Business Highlights

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO


Can't remember your password? Here are 2 new ways to log in

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Tired of trying to remember a different password for each of your online accounts? Or worried about re-using the same password too many times? You're not alone. Tech experts agree that traditional passwords are annoying, outmoded and too easily hacked.

This week, Yahoo and Microsoft offered up some alternatives: Yahoo says it can text temporary passwords to users' phones each time they want to sign into their Yahoo accounts. Microsoft says it is building facial-recognition and fingerprint-identification technology into Windows 10, the new computer operating system coming this summer, so users can log on with their fingertip or face. The two approaches drew different reviews.


Olive Garden gets boost from diners splurging on extras

NEW YORK (AP) — Olive Garden is weaning diners off two-for-$25 dinners and luring them to splurge a bit on extras like drinks and desserts.

Those add-ons, a sign that customers might be more willing to open their wallets, helped push sales up for a restaurant chain that limped through the recession and a shift toward "better" fast food personified by Chipotle.

The struggling restaurant chain said Friday quarterly sales edged up 2.2 percent at established locations, marking the first back-to-back quarterly gains in five years. That's partly because diners were ordering more extras like alcohol and desserts and Olive Garden pulled back on discounts.


After Communist-era pain, small Czech brewers enjoy revival

CVIKOV, Czech Republic (AP) — After shutting down in droves during the decades of Communist rule, the Czech Republic's small brewers are staging a comeback.

Dilapidated beer-making facilities dotted across this patch of Central Europe, which is better known for a clutch of global brands like Pilsner Urquell, are being reopened to revive local brewing traditions that date back to the 10th century.

You'll have to visit the Czech Republic to taste any of it, though — production is still too small for export and many beers are not available outside the towns and villages where they are brewed.


Terror attack in Tunisia a fresh blow to tourism industry

The terror attack in Tunisia that killed 21 people is a fresh blow to the North African nation's tourism industry, which has been struggling since the country's revolution of 2011.

Cruise companies canceled stops in the country as 17 of the victims at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis were passengers on shore excursions from two cruise ships in port that day.


Fracking: US tightens rules for chemical disclosure

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration said Friday it is requiring companies that drill for oil and natural gas on federal lands to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, the first major federal regulation of the controversial drilling technique that has sparked an ongoing boom in natural gas production but raised widespread concerns about possible groundwater contamination.

A rule to take effect in June also updates requirements for well construction and disposal of water and other fluids used in fracking, as the drilling method is more commonly known.


Simon Property raises bid for Macerich to $16.8B

NEW YORK (AP) — Mall operator Simon Property boosted its hostile bid for rival Macerich by 5 percent to $16.8 billion and said it will be its best and final offer.

The proposed deal would combine two of the largest U.S. shopping mall operators.

Simon set an April 1 deadline for Macerich to respond to the offer or it will be withdrawn.

Shares of Macerich dropped more than 4 percent Friday, while Simon Property shares rose nearly 3 percent.


Magazine publisher Meredith finds success focusing on women

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The nation's top publisher of magazines and websites for women has its origins in a journal sold door-to-door featuring tips to help farmers get ahead in the early 1900s.

From there, Meredith Corp. grew and evolved, surviving depression, recession, the Internet and an increasingly crowded field of magazine competitors to now reach more than 200 million people a month.

It has done it by developing a keen understanding of its readers, using its huge database to hone in on how women seek and use information in the areas of food, home, parenthood and health.


Napa winemaker was unraveling before he shot investor, self

NAPA, Calif. (AP) — Robert Dahl came West from Minnesota with a powerful desire to make his fortune in Napa Valley's famed wine country. And it looked like he had succeeded — for a while.

The burly, charismatic businessman had convinced friends old and new to invest millions in wine and beer ventures. He lived the high life: fancy dinners and frequent travel, a hillside home and expensive vehicles. He once bought a $42,000 Harley Davidson motorcycle rather than delay a road trip while another nearly new bike got fixed.

But behind all that seeming success, a bubbling feud with his biggest investor was coming to a head.


FDA approves genetically engineered potatoes, apples as safe

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Potatoes that won't bruise and apples that won't brown are a step closer to grocery store aisles, but some food suppliers say they don't want any part of it and others are staying silent.

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the genetically engineered foods, saying they are "as safe and nutritious as their conventional counterparts."

The approval covers six varieties of potatoes by Boise, Idaho-based J. R. Simplot Co. and two varieties of apples from the Canadian company Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.


States to test ways to send food stamp recipients to work

WASHINGTON (AP) — New federal grants will help 10 states test programs to help food stamp recipients find jobs, from using career coaches to quicker training courses to mental health assistance.

The grants, announced Friday in Georgia by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, come as the Republican Congress is exploring ways to cut the program, which cost $74 billion last year — twice its cost in 2008.

Some in the GOP have proposed stricter work requirements as a way to do that. But the Obama administration sees better worker training as an alternative to cuts or stricter work requirements.


Children of comedian killed in NJ crash awarded $10 million

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — The children of comedian James McNair, who was killed in the car crash that injured Tracy Morgan, are getting a $10 million settlement from Wal-Mart, court papers show.

The documents also show that the children, Jamel McNair, 26, and Denita McNair, 19, are putting part of the payment toward annuities that will pay them ever-increasing monthly amounts, starting at $3,000, for the rest of their lives.


Lufthansa strikes enter third day; many flights canceled

BERLIN (AP) — Lufthansa canceled hundreds more flights Friday as pilots at Germany's largest airline went on strike for the third consecutive day and announced they would continue the walk-out over the weekend.

In what is becoming an increasingly acrimonious labor dispute, nearly 800 short- and medium-haul Lufthansa flights were canceled Friday, including 90 related to an Italian air traffic controllers' strike.

Lufthansa said it would also have to cancel 74 long-haul flights Saturday and multiple cargo flights. Since the strikes began Wednesday, some 180,000 passengers have been affected, the airline said.


Gastronomic diplomacy: 5 continents, 1,300 chefs cook French

VERSAILLES, France (AP) — A symphony of popping Champagne corks echoed across the Versailles Palace, as chefs from around the world celebrated the delights of French gastronomy in the first worldwide "Good France" event.

From Beijing to Rio de Janeiro and in the French terroir itself — over a thousand chefs across five continents minced their steak tartars, salted their foie gras and flamed their creme brulees simultaneously for the Thursday night event launched by the French Foreign Ministry and master chef Alain Ducasse.

Organizers estimated that 100,000 diners took part, making it one of the biggest food events in history.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 168.62 points, or 0.9 percent, to 18,127.65. The Standard & Poor's 500 index advanced 18.79 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,108.06 and the Nasdaq composite added 34.04 points, or 0.7 percent, to 5,026.42.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.76 to close at $45.72 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose 89 cents to close at $55.32 in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 2.4 cents to close at $1.798 a gallon. Heating oil rose 1.2 cents to close at $1.734 a gallon. Natural gas fell 2.7 cents to close at $2.786 per 1,000 cubic feet.