Briefly: $2.5 billion distributed to Madoff scam victims

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“Salaries in Germany must follow developments in productivity,” Andor told newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview to be published Friday.

“For the past decade, we have sharply held back on salaries in Germany to boost competitiveness, but this has had consequences on other countries in the European Union,” Mr. Andor, a Hungarian economist, said.

The call came amid recent calls by German unions for wage hikes after years of salary stagnation, with salary increases already agreed for metalworkers

Germany’s economy, the EU’s biggest, has largely defied sagging growth elsewhere and many economists argue that only a jump in German household consumption, fueled by wage hikes, could help lift its neighbors.

On Thursday, a closely watched survey showed that eurozone private sector business activity declined for an eighth straight month in September, hitting its gloomiest patch in three years.

WASHINGTON

Microsoft fixing security bug in Internet Explorer

REDMOND — Microsoft is releasing an update to its Internet Explorer browser to fix a security problem that could expose personal computers to hacking attacks.

A permanent repair to the security flaw will be released Friday. Microsoft Corp. began offering a temporary patch for the problem Wednesday on a part of its website set up for technical issues.

The permanent solution to the problem will be automatically installed on PCs running on Microsoft’s Windows operating system if the machine is set up to receive important updates. The temporary repair requires clicking on a link.

Microsoft Corp., which is based in Redmond, is urging PC users who haven’t enabled their machines for automatic updates to retrieve and install the permanent patch as soon as possible Friday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

Although Microsoft says “the vast majority” of users have not been bit by the security bug, the potential for trouble prompted a German technology agency to advise using other Web browsers besides Internet Explorer.

Once the dominant Web browser, Internet Explorer has been losing market share in recent years to Google’s Chrome, Apple Inc.’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox.

At least one research firm maintains that Chrome eclipsed Internet Explorer as the world’s most popular browser earlier this year. Other measures still rate Internet Explorer as the market leader.

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