German airline could face 'unlimited' damages for Alps crash
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Lufthansa could face "unlimited" compensation claims for the crash that killed 150 people in the French Alps and it would be difficult, even counterproductive, for the German carrier to try to avoid liability, experts said Friday.
Under a treaty governing deaths and injuries aboard international flights, airlines are required to compensate relatives of victims for proven damages of up to a limit currently set at about $157,000 — regardless of what caused the crash.
But higher compensation is possible if a carrier is held liable.
US economic growth may be mild, but it's also really durable
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy's tepid performance last quarter — a 2.2 percent annual growth rate — was typical of the economic rebound that began in the summer of 2009.
Yet the sluggish pace of the recovery has a silver lining: This growth spurt has proved to be one of the most durable since World War II.
Will it last? It'll depend on a number of factors in the months ahead, including a potential rate hike by the Fed, the strong dollar, oil prices and consumer spending.
Internet outages reveal gaps in US broadband infrastructure
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — When vandals sliced a fiber-optic cable in the Arizona desert last month, they did more than time-warp thousands of people back to an era before computers, credit cards or even phones. They exposed a glaring vulnerability in the nation's Internet infrastructure: no backup systems in many places.
Because Internet service is largely unregulated by the federal government and the states, decisions about network reliability are left to the service providers.
Industry analysts say these companies generally do not build alternative routes, or redundancies, unless they believe it is worthwhile financially.
From new logos to New Coke: when corporations make mistakes
NEW YORK (AP) — Mega coffee chain Starbucks wanted to spark a conversation about race when it asked baristas to write "Race Together" on customers' cups.
But many said that they didn't want a debate with their brew and Starbucks ended the campaign Sunday, although the company said it was always meant to be brief.
Corporations spend millions to make sure their products, logos, and branding and marketing are top of mind for consumers in a positive way. But that means that when corporate missteps happen or marketing campaigns are a flop, they can go viral, too.
US isolated as allies line up to join China-led bank
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. resistance to a Chinese-led Asian regional bank has left it isolated among its Asian and European allies and given some heft to China's frequent complaints that Washington wants to contain its rise as a world power.
South Korea, one of America's closest friends in Asia, announced Thursday it will join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB, which is intended to help finance construction of roads and other infrastructure.
Beijing has pledged to put up most of the initial $50 billion in capital for the bank, which is expected to be set up by year's end.
Review: Galaxy S6 phones are Samsung's best yet
NEW YORK (AP) — A better design, a sharper camera and easier-to-use software make the new Galaxy S6 phones the best Samsung has yet to offer.
Although Samsung has been praised for its improved hardware, much of what I like is in the software — specifically, what's not in it.
After a few years of making phones difficult to use with a slew of questionable features, Samsung continues to streamline its phones with the S6.
With big projects, Ethiopia shedding famine stereotype
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia, once known for epic famines that sparked global appeals for help, has a booming economy and big plans these days.
A new airport planned on the outskirts of the capital is one of several muscular, forward-looking infrastructure projects undertaken by the government that have fueled talk of this East African country as a rising African giant.
Oil council: Shale won't last, Arctic drilling needed now
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. should immediately begin a push to exploit its enormous trove of oil in the Arctic waters off of Alaska, or risk a renewed reliance on imported oil in the future, an Energy Department advisory council says in a study submitted Friday.
The U.S. has drastically cut imports and transformed itself into the world's biggest producer of oil and natural gas by tapping huge reserves in shale rock formations.
But the government predicts that the shale boom won't last much beyond the next decade.
Swiss bankers avoid US prison, get probation for tax fraud
ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (AP) — Two former Swiss bankers avoided jail time Friday for their roles in a tax fraud scheme that helped U.S. customers hide billions of dollars in assets.
Prosecutors in U.S. District Court in Alexandria recommended probation for the two men, Andreas Bachmann and Josef Dorig.
The two were among eight former employees of Zurich-based Credit Suisse and its subsidiaries who were indicted in 2011. The other six remain at large.
Yellen: A rate increase may be warranted later this year
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Friday that continued improvement in the U.S. economy means an increase in the Fed's key interest rate could come later this year.
But Yellen stressed that any rate increases would likely be very gradual.
The Fed has kept its benchmark rate at a record low near zero for more than six years. Yellen said in a speech in San Francisco that the time to start raising the rate could occur "sometime this year," though she said that time hasn't yet arrived.
By The Associated Press=
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 34.43 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,712.66. The S&P 500 index added 4.87 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,061.02. The Nasdaq composite picked up 27.86 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,891.22.
Benchmark U.S. crude fell 5 percent, or $2.56, Friday to close at $48.87 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell $2.78 to close at $56.41 in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 8.4 cents to close at $1.798 a gallon. Heating oil fell 6 cents to close at $1.728 a gallon. Natural gas fell 8.2 cents to close at $2.590 per 1,000 cubic feet.