Originally created 09/22/04

Business briefs

Gaming companies plan early releases

Nintendo Co. and Sony Corp. made separate product announcements Tuesday that the video game giants hope will attract more customers ahead of the highly competitive holiday shopping season.

Nintendo said its handheld device, called Nintendo DS, will arrive in North American stores for $149.99 on Nov. 21.

Rival Sony, meanwhile, announced a much slimmer, reworked PlayStation 2 designed to cut manufacturing costs amid fierce competition in the market.

Ingredient prices hurt General Mills

MINNEAPOLIS - Higher ingredient prices and restructuring costs pushed General Mills Inc.'s first-quarter earnings down 19 percent, the cereal giant reported Tuesday.

For the three months ending Aug. 29, General Mills earned $183 million, or 47 cents per share, on revenue of $2.59 billion. A year ago, the company earned $227 million, or 59 cents per share, on revenue of $2.52 billion.

China oil imports see huge increase

SHANGHAI, China - China's crude oil imports jumped 37.4 percent in August to 70 million barrels, the government reported Tuesday.

The increase, equivalent to an average of 2.21 million barrels a day, brought the country's crude imports for the first eight months of this year to nearly 600 million barrels - a 39.2 percent jump from the same period last year, the General Administration of Customs said.

Pilots took Delta threat seriously

ATLANTA - In a letter being sent to its members this week, Delta's pilots union says it agreed Monday to what amounts to a compromise because it believed the carrier's "threat" of bankruptcy. It said it first consulted legal, retirement and financial experts.

On Monday, the union agreed to allow Delta to bring pilots out of retirement on a limited basis to deal with staff shortages that threaten to ground flights.

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