c.2013 New York Times News Service

c.2013 New York Times News Service

MODERATE RISES IN U.S. GASOLINE PRICES EXPECTED

With all the saber-rattling surrounding Syria and the spike in oil prices over the last week, gasoline prices rose 2 cents a gallon for a second day in a row Friday as motorists began to fill their tanks for the Labor Day weekend. But energy experts say a major jump is unlikely for the 29.2 million Americans whom AAA expects to travel 50 miles or more on the road this weekend. In fact, Americans will pay considerably less for gasoline than they did last Labor Day weekend, when refinery shutdowns and Hurricane Isaac, which hit the Gulf of Mexico coast, heightened fears of gasoline shortages.

FORECAST DARKENS FOR INDIAN ECONOMY

The statistical evidence is piling up that India’s economy may be in even worse shape than had been thought. India’s economy slowed in early summer to its weakest pace since the bottom of the global economic downturn in 2009, government statistics released Friday evening showed. The Central Statistics Office in New Delhi said that the economy grew 4.4 percent in the quarter ended June 30, well below economists’ expectations of 4.8 percent. The accumulating signs of economic distress suggest that the monthlong fall of the Indian rupee in currency markets may be a symptom of fundamental troubles in the Indian economy.

NUMBER OF JOBLESS PEOPLE DECLINES SLIGHTLY IN EUROPE

While unemployment remained at record levels in percentage terms, the actual number of jobless people in the eurozone fell slightly in July, according to data published Friday, offering fresh evidence that Europe’s struggling economy was taking tentative steps toward a recovery. The tiny improvement in employment — which came alongside declining inflation and a survey showing improved confidence among European consumers and business managers — was welcomed as additional evidence that the worst of the region’s downturn was probably over. Still, officials and economists cautioned that the economic health of Europe remained fragile and the pace of recovery highly uneven within the region.

CUMULUS MEDIA WILL BUY A RADIO SYNDICATOR

In a deal that could heighten the competition in radio against Clear Channel Communications, long the industry’s dominant player, Cumulus Media has agreed to buy Dial Global, a syndicator of sports, talk and music programming to thousands of stations, for $260 million. The deal, which was announced Friday and is subject to regulatory approval, would let Cumulus beef up its syndication business with programs from the National Football League, the Olympics and NASCAR, as well as news and entertainment. And it represents talk shows like “Loveline ” for advertising. Clear Channel’s Premiere Radio Networks division dominates the market with major talk hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

CHINESE CHICKEN PROCESSORS ARE CLEARED TO SHIP TO U.S.

The Department of Agriculture on Friday approved four Chinese poultry processors to begin shipping a limited amount of meat to the United States, a move that is likely to add to the debate over food imports. Initially, the companies will be allowed to export only cooked poultry products from birds raised in the United States and Canada. But critics predicted that the government would eventually expand the rules, so that chickens and turkeys bred in China could end up in the U.S. market. The USDA’s decision follows years of wrangling over the issue and comes as Americans are increasingly focused on the origin of their food.

TWITTER’S GENERAL COUNSEL LEAVES AS COMPANY EXPANDS

Alex MacGillivray, Twitter’s chief lawyer and the Internet industry’s most prominent champion of free speech rights, announced Friday that he would step down from his post, as the company expands its global footprint and prepares for a widely anticipated public offering sometime in 2014. The company announced the appointment of a new general counsel, Vijaya Gadde, who had managed the company’s corporate affairs for the past two years. MacGillivray, better known as AMac, said he would continue in an advisory role.

ZURICH INSURANCE TO INVESTIGATE SUICIDE

Zurich Insurance said Friday that its board of directors would look into whether undue pressure was put on the company’s chief financial officer before he died in an apparent suicide, an event that led to the resignation of the Zurich chairman, Josef Ackermann, and shook Switzerland’s tidy financial capital. Top managers of Zurich Insurance sought to reassure skeptical stock analysts that the apparent suicide Monday of Pierre Wauthier, a 53-year-old father of two, did not signal deeper problems at the company, one of the world’s largest insurers. Despite such assurances, it was obvious from analysts’ questions that Wauthier’s death has shaken confidence in Zurich Insurance’s financial performance.