Co.'s fourth-quarter net income fell 19 percent, but the industrial bellwether is seeing signs of stability as it moves into a key rebuilding year.
GE, one of the world's largest companies, said that orders improved late in the year in its businesses that supply equipment such as turbines for power plants and sonogram machines for hospitals.
Its profit decline was smaller than in previous quarters, even though the company's big lending unit still weighed on earnings.
KIMBERLY-CLARK LOWERS EXPECTATIONS
MILWAUKEE — Kimberly-Clark Corp. reported lower fourth-quarter profit than analysts expected and set more somber predictions for 2010 than Wall Street's as the company faces rising ingredient costs and spends money promoting its Kleenex and other products to try to keep people spending.
The company, based in Dallas, said yesterday that higher prices on Huggies diapers and other products — plus higher sales volumes — lifted its fourth-quarter profit, but that marketing promotions to maintain volumes cut into profits.
ANNUAL REVENUE AT MCDONALD'S DOWN
CHICAGO — The McDonald's dollar menu keeps gaining fans in the recession, and the company's profit rose last fall, but the world's largest burger chain said yesterday that its annual revenue slipped for the first time in at least a quarter-century.
Analysts said McDonald's fortunes won't dramatically increase until the economy — especially the U.S. unemployment rate — does.
For the three months that ended Dec. 31, McDonald's rang up revenue of $5.97 billion — 7 percent more than the same period last year.
Falling commodity costs and currency fluctuations helped boost the company's fourth-quarter profit, which amounted to $1.22 billion, or $1.11 per share.
HERSHEY NOT TRYING TO BUY CADBURY
HERSHEY, Pa. — Candy maker Hershey says it has no immediate plans to make an offer for British competitor Cadbury, making it all but certain that Kraft Foods Inc.'s $19.5 billion bid will proceed without competition.
The Hershey Co. did leave room for reconsideration, however.
The company says it is reserving the right to bid or participate in a Cadbury offer within six months, but that a number of conditions must be met.