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Google fills in blanks on North Korea maps, France says it's not bankrupt, and more in our roundup of the business stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
A detailed look at Pyongyang: North Korea was one of the last blank spots in the world for Google Maps to fill in.
A detailed look at Pyongyang: North Korea was one of the last blank spots in the world for Google Maps to fill in. Google Maps

1. GOOGLE MAPS OFFERS NEW DETAILS ON NORTH KOREA
Google added information on North Korea to its Google Maps application on Tuesday. The isolated communist country has been a giant blank since Google started providing its maps eight years ago, with outlines showing some of the country's massive prison camps. Google managed to fill big gaps with information provided through a crowdsourcing program called Map Maker. The release came three weeks after Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, visited North Korea in a private delegation headed by former New Mexico governor and diplomat Bill Richardson, and encouraged officials there to give their citizens access to the internet. [Wall Street Journal]
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2. AUTOMAKERS PROMISE FUEL-CELL VEHICLES IN 2017
Ford, Daimler, and Renault-Nissan have announced that they plan to pool research and start producing cars powered by fuel cells in 2017. They're playing catch-up, though. Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia are aiming to do the same in 2015, and Honda, which has been leasing the FCX Clarity since 2008, plans to release the next generation of its fuel-cell car in 2015. The technology has long been considered the ultimate clean-energy fuel source for automobiles. Analysts warn, though, that even with this research push it remains prohibitively expensive. "If you're trying to make money this decade, says Sandy Stojkovski, president of Scenaria, an analytical division of AVL, "fuel cells are not what you want to invest in." [Detroit Free Press]
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3. YAHOO LAUNCHES OFFENSIVE IN SEARCH WARS
Yahoo shares rose by three percent in after-hours trading after the company posted better-than-expected quarterly results and predicted modest growth in its first financial forecast since Chief Executive Marissa Mayer took over in July. Yahoo plans to unleash a "chain reaction of growth" by overhauling online services to get users to spend more time on its websites. One key: Mayer plans to invest heavily to overhaul Yahoo's search engine in a bid to reclaim traffic lost to Google, Mayer's former employer. "We have lost some share over the last few years," Mayer said in a conference call, "and we would like to regain that share." [Reuters, Financial Times]
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4. IMMIGRATION REFORM COULD BOOST GROWTH, ECONOMISTS SAY
The economy could benefit if President Obama and a bipartisan group of senators can deliver on their promises of a sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration policy, according to economists. The relaxed immigration rules — unveiled this week — would do everything from encouraging entrepreneurship to raising tax revenues, which would help reduce the deficit, economists say. "A more efficient, more transparent, and more flexible immigration system would help firms expand, contribute to more job creation in the United States, and slow the movement of operations abroad," according to a draft report being published soon by the Hamilton Project think tank. [Reuters]
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5. FRANCE INSISTS IT'S NOT 'TOTALLY BANKRUPT'
French leaders rushed to defend the health of their nation's economy on Tuesday after Labor Minister Michel Sapin said the government was "totally bankrupt." French President Francois Hollande has vowed to slash the country's deficit, and he says Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said Sapin's assessment was off the mark. "France is a truly solvent country," he said. "France is a truly credible country." The BBC's Christian Fraser said it was unclear whether Sapin had committed a gaffe, or was merely "softening up the French public for a difficult road ahead." [BBC]

 

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