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BC-Business News Digest

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 10, 2014 at 11:31 a.m.



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TOP STORIES:

MALAYSIA PLANE-HAYSTACK OCEAN

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — In an age when people assume that any bit of information is just a click away, the thought that a jetliner could simply disappear over the ocean for more than two days is staggering. But Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is hardly the first reminder of how big the seas are, and of how agonizing it can be to try to find something lost in it. Officials involved in the search this week say the Malaysian jet may have made a U-turn, adding one more level of uncertainty to the effort to find it. By Eileen Ng and Kristen Gelineau. UPCOMING: 1,300 words by 1:30 p.m., photos.

BLACK TWITTER

WASHINGTON — Black Twitter, a small corner of the social media giant where an unabashedly black spin on life, holds court on pretty much everything from President Barack Obama to the latest TV reality show antics. But Black Twitter can also turn activist quickly. When it does, things happen — like the cancellation of a book deal for a juror in the George Zimmerman trial, or the demise of Zimmerman's subsequent attempt to star at celebrity boxing. Catchy hashtags are a hallmark and give clues that the tweeting in question is a Black Twitter thing. By Jesse J. Holland. SENT: 1,020 words, photos.

JAPAN-CONSTRUCTION CRUNCH

TANOHATA, Japan — Tens of thousands of people on Japan's northeastern coast who were left homeless in the March 2011 tsunami are shivering their way through yet another winter in cramped temporary housing, with perhaps several more to go. Reconstruction plans are taking shape after three years of debate and red tape, but shortages of skilled workers and materials are delaying the work. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

NATURAL GAS-PROMISES

The nation is ready to start taking advantage of its enormous new reserves of natural gas, but one harsh winter has raised concerns about whether the gas will actually show up. Low temperatures across much of the country drained the nation's natural gas supplies, froze wells, clogged pipelines and sent prices soaring to record levels in some places. Now there is concern about whether the natural gas industry can produce all of the gas their old and new customers need, and deliver it to them through a pipeline system that hasn't caught up yet to the new supplies. By Jonathan Fahey. UPCOMING: 900 words by 2 p.m., photos.

BRITAIN-US-BANANAS

LONDON — Chiquita combines with Dublin-based Fyffes to become the world's top banana company. The stock-for-stock transaction creates a global banana and fresh produce company with $4.6 billion in annual revenues. SENT: 150 words. UPCOMING: Will be updated.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

WALL STREET

NEW YORK — A dash of discouraging economic news from China and Japan put a damper on the U.S. stock market Monday, adding to concerns that global growth could be slowing. SENT: 560 words. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.

— OIL PRICES — The price of oil falls below $102 after a surprise drop in China's exports and weaker economic growth in Japan suggested demand for crude could weaken. SENT: 370 words.

INDUSTRY:

E-CIG NATION

NEW YORK — On the edge of the SoHo neighborhood downtown, The Henley Vaporium is an intimate hipster hangout with overstuffed chairs, exposed brick, friendly counter help — but no booze. Instead, the proprietors are peddling e-cigarettes, along with bottles of liquid nicotine ready to be plucked from behind a wooden bar and turned into flavorful vapor for a lung hit with a kick that is intended to simulate traditional smoking. By Leanne Italie. SENT: 1,480 words, photos.

MCDONALD'S-SALES

NEW YORK — McDonald's saw a key sales figure drop in the U.S. again last month as the world's biggest hamburger chain struggles to beat back competition and adapt to changing eating habits. The company cited bad winter weather for a 1.4 percent decline at established U.S. locations. But it also conceded that "challenging industry dynamics" played a role. By Candice Choi and Michelle Chapman. SENT: 480 words.

HEALTH OVERHAUL-UNINSURED

WASHINGTON — With just three weeks left to sign up under President Barack Obama's health care law, a major survey tracking the rollout finds that the uninsured rate keeps going down. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, released Monday, found that 15.9 percent of U.S. adults are uninsured thus far in 2014, down from 17.1 percent for the last three months — or calendar quarter— of 2013. That translates roughly to 3 million to 4 million people getting coverage. By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar. SENT: 670 words, photo.

AIRLINE MERGER

DALLAS — American Airlines is getting more than $425 million from selling takeoff and landing rights, or slots, at New York's LaGuardia Airport and Reagan National Airport outside Washington. That price was disclosed Monday in comments filed in federal court in Washington by the U.S. Department of Justice. By David Koenig. SENT: 400 words.

— AMERICAN AIRLINES-TRAFFIC — American Airlines and US Airways canceled more than 14,000 flights last month — more than double the rate from a year earlier — as winter storms disrupted air travel. SENT: 230 words.

— AMERICAN AIRLINES-JETBLUE — American Airlines and JetBlue Airways Corp. are ending an agreement that allowed travelers to add connections to their itinerary on each other's aircraft. The termination of the interline sales agreement is effective Monday. SENT: 150 words.

— BRITAIN-US-BANANAS — Chiquita combines with Dublin-based Fyffes to become the world's top banana company. The stock-for-stock transaction creates a global banana and fresh produce company with $4.6 billion in annual revenues. SENT: 150 words.

— SBARRO-BANKRUPTCY — Sbarro says it's filing for Chapter 11 reorganization, marking the struggling pizza chain's second trip through bankruptcy court in less than three years. SENT: 200 words.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

EYES ON SPIES

WASHINGTON — U.S. intelligence officials are planning a sweeping system of electronic monitoring that would tap into government, financial and other databases to scan the behavior of many of the 5 million federal employees with secret clearances, current and former officials told The Associated Press. The system is intended to identify rogue agents, corrupt officials and leakers, and draws on a Defense Department model under development for more than a decade, according to officials and documents reviewed by the AP. By Stephen Braun. SENT: 1,500 words, photos.

— EBAY-PROXY FIGHT — EBay is urging shareholders to vote for its directors rather than the pair put up by activist investor Carl Icahn. SENT: 130 words.

— GERMANY-NSA SURVEILLANCE — Germany dismisses a claim by NSA leaker Edward Snowden that it bowed to U.S. demands to water down legal protection for German citizens. SENT: 140 words.

INTERNATIONAL:

EUROPE-FINANCIAL CRISIS

BRUSSELS — European finance ministers try to agree on how to set up a joint authority that can restructure or shut down failing banks. A deal, they say, would be the final step in their effort to create a banking union that would stabilize the financial system. SENT: 330 words.

CHINA-AUTO SALES

BEIJING — China's auto sales rose 11.3 percent in the first two months of this year but local brands suffered a decline in a sign of intense competition in the world's biggest auto market, an industry group reports. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 450 words.

— EUROPE-RUSSIA-PIPELINE — The European Commission is delaying some talks on a new Russian pipeline that would bypass Ukraine to transport natural gas via the Black Sea to southeastern Europe. SENT: 150 words.

— BAYERN-HOENESS TRIAL — Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness admits to evading taxes through an undeclared Swiss bank account at a trial that could send the German football great to prison. SENT: 510 words, photos.

— SWITZERLAND-STANFORD PONZI SCHEME — The office of Switzerland's attorney general says its criminal investigation into former Texas tycoon R. Allen Stanford's massive Ponzi scheme has concluded that some of the victims' money was laundered in Swiss accounts. SENT: 150 words.

— CYPRUS-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Cyprus' central bank governor has resigned just as the bailed-out country struggles to emerge from a deep recession. SENT: 120 words.

PERSONAL FINANCE:

ON THE MONEY-OVERHAUL-LAST CALL

Uninsured Americans face an important deadline at the end of this month, and many don't realize it. March 31 is the last day to sign up for health insurance coverage and avoid a penalty for failing to obtain insurance for 2014 under the federal health care overhaul. Here are answers to five frequently asked questions as the deadline approaches. By Tom Murphy. UPCOMING: 800 words by 5 p.m.

Eds: On the Money, which is usually sent on Wednesdays, is being sent early this week.

A sampling of Money & Markets modules is below. The full digest for AP's Money & Markets service can be found at markets.ap.org. For questions about Money & Markets content, please contact Trevor Delaney (800-845-8450, ext. 1807). For technical support: Todd Balog (816-654-1096). After 6 p.m., contact the AP Business News desk (800-845-8450, ext. 1680) for content questions; 1-800-3AP-STOX for technical support and 212-621-1905 for graphics help.

CENTERPIECE

5 years later: Up from the bottom

On March 9, 2009, many wondered if the stock market could drop any lower. Five years later, the question is how much higher can the market rise? Here's a look at market conditions, then and now. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

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