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Business Highlights


China rejects status as world's biggest trader

BEIJING (AP) â¿¿ China has a new status its government doesn't want â¿¿ world's biggest trader.

Official Chinese and American trade data indicate China passed the United States last year in total imports and exports by a margin of $3.866 trillion to $3.822 trillion. That is about $44 billion, or just over 1 percent of China's total.

The Commerce Ministry has taken the unusual step of publicly denying China is the new No. 1. It says China still trailed the U.S. by $15.6 billion last year â¿¿ or a razor-thin 0.3 percent â¿¿ under World Trade Organization standards for valuing goods.

Beijing wants to be a global leader but insists it still is a poor country. It is wary of any change that might erode that status and fuel demands for action to stimulate the global economy or concessions on trade and climate change.


Microsoft's Outlook takes aim at Google's Gmail

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) â¿¿ Microsoft is so confident it has the Internet's best email service that it is about to spend at least $30 million to send its message across the U.S.

The barrage began Tuesday when Microsoft's twist on email,, escalated an assault on rival services from Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., AOL Inc. and a long list of Internet service providers.

As part of the process, all users of Microsoft's Hotmail and other email services operating under different domains such as will be automatically converted to by the summer, if they don't voluntarily switch before then. All the old messages, contacts and settings in the old inboxes will be exported to Users will also be able to keep their old addresses.


Baubles to bars: India gold culture defies curbs

MUMBAI, India (AP) â¿¿ India's steep new tax on gold imports doesn't deter Mousumi Rao as she holds up a glittering $5,000 filigree necklace that could adorn her daughter on her wedding day. Rao's daughter isn't getting married next month or even next year. The 12-year-old is at least several years away from her wedding.

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