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Panasonic releases new battery model

BY Jenna Duncan

SEACAUCUS, N.J. Panasonic has introduced its newest battery—the EVOLTA model—which has already been listed in Guinness World Records for being the “longest lasting AA alkaline battery cell” used in electronic devices.

The new EVOLTA battery has more internal space than previous versions of Panasonic batteries. It also features improved sealing technology and is produced with new materials such as manganese dioxide and zinc which make it more durable and better-performing, the company said.

To prove the better performance of the new EVOLTA batteries, the company product tested them in devices such as digital cameras, FM radios and other small electronics and found the running life and usage rates to be longer and higher than older Panasonic battery models, Panasonic reported.

Panasonic has also announced the start of its EVOLTA Sweepstakes which runs through March 31, 2009. Prizes include Panasonic products such as a 42-inch Panasonic VIERA plasma HDTV, smaller Panasonic VIERA plasma HDTVs, Blu-ray disc players and 15 LUMIX digital still cameras. Customers can find more information online at www.panasonic.com/evolta.

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Advanced Medical Optics names new director of microbiology

BY Michael Johnsen

SANTA ANA, Calif. Advanced Medical Optics on Tuesday named Simon Kilvington to the post of director of microbiology, the company announced.

“As an internationally recognized leader in microbiological research on contact lenses, lens care and the cornea, Dr. Kilvington’s appointment will significantly strengthen AMO’s research efforts into the development of novel technologies, particularly in the field of contact lens disinfection,” stated AMO executive vice president, research and development Leonard Borrmann.

Prior to joining AMO, Kilvington was senior lecturer at the Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. He is an international authority on pathogenic free-living amoebae and has expertise on bacteria, fungi and viruses, particularly in the field of ocular infection. He has published extensively in the field of contact lens disinfection, the epidemiology of infection and the development of assay methods to assess the efficacy of contact lens disinfectant and therapeutic agents.

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Retailing forecasts predict growth, but at a trickle

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON, D.C. The National Retail Federation on Tuesday released its forecast for the upcoming 2008 holiday season, projecting that sales will rise 2.2 percent this year to $470.4 billion.

This gain falls well below the 10-year average of 4.4 percent holiday sales growth and would represent the slowest growth since 2002, when holiday sales rose 1.3 percent, the association stated.

“Current financial pressures and a lack of confidence in the economy will force shoppers to be very conservative with their holiday spending,” stated NRF chief economist Rosalind Wells. “We expect consumers to be frugal this season and less willing to splurge on discretionary items.”

A number of economic indicators point to a challenging holiday for retailers. A struggling housing market and rising unemployment accompanied by meager income gains will continue to hamper the consumer throughout the season.

Food and energy costs will remain high. With the current financial industry crisis continuing to chip away at consumer confidence, NRF does not foresee an economic turnaround until the second half of next year.

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