BC-Business News Digest
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SUPREME COURT-HOURLY WORKERS
WASHINGTON — Workers who fill customer orders for Internet retailer Amazon might be out of luck in their quest to be paid for time they spend going through security checkpoints each day. Several Supreme Court justices expressed doubts about whether federal law entitles workers to compensation for routine security measures to prevent employee theft. The case is being watched closely by business groups concerned that employers could be liable for billions of dollars in retroactive pay for security check procedures. By Sam Hananel. SENT: 670 words, photo. UPCOMING: Will be updated.
NEW YORK — It's not just big businesses like JPMorgan Chase, Target and Home Depot that get hacked. Small companies suffer their fair share of intrusions into their computer systems, too. And while it may not cost them millions of dollars, they have costs associated with breaches. Security experts say no system is hacker-proof, but there are inexpensive steps small businesses can take to shore up their defenses. By Joyce M. Rosenberg. SENT: 670 words, photos, graphic.
NICE AIRLINES UNPROFITABLE
Passengers cherish Virgin America for its mood lighting, live TV, fancy cocktails and friendly flight attendants. That nice-guy approach to air travel wins awards and attracts a cult following, but may not fly with Wall Street if the airline goes public as planned. Virgin America has lost $400 million since its founding in 2007, carries a high debt load and fails to attract high-paying business travelers in big numbers. Wall Street prefers airlines that favor investors over passengers, so Virgin America may eventually be forced to take steps, such as raising fees, that help the bottom line but alienate loyal customers. By Scott Mayerowitz. SENT: 870 words, photos.
ON THE MONEY-HOME SOLAR
Solar companies have propelled the growth of home solar installations with innovative financing deals that offer homeowners a surprising deal: A solar system on the roof for little or no money down, and lower overall electric bills. Now, SolarCity is offering another twist on the deal that could get more homeowners interested. If you have a sunny roof in a state where power prices are high, these deals can pay off. By Jonathan Fahey. UPCOMING: 700 words by 2:30 p.m., photos. Incorporates BC-US--SOLARCITY-LOANS.
Fashion-conscious Muslim women from Kuala Lampur to Los Angeles who wear the Islamic headscarf, or hijab, have had to get creative. They say there is a gap in the market for young women looking for stylish modest wear. So through trial-and-error, slick layering of chunky jewelry and creating their own labels, hijabi hipsters have taken their unique styles online, sharing tips and trends and gaining a massive global following on social media. By fusing both their sense of fashion and their faith, Muslim women are reinterpreting traditional notions of what it means to dress conservatively. Some have also pioneered businesses around this growing demand, finding unexpected supporters among some mainstream brands, conservative Christian and Orthodox Jewish women. By Aya Batrawy. UPCOMING: 900 words by 3 p.m., photos.
WASHINGTON — The government plans to begin taking the temperatures of travelers from West Africa arriving at five U.S. airports as part of a stepped-up response to the Ebola epidemic. The White House says an additional layer of screening would begin at New York's JFK International and the international airports in Newark, Washington Dulles, Chicago and Atlanta. Another another official said separately that the new steps would include taking temperatures and would begin Saturday at JFK. By Alicia A. Caldwell and Mike Stobbe. SENT: 580 words, photos, video.
EBOLA-ECONOMIC IMPACT — Ebola's economic toll could reach $32.6 billion by year's end if the disease ravaging Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone spreads across West Africa, the World Bank says. The outbreak has the potential "to inflict massive economic costs" on those three countries and its closest neighbors, according to the bank's assessment. SENT: 400 words, photo.
MARKETS & ECONOMY:
WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve officials agreed last month that they would begin raising interest rates only when measures of the economy's health and inflation signaled the time was right. Minutes of the Fed's discussions at the Sept. 16-17 meeting showed that they have moved away from linking any rate change to any specific period. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 350 words by 2:45 p.m.
NEW YORK — The U.S. stock market moves between slight gains and losses, stabilizing after a big decline the day before, as investors waited to hear from the Federal Reserve and for corporate earnings reports to start coming in. By Ken Sweet. SENT: 630 words, photo. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner continues testimony at the trial of a lawsuit brought by former AIG Chairman and CEO Maurice Greenberg. He is suing the government for about $40 billion in damages over its handling of the bailout. By Marcy Gordon. UPCOMING: Will be updated from testimony, timing uncertain.
— BUDGET DEFICIT — A new report says the federal government's budget deficit has fallen to $486 billion, the smallest pool of red ink of President Barack Obama's six-year span in office. SENT: 380 words.
— CITIGROUP-SUBPRIME LENDER — Citigroup's subprime lending unit, OneMain Financial Holdings, files for an IPO valued at $50 million. OneMain did not say how many shares it plans to sell in the initial public offering nor did it say when the IPO will take place. SENT: 230 words.
— MONSANTO-MIXED MESSAGES — Agriculture business giant Monsanto Co. reported a wider-than-expected loss Wednesday for its fourth quarter on higher expenses, including a one-time legal settlement. Nonetheless, the company said it expects "strong double-digit to mid-teens earnings growth in fiscal year 2015 despite continued industry headwinds." SENT: 360 words, photo.
— EARNS-ALCOA — Alcoa reports quarterly financial results after the market closes. UPCOMING: 150 words after release, will be updated.
The average fuel economy of the U.S. auto fleet reached an all-time high last year, the government says. But growth in fuel economy is projected to have slowed in 2014 as consumers buy more SUVs and pickups. By Tom Krisher. UPCOMING: 130 words by 2:30 p.m., 500 words by 3:30 p.m., photos.
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Welding isn't just for aircraft carriers anymore. The U.S. Navy could be turning to ultrasonic welding to make its uniforms lighter, stronger and cheaper. And if the project by Rhode Island company Propel LLC and the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility is a success, it could help bring manufacturing back from overseas. By Jennifer McDermott. SENT: 850 words, photos, video.
DIY FLU VACCINE
Do-it-yourself flu vaccine? It could happen. Military folks who squirted vaccine up their noses were as well-protected as others who got it from health workers, a study found. There's no reason civilians couldn't do the same, especially for children who might be less scared if vaccine was given by mom or dad, the study leader said. By Marilynn Marchione. SENT: 460 words, photo.
HELICOPTER DEAL PROBE
WASHINGTON — The Army awards $80 million in helicopter contracts to Wall Street executive Lynn Tilton even as the Justice Department is investigating whether she played by the rules to win earlier military work. By Richard Lardner. SENT: 730 words, photo.
— CHANTIX-SAFETY — Public safety advocates are asking the federal government to strengthen warnings on Pfizer's anti-smoking drug Chantix, even as the drugmaker prepares to argue that a bold-letter warning about psychiatric problems should be removed from its medicine's label. SENT: 570 words.
— JC PENNEY-SALES — Shares of J.C. Penney Co. fall nearly 10 percent after the department store operator warns that its sales last month were weaker than expected and cut its outlook for a key sales measure for the current quarter. SENT: 480 words.
— GULF OIL SPILL-CLAIMS PROBE — The former FBI chief appointed to investigate the BP oil spill claims process is seeking the return of nearly $240,000 from an Alabama man and his maritime business. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: Will be updated.
— FLOOR MAT RECALL — A company that makes after-market floor mats for General Motors full-size pickup trucks and SUVs is recalling more than 45,000 of them because they can interfere with the gas pedal. SENT: 220 words.
— FRANCE-PILOTS STRIKE — Air France-KLM says a 14-day pilots' strike that grounded about half the airline's flights cost the company 500 million euros ($631 million). SENT: 130 words.
— BEHIND-THE-WHEEL-HONDA FIT — Fans of Honda's innovative and spacious Fit hatchback will love what the car becomes for 2015 — quieter inside, more powerful and yet more fuel efficient, more refined in its ride, roomier and better equipped. SENT: 950 words, photo, box.
TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:
LOS ANGELES — LoveAnimals.org, a year-old crowdfunding site, has tapped the power of online contributions, where people can give what they can, whether $5 or $500, to help a costly project come to fruition. With Love Animals, donors can help nonprofit sanctuaries, pet rescues, animal hospitals, zoos and aquariums provide care and extra amenities for dogs, elephants, otters, horses and everything in between. By Sue Manning. SENT: 550 words, photos.
— APPLE EVENT — Apple has sent invites to an Oct. 16 event during which it's expected to show off new iPad models and an update to its Mac OS system. The company may also use the event to launch its new digital payment service, Apple Pay. SENT: 140 words.
WASHINGTON — Telecom giant AT&T will pay a hefty $105 million to settle government charges that the company unlawfully billed wireless customers for tens of millions of dollars in bogus charges — a practice known as cramming. By Jennifer C. Kerr. SENT: 310 words.
DIGITAL LIFE-REVIEW-SMART DESK
NEW YORK — You may want to sit down for this. Then get up. Then sit down again. Because there's a desk out there that tells you to do exactly that. It's called the Stir Kinetic, and it's probably the world's first "smart" desk. It has a built-in touch screen, so you can see this either as a desk with an iPhone in it or an iPhone with a desk attached. By Peter Svensson. SENT: 820 words, photos.
— AIRBNB LEGALIZATION-SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco lawmakers have tentatively approved a measure that would allow city residents to rent out their homes to travelers on sites such as Airbnb. SENT: 140 words. UPCOMING: Will be updated.
— EUROPE-ERRANT SATELLITES — An investigation is blaming a design flaw for the inaccurate deployment of two satellites intended to bolster Europe's answer to the GPS. SENT: 140 words.
MILAN — France and Italy plan to ask the European Union to put up another 14 billion euros ($18 billion) to create jobs for the 5 million young unemployed people, but face stiff opposition from Germany. French President Francois Hollande told reporters that he and Premier Matteo Renzi would like to increase a fund earmarked to ease youth unemployment to 20 billion euros from 6 billion euros. By Colleen Barry. Unemployment is one of Europe's most pressing economic problems — some 25 million people are without work, or 11.5 percent of the work force. SENT: 470 words, photos.
BRUSSELS — The European Union approves Britain's bid to heavily subsidize a new nuclear power plant, overriding opposition from environmentalists and questions over the project's 24.5 billion pound ($39 billion) price tag. The EU's executive Commission says it found the subsidies for construction and operation of the Hinkley Point plant won't distort fair competition. By Juergen Baetz. SENT: 610 words, photos.
— SKOREA-NUCLEAR VOTE — Fighting plans to build a nuclear power plant, a South Korean fishing village is holding a referendum Thursday, even though the government has warned the vote is illegal. SENT: 670 words, photo.
— RUSSIA-SANCTIONS — Russia's parliament gives preliminary approval to a bill granting compensation to those affected by Western sanctions. The bill also allows the government to seize the assets in Russia of countries that have imposed the sanctions. SENT: 700 words.
— PIRACY — A Vietnamese oil tanker loses contact with its operator and may have been hijacked by pirates after leaving Singapore port almost a week ago. SENT: 380 words.
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Chimerix: fighting Ebola
Shares of Chimerix, a North Carolina biotech company that is testing an experimental antiviral drug to treat Ebola, plummet as the first patient diagnosed in the U.S. died Wednesday. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.
Monsanto's outlook disappoints
Monsanto issues a profit outlook for fiscal 2015 that falls short of Wall Street expectations. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.