- - Wednesday, January 9, 2013

NEW YORK — In its latest push to establish itself as a purveyor of premium burgers, Wendy’s is testing a pretzel bun.

The Dublin, Ohio-based chain has started selling a bacon cheeseburger in select locations made with a slightly heartier, pretzel-like bun.

Wendy’s executives have said they plan to use better breads in the year ahead as a relatively low-cost way to raise perceptions about the quality of its food.

KOREA

Tech delegation pressing N. Korea Internet access

PYONGYANG, North Korea — A private delegation including Google’s Eric Schmidt is urging North Korea to allow more open Internet access and cellphones to benefit its citizens, the mission’s leader said Wednesday in the country with some of the world’s tightest controls on information.

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson also said his nine-member group called on North Korea to put a moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests that have prompted U.N. sanctions, and the delegation asked for fair and humane treatment for an American citizen detained.

The visit, unsanctioned by the U.S. government, has been criticized for appearing to hijack official U.S. diplomacy.

FIREARMS

Gun dealers challenge rifle reporting requirement

A lawyer for two Arizona gun dealers argued Wednesday that the Obama administration in trying to halt the flow of U.S. guns to Mexican drug gangs overstepped its legal authority when it required dealers in Southwestern border states to report when customers buy multiple high-powered rifles.

Attorney Richard Gardiner told a federal appeals court panel Wednesday that the directive requires gun dealers to create a records system and the government has no authority to do that. At issue is a requirement that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives imposed in 2011 on gun sellers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

WALL STREET

Investment banking slump: Morgan Stanley cuts 1,600

NEW YORK — The investment bank Morgan Stanley plans to cut about 1,600 jobs, nearly 3 percent of its workforce, a person familiar with the bank said Wednesday. The cuts will focus on senior ranks at the bank.

Job cuts have become common in the banking industry, which has been shrinking in the years since the financial crisis imploded.

In December, Citigroup said it would cut 11,000 jobs, about 4 percent of its total workforce, and Bank of America has also been trimming jobs.

ARGENTINA

Seized naval ship returns
 home to hero’s welcome

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina — An Argentine naval ship detained for more than two months in Ghana because of a financial dispute was returning home Wednesday to a triumphant welcome.

Thousands of Argentine government sympathizers traveled to the seaside resort of Mar del Plata, some 250 miles from the Argentine capital, to celebrate the return of the ARA Libertad.

Ghana courts ordered the ship held in October on a claim by Cayman Islands-based hedge fund NML Capital Ltd. Its owner, American billionaire Paul Singer, leads a group demanding payment in full, plus interest — about $350 million — for dollar-based Argentine bonds bought at fire-sale prices after Argentina’s 2001-2002 economic collapse forced a sharp devaluation of its currency.

INTERNET

Facebook to hold press event, stock passes $30

NEW YORK — Shares of Facebook pushed above $30 for the first time since July after it sent out invitations to “come and see what we’re building” Tuesday at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

The company will say nothing more about the event. Speculation on Wednesday ranged from a Facebook phone, something the company has consistently denied exists, to new search capabilities that would put it into direct competition with Google Inc.

Though still below its initial public offering price of $38, shares of Facebook Inc. have risen steadily since November as investors grow more confident that the social media site can make money through its growing mobile audience.

SWEDEN

Officials seek 2 Britons in garlic-smuggling ring

STOCKHOLM — Swedish prosecutors have issued international arrest warrants for two Britons suspected of masterminding a smuggling ring involving Chinese garlic.

The men in 2009 and 2010 shipped tons of garlic to Norway by boat, where it entered the country duty-free. The garlic was then driven across the Norwegian-Swedish border, avoiding customs checks — and an estimated $13.1 million in Swedish taxes.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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