Business Highlights

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

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World economy being sustained by extraordinary aid

WASHINGTON (AP) — Five years after a global financial crisis erupted, the world's biggest economies still need to be propped up.

They're growing and hiring a little faster and creating more jobs, but only with extraordinary aid from central banks or government spending. And economists say major countries may need help for years more.

From the United States to Europe to Japan, central banks are pumping cash into economies and keeping loan rates near record lows. Even fast-growing China has rebounded from an uncharacteristic slump with the help of government money that's poured into projects and made loans easily available from state-owned banks.

For now, thanks in part to the intervention, the world economy is improving. The International Monetary Fund expects global growth to rise to 3.6 percent in 2014 from 2.9 percent this year.

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Long silent, China's entrepreneurs push for change

BEIJING (AP) — As Chinese career trajectories go, wealthy businesswoman Wang Ying's has taken an unusual turn. She quit her job as head of a private equity fund to become a full-time political critic.

Wang, who was a low-profile member of China's business elite for years, is now a leading voice among entrepreneurs troubled by the growing ranks of business owners who have suffered under the government's authoritarian excesses and by signs Beijing wants to further tighten its controls on society.

As China's ruling party holds a major economic planning meeting this week, it faces rising demands for change from entrepreneurs who feel a simmering anger at a system that extends privileges such as cheap credit and monopolies to politically-favored state companies. Entrepreneurs complain they are denied a say in how society is run even as their businesses create jobs, wealth and tax revenue. Worse, some have endured arrest, torture and confiscation of their businesses at the whim of local officials.

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US, Europe resume talks on new trade pact

BRUSSELS (AP) — The United States and the European Union sought Monday to get past a rough patch in diplomatic relations to resume talks on a free trade deal that would grow what is already the world's biggest business relationship.

Negotiators for the Obama administration and the EU say an agreement would create jobs and boost growth in the two economies, which represent almost half of global output but are still not fully recovered from recession. The trade volume in goods and services between the two economies totaled 800 billion euros ($1.08 trillion) last year.

The negotiations, however, are taking place against the backdrop of European pique over reported U.S. electronic espionage of EU citizens, including high-profile leaders like Germany's Angela Merkel. The Greens in the European Parliament on Monday became the latest political group to call for the trade talks to be frozen in response.

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Target to open earlier on Thanksgiving

NEW YORK (AP) — Target Corp. is the latest retailer to open earlier on Thanksgiving this year.

The Minneapolis-based discounter said it will open at 8 p.m. on the holiday — an hour earlier than last year. Stores will remain open throughout the night and close at 11 p.m. on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday.

Target also will offer hundreds of deals online on Thanksgiving morning that will include almost all deals that will be available in stores. In addition, Target said it will feature 15 online-only daily discounts for two weeks beginning on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

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Amazon, US Postal Service will deliver on Sundays

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is teaming up with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver packages on Sundays.

The Seattle company says Sunday delivery will be available this week to customers in the New York and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. Amazon and the Postal Service plan to roll out service to "a large portion of the U.S. population" next year, including the cities of Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and Phoenix.

Amazon expects Sunday delivery to be popular with members of its Prime service, which costs $79 a year and comes with free two-day shipping on many items on the site as well as access to Amazon's TV and movie streaming service. But Sunday delivery will be available to all Amazon customers.

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News Corp 1Q revenue, profit misses expectations

NEW YORK (AP) — News Corp. said Monday that it had an unexpected drop in revenue in the most-recent quarter, as revenue from Australian newspapers plunged. The results were short of analysts' forecasts.

Net income in the fiscal first quarter, which ended in September, was $27 million, or 5 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $92 million, or 16 cents per share, a year ago.

Adjusted to exclude costs related to a U.K. hacking probe and other items, earnings came to $17 million, or 3 cents per share, which was below the 5 cents expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

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New York knish factory fire leads to nationwide shortage

COPIAGUE, N.Y. (AP) — A fire at a factory billed as the world's biggest maker of knishes has created nationwide shock and oy for those who can't seem to find the Jewish treats anywhere.

Kvetching has been going on at delis, diners, food carts and groceries since the 6-week-long shortage began, but lovers of the square, fried, doughy pillows of pureed potatoes may not have to go without much longer. The factory promises an end to the knish crunch by Thanksgiving, which coincides with the start of Hanukkah.

A fire Sept. 24 at the Gabila's plant in Copiague, on Long Island, damaged the machinery that makes the company's biggest seller — "The Original Coney Island Square Knish," which also come filled with kasha or spinach.

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Transocean agrees to deal with Icahn

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil driller Transocean has agreed to a deal with billionaire investor Carl Icahn after a months-long proxy fight.

The company said Monday that it has agreed to support a dividend of $3 per share and reduce the size of its board. It is also looking to boost margins by $800 million through cost-cutting efforts and other measures. The stock climbed in premarket trading.

Icahn, a minority shareholder in Transocean Ltd., had previously pushed for a $4 per share dividend but Transocean's shareholders rejected it. Icahn, known for shaking up companies in which he invests, had also wanted several board changes.

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Shire buys ViroPharma in $4.2 billion deal

LONDON (AP) — The drugmaker Shire PLC plans to strengthen its rare disease treatment portfolio by spending $4.2 billion in cash to buy the biopharmaceutical company ViroPharma Inc.

The Dublin-based drugmaker said Monday it will pay $50 for each share of ViroPharma, which is based in Exton, Pa. That represents a 27 percent premium on the U.S. company's closing price Friday, the last trading day before the deal was announced.

ViroPharma focuses on serious diseases with few, if any, available therapies. Its products include Cinryze, which is used to prevent and treat attacks of hereditary angioedema, a rare genetic disorder that can cause dangerous swelling of the throat or larynx.

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Novartis in deal to sell diagnostics unit

GENEVA (AP) — Pharmaceutical company Novartis says it is selling part of its diagnostics business to the Spanish health care company Grifols for $1.68 billion.

The company, based in Basel, Switzerland, says the deal with Grifols SA, which is headquartered in Barcelona and is the world's third-largest producer of plasma-derived therapies, requires customary regulatory approvals but is expected to be completed in the first half of 2014.

Novartis AG says the unit it acquired in 2006 as part of Chiron, an Emeryville, California-based biotech company, had sales of $565 million in 2012.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 21.32 points, or 0.1 percent, to 15,783.10. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 1.28 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,771.89. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.56 points, less than 0.1 percent, to 3,919.79.

Benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery rose 54 cents to $95.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international benchmark, gained $1.28 to $106.40 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

Wholesale gasoline added 4 cents to $2.60 a gallon. Heating oil gained 2 cents to $2.89 a gallon. Natural gas advanced 2 cents to $3.57 per 1,000 cubic feet.