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Updated: Sep 19 2012, 08:46am hrs
Dole Food sells 2 arms to Itochu for $1.7 billion

Dole Food Company will sell two businesses to Itochu for $1.7 billion in cash a deal that will help the world's largest fruit and vegetable producer pay down its heavy debt load while expanding Itochu's food presence in new markets such as China. Dole has been struggling with volatile demand and low prices for bananas, its biggest-selling product. The sale of its worldwide packaged foods and Asia fresh produce businesses is set to result in a significant reduction in its $1.7 billion of net debt, as well as pay for restructuring costs.

By contrast, Japanese trading houses are keen to diversify their profit streams away from energy and mining-related businesses and have stepped up overseas acquisitions thanks to a strong yen and flush reserves of cash.

German investor confidence rises first time since April

German investor confidence rose for the first time in five months in September after the European Central Bank unveiled a plan to buy government bonds to stem the sovereign debt crisis. The ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim said its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict economic developments six months in advance, climbed to minus 18.2 from minus 25.5 in August. Economists forecast a gain to minus 20, according to the median of 41 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

MS urges customers to install security tool

Microsoft Corp urged Windows users on Monday to install a free piece of security software to protect PCs from a newly discovered bug in the Internet Explorer browser. The security flaw, which researchers say could allow hackers to take remote control of an infected PC, affects Internet Explorer browsers used by hundreds of millions of consumers and workers. Microsoft said it will advise customers on its website to install the security software as an interim measure, buying it time to fix the bug and release a new, more secure version of Internet Explorer. The free security tool, which is known as the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit, or EMET, is available on Microsoft's website: http://bit.ly/Kv497S.

China realty prices cooling, govt may limit curbs

Prices for newly constructed homes in China rose in fewer cities in August than the previous month, reducing the likelihood that policymakers will strengthen steps designed to constrain property prices. Thirty-five of 70 cities covered by the statistics bureaus monthly report had price gains, compared with 49 in July, Tuesdays release showed in Beijing. The slowdown follows restrictions on mortgage credit and purchases of multiple homes. Along with data showing fixed-asset investment in real estate is stabilising, the figures suggest that Premier Wen Jiabao may be making progress in cooling the market without causing a collapse in construction.

Pak, Bdesh block YouTube amid Islam film protests

Pakistan and Bangladesh blocked Googles video-sharing website YouTube to prevent people watching an anti-Islam film that has sparked deadly protests from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said in a statement late yesterday that YouTube had ignored a request to remove the video and the website will remain inaccessible until it does so. Bangladesh also blocked the site on Monday night, Mir Mohammed Morshed, a spokesman for Bangladesh Telecommunications said.