AP News

Business Highlights


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Apple CEO apologizes for error-ridden new map app

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized Friday for the company's error-ridden new mobile mapping service and pledged to improve the application installed on tens of millions of smartphones. In an unusual mea culpa, he invited frustrated consumers to turn to the competition.

Apple released an update to its iPhone and iPad operating system last week that replaced Google Maps with Apple's own map application. But users quickly complained that the new software offered fewer details, lacked public transit directions and misplaced landmarks, among other problems.

People have been flocking to social media to complain and make fun of the app's glitches, which include judging landscape features by their names. The hulking Madison Square Garden arena in New York, for instance, shows up as green park space because of the word "garden."

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Bank of America to pay $2.43 billion in settlement

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bank of America says it has agreed to pay $2.43 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit related to its acquisition of Merrill Lynch at the height of the financial crisis.

In the lawsuit, shareholders alleged that Bank of America and some of its officers made false or misleading statements about both companies' financial health.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of investors who bought or held Bank of America stock when the company announced its plans to buy Merrill Lynch in a $20 billion deal as the banking industry and federal regulators struggled to contain fallout from the financial crisis in the fall of 2008.

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Egypt tourism takes a hit from prophet protests

CAIRO (AP) — One of the world's largest cruise ships, its foreign passengers primed for onshore spending, was supposed to dock in Egypt this month. The port call, however, was scrapped because of security concerns surrounding Mideast protests against a film made in the U.S. that denounces Islam's holiest figure.

Once again, Egyptian tourism, an engine of the national economy and a flagship of the regional industry, has taken a hit. It was another setback for a business that had plummeted in parts of the Middle East and North Africa last year during the uprisings known as the Arab Spring, then moved toward recovery this year.

Egypt and other Arab nations undergoing turmoil rely heavily on the labor-intensive trade and see it as key to economic growth and social stability.

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Researcher says flaw in Android creates phone risk

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cellphones using Google's Android operating system are at risk of being disabled or wiped clean of their data, including contacts, music and photos because of a security flaw that was discovered several months ago but went unnoticed until now.

Opening a link to a website or a mobile application embedded with malicious code can trigger an attack capable of destroying the memory card in Android-equipped handsets made by Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Sony Ericsson, rendering the devices useless, computer security researcher Ravi Borgaonkar wrote in a blog post Friday. Another code that can erase a user's data by performing a factory reset of the device appears to target only the newly released and top selling Galaxy S III and other Samsung phones, he wrote.

Borgaonkar informed Google of the vulnerability in June, he said. A fix was issued quickly, he said, but it wasn't publicized, leaving smartphone owners largely unaware that the problem existed and how they could fix it.

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Higher gas costs push US consumer spending up

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans boosted their spending in August even though their income barely grew. Much of the spending increase went to pay higher gas prices, which may have forced consumers to cut back elsewhere.

The Commerce Department said Friday that consumer spending rose 0.5 percent in August from July. It was the biggest jump since February.

Gas prices rose nearly 50 cents per gallon in July and August, but have since leveled off. Excluding the impact of higher gas prices and other price gains, spending ticked up only 0.1 percent last month.

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UK regulator outlines LIBOR overhaul

LONDON (AP) — Britain's financial regulator on Friday laid out a 10-point plan to overhaul the handling of a key global interest rate that has been the subject of a scandal involving major banks across multiple countries.

Barclays bank agreed in June to pay a $453 million fine to U.S. and British agencies after admitting it had submitted false information for the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, which is used to price trillions of dollars in financial contracts, including mortgages. Other firms are being probed in the scandal, which has undermined public trust in banks and damaged the reputations of British financial regulators.

The new plan proposes that bankers convicted of manipulating the rate face criminal penalties and that a new agency take over management of LIBOR. It also calls for tougher controls on banks involved in the rate's calculation.

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US Postal Service to default on second $5 billion payment

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Postal Service, on the brink of default on a second multibillion-dollar payment it can't afford to pay, is sounding a new cautionary note that having squeezed out all the cost savings within its power, the mail agency's viability now lies almost entirely with Congress.

In an interview, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the mail agency will be forced to miss the $5.6 billion payment due to the Treasury on Sunday, its second default in as many months. Congress has left Washington until after the November elections, without approving a postal fix.

For more than a year, the Postal Service has been seeking legislation that would allow it to eliminate Saturday mail delivery and reduce its $5 billion annual payment for future retiree health benefits. Since the House failed to act, the post office says it's been seeking to reassure anxious customers that service will not be disrupted, even with cash levels running perilously low.

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Starbucks to open first India store in October

MUMBAI, India (AP) — Starbucks will open its first outlet in India by the end of October in an upscale neighborhood of Mumbai and has appointed a chief executive to head its India joint venture, the company said Friday.

The store will be in Mumbai's Horniman Circle neighborhood, which boasts an Hermes store and a stately neighborhood park. It will feature coffee sourced locally, through an arrangement with Tata Coffee Ltd.

Starbucks is operating in India through a 50-50 joint venture with Tata Global Beverages, called Tata Starbucks Ltd.

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FDA warning public of risks of online pharmacies

The Food and Drug Administration is warning U.S. consumers that the vast majority of Internet pharmacies are fraudulent and likely are selling counterfeit drugs that could harm them.

The agency on Friday launched a national campaign, called BeSafeRx, to alert the public to the danger, amid evidence that more people are shopping for their medicine online, looking for savings and convenience.

Instead, they're likely to get fake drugs that are contaminated, are past their expiration date or contain no active ingredient, the wrong amount of active ingredient or even toxic substances such as arsenic and rat poison. They could sicken or kill people, cause them to develop a resistance to their real medicine, cause new side effects or trigger harmful interactions with other medications being taken.

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Nissan offers Leaf discounts to spur sales

DETROIT (AP) — Nissan is offering cheap leases and big discounts on the Leaf because of slow sales of the all-electric car.

Nissan Motor Co. sold only 4,228 Leafs this year through August, almost a third fewer than a year ago.

It also has a big inventory of the cars nationwide. At the end of August it had enough 2012 models in stock to supply dealers for 114 days, according to Ward's AutoInfoBank. Automakers consider a 60-day supply to be optimal.

Earlier this month, Nissan started offering Leafs for $219 per month with $2,999 down for 32 months. That's down from $249 per month earlier in the year.

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Chevron pays $17 million fine for oil spill off Brazil

SAO PAULO (AP) — Chevron Corp. has paid a multimillion-dollar fine for several "irregularities" in connection with last year's oil spill off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's National Petroleum Agency said.

The agency said in a Thursday statement that Chevron paid the 35.1 million real ($17.3 million) fine last week for 24 of 25 irregularities detected. The statement did not provide details on the irregularities.

Some 155,000 gallons of crude are thought to have been released in the November 2011 spill.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 48.84 points to close at 13,437.13. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 6.48 points to 1,440.67. The Nasdaq composite index fell 20.37 points to 3,116.23.

Benchmark oil rose 34 cents to $92.19 per barrel in morning trading in New York. In London, Brent crude, which reflects what most U.S. refineries have to pay for oil, rose 38 cents to $112.39.

Natural gas rose 2.3 cents to $3.32 per thousand cubic feet. Heating oil rose 1.2 cents to $3.17 per gallon. Wholesale gasoline gained 2.3 cents to $2.92 per gallon.


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