BUSINESS NEWS AT A GLANCE
c.2013 New York Times News Service
BENEFITS ENDING FOR 1 MILLION OF UNEMPLOYED
An emergency federal program that acts as a lifeline for 1.3 million jobless workers will end Saturday, drastically curtailing government support for the long-term unemployed and setting the stage for a major political fight in the new year. The program, in place since the recession started in 2008, provides up to 47 weeks of supplemental unemployment insurance payments to jobless people looking for work. Its expiration is expected to have far-reaching ramifications for the economy, cutting job growth by about 300,000 positions next year and pushing hundreds of thousands of households below the poverty line.
TURKEY LEGS CONQUER LAND OF MOUSE EARS
Disney’s latest megahit is no ride. It’s a turkey leg. It made its debut at a single stand in the late 1980s and slowly spread beyond Walt Disney World in Florida to Disneyland in California. In 2010, with sales spiking, Disney rolled out related souvenirs: hats, pins, T-shirts and even air fresheners. The company in 2013 is likely to serve up an astounding 2 million of the jumbo drumsticks, for up to $11.79 each, at its North American theme parks. That is 25 percent more than three years ago.
BOWING TO PRESSURE, REALITY STAR ISN’T SUSPENDED FROM ‘DUCK DYNASTY’
The indefinite suspension of Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the family at the center of the A&E Network’s huge ratings hit “Duck Dynasty,” became definite Friday — at zero episodes, when the network announced that he isn’t going to be suspended after all. The network moved to suspend Robertson on Dec. 18 after comments he made about gay people in a magazine interview. The suspension stirred an uproar among fans of the show and also conservative political and religious leaders. More ominously, the family issued a statement saying in effect that there would be no show without their patriarch.
TARGET ALTERS STATEMENT, SAYING PINs WERE STOLEN
After hackers made off with the credit and debit card data of 40 million Target customers, the retailer said the personal identification numbers, or PINs, of those customers had been spared. Not so. On Friday, Target backtracked from previous statements and said cybercriminals had taken customers’ encrypted PIN information, too. The admission was the latest installment in Target’s worst nightmare. Beginning Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving, hackers broke into the payment systems inside Target stores, so-called point-of-sale systems, and, over the course of the next three weeks, stole the credit and debit card data of 40 million customers.
LOYAL SUBSCRIBERS KEEP HOBBY MAGAZINES AFLOAT
Lance Prucnal’s family, like others in the digital age, has canceled most of its newspaper and magazine subscriptions. But Prucnal refuses to part with Model Railroader, Classic Trains and Classic Toy Trains. When it comes to the toy train magazines that fuel his passion, he has drawn the line. Readers like Prucnal have helped hobby magazines become the darlings of the struggling magazine industry. Niche magazines continue to retain and attract loyal followings. “Titles like Trains aren’t easily replaced,” said Andrew Davis, a media consultant. “It’s a really passionate community with high-quality content that speaks specifically to them.”
SPAIN ORDERS SMALLER PRICE INCREASE FOR ELECTRICITY
The Spanish government decreed Friday that the country’s utilities could charge consumers only 2.3 percent more for their electricity next month after accusing utilities of manipulating a recent auction to win a price increase of 11 percent. While meant as a good will gesture to consumers, the government’s unprecedented intervention underlines the fragile regulations of Spain’s electricity market and the conflicting interests driving its energy policy. For 2013, the government had targeted a full-year energy deficit of 3.6 billion euros, or about $4.9 billion. Instead, the shortfall reached 4.5 billion euros ($6.2 billion) for the period to October.
RUSSIAN ARREST WARRANT FOR HÉDIARD OWNER IS REVOKED
A court in Moscow on Friday withdrew an arrest warrant for Russian banker Sergei Pugachev, owner of the French luxury food chain Hédiard, a day after the warrant’s issuance had been prominently reported in the Russian business newspaper Kommersant. The court cited “technical violations” for the reversal, the Interfax news agency reported while also quoting unnamed officials in the security forces, who said an international warrant for the banker — believed to have long ago fled Russia — would remain in effect.