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BC-Business News Digest

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 4, 2014 at 11:32 a.m.



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TOP STORIES:

AIRLINES-OVERSIZED BAGS

NEW YORK — United Airlines is cracking down on passengers with oversized carry-on bags. Employees stationed at bag sizers are sending passengers back to the ticket counter to check their luggage for a fee if it violates the limits for carry-ons. Although fliers have long complained about fellow travelers stuffing bags the size of treasure chests into the overhead bin, airlines have been inconsistent in enforcing the rules. United says it wants to speed up the boarding process, but some travelers see it as a grab for more fees. By Scott Mayerowitz. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 850 words by 3:30 p.m., photos.

DISNEY-DISH

LOS ANGELES —Dish and Disney took a big step toward the future of Internet-delivered TV with a long-term deal announced Monday. With the transaction, Dish hopes to launch a service aimed at so-called cord cutters who have become disenchanted with large channel packages and rising monthly bills. It's just one of the ways that cable and satellite companies are increasingly trying to cater to viewers who want TV content while watching on their own terms_wherever, whenever and on whatever device they choose. By Ryan Nakashima. UPCOMING: 700 words.

FACEBOOK-TITAN AEROSPACE

NEW YORK —Facebook is in talks to buy Titan Aerospace to step up its efforts to provide Internet access to remote parts of the world, according to reports in the technology blog Techcrunch and financial news outlet CNBC. Facebook and other technology companies aim to connect the more than 5 billion of the world's 7 billion people who are not already online. Google has a similar project called Project Loon. By Barbara Ortutay. UPCOMING: 300 words.

CHINA-REFORM HOPES

BEIJING — Fledgling entrepreneurs in Liaoning province in China's northeast received a Lunar New Year gift in January when the government scrapped fees of up to $1,600 for registering a new business. The move was part of a stream of small changes in recent weeks aimed at carrying out the ruling Communist Party's pledge in November to make the world's second-largest economy more open and competitive. Now, reform advocates are looking to this week's meeting of China's ceremonial legislature, the National People's Congress, for signs the ruling party is ready to tackle more ambitious and politically thorny changes. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 830 words, photos.

UKRAINE-ECONOMY

KIEV — Russia tightened the economic pressure on Ukraine by ending a discount on the gas it supplies. But the country found some support from the west, with the United States and the European Union offering short-term help and an International Monetary Fund team starting work on a plan to stabilize the country's economy and finances for the long term. By David McHugh. SENT: 720 words.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

WALL STREET

NEW YORK — Relieved investors sent stocks sharply higher Tuesday after Russia pulled troops back from the border of Ukraine. The rally erased steep losses from Monday caused by fears an escalating conflict. SENT: 470 words, photo. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.

HOME PRICES

WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices rise in January after three months of declines. A tight supply of homes might have helped boost prices and offset sales slowed by cold weather. Real estate data provider CoreLogic says prices rose 0.9 percent in January after dipping 0.1 percent in December. Over the past 12 months, home prices have risen 12 percent, the biggest year-over-year gain in more than eight years. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 480 words, photo.

— OIL PRICES — The price of crude oil drops sharply after a big jump the day before over concern that Russia's military advance into Ukraine could result in economic sanctions against one of the world's major energy suppliers. SENT: 390 words.

AUTOS

SKOREA-HYUNDAI-REVAMPED SONATA

NAMYANGJU, South Korea — Hyundai Motor Co. emphasizes improved safety features and a premium image with its fully redesigned Sonata sedan, its latest effort to regain lost U.S. market share and win back South Koreans who are increasingly buying foreign cars. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 420 words.

GENEVA-AUTO-SHOW

GENEVA — European automakers cast a wary eye toward Russia on the first day of the Geneva Auto Show on Tuesday, poised for a quick strategy rethink as the threat of sanctions hangs over the country because of its intervention in Ukraine. Russia has been a key market for recession-battered European automakers that have looked to expand sales and find partners for lucrative joint ventures. But new uncertainty has been raised by growing tensions between Russia and the West over the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. By Colleen Barry and John Heilprin. SENT: 460 words, photos.

GENEVA AUTO SHOW-SMALL SUV

GENEVA — Carmakers are banking on the fast-growing demand for small SUVs to earn new customers in the U.S. and help turn around their businesses in Europe's still-fragile market. U.S. carmaker Chrysler's Jeep brand launched the Renegade and France's Citroen introduced the funky Cactus at the Geneva Auto Show on Tuesday. And they are just the start of a long list of carmakers looking to "come to the party," says IHS analyst Tim Urquhart. By Colleen Barry. SENT: 830 words, photo.

— GENEVA AUTO SHOW-TOYOTA — Toyota Europe expects to sell 865,000 units this year and increase its market share to 4.8 percent as the European car market enters what is expected to be a slow recovery from six years of contraction. SENT: 130 words.

— VOLKSWAGEN-INVESTIGATION — U.S. safety regulators won't be pushing for a recall of thousands of Volkswagens that have the same electric fuses as a model that was recalled. SENT: 130 words.

INDUSTRY:

SILICON VALLEY ACTIVIST

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Just months after stepping down as head of the nation's largest civil rights organization, former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous is changing his career from an East Coast political activist to a West Coast venture capitalist, a switch he hopes will help further his goal of growing opportunities for blacks and Latinos in the booming tech economy. The Northern California native and self-confessed computer geek will be joining entrepreneurs Mitchell Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein at their venture capital investment firm that backs information technology startups committed to making a positive social impact. By Martha Mendoza. SENT: 710 words, photo.

ECUADOR-CHEVRON

NEW YORK — A New York judge says Amazon rainforest residents who obtained a multibillion-dollar judgment against Chevron in Ecuador cannot try to enforce it through U.S. courts, because it was obtained through fraud. SENT: 150 words.

OBAMA-BUDGET

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is unwrapping a nearly $4 trillion budget that gives Democrats an election-year playbook for fortifying the economy and bolstering Americans' incomes. It also underscores how pressure has faded to launch bold, new attacks on federal deficits. By Alan Fram. SENT: 880 words, photos. UPCOMING: Budget to be released at 11:30 a.m., xxx words by xx p.m.

— MALL OF AMERICA EXPANSION — The Mall of America has secured financing for a $300 million expansion. The mega mall, with more than 400 stores, plans to break ground this month on a project that includes a luxury hotel, office tower and additional retail and food space. SENT: 140 words.

— BP-US BUSINESS — BP plans to create a separate, more competitive business to manage its onshore oil and gas assets, including its shale operations, in the 48 contiguous U.S. states. SENT: 270 words.

— SUPREME COURT-WHISTLEBLOWERS — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that whistleblower protections in a federal law passed in response to the Enron financial scandal apply broadly to employees of publicly traded companies and contractors hired by the companies. SENT: 270 words.

— SUPREME COURT-BANKRUPTCY — The Supreme Court says a bankruptcy court may not go after property or funds that are legally exempt from creditors. SENT: 140 words.

— COAL ASH SPILL-NC -VIOLATIONS — North Carolina regulators have cited five more Duke Energy power plants for lacking required storm water permits after a massive spill at one of the company's coal ash dumps coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic sludge. SENT: 500 words.

— DELTA-TRAFFIC — Delta Air Lines Inc. says bad weather caused it to scrub nearly 8,000 flights in February, but the cancelations helped boost a key measure of revenue per mile. SENT: 280 words.

EARNINGS:

EARNS-RADIOSHACK

NEW YORK — There will now be 1,100 fewer places to buy batteries. The troubled consumer electronics retail chain RadioShack plans to close up to 1,100, or about a fifth of its underperforming stores in the U.S. The news came as the retailer reported a wider loss for its fourth quarter as traffic slowed during the critical holiday season. Its stock tumbled 24 percent. By Candice Choi and Michelle Chapman. SENT: 400 words, photo.

— BRITAIN-EARNS-GLENCOREXSTRATA — Commodities trader and producer Glencore Xstrata says global demand for its raw materials is expected to grow, but that its earnings have been hit by big one-time charges. The expenses pushed the company to a net loss of $7.4 billion last year, compared with a profit of $1 billion the previous year. SENT: 130 words.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

BEN HOROWITZ-MANAGEMENT ADVICE

SAN FRANCISCO — Venture capitalist Ben Horowitz is hailed as a Silicon Valley sage today, but he might have been a hip-hop star instead if his college dreams had come true. That may explain why Horowitz has written a business book that dispenses management tips with the blunt force of a rapper singing about the harsh reality of life in a destitute neighborhood. Technology writer Michael Liedtke takes a look at Horowitz's new book "The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers" and what it says about how he advices tech startups as part of one of Silicon Valley's most storied VC firms. By Michael Liedtke. UPCOMING: 700 words.

— BRITAIN-PHONE HACKING — Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks says that she received abuse and death threats after it was revealed the newspaper had hacked the voicemails of a murdered 13-year-old girl. But she also got messages of support from high-profile figures including CNN talk-show host Piers Morgan and former Prime Minister Tony Blair. SENT: 330 words, photo.

— APPLE-CFO — Apple's longtime Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer will retire in September and he'll be replaced by the company's corporate controller. SENT: 140 words.

INTERNATIONAL:

CHINA-CANADA-IMMIGRATION

BEIJING — Chinese millionaires plead for the Canadian government not to throw away the immigration applications of thousands of Chinese nationals as part of its plans to end a backlogged investor program. At a news conference, 10 investor applicants delivered their crestfallen message — that their faith in Canada as a "trustworthy country," with its attractive rule of law, environment and welfare system, was wavering. By Louise Watt. SENT: 500 words, photos.

THAILAND-FISHING INDUSTRY

BANGKOK — An environmental and human rights group charges that Thailand is not adequately addressing severe abuse against Myanmar migrant workers in the Thai fishing industry. The British-based Environmental Justice Foundation said in its report that the Thai government has failed to act strongly against human trafficking and that violence is routine in the industry. By Grant Peck: SENT: 510 words.

— PUERTO RICO-ECONOMY — Puerto Rico's governor has signed a bill that authorizes the sale of up to $3.5 billion in bonds amid recent downgrades to the U.S. territory's credit rating. SENT: 130 words.

— INDIA-BUSINESSMAN-FRAUD — An assailant hurls black ink at an Indian tycoon accused of multibillion dollar fraud, shouting "he has cheated and robbed us" outside the country's highest court. SENT: 380 words, photos.

— CYPRUS-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Cyprus lawmakers will vote a second time on legislation allowing the privatization of state-owned companies that has proved widely unpopular. Cyprus must raise 1.4 billion euros ($1.93 billion) from privatizations as a condition of its 10 billion-euro ($13.77 billion) rescue deal with other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund. SENT: 400 words, photos.

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CENTERPIECE

Radio daze

RadioShack plans to close roughly 20 percent of its locations as it tries to cut costs. The electronic retailer's stock has traded below $3 a share this year. At its peak in 1999, shares traded for $79.50. A look at how Radio Shack has fared on Wall Street. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.

SPOTLIGHT

Apple CFO to retire

Apple will soon have a new officer in its C-suite. Peter Oppenheimer, the company's longtime chief financial officer will retire in September. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.

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The Associated Press

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