UAE backs off proposed BlackBerry ban

Saturday, October 9, 2010; A10

The United Arab Emirates on Friday ended its threat to cut key BlackBerry services days before a planned ban that could have harmed the country's business-friendly reputation.

The Emirates telecommunications regulator confirmed that a deal had been reached with BlackBerry maker Research in Motion that brought the devices into compliance with local laws.

The move ended more than two months of brinksmanship with Canada-based RIM. The ban on e-mail, messaging and Web services - which the government threatened to impose over security concerns - was due to take effect Monday.

Although a number of countries, including India and Saudi Arabia, have threatened BlackBerry crackdowns in recent months, the UAE's proposed ban drew attention because of the country's tough negotiating stance and its role as a highly wired, tech-savvy trade and transportation hub.

RIM declined to comment specifically on the UAE's decision. "RIM cannot discuss the details of confidential regulatory matters that occur in specific countries, but RIM confirms that it continues to approach lawful access matters internationally within the framework of core principles" it has spelled out in the past, the company said.

- Associated Press

U.S. forecast sends grain prices soaring

Grain prices jumped Friday after a government report showed that this year's corn harvest might be smaller than expected.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture report built on worries that grain and bean supplies will be tight this year, as farmers struggle to meet demand from the biofuels and livestock industries. The corn harvest will be 4 percent smaller than expected, while the soybean harvest will be 2 percent smaller.

The USDA often revises its harvest estimates in October, but Friday's report carried extra impact because it builds on longer-term worries that a corn-supply pinch is in the offing, said Darin Newsom, senior analyst with Telvent DTN.

With overseas grain supplies down because of drought and other factors, the U.S. harvest is increasingly stretched by demand from ethanol factories and livestock producers, Newsom said.

Corn prices rose 30 cents to settle at $5.2825 a bushel. Soybeans for November delivery rose 70 cents to $11.35 a bushel. Wheat for December delivery rose 60 cents to settle at $7.1925 a bushel.

- Associated Press

Also in Business

l E.U. outlines bonus rules for bankers: Bankers might get a quarter of their bonuses in immediate monetary payouts under rules proposed by European Union regulators that would allow as much as half of overall awards to be paid in cash rather than shares.

At least half of each segment of the bonus must be deferred for three years or longer, the Committee of European Banking Supervisors said Friday. The E.U. is implementing several measures to rein in the risk-taking blamed for causing the financial crisis

- Bloomberg News

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