INTERNATIONAL BRIEFING

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

AIRLINES

E.U. Moves to Stop Misleading Ads

The European Parliament approved a bill to prevent airlines from posting advertisements for cheap flights that hide the true price by excluding additional charges, like taxes and booking fees.

The bill passed without a vote because none of the 785 members of the E.U. assembly raised objections.

A European Union report in May said that a third of people who shop for flights online are being cheated by misleading ads and price schemes.

AUTOMOTIVE

GM Sales Rise Abroad in First Half of 2008

Despite trouble on the home front, General Motors is posting strong sales overseas. GM Europe said its sales rose by nearly 3 percent in the first half of this year, bolstered by stronger demand for its Chevrolet brand. Earlier this week, GM said its sales in China rose 12.7 percent in the first half of the year.

The results helped offset losses in the United States, where the automaker's sales fell 16 percent in the same period as high gas prices and a weak economy took their toll on truck and sport-utility vehicle sales.

GM Europe's June sales, however, dropped 5.5 percent as growth and consumer confidence declined, and as inflation rose across the region.

BELGIUM

High iPhone Price Blamed on Subsidy Ban

Belgians can buy one of Apple's coveted iPhones on Friday, but at the highest prices in the world.

The eight-gigabyte iPhone will sell for about $825 -- more than four times the U.S. price. The 16-gigabyte version costs $966.

Belgian Enterprise Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne blamed a law that forbids companies from subsidizing a product by charging more for something else, as is common elsewhere. He said he will try to scrap the law in September.


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