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September 12, 2014

Among the stories Friday from The Associated Press:

TOP STORIES:

CREDIT CARD THEFT

WASHINGTON — Working to combat an increasingly lucrative crime that crosses national boundaries, Justice Department officials are pressing Congress for a new law to help them prosecute criminals overseas who traffic in stolen credit cards. Authorities say the current law is too weak because it allows people in other countries to avoid prosecution if they buy and sell stolen card data entirely outside the United States. By Eric Tucker. SENT: 970 words, photos.

OLIVE GARDEN-BREADSTICKS

NEW YORK — Olive Garden is hurting itself by piling on too many breadsticks, according to an investor that’s disputing how the restaurant chain is run. The hedge fund, Starboard Value, is pushing to take control of the board of Olive Garden’s parent company, Darden Restaurants Inc. Darden has been trying to revitalize Olive Garden, where sales fell 1.3 percent in the latest quarter. By Candice Choi. SENT: 590 words, photo.

NFL-SPONSORS

Major brand sponsors are watching closely to make sure the National Football League doesn’t fumble the investigation into how its executives handled evidence in the Ray Rice domestic violence case. For big companies like Anheuser-Busch, General Motors and Procter & Gamble, an NFL sponsorship is a coveted prize. The deals can cost up to $10 million per brand, but they deliver an average of 17.4 million viewers, forcing sponsors to balance the exposure NFL games offer with the risk of alienating customers. By Mae Anderson and Tom Murphy. SENT: 700 words, photo.

JAPAN-WOMEN

TOKYO — Empowerment of women and equal opportunities are crucial for driving a stronger global economic recovery, and for revitalizing Japan, the head of the International Monetary Fund says. The global recovery is too tepid and too turbulent, IMF chief Christine Lagarde told a gathering organized by the Japanese government and business groups to support Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s campaign to promote a bigger role for women in the economy. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 720 words, photos.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

RETAIL SALES

WASHINGTON — Auto buying drives U.S. retail sales higher in August, a possible sign that steady job growth in recent months is leading to accelerated consumer spending. The Commerce Department says seasonally adjusted retail sales rose 0.6 percent compared with the prior month. Sales are up 5 percent in the past 12 months. By Josh Boak. SENT: 500 words, photo.

BUSINESS INVENTORIES

WASHINGTON — Stockpiles held by U.S. businesses rise by a moderate amount in July while sales increase at the fastest pace in three months. The Commerce Department says stockpiles increased 0.4 percent in July, the same increase as in June, while sales increased 0.8 percent, the best showing since a similar rise in April. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 380 words, photo.

FINANCIAL MARKETS

NEW YORK — The stock market edges lower in early trading, heading for its first weekly loss since the start of August. By Steve Rothwell and Kelvin Chan. SENT: 400 words, photo. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.

INDUSTRY:

TESLA-SPECIAL SESSION

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Calling it one of the most important pieces of legislation in Nevada history, Gov. Brian Sandoval signs into law an unprecedented package of incentives to seal a deal to bring Tesla Motors’ $5 billion battery factory to the Silver State. The “gigafactory” is expected to bring more than 20,000 jobs and $100 billion to Nevada’s economy over the next 20 years. It will be the biggest lithium battery factory in the world and is critical to the electric car-maker’s plans to begin mass marketing a more affordable line of the vehicles within three years. By Scott Sonner. SENT: 730 words, photos.

— FORD-RECALL — Ford is recalling about 74,000 older-model gas-electric hybrid SUVs in the U.S. and Canada to fix a stalling problem. SENT: 130 words.

— SMELLY CAB DRIVERS — Body odor is among 52 criteria that officials at San Diego International Airport use to judge taxi drivers. The airport authority says it is enforcing a policy of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, which regulates taxis throughout the region, that prohibits foul-smelling drivers and promotes regular bathing. It also says the practice is about satisfying customers. Cabbies say that smacks of prejudice and discrimination. SENT: 670 words, photos.

— GERMANY-WINTERSHALL-STATOIL — Germany’s Wintershall says it is buying shares in North Sea oil and gas fields from Norwegian company Statoil for $1.25 billion. SENT: 120 words.

INTERNATIONAL:

UNITED STATES-RUSSIA SANCTIONS

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is sanctioning Russia’s largest bank as part of a new round of financial penalties aimed at punishing Moscow for its support of separatists in Ukraine. The U.S. is also expanding sanctions targeting Russia’s energy and defense sectors. The U.S. penalties come hours after the European Union enacted its own sanctions on Russian banks, arms makers and the country’s biggest oil company. By Julie Pace. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: Will be updated.

With:

— RUSSIA-SANCTIONS — New European Union sanctions against Russia toughen financial penalties on the country’s banks, arms manufacturers and its biggest oil company, Rosneft, to punish Moscow for what the West sees as efforts to destabilize Ukraine. The United States was also expected to announce more sanctions. SENT: 320 words, photo.

And:

— EUROPE-RUSSIA-GAS — Poland’s state pipeline operator Gaz-System S.A. says it has resumed full deliveries of gas to Ukraine. SENT: 210 words.

— ASIA-CREATIVITY — A new index ranks Japan as the most efficient among Asian countries in turning the building blocks of creativity into tangible innovations that benefit their economies and people while Myanmar, Pakistan and Cambodia are least efficient. SENT: 380 words.

— GREECE-BUDGET TARGET — Greece’s finance ministry says the country’s budgetary position is much better than anticipated. SENT: 150 words.

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