March 1998


  • World News Today... daily headlines and abstracts
  • American Eating Habits Reflect New Trends
  • Coke and Pepsi Battle Over Middle East and North Africa
  • Nike's Profits Affected By Asia-Pacific Economies
  • Chevron Returns to Bahrain
  • Ukraine Invests in Telecom Growth
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  • USA -- The consumption of carbonated soft drinks increased more in the last seven years (1990-1997) among US consumers than any other food or beverage, according to the NPD Group's Twelfth Annual Report on Eating Patterns in America.

    Despite health and wellness trends, consumers seemed to opt for economical thirst-quenchers. And ounce for ounce, carbonated soft drinks fit the bill. Of course, tap water was the second largest beverage growth category at restaurants, consistent with both trends -- wellness and value.

    Other foods Americans were eating more of included pre-sweetened cereals, bagels, french fries and Mexican food, among others.

    These changes indicate that Americans may be becoming more permissive and less concerned with health and fitness; while the bagels and Mexican food growth indicate a continued evolution in the blending of cultural food and flavor preferences across the nation. Americans continue to dine out more than before, and have become more experimental; moreover, the selection of available choices continues to expand.

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    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola continue to battle one another around the globe. One of their most recent public battles in the press focused on whose market share was greater in North Africa and the Middle East. Based on each company's claims, each one had a bigger share of the market. Regardless of which company is really in the lead, both companies continue to invest heavily in major market improvements in that region. For example, Coca-Cola, along with its bottlers in the Middle East and North Africa, invested US$400 million over the past five years. And they plan to spend an additional US$200 million more in the region during the next three years to build and upgrade production facilities, extend distribution networks, place sales equipment and to develop and expand aggressive marketing programs.

    Coke claims that its products represent 38% of total regional sales in North Africa and the Middle East -- double its market share five years ago. Pepsi claims a 46% share of the market. Yet, Pepsi claims a 73% share based on Coke's geographical description of what constitutes the region. It all seems to depend on who's doing the calculations!

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    BEAVERTON, Oregon USA -- Nike's third quarter earnings were below expectations and their stock took an 8% tumble this week. As such, Nike plans employee cutbacks worldwide to improve the company's profitability.

    Order cancellations, particularly from the Asia-Pacific region accounted for some of this downturn. Cancellations came in response to the weak retail environment in the region. In addition, US' and Japan's aggressive inventory close-out pricing had a negative impact on Nike's revenues and margins.

    We will post relevant replies with e-mail contacts during the month, if you wish to share your thoughts on this or other IGN news stories.

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    USA and BAHRAIN -- Chevron signed an agreement with the State of Bahrain which gives them permission to explore three offshore areas for oil. Chevron (formerly The Standard Oil Company of California) has a long history in Bahrain, dating back to the 1920s. They discovered the Arabian peninsula's first commercial oil well in 1932 which resulted in the development of the Awali oil field, which still produces oil after 66 years. The agreement was signed during the last week of February in Bahrain's capital, Manama.
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    KIEV, Ukraine -- The second largest market in the CIS, has one of the lowest telephone densities in the region -- only 18 telephone lines per 100 people (compared with 65 lines for 100 people in the USA). The Ukranian government announced plans to invest heavily in this market to increase penetration to 40 over the next 10 years. These ambitious plans include installation of about 10 million new phone lines at a cost of US$5 - 10 billion. Ukraine's two key players in the telecommunications industry are UKRTELCOM (the Ukranian State Telecommunications, Corp.) and Utel. Reader's Comments
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    LAST MINUTE TRAVEL BARGAINS -- Special Discounted Fares

    American Airlines' Net SAAver and Net SAAver International offers last minute travel bargains for travelers departing from the USA. You can schedule a last minute meeting or a weekend getaway to selected destinations throughout the USA, Europe, the Caribbean, Central America or South America each week and benefit from these discounted rates.

    Through this program, you can fly at discounted rates, as long as you can plan to travel on short notice. These low round-trip fares are good for travel only on the dates specified. They expire on Fridays. Check back each Monday for the week's destinations!

    From Chicago O'Hare, IL (ORD) to:

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    [Restrictions apply. Check with American Airlines or our travel service group for details and confirmation. Not responsible for typographical errors.]

    International flight departures must be on Thursday or Friday, April 9 - 10, 1998. Thursday departures return anytime the following Monday and Friday departures return anytime the following Monday/Tuesday. To take advantage of these last minute bargains, or any travel needs, Call 1-800-715-4440 and ask for a Net SAAver Domestic or International Fare. Be sure to give the agent this PIN#: 27035 to book your flight. Or send e-mail to, include your name and telephone number, please.

    You can also read the latest news about Travel & Tourism.

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    Updated 3/19/98