Among the stories Tuesday from The Associated Press:

Among the stories Tuesday from The Associated Press:

TOP STORIES:

AIRLINES-IMPROVING SAFETY

NEW YORK More travelers are flying than ever before, creating a daunting challenge for airlines: keep passengers safe in an ever more crowded airspace. Each day, 8.3 million people around the globe roughly the population of New York City step aboard an airplane. They almost always land safely. Some flights, however, are safer than others. By Scott Mayerowitz. SENT: 960 words, photos, video.

DEBT STUDY

WASHINGTON More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study. The study points to a disturbing trend: The share of Americans in collections has remained relatively constant, even as the country as a whole has whittled down the size of its credit card debt since the official end of the Great Recession in the middle of 2009. By Josh Boak. SENT: 660 words, photo.

CHINA-MICROSOFT

BEIJING China's anti-monopoly agency announces an investigation of Microsoft Corp., stepping up pressure on foreign technology companies. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 650 words.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

WASHINGTON U.S. consumers are more confident about the economy than they have been in nearly seven years. The Conference Board's confidence index rose to 90.9 in July from an upwardly revised 86.4 in June, the third straight increase in the index. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 400 words by 11:15 a.m.

HOME PRICES

WASHINGTON U.S. home prices rise in May from a year earlier at the weakest pace in 15 months as sales remain modest in the spring buying season. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 360 words, photo.

FINANCIAL MARKETS

NEW YORK The stock market is edging higher in early trading ahead of a string of U.S. and Chinese economic reports later this week. SENT: 150 words, photo. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.

INDUSTRY:

HEPATITIS DRUG

WASHINGTON A $1,000-per-pill drug that insurers are reluctant to pay for has quickly become the treatment of choice for a liver-wasting viral disease that affects more than 3 million Americans. In less than six months, prescriptions for Sovaldi have eclipsed all other hepatitis C pills combined, according to new data from IMS Health. By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

JAPAN-MCDONALD'S McDonald's in Japan is increasing its checks on chicken from vendors in China and Thailand after allegations a Chinese supplier sold expired chicken. It says the scare will hurt its earnings. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 280 words.

WASTE MANAGEMENT-SALE Waste Management is selling a subsidiary to Energy Capital Partners for $1.94 billion as part of its effort to focus on its core business. SENT: 300 words.

SUZUKI-RECALL Suzuki is recalling nearly 26,000 midsize cars in the U.S. because the daytime running light modules can overheat and could cause a fire. SENT: 140 words, photo.

CHINA-INVESTIGATORS TRIAL A Shanghai court says American and British investigators who worked for drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will stand trial Aug. 8 on charges of illegally obtaining information on Chinese citizens. SENT: 150 words.

CRAYOLA-FAMILY ATTRACTIONS Crayon manufacturer Crayola is building a family attraction in Florida. Crayola Experience Orlando will open next summer at The Florida Mall. SENT: 150 words. UPCOMING: Will be updated.

SENATE ELECTIONS-EXPORT BANK

WASHINGTON Familiar with the Export-Import Bank? In all likelihood, most voters in Louisiana and Virginia aren't either. And yet Democratic Sen. Mark Warner is talking about the bank on the campaign trail, portraying it as a job creator that must be protected against tea party ideologues. By Charles Babington. SENT: 730 words, photo.

HIGHWAY MONEY The Senate is set to take up legislation to keep federal highway money flowing to states, with just three days left before the government plans to start slowing down payments. SENT: 660 words. UPCOMING: Senate debate expected to begin after 3 p.m. EDT, with a final vote in the evening.

EARNINGS:

EARNS-TWITTER

EARNS-AETNA Aetna's second-quarter profit climbs more than 2 percent, as gains from an acquisition helped the health insurer beat analyst expectations and raise its 2014 earnings forecast again. SENT: 400 words, photo.

EARNS-MERCK A big one-time gain and a tax benefit helps drugmaker Merck & Co. more than double its second-quarter profit, raise the lower end of its profit forecast and easily top analysts' expectations. SENT: 450 words, photo.

EARNS-PFIZER Pfizer's second-quarter earnings plunge 79 percent from last year, when the world's second-largest drugmaker booked a business spinoff gain of more than $10 billion, but results in the most recent quarter still edged analyst expectations. SENT: 420 words, photo.

EARNS-UPS United Parcel Service Inc. reports net income that declined by 58 percent in its second quarter, and missed analysts' expectations. SENT: 360 words, photos.

EARNS-REYNOLDS AMERICAN Reynolds American Inc. says its profit rose by 6.7 percent in its second quarter, topping analysts' expectations. SENT: 500 words.

JAPAN-EARNS-HONDA Honda's quarterly profit surges nearly 20 percent on demand for remodeled cars in Japan and elsewhere in Asia. The Japanese automaker also raised its full-year profit and sales forecasts. SENT: 330 words, photos.

SWITZERLAND-EARNS-UBS Switzerland's biggest bank, UBS, reports a 15 percent rise in second-quarter profit, driven by strong results from its core wealth management business and trimmed-down investment banking franchises despite a tough market environment. SENT: 560 words, photo.

BRITAIN-EARNS-BP Energy company BP warns that further international sanctions on Russia could hurt its profits because of its stake in the country's oil giant, Rosneft. SENT: 330 words, photos.

GERMANY-EARNS-DEUTSCHE BANK Deutsche Bank AG posts a 29 percent drop in second-quarter net profit, hit by higher taxes, declining revenue and political instability affecting financial markets. Germany's largest bank said its net profit in the April-June period fell to 238 million euros ($320 million), down from 335 million euros a year earlier. SENT: 300 words, photo.

FRANCE-EARNS-RENAULT French carmaker Renault says its profits in the first half of the year rose, partly thanks to lower costs as its revenue dropped. SENT: 130 words.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

RHAPSODY-SUBSCRIBERS Rhapsody International says its partnership with T-Mobile US Inc. has helped boost its number of paying subscribers to more than 2 million, up from 1.7 million in April. SENT: 280 words.

INTERNATIONAL:

EUROPE-RUSSIA

BRUSSELS The United States and the European Union, finally in synch on how to deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, are preparing a powerful one-two punch against Russia's economy, with EU ambassadors meeting on Tuesday to discuss a dramatic escalation in the trade bloc's sanctions. By John-Thor Dahlburg and Julie Pace. SENT: 570 words.

POLAND-AIRLINE The European Union's antitrust authority approves the Polish government's 200 million-euro ($270 million) bailout for its ailing national carrier, LOT airlines. SENT: 210 words.

CHINA-INVESTIGATORS TRIAL A Shanghai court says American and British investigators who worked for drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will stand trial Aug. 8 on charges of illegally obtaining information on Chinese citizens. SENT: 130 words.

NEW ZEALAND-STRANDED PASSENGERS A group of Air New Zealand passengers were stranded for a third night after being repeatedly told their plane was delayed due to mechanical problems. The upside? They're in Hawaii. And every passenger is getting 1,000 New Zealand dollars ($850) in compensation. SENT: 320 words.