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Update on the latest in business:

October 8, 2018


Stocks fall for third day

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are falling sharply for the third day in a row as technology companies again take steep losses.

Stocks are coming off two weeks of declines, and a big jump in bond yields startled investors last week.

Stocks in Europe are falling after Italy’s new deputy premier said the government won’t deviate from its plan to increase spending. U.S. bond markets are closed for the Columbus Day holiday.


Americans win economics Nobel for work on climate and growth

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Two Americans won the Nobel Prize in economics today, one for studying the economics of climate change and the other for showing how to help foster the innovation needed to solve such a problem.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences says William Nordhaus of Yale University and Paul Romer of New York University will share the 9 million-kronor ($1.01 million) award.

Nordhaus has called for the world to combat climate change by imposing a universal tax on carbon. Carbon dioxide, which is emitted when fossil fuels are burned, is a heat-trapping “greenhouse gas” blamed for global warming, and a tax would make polluters pay for the costs imposed on society.

By using a tax rather than government edicts to slash emissions, the policy encourages companies to find innovative ways to reduce pollution.

Romer has studied the way innovation drives prosperity and has looked at ways to encourage it. He told a news conference today that his research had given him hope that people can solve even a problem as difficult as a warming planet.


AA aims to avoid putting delayed travelers on other airlines

DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines is telling employees to think twice before rebooking stranded customers on rival airlines, and regular economy-class passengers are the most likely to suffer when there are long delays or canceled flights.

A new policy at American directs airport agents not to rebook economy passengers on competing airlines — with no stated limit on how long they must wait for a seat on another American flight. A manager can make exceptions in a few cases, such as people flying to a wedding or funeral and those who would be stranded overnight with no hotel room.

By contrast, American told agents in late September to help the airline’s best customers get to their destinations quickly, even if it means putting them on Delta or United.


Facebook wants people to invite its cameras into their homes

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook is launching the first electronic device to bear its brand, a screen and camera-equipped gadget intended to make video calls easier and more intuitive.

But it’s unclear if people will open their homes to an internet-connected camera sold by a company with a shoddy track record on protecting user privacy.

Facebook is marketing the device, called Portal, as a way for its more than 2 billion users to chat with one another without having to fuss with positioning and other controls. The device features a camera that uses artificial intelligence to automatically pan and zoom as people move around during calls.

The Portal will feature two different screen sizes. It will go on sale in early November for roughly $200 to $350.


California wildfire victims say cleanup crews added to woes

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — One year after wildfires devastated Northern California’s wine country and destroyed thousands of homes, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ first experience cleaning up after a wildfire has turned into an expensive bureaucratic mess. The state’s top emergency official suspects fraud played a role.

In October 2017, state and local officials lacked the resources to quickly clear still-smoldering toxic debris from 4,500 homes destroyed by a wildfire in and near Santa Rosa. So the Army was called in.

The Army was in charge of awarding $1.3 billion in cleanup contracts to three contractors, which hired dozens of smaller companies to haul away the debris and dispose of it in landfills. The hauling companies were paid by the ton. The more they hauled, the more they earned.

The first complaints started almost as soon as the first dump truck was loaded in November. Homeowners said workers dug too deep and took too much dirt from their lots. Driveways, retaining walls and sidewalks that had not been damaged ended up damaged or removed, the homeowners said.


Working past 65? It’s easier to do if you graduated college

NEW YORK (AP) — Close to one in five Americans who’s 65 or older is still working, the highest percentage in more than half a century. And the one who’s still working may be better off.

As more and more Americans delay retirement, it’s those with a college degree that find it easiest to keep working past 65. Their less-educated peers, meanwhile, are having a more difficult time staying in the workforce.

It’s a crucial distinction because financial experts say both groups would benefit from working an extra year or more to improve their retirement security. By staying on the job, older Americans can build up their savings, which in too many cases are inadequate. Plus, they can allow bigger Social Security benefits to accrue. Besides, many older Americans like the idea of staying engaged by working.

Less-educated Americans, though, aren’t always able to follow this path, even though they tend to have less in retirement savings. Instead, many are forced to retire before their mid-60s because of poor health, the inability to do jobs that require a lot of physical activity or other reasons.


UK court blocks suit against Google on alleged iPhone breach

LONDON (AP) — A British court has blocked a suit against Google on allegations that it had collected personal data on some 4 million iPhone users

Britain’s High Court was ruling today on whether a mass legal action could proceed against the internet giant for allegedly collecting sensitive information from some 4.4 million iPhone users.

The legal challenge claimed Google had bypassed privacy settings on the iPhones between August 2011 and February 2012 to scoop up data for advertisers.

The suit by campaign group Google You Owe Us hoped to win 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) in compensation.

A lawyer for the campaign group told Judge Mark Warby that the activity was exposed by a PhD researcher in 2012 and Google has already paid millions to settle claims in the United States.


Global executives cooling on deals amid trade uncertainties

LONDON (AP) — A leading adviser on international corporate deals says executives are cooling to the idea of mergers and acquisitions in the face of rising trade tensions.

In its half-yearly assessment of the mergers and acquisitions scene published today, EY says only 46 percent of executives around the world are planning to acquire in the next 12 months. That’s down 10 percentage points from a year ago and marks the lowest appetite in four years.

The firm said ongoing trade discussions, notably between the U.S. and China, are weighing on sentiment. Uncertainty over Britain’s looming exit from the European Union is also a factor behind the decline.

Steve Krouskos, a global vice chair at EY, said geopolitical, trade and tariff uncertainties have “finally caused some dealmakers to hit the pause button.”

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