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AP, other media ask judge to order release of iPhone records

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 18:57:33 UT

"While it is undisputed that the vendor developed the iPhone access tool, the government has identified no rational reason why knowing the vendor's identity is linked in any way to the substance of the tool, much less how such knowledge would reveal any information about the tool's application," lawyers for the news organizations wrote in the filing to the U.S. District Court in Washington. The news organizations sought to learn more about the mysterious transaction that cut short a legal dispute in which the government won a court order to force Apple Inc. to unlock the work phone of Syed Rizwan Farook, who along with his wife killed 14 people in the December 2015 San Bernardino attack. "Release of this information goes to the very heart of FOIA's purpose, allowing the public to assess government activity — here, the decision to pay public funds to an outside entity in possession of a tool that can compromise the digital security of millions of Americans," the lawyers wrote.

WhatsApp adds 'status' feature in not do past and future

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 17:22:30 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — In a nod to its past as well as its future, WhatsApp is adding a "status" feature that lets users tell their contacts what they are up to. The company says its users spend more than 50 billion messages each day, including 3.3 billion photos, 760 million videos and 80 million GIFs — the animated images that make many popular internet memes.

Liz Weston: How to put more in working-class pockets

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 17:17:55 UT

Tax cuts could mean bigger paychecks for higher earners but won't immediately help the many working people who don't pay federal income taxes — people in the bottom 40 percent of incomes receive more back from the federal income tax system on average than they pay in , thanks to tax credits. Expanding those credits, on the other hand, quickly could make a real difference in people's lives and help return some of the income that's been sacrificed to changing economies and technology. The credit, created in 1975 to help lower-income workers offset Social Security taxes, was greatly expanded under Reagan, who championed it as a way to reduce poverty while making work more attractive than welfare. Because the credit is refundable, low- and moderate-income working people can get money back from the government in the form of a refund even if their tax liability is zero. Lawmakers understand that the credit, while helpful, has been no match for the income and wealth losses workers suffered as globalization and technology wipe out better-paying manufacturing jobs. Working-class debt levels rose 47.9 percent during this period while their financial assets — primarily money in bank and retirement accounts — shriveled by 56 percent. Irwin asked the Tax Policy Center and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to figure the cost of expanding the credit to replace all the income lost by the bottom 20 percent of earners since 1979. Because the credit rises along with wages until reaching a plateau and phasing out, expanding it enough to restore the income of the bottom 20 percent would also replace about half the income lost by the next 20 percent of earners, Marr says. ?A single parent with one child and $16,000 in income currently pays $1,224 in payroll taxes (primarily for Social Security and Medicare) and zero federal income taxes.

Uber to investigate sexual harassment claim by engineer

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:05:30 UT

LONDON (AP) — Uber's chief executive ordered an urgent investigation Monday into a sexual harassment claim made by a female engineer who alleged her prospects at the company evaporated after she complained about advances from her boss. "Upper management told me that he "was a high performer" (i.e. had stellar performance reviews from his superiors) and they wouldn't feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake on his part," she wrote. In one instance, she said the director of engineering ordered leather jackets for the site's reliability engineers, but later decided it would only give the jackets to male engineers because there were too few women in the company to qualify for a bulk purchase discount.

New Zealand judge upholds Kim Dotcom extradition ruling

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 06:17:14 UT

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A New Zealand judge on Monday upheld an earlier court ruling that flamboyant internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and three of his colleagues can be extradited to the U.S. to face criminal charges. The decision comes five years after U.S. authorities shut down Dotcom's file-sharing website Megaupload and filed charges of conspiracy, racketeering and money laundering against the men. U.S. prosecutors say that Megaupload raked in at least $175 million, mainly from people using it to illegally download songs, television shows and movies. Out on bail soon after, he released a music album, started another internet file-sharing company called Mega, and launched a political party which unsuccessfully contested the nation's 2014 election.

Kraft Heinz withdraws $143B bid to buy Unilever

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 19:46:13 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Ketchup maker and packaged food giant Kraft Heinz has withdrawn a $143 billion offer to buy Unilever, backing away after the mayonnaise, tea and seasonings maker rejected the bid as too low. The companies announced the decision Sunday in a joint press release, saying that Kraft Heinz has "amicably" abandoned the offer. [...] acquisitions might not lead to big changes that customers would notice on supermarket shelves, but shifting tastes are partly driving deal-making in the food industry.

The fiduciary rule and you

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 15:17:11 UT

President Donald Trump's administration is working to dismantle a complex set of financial rules including the "fiduciary rule," which requires certain financial professionals to act in their clients' best interests when providing retirement advice. The fiduciary rule requires brokers who sell stocks, bonds and other investments to meet a stricter standard that has long applied to registered financial advisers: being considered "fiduciaries" — trustees who must put their clients' interests first. Brokers can provide financial advice as long as it's "suitable" for the age, finances and risk tolerance of the client. Registered investment advisers, on the other hand, are considered "fiduciaries" and must disclose any fees, commissions or potential conflicts of interest.

Insider Q&A: Hydro Flask CEO Scott Allan

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 14:52:44 UT

Hydro Flask CEO Scott Allan The Bend, Oregon-based maker of colorful stainless steel bottles was founded in 2009 with one product line that was sold at a local market. Scott Allan, Hydro Flask's CEO since 2012, recently spoke with The Associated Press about Hydro Flask's history and how it's managed its fast-paced growth while keeping in touch with its outdoorsy roots. A. A boyfriend-girlfriend team observed that everyone carried water bottles around, but they were not impressed with what was available. [...] they took that same technology and applied it to an everyday, durable, good-looking product. The other co-founder decided he would rather exit and be paid out and let someone else take over. People loved it and it started to get noticed because it's based in Bend. The point hit home one night when we were considering it and I had a million questions and finally they said "If you guys stop riding mountain bikes and drinking beer after work we'll be mad at you."

UAE seals deal with China's CNPC for onshore oil project

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 14:15:28 UT

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates' main state oil company has signed a deal giving China National Petroleum Company an 8 percent stake in a major onshore oil project. The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company says CNPC will pay an initial $1.77 billion for the concession operated by the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations, also known as ADCO.

Milwaukee to 'Pokemon' monsters: Get a permit to enter parks

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 15:11:02 UT

At the height of the game's popularity last summer, the large crowds it attracted to one Milwaukee park left county officials at a loss for how to deal with the sudden influx of players and the trash they left behind. With more augmented-reality games in development, the permitting process Milwaukee County set up puts it at the forefront of an emerging challenge for government officials who want to regulate them. Hundreds and sometimes thousands of players came to Lake Park at all hours of the day, he said, leading to traffic congestion, overtime for sheriff's deputies providing security, overflowing bathrooms and so much trash that the county had minimum-security inmates help clean up. Eddie Cullen, a county supervisor who voted against the measure, said officials should be encouraging, not restricting the public's use of the parks and that people should be responsible for their behavior.

Citigroup CEO Corbat takes home $15.5 million for 2016

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:35:46 UT

[...] Citigroup almost entirely wound down Citi Holdings in 2016, which is the "bad bank" part of Citigroup where the company housed all of the toxic assets it had from the mortgage bubble.

Business Highlights

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:30:01 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Customers are still turning their backs on Wells Fargo after a scandal over sales practices, with the bank saying Friday the number of new checking accounts people opened was down 31 percent in January from a year earlier.Applications for credit cards were even worse, dropping 47 percent. SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea was taken by surprise Friday with the arrest of the scion of the country's richest family and de-facto leader at Samsung over his alleged involvement in a massive corruption scandal that engulfed the president and riveted the nation. Prosecutors believe Lee Jae-yong, 48, a vice chairman at Samsung Electronics and the only son of the ailing Samsung chairman, gave bribes worth $36 million to President Park Geun-hye and her close friend to help win government support for a smooth company leadership transition, including a contentious merger of two Samsung companies. The government-controlled mortgage company has already paid the Treasury $154.4 billion in dividends since receiving $116.1 billion in government bailouts between 2008 and 2011. WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday over the strong objections of environmental groups, giving President Donald Trump an eager partner to fulfill his campaign pledge to increase the use of planet-warming fossil fuels. Dallas-based Southwest, the nation's fourth-biggest airline, says it relies on mechanics working consistent overtime hours to keep up with maintenance work, and that a boycott has driven up costs by forcing it to bring in outside workers. Natural gas fell 2 cents to $2.83 per 1,000 cubic feet, wholesale gasoline fell nearly 1 cent to $1.52 per gallon and heating oil rose a fraction of a penny to $1.64 per gallon.

Germany's Die Welt: Turkey has detained our correspondent

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:22:41 UT

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — A German newspaper correspondent in Turkey has been taken into police custody in connection with his reporting on a hacker attack on the email account of Turkey's energy minister, his employer said Friday. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit press freedom group based in New York, at least 81 journalists were imprisoned in Turkey last year — the biggest number worldwide. Many of the arrests came following a July 15 coup attempt that prompted a government crackdown on alleged anti-government activists that included the closure of at least 100 news outlets.

Bank of America CEO Moynihan gets 25 percent pay raise

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:15:16 UT

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank said Friday that its board of directors awarded Moynihan a pay package of $20 million for 2016, up from his package of $16 million for his work in 2015. Most of that pay package will come in the form of stock, roughly $18.5 million, compared with Moynihan's $1.5 million base salary.

Kraft still hungry for Unilever after rejected offer

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:11:37 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Kraft Heinz is attempting to buy Unilever in a $143 billion deal that would join the U.S. maker of cheeses and lunch meats with the European producer of mayo, teas and seasonings in a global powerhouse. A combination of Kraft Heintz, which sells Oscar Mayer meats, Jell-O pudding and Velveeta cheese, and Unilever, which owns brands including Hellmann's, Lipton and Knorr, would rival Nestle as the world's biggest packaged food maker by sales. [...] it's people's changing tastes, shifting away from boxed and canned groceries in favor of items that seem fresher or healthier, that are driving deal-making in the food industry. Part of the challenge is the proliferation of smaller food makers marketing more wholesome products, which makes it harder for the established companies to drive up sales simply by selling more of their well-known products or by raising prices, as they have in the past. [...] food and drinks companies like Coca-Cola Co., General Mills Inc. and Kellogg Co. are also under pressure from Wall Street to slash costs and find products that suit the shifting customer preferences.

How major US stock market indexes fared on Friday

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:44:47 UT

How major US stock market indexes fared on Friday Stock indexes inched ahead to record highs Friday, barely, after a late-afternoon push erased losses from earlier in the day. The Nasdaq composite rose 23.68 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,838.58.

Stocks inch to new records; S&P 500 up 4 straight weeks

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:41:32 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes inched ahead to record highs Friday, barely, after a late-afternoon push erased losses from earlier in the day. Kinahan pointed to relative calmness in the markets for the VIX index, which measures expectations for upcoming volatility in the S&P 500, and for gold, a traditional landing spot when investors are nervous. Kraft Heinz surged to the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after it made an offer to buy European consumer goods giant Unilever. In European stock markets, the French CAC 40 index fell 0.7 percent, Germany's DAX was virtually flat and the U.K. FTSE 100 rose 0.3 percent. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 4 cents to settle at $53.40 a barrel. Natural gas fell 2 cents to $2.83 per 1,000 cubic feet, wholesale gasoline fell nearly 1 cent to $1.52 per gallon and heating oil rose a fraction of a penny to $1.64 per gallon.

Kraft Heinz, TrueCar rise; Campbell Soup, Nu Skin fall

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:33:54 UT

The provider of localized information on new-car costs reported results that beat analysts' forecasts and issued strong guidance for its full fiscal year. Banks and other financial companies fell more than the rest of the market as bonds yields fell, which can hurt banks' profits by lowering interest rates on loans. Energy companies fell in tandem with declines in prices for crude oil.

Aetna fattens shareholder payout after Humana deal fails

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:11:28 UT

Aetna is doubling the quarterly dividend it pays shareholders and buying back stock as it regroups from its failed attempt to acquire rival health insurer Humana. Aetna Inc. said Friday its board declared a quarterly cash dividend of 50 cents per share and also authorized the repurchase of up to an additional $4 billion worth of the company's stock.

Markets Right Now: Late push renews records for US indexes

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:11:27 UT

After a sluggish day, a late push higher delivers tiny gains and renews records for major U.S. market indexes. Stock indexes are posting moderate declines in midday trading, though they remain close to record highs. Energy stocks fell more than the rest of the market Friday as the price of crude oil moved lower. Bank stocks also fell as bond yields eased. Lower yields mean lower rates on loans and smaller profits for banks. Stocks are posting moderate declines in early trading as a fast-paced market rally of the past two weeks goes into reverse.

BMW recalling 19,000 i3 plug-in hybrids for fire risk

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 20:46:59 UT

DETROIT (AP) — BMW AG is recalling more than 19,000 i3 REx plug-in hybrids in the U.S. because they could develop a fuel vapor leak that would increase the risk of a fire. BMW says a fuel tank vent line may rub against the sleeve of a battery cable.

US rig count increases 10 this week to 751; Texas up 16

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 20:37:31 UT

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 10 this week to 751. Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 597 rigs sought oil and 153 explored for natural gas this week.