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Economy Briefs: European papers want Google to pay for news

- - Wednesday, October 31, 2012

PARIS — European news organizations bleeding money and readers are trying to avoid extinction by asking governments in France, Germany and Italy to step in and charge Google for links to stories the Internet search giant has always gotten for free.

Critics — including, unsurprisingly, Google — say the strategy is shortsighted and self-destructive, and the search engine warns it will stop indexing European news sites if forced to pay for links. But publishers advocating a "Google tax" aimed at benefiting their industry point to the example of Brazil, where their counterparts abandoned the search engine and say repercussions have been minimal.

SHIPPING

Cargo ships back at work as waves ebb in Sandy's wake

OSCODA, Mich. — Cargo shipping has resumed on the Great Lakes after the fringes of superstorm Sandy sent winds gusting to 74 miles per hour and spawned two-story-tall waves, forcing a two-day shutdown of traffic.

TRAVEL

Trains, planes moving again in storm-ravaged Northeast

Travelers stranded by Hurricane Sandy are seeing service slowly restored across the Northeast. But it'll be days before things are close to normal.

The busy Northeast travel corridor ground to a halt when the huge storm slammed into New Jersey on Monday evening. Train tunnels flooded, power went out, and forecasts of high winds forced airlines to cancel thousands of flights.

AUTOMAKERS

GM cuts Europe jobs; shares spike on 3rd-quarter earnings

DETROIT — Shares of General Motors surged Wednesday after the company announced big job cuts in Europe and reported third-quarter earnings that were far better than Wall Street expected.

The Detroit company said it has cut 2,300 jobs in Europe this year and wants to trim 300 more, part of a larger plan to reduce costs and raise revenue in the struggling region with new vehicles that are more appealing to buyers.

RECALL

Wegmans recalls pumpkin rolls after plastic pieces complaints

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Wegmans is recalling a batch of pumpkin rolls because the baked goods may contain pieces of clear plastic from the packaging that may present a choking hazard.

The western New York-based grocery chain says Wednesday it's undertaking the voluntary recall after complaints by customers.

The bakery pumpkin rolls were sold between Sept. 1 and Tuesday in all of the chain's 81 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.

VIETNAM

Embassy's use of website raises digital-piracy concerns

The State Department is reviewing a U.S. embassy's use of a popular Vietnamese website laden with pirated music and Hollywood movies to promote American values, including respect for intellectual-property rights.

Spokesman Mark Toner said Wednesday that the Hanoi embassy's social-media account with Zing.vn was created to reach out to Vietnamese youth in a restricted environment but that concerns about digital piracy on the site had prompted it to reconsider.

EARNINGS

Eastman-Kodak losses hit $312 million in 3rd quarter

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Eastman Kodak says its losses widened to $312 million in the third quarter as the photo and printing company struggles to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

The loss reported late Tuesday compares with a loss of $222 million at the same time last year.

CYBERATTACK

Hacking of 3.5 million returns largest vs. a state tax agency

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Specialists say that the hacking of 3.6 million South Carolina tax returns is the largest cyberattack against a state tax agency in the nation.

Paul Stephens of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in California says there have been larger attacks against both private companies and the federal government that revealed information that could lead to identity fraud.

State officials have not given many details because of the ongoing investigation, but the Revenue Department says Social Security numbers, credit card information and information from businesses may have been compromised in the attack.

GREECE

Government orders new austerity measures, cuts

ATHENS — Greece's government on Wednesday outlined the new austerity measures it intends to take over the next two years, a series of painful spending cuts and tax increases that its international bailout creditors are demanding in exchange for rescue loans.

The country's finance minister also submitted a revised draft budget for 2013, with figures predicting the debt load will increase sharply as the recession deepens into a sixth straight year.

Unions responded by announcing a 48-hour general strike for next week, when the new measures are expected to be voted on in parliament.

From wire dispatches and staff reports