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World Briefs

BRAZIL

Throwing its hat into the increasingly crowded Latin American Internet ring, Brazilian Internet portal Universo Online (UOL) has launched its U.S. Spanish-lingo service, its fifth new market in 30 days.

UOL, a venture formed by the magazine division of Grupo Abril and the newspaper publishing company Grupo Folha with some private investors, is already the leading Internet portal in Brazil.

It launched its first Spanish-lingo operations in Argentina in September. Since late November, it has bowed UOL Mexico, UOL Venezuela, UOL Colombia, UOL Chile and the U.S. service, UOL en Espanol.

INDIA

Rupert Murdoch’s Indian satcaster Star India has announced the closure of its ISkyB direct-to-home broadcasting division.

Some 60 employees of ISkyB, including the executive director Urmilla Gupta, are being reassigned to other Star TV divisions in India.

The move comes in the wake of the appointment of Peter Mukherjea as Star TV India CEO.

* * *

Media mogul Subhash Chandra is trying to raise some $140 million to invest in theme parks in India.

Prime properties in Mumbai and Jaipur are already earmarked for development, while other existing amusement parks may be expanded.

Chandra has hired international management consultants including Britain’s Pannell Kerr Forster and the American firm Economics Research Associates to turn the parks into complete business-cum-holiday destinations.

* * *

HBO has set its launch in India in early 2000 and will be beamed from PanAmSat-4, which currently carries BBC World, CNN, Sony Entertainment TV and the Discovery Channel, among others.

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