The Associated Press
May. 26, 2015
Charter buying Time Warner Cable as TV viewers go online
NEW YORK (AP) — As TV watchers increasingly look online for their fix, cable companies are bulking up. In the latest round, Charter Communications is buying Time Warner Cable for $55.33 billion.
And executives say they're confident regulators will allow the creation of another U.S. TV and Internet giant.
The deal comes a month after Comcast, the country's largest cable provider and owner of NBCUniversal, walked away from a $45.2 billion bid for Time Warner Cable, the No. 2 cable company, after intense pressure from regulators. The government worried that the company would be able to undermine increasingly popular online video competitors like Netflix because the bigger Comcast would have more than half the country's high-speed Internet customers.
Media heads rule ranks of best-paid CEOs
NEW YORK (AP) — They're not Hollywood stars, they're not TV personalities and they don't play in a rock band, but their pay packages are in the same league.
Six of the 10 highest-paid CEOs last year worked in the media industry, according to a study carried out by executive compensation data firm Equilar and The Associated Press.
The best-paid chief executive of a large American company was David Zaslav, head of Discovery Communications, the pay-TV channel operator that is home to "Shark Week." His total compensation more than quadrupled to $156.1 million in 2014 after he extended his contract.
Channeling Batman, Versailles: Macau's new wave of resorts
MACAU (AP) — Macau is doubling down even as the odds change. The world's casino capital this week welcomes the first of a new wave of lavish casino resorts for its up-and-coming Cotai Peninsula.
It's a $20 billion bet by casino operators amid an extended losing streak in the tiny Chinese enclave. Gambling revenue growth has been falling for nearly a year as wealthy mainland Chinese high-rollers stay home as a result of President Xi Jinping's corruption crackdown.
Modi vows cleaner India, but no clear path to get there
NEW DELHI (AP) — Four months after becoming prime minister, Narendra Modi stunned Indians by picking up a crude straw broom and, holding it like a dance partner, gently sweeping at a small pile of green leaves on a New Delhi street.
Modi, ever the darling of photo ops and grinning selfies, seemed to be calling for a cultural revolution, defying centuries-old hierarchies that make the idea of an official cleaning a street anathema in Indian society. By leading a new campaign called "Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan" or "Clean India Mission," Modi challenged those divisions while dignifying labor and elevating cleanliness as a nationwide goal.
Taco Bell, Pizza Hut: Artificial ingredients getting booted
NEW YORK (AP) — Taco Bell and Pizza Hut say they're getting rid of artificial colors and flavors, making them the latest big food companies scrambling to distance themselves from ingredients people might find unappetizing.
Instead of "black pepper flavor," for instance, Taco Bell will start using actual black pepper in its seasoned beef, says Liz Matthews, the chain's chief food innovation officer.
The Mexican-style chain also says the artificial dye Yellow No. 6 will be removed from its nacho cheese, Blue No. 1 will be removed from its avocado ranch dressing and carmine, a bright pigment, will be removed from its red tortilla strips.
IRS says thieves stole tax info from 100,000
WASHINGTON (AP) — Thieves used an online service provided by the IRS to gain access to information from more than 100,000 taxpayers, the agency said Tuesday.
The information included tax returns and other tax information on file with the IRS.
The IRS said the thieves accessed a system called "Get Transcript." In order to access the information, the thieves cleared a security screen that required knowledge about the taxpayer, including Social Security number, date of birth, tax filing status and street address.
US new-home sales jump in April
WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans bought new homes in April — evidence that the stronger job market is powering the housing sector.
The Commerce Department said Tuesday that new-home sales climbed 6.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 517,000. Sales recovered from a 10 percent dip in March to an annual pace of 484,000.
The gains point to the positive momentum created by robust hiring over the past year. Employers have added more than 3 million jobs as the unemployment rate has steadily dropped to 5.4 percent. Those new paychecks are now starting to trickle into the real estate sector, as more people are shopping for homes.
Consumer confidence edges up in May on improving job market
WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer confidence rebounded slightly this month as the job market showed signs of improvement.
The Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose to 95.4 in May from 94.3 in April. Last month's reading had been sharp drop from March's 101.4. A year ago, the index stood at 82.2.
Consumers' assessment of current economic conditions improved, but their outlook for the next six months slipped. Their expectations for the job market improved, however. Consumers were more likely this month to say they planned to buy a car, home or major appliance within the next six months.
Business investment climbs as factories thaw from winter
WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods fell slightly in April. But a category that reflects business investment climbed for a second month, a hopeful sign that this key sector is starting to revive.
Total orders for durable goods slipped 0.5 percent from March, when orders had surged 5.1 percent, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The big swing was driven by changes in commercial aircraft, an extremely volatile category that had jumped in March but fell in April.
Olive Garden: At least 1 more breadstick creation on the way
NEW YORK (AP) — Olive Garden isn't finished dreaming up new ways to use its breadsticks.
The Italian restaurant chain said earlier this month it would introduce "breadstick sandwiches" as part of a broader menu revamp intended to play up its most popular offerings. The sandwiches don't arrive until June 1, but Olive Garden already has a follow-up act planned with "breadstick crostini" in August.
The "breadstick crostini" — or toasted bread — will be sliced and used as part of an appetizer, said Jose Duenas, Olive Garden's executive vice president of marketing.
Amtrak to install long-sought cameras in locomotives
WASHINGTON (AP) — Amtrak said Tuesday it will install video cameras inside locomotive cabs to record the actions of train engineers, a move that follows a deadly derailment earlier this month in which investigators are searching for clues to the train engineer's actions before the crash.
The Amtrak engineer, Brandon Bostian, suffered a head injury in the accident in Philadelphia and has told investigators he can't remember what happened. Northeast Regional train 188 accelerated to a speed of 106 miles per hour in the last minute before entering a curve where it derailed. The speed limit for the curve is 50 mph. The crash left eight people dead and about 200 injured.
IMF official says China's yuan no longer undervalued
BEIJING (AP) — The International Monetary Fund no longer believes China's tightly controlled currency is undervalued, an IMF official said Tuesday, a stance that might help Beijing in its wrangling with Washington over exchange rate controls.
The IMF's first deputy managing director, David Lipton, also said Beijing should work toward having a floating exchange rate in two to three years.
The United States has long accused of China of suppressing the value of its yuan, giving its exporters an unfair price advantage and hurting foreign competitors. The IMF had considered the yuan undervalued — a source of tension between the fund and Beijing.
By The Associated Press=
The Dow Jones Industrial average lost 190.48 points, or 1 percent, to 18,041.54. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gave up 21.86 points, also 1 percent, to 2,104.20 and the Nasdaq composite fell 56.61 points, or 1.1 percent, to 5,032.75.
Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.69 to close at $58.03 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil used by many U.S. refineries, fell $1.80 to close at $63.72 in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 5.6 cents to close at $1.998 a gallon. Heating oil fell 5.3 cents to close at $1.900 a gallon. Natural gas fell 6.5 cents to close at $2.822 per 1,000 cubic feet.