BC-Business News Preview

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Among the stories Thursday from The Associated Press:



FRANKFURT, Germany — Trying to salvage a weak recovery, the European Central Bank cuts interest rates and announces a new economic stimulus program that involves buying financial assets. The chief monetary authority for the 18 countries that use the euro cut its benchmark interest rate from 0.15 to 0.05 percent, a new record low. The step reduces the costs banks pay when they borrow from the ECB. Lower rates stimulate more lending and growth. By David McHugh. SENT: 650 words, photos.


— EUROPE-ECONOMY-EURO — The euro slides sharply after the European Central Bank surprises traders by trimming its main interest rate to a record low of 0.05 percent from the previous low of 0.15 percent. SENT: 130 words.


Nude photos of several female celebrities circulated online soon after hackers stole them. Websites responded by doing what they could to block or remove the images, apparently on grounds the images were protected by copyright. Shouldn't there be a better way to police images and other content on these sites? Here's a look at the laws surrounding copyright online and the challenges websites face. By Michael Liedtke. SENT: 1,000 words, photo.


BERLIN — Microsoft will seek to draw more people to its Internet-based services with two new mid-range smartphones, including one designed to help people take better selfies. The devices are under the Lumia brand Microsoft bought from Nokia. By Frank Jordans and Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 660 words, photos.


YORK, Maine — Lighthouses for sale! Actually, lots of lighthouses for free. Technological advances and a desire to purge unneeded properties have paved the way for the federal government to get rid of more than 100 lighthouses over the last 14 years, and it intends to keep selling and giving them away. The sold lighthouses, located on both coasts and in the Great Lakes states, have become everything from museums to bed-and-breakfasts. By Patrick Whittle. SENT: 600 words, photos, glance.



WASHINGTON — U.S. businesses add jobs at a healthy pace in August, the fifth straight month of solid gains. Payroll processer ADP says private employers added 204,000 jobs last month, down from 212,000 in July, which was revised slightly lower. Job gains above 200,000 are usually enough to lower the unemployment rate. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 290 words.


WASHINGTON — Slightly more Americans seek unemployment benefits last week, but the total number of people receiving jobless aid remains at its lowest level in more than seven years. By Josh Boak. SENT: 360 words, photo, glance.


WASHINGTON — U.S. services firms expand in August at the fastest pace on record. The Institute for Supply Management says its services index rose to 59.6 last month from 58.7 in July. The August figure is the highest recorded since the measure was introduced in January 2008. By Paul Wiseman. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 350 words.


WASHINGTON — The U.S. trade deficit falls in July to its lowest level since January, as exports of autos, telecom equipment, industrial machines and semiconductors rise. By Josh Boak. SENT: 480 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — U.S. workers see their productivity increase in the April-June quarter after a big decline in the first quarter while their labor costs edge down slightly. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 420 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — The average 30-year U.S. mortgage rate this week remains at a 52-week low of 4.10 percent for the third straight week. By Marcy Gordon. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 300 words by noon.


NEW YORK — U.S. stocks open higher after the European Central Bank surprised traders by trimming its main interest rate to a record low and announcing that it would purchase asset-backed securities in an effort to stimulate that region's ailing economy. By Steve Rothwell. SENT: 350 words. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.



RENO, Nev. — To bring electric cars to the masses, Tesla Motors will use an expanse of Nevada desert where wild mustangs still roam for a factory that the company projects will crank out enough batteries to power 500,000 vehicles annually by decade's end. Nevada officials still must deliver on the economic incentives they've promised, but if they do as expected, Tesla will open its massive $5 billion facility at an industrial park outside Reno. By Justin Pritchard and Scott Sonner. SENT: 750 words, photos.


NEW YORK — Police handcuff several protesters in New York and Detroit as they block traffic in the latest attempt to escalate their efforts to get McDonald's, Burger King and other fast-food companies to pay their employees at least $15 an hour. By Joseph Pisani. SENT: 520 words. UPCOMING: Will be updated from protests.


RICHMOND, Va. — Cigarette maker Reynolds American Inc. is taking its Zonnic brand nicotine gum nationwide, challenging the pharmaceutical industry's hold and pricing power of the market for products to help people stop smoking. By Michael Felberbaum. SENT: 650 words, photos.

— MALAYSIA-AIRLINE-BUCKET LIST — Malaysia Airlines scraps the title of a competition asking people what activities and destinations are on their "bucket list," acknowledging it was inappropriate given the two deadly disasters it has suffered this year. SENT: 350 words, photo.

— FRANCE-NESPRESSO KNOCKOFFS — No more worries about the warranty, the machine breaking or — worst of all — a botched cup of coffee. France's Competition Authority says Nespresso has for the first time agreed to open up its machines to knockoff coffee pods, under pressure from anti-trust regulators. SENT: 390 words.

— FIAT-CHRYSLER — Fiat SpA says its merger with Chrsyler is going ahead since there isn't enough opposition to derail it. Fiat says shareholders had cashed out 463 million euros ($609 million), under the 500 million-euro ($657 million) threshold that would have scuttled the deal. Fiat shareholders had overwhelmingly approved the deal, but Italian law gives dissenters the right to cash out. SENT: 130 words.


— DENMARK-EARNS-LEGO — Danish toy maker Lego says revenue soared 11 percent in the first six months of 2014, mostly because of the success of the "Lego Movie." SENT: 120 words.



BEIJING — An Apple supplier in China is violating safety and pay rules despite the computer giant's promises to improve conditions, two activist groups said Thursday, ahead of the release of the iPhone 6. The report by China Labor Watch and Green America adds to a string of complaints about wage, safety and environmental conditions at China's network of contractors that produce most of the world's personal computers and mobile phones. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 510 words, photos.


NEW YORK — An early look at phones and other gadgets Samsung unveils Wednesday for the holiday shopping season. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 930 words, photos


TOKYO — The boundary between the online and physical worlds got blurry last week when Sony's PlayStation Network was disabled by an online attack, while simultaneously an American Airlines passenger jet carrying a Sony executive was diverted due to a bomb threat on Twitter. Experts say that's a wakeup call for a world still coming to grips with cybersecurity: What goes down online can be equally if not more disruptive in the real world. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 900 words, photos.

— DRUG WEBSITE SHUTDOWN — The top executive of a New York City-based Bitcoin company is scheduled to plead guilty to federal criminal charges. The case against Charlie Shrem of Manhattan grew from the government's shutdown of the black market website Silk Road. SENT: 130 words, photo. UPCOMING: Will be updated from 4 p.m. hearing, 300 words by 6 p.m.



BEIJING — Police in Shanghai detain the chief editor and several employees of an influential Chinese financial news site on allegations they extorted money from companies by threatening to publish negative news about them. The case surrounding, the website for the 21st Century Business Herald, is the latest scandal involving news corruption in China, where extortion schemes have plagued the state-owned media, especially those specializing in financial news. By Didi Tang. SENT: 650 words, photo.

— JAPAN-TUNA — The multi-nation fisheries body that monitors most of the Pacific Ocean has recommended a substantial cut to the catch of juvenile bluefin tuna, a move conservationists say is only an initial step toward saving the dwindling species. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 600 words, photos.

— BRITAIN-ECONOMY — The Bank of England votes to keep its main interest rate at a record low 0.5 percent even as Britain's economy recovers at a brisk pace. SENT: 130 words.

— GERMANY-ECONOMY — Factory orders in Germany rebound sharply in July following two monthly falls, indicating Europe's biggest economy is holding up despite the crisis in Ukraine. SENT: 340 words.

— FRANCE-CONVICTED TRADER — The Paris appeals court authorizes the controlled release of Frenchman Jerome Kerviel, convicted of one of history's biggest trading frauds. SENT: 140 words.