BC-APFN-US--Business Features Digest

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

The business news enterprise package planned through Oct. 13. For comments or questions, call 212-621-1680. For questions about photos, call ext. 1900. For questions about graphics, call ext. 7636. Repeats of stories are available from or the Service Desk, 1-800-838-4616.



NEW YORK — The "Never Ending Pasta Pass" card from Olive Garden not only promised weeks of unlimited pasta, but a look into why the chain is fighting to hold onto customers. The Italian-themed chain sold the $100 card last month that allowed 1,000 people to dine on endless pasta, breadsticks, soup and salad for 49 days. The passes sold out in less than an hour, with some turning up on eBay for hundreds of dollars. It was a successful publicity stunt for Olive Garden's parent company, Darden Restaurants. But the company's troubles aren't over. By Candice Choi. SENT: Friday, 770 words, photo.


FRANKFURT, Germany — As if the global economy didn't have enough troubles, it looks like Germany, Europe's traditional growth engine, risks falling into recession — or growth so weak it holds back the entire euro currency union's weak recovery. Europe's largest economy has seen a run of lousy numbers for factory orders, industrial production, exports and business confidence. All that's bad news because exporting industrial goods such as machines and cars is the heart of Germany's globally linked economy. And if Germany isn't selling goods, it suggests other parts of the world's economy are not strong enough to keep buying them. By David McHugh. SENT: Friday, 870 words, photos.


NEW YORK — Don't ask for a raise. Keeping quiet will give you "superpowers" that will translate into employer trust and other "good karma" that will eventually come back around to your purse. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was widely derided for that foot-in-mouth statement Thursday. Only 7 percent of women negotiate salary when taking a job, versus 57 percent of men, according to a study for the 2007 book Women Don't Ask. So how's that good karma working out? Pretty poorly, especially for women in technology and finance. By Barbara Ortutay. UPCOMING: Friday, 700 words, photo by 2 p.m.


WASHINGTON — Though braced by a resurgent United States, the global economy is under threat from other regions — from Europe and Latin America to China and Japan — where growth is stalling and prospects remain dim. That's the bleak picture facing global finance officials who are meeting this week in Washington to consider policies to address the world's uneven growth. Their meetings follow downbeat assessments of the global economy issued this week by the International Monetary Fund, the Brookings Institution and the Federal Reserve. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: Thursday, 870 words, photos.


NEW YORK — They help give Coke its distinctive bite and Doritos its cheesy kick. But the artificial and natural flavors used to rev up the taste of processed foods remain a mystery to most Americans. "Artificial and natural flavors" have become ubiquitous terms on food labels, helping create vivid tastes that would otherwise be lost in mass production. As the science behind them advances, however, some are calling for greater transparency about their safety and ingredients. By Candice Choi. SENT: Thursday, 900 words, photos.


TOLEDO — The threat of losing the Jeep Wrangler — a direct descendant of the vehicle that rolled off the assembly line bound for the battlefields of World War II — is a little bit like losing a family member for those who spent decades building it. Word that Chrysler is considering moving production elsewhere so that the Wrangler can comply with new fuel economy standards has created feelings of anger, betrayal and fear. By John Seewer. SENT: 130 words, photos. SENT: Thursday, 650 words by 3 p.m.


Walk into Eddie DaRoza's office and you'll find two of him there: the actual 32-year-old video producer, and a 5-inch statuette of him. An action figure selfie, if you will. The advent of digital cameras and smartphones killed the traditional mall portrait studio, but 3-D printing has sparked a new trend. Statue studios will scan you or your kids in seconds and just days later you can arrange the statuettes on your mantel. Staples, Wal-Mart and other retailers are testing ways to create everything from hybrid figurines for Star Trek fans to personalized wedding cake toppers. By Peter Svensson. SENT: Thursday, 660 words, photos.


Investors have had a lot of advance notice that the Federal Reserve is preparing to end its bond buying program to stimulate the economy. The hope is that when the Fed makes the announcement on Oct. 29, it won't mean big swings for markets given all the time investors have had to prepare. But some fund managers say this time may not be different from when earlier rounds of quantitative easing have ended, and that means they're preparing for drops in stock prices and bond yields. SENT: Thursday, 800 words by 5 p.m.


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: Wednesday, 870 words, photos.


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. SENT: Wednesday, 700 words by 2:30 p.m., photos.


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. SENT: Wednesday, 900 words by 3 p.m., photos.


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: Wednesday, 670 words, photos, graphic.


SAN FRANCISCO — Smartphones, tablets and other gadgets aren't just changing the way we live and work. They are shaking up Silicon Valley's balance of power and splitting up businesses. Long-established companies such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and eBay Inc. are scrambling to regain their footing to better compete against mobile-savvy trendsetters like Apple and Google, as well as rising technology stars that have built businesses around "cloud computing." By Michael Liedtke. SENT: Tuesday, 890 words, photos.


MILAN — Protesters who tried to scale the walls of the royal palace in Naples where the European Central Bank was meeting last week embodied the frustration of 26 million jobless Europeans. With the policymakers literally behind fortified walls, symbolically isolated from the stark realities of the economy, the 3,000 demonstrators outside expressed their anger at leaders' inability to create jobs. European Union leaders will try to show some solidarity when they meet Wednesday in Milan for a one-day summit on how to create jobs. Expectations are low, however. By Colleen Barry. SENT: Tuesday, 740 words, photos.


You might be accustomed to typing in a street address or even the name of a landmark to get driving directions on a smartphone app. But if that's all you use it for, you're missing out. Mapping apps have grown much more sophisticated over the five years I've been using them. Some now offer options for walking, biking and public transit, too. A few work offline — when you don't have a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. Here's how you can make better use of mapping apps. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: Tuesday, 800 words by 2 p.m., photos.


Are PCs soon to be a thing of the past? With customers' increasing shift toward tablets and smartphones, companies such as IBM, Dell and Hewlett-Packard have struggled to compete. What's the next step for these iconic brands? By Brandon Bailey. SENT: Monday, 800 words, photo.


DETROIT — Ominous-sounding letters. Facebook messages. Telephone calls. General Motors has tried them all. Yet fewer than half of the roughly 2.36 million people still driving Chevy Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other small cars with defective and potentially deadly ignition switches have had them replaced. Now, some GM dealers are going even further by offering to pick up the cars, drop off a loaner and return them with the repairs completed. Experts say people who have put off the repairs usually haven't seen symptoms of the problem, and even though it's serious, don't think anything will happen to them. But ignoring the problem can have serious consequences. By Tom Krisher. SENT: Monday, 750 words, photos.


HACIPASA, Turkey — Sevda, a 22-year-old waitress in a brown apron, recounts how she made a small fortune running smuggled diesel from a village on Turkey's wild and dangerous border with Syria. But the days when she could earn 20 times her salary waiting tables came to an abrupt end several months ago when police arrested her and slapped her employers with a massive fine. Secretary of State John Kerry has called on Turkey to do more to stem the trade. Analysts estimate that the Islamic State group gets up to $3 million a day in revenue from oil fields seized in Iraq and Syria. By Desmond Butler. SENT: Monday, 1,700 words, photos.