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Morning Market Roundup: Shell Sues Greenpeace, GM Recall, BlackBerry Down


Here’s what’s important in the business world this morning:

Shell v. Greenpeace: Royal Dutch Shell PLC is suing Greenpeace International in an attempt to have the environmental organization banned from holding any protest within 500 meters of any Shell property, or face a €1 million ($1.3 million) fine.

The suit being argued at Amsterdam's District Court Friday shows Shell aggressively taking the offensive to protect its $4.5 billion investment in drilling for oil in the icy Arctic waters off the coast of Alaska. A verdict is not expected for two weeks.

The oil company's lawyers said international laws on freedom of speech and assembly "do not grant Greenpeace unlimited powers to carry out protests that violate the rights of other parties."

Greenpeace called the move a "legal sledgehammer to stifle public discourse."

It argues that drilling in the Arctic is inherently risky and Shell's safety plans are inadequate. But Shell has fought its way through numerous environmental and safety challenges in the U.S. licensing process before being granted two permits for exploratory drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.

The company expects the projects eventually to create hundreds of jobs.

BlackBerry: Struggling BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion said Friday it resolved an outage affecting users in Europe, Middle East and Africa that had interrupted service for customers on the very day Apple Inc. unveiled its new iPhone 5.

BlackBerry announced the issues in postings on Facebook and Twitter on Friday, and said it fixed the troubles after a few hours. It apologized to customers for the inconvenience caused.

RIM spokeswoman Amy Jones said the outage was limited to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Jones did not have details on what caused it.

RIM was once Canada's most valuable company with a market value of more than $80 billion in June 2008, but the stock has plummeted since, from over $140 share to around $7. Shares traded down 1.5 percent, or 30 cents, to $6.80 in premarket trading on the Nasdaq. RIM's decline is evoking memories of Nortel, another Canadian tech giant, which declared bankruptcy in 2009.

GM: General Motors is recalling nearly 474,000 Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn cars to fix a transmission problem that can cause the cars to roll away unexpectedly.

The recall affects 2007-2010 Chevrolet Malibus, Pontiac G6s and Saturn Auras in the U.S., Canada and Mexico as well as a small number of exports. All the cars have four-speed automatic transmissions.

GM says part of the transmission cables can break. When this happens, the shifter can show that the car is in park when it's really in gear. GM says it knows of four crashes from the problem but no injuries.

Dealers will put a retainer over the end of the cables or replace them. Owners will be told by letter when to set up appointments with dealers.

U.S. Futures: U.S. stocks are opening higher as investors cling to hopeful signs about Europe's roiling debt problems.

The Dow Jones industrial average is up 41 points 13,638 early Friday. The Standard & Poor's 500 is up six to 1,466. The Nasdaq composite index is up 19 to 3,195.

In Europe, Italy's premier and Greece's prime minister met and repeated their conviction for "the absolute need to safeguard the integrity of the eurozone," according to a statement from the Italian leader's office.

Spain also appeared near to working out terms for requesting a bailout from Europe.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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