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Economy Briefs: New state laws regarding Facebook, estate debated

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NEBRASKA

New state laws regarding Facebook, estate debated

LINCOLN | What happens to your Facebook page after you die? Lawmakers and attorneys in at least two states are considering proposals that would require social networks to let family members access the account of a dead loved one.

The issue is growing increasingly important as people record more thoughts and experiences online and more disputes break out over that material.

Oklahoma was the first state to take action, passing a law last year. Now Nebraska and Oregon are considering similar measures.

Facebook already has a system to report deaths. When the site learns that a member has died, it puts that person's account in a memorialized state. But the legislation would go beyond that practice by making the site contents part of a person's digital estate.

UAE

Emirates airlines expands U.S. routes, adds Washington flights

DUBAI | The Dubai-based airline Emirates says it will begin flights to Washington in September as part of an expansion into the American market.

Washington is the third new U.S. destination added this year by Emirates, one of the world's fastest-growing carriers. A statement Thursday says service will begin Sept. 12.

Emirates is locked in fierce competition with Gulf rivals Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.

With Dulles International Airport, Emirates will have seven routes to the U.S. It added Seattle and Dallas/Fort Worth this year.

GERMANY

Ex-lover of key figure in VW scandal faces trial

BERLIN | The Brazilian one-time girlfriend of the ex-head of Volkswagen AG's employee council is to go on trial later this month over her alleged part in a corruption scandal at the automaker, a German court said Thursday.

The trial of the 47-year-old will open in Wolfsburg on March 27 and is scheduled to continue through early May, the state court in nearby Braunschweig said. It did not identify the woman.

She is charged with 26 counts of being an accessory to breach of trust. Prosecutors contend that she received payments totaling $326,500 at VW's expense between 2002 and 2004 for providing nonexistent services, and that she knew she wasn't entitled to them.

Between 2002 and 2005, they say she also had purely private expenses for flights, hotel stays and language courses totaling $130,600 paid by the company.

The powerful former employee council boss, Klaus Volkert, is alleged to have provided bogus bills for services to secure payments from VW for his Brazilian girlfriend.

Mr. Volkert was a key figure in the scandal over allegations that employee representatives received illegal privileges, including lavish foreign trips involving prostitutes paid for by the company.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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