- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The top business news from The Associated Press for the morning of Tuesday, March 31, 2009:

Big slide in global trade looms over G-20 meeting

GENEVA (AP) _ With global trade sliding, analysts say some of the world’s most powerful leaders may need to offer more than ritual support for open markets when they meet this week if they are to steady a teetering economy and avoid a damaging retreat to protectionism. The presidents, prime ministers and chancellors of the Group of 20 nations have halfheartedly respected their pledge of four months ago to avoid turning inwards in fighting the economic crisis. Since then, world commerce has plummeted in a way unseen since the Great Depression.


Asia stocks mixed amid gloomy growth forecasts

BANGKOK (AP) _ Asian markets were mixed Tuesday amid low expectations for the summit of G-20 leaders and gloomy forecasts the region would continue to struggle as the global economy flounders. European markets rose in early trade. Economic fears weighed on investors as the Asian Development Bank slashed its 2009 growth forecast for the region’s developing economies due to plunging exports. Meanwhile, an Australia central banker said the country’s economy would shrink this year.


Oil stays below $50 in Asia over economic jitters

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ Oil prices edged up Tuesday in Asia but remained below $50 a barrel as fears of a major automaker bankruptcy in the U.S. sparked renewed jitters over the global economy. Benchmark crude for May delivery rose 69 cents to $49.10 by late afternoon in Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell more than 7.6 percent, or $3.97, to settle at $48.41 on Monday.


Workers say Obama treated autos worse than Wall St

DETROIT (AP) _ Many assembly line autoworkers reacted with skepticism and anger Monday to the Obama administration’s tough tactics, which stoked long-simmering feelings that the people who put the country on wheels get treated differently than the wizards of Wall Street. “It’s the age-old Wall Street vs. Main Street smackdown again,” said Brian Fredline, president of UAW Local 602 at a plant near Lansing. “You have all kinds of funding available to banks that are apparently too big to fail, but they’re also too big to be responsible.”


FDA says to avoid pistachios amid salmonella scare

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) _ Federal food safety officials warned Monday that consumers should stop eating all foods containing pistachios while they figure out the source of a possible salmonella contamination. Still reeling from the national salmonella outbreak in peanuts, the Food and Drug Administration said central California-based Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc., the nation’s second-largest pistachio processor, was voluntarily recalling a portion of the roasted nuts it has been shipping since last fall. A Setton spokeswoman said that amounts to more than 2 million pounds of nuts.


Stocks tumble as automaker plans are rejected

NEW YORK (AP) _ Wall Street’s March rally is on hold after the White House rejected turnaround plans from General Motors Corp. and Chrysler and gave investors an economic reality check. Major indexes fell about 3 percent Monday, including the Dow Jones industrial average, which lost about 254 points but finished well off its lows. Financial stocks weighed heavily on the market amid worries that banks will need fresh injections of capital.


Obama puts GM, Chrysler on short leash

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Barack Obama asserted unprecedented government control over the auto industry Monday, bluntly rejecting turnaround plans by General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, demanding fresh concessions for long-term federal aid and raising the possibility of quick bankruptcy for either ailing auto giant. Obama took the extraordinary step of announcing the government will back new car warranties issued by both GM and Chrysler, an attempt to reassure consumers their U.S.-made purchases will be protected even if the companies don’t survive.


American Airlines to expand in-flight Web access

DALLAS (AP) _ American Airlines plans to expand Internet access to about half its fleet of aircraft over the next two years as it attempts to raise revenue and improve customer service. The company said Tuesday it will install flying Wi-Fi hot spots on about 300 planes used in the continental U.S. and charge up to $12.95 for browsing the Web, sending e-mail or connecting with corporate VPN sites.


Study: Enforcement spurs rise in Web sex arrests

NEW YORK (AP) _ More people have been arrested in recent years for sexually soliciting youths online, but the sharp increase comes from better enforcement, and the Internet remains a relatively safe social environment, researchers said in a new study. In a report to be released Tuesday, the researchers saw a nearly fivefold jump in arrests for soliciting undercover investigators who posed as juveniles _ to 3,100 in 2006, from 644 in 2000, the last time the study was conducted.


Lennar 1Q loss widens to $155.9M as revenue drops

Homebuilder Lennar Corp. said Monday it’s fiscal first-quarter losses ballooned 77 percent as it booked charges to adjust land and inventory values, while home deliveries and new orders plunged despite stepped-up buyer incentives. Chief Executive Stuart Miller said the company, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, continued to face negative housing market and economic trends during the quarter.


Madoff gets trading card in set featuring scammers

NEW YORK (AP) _ Now you can trade your two Ponzis for a Madoff (MAY’-dawf). The Topps Co. Inc. says jailed Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff will be featured this summer in a set of trading cards dubbed the “world’s biggest hoaxes, hoodwinks and bamboozles.” The New York-based marketer of entertainment products says the cards show scoundrels and villains such as Enron, D.B. Cooper and Charles Ponzi.


Judge kills Cuban lawsuit on Havana Club trademark

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A federal judge dismissed a Cuban lawsuit Monday over the termination of U.S. trademark rights for its Havana Club rum, a victory for Bacardi’s effort to take over the brand name as its own in the United States. The dispute dates back decades and is entangled in property seizures during the Cuban revolution, the trade embargo with the island nation and U.S. trademark law.


Disney/ABC, ESPN sign YouTube video deal

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The Walt Disney Co. said Monday it has agreed to provide short-form videos from its ABC and ESPN television properties to run on Google Inc.’s YouTube under an ad-revenue sharing arrangement. Disney has yet to announce a deal with YouTube to share full episodes of such programs as “Lost” or “Desperate Housewives,” despite the shows being available in full on ABC.com and sites such as Comcast Corp.’s Fancast or Time Warner Inc.’s AOL.


New GM CEO says bankruptcy still an option

DETROIT (AP) _ General Motors Corp.’s new chief executive said Monday there’s a greater risk that the company will have to reorganize through bankruptcy, because of greater demands from the Obama administration to get debt off its balance sheet. Fritz Henderson told reporters on a conference call that the company would still prefer to restructure outside of court, but the various support mechanisms Obama outlined Monday would provide a better cushion for the company to reorganize under a court-order bankruptcy if necessary.


EPA head announces new port emissions proposal

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ The head of the Environmental Protection Agency wants to limit emissions along the nation’s coastline and within its seaports, just as the agency does along highways, with tougher pollution standards on large commercial ships. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said Monday that the United States and Canada have applied to the International Maritime Organization to create a 230-mile emissions control area around much of their coastline.


Japan Markets

TOKYO (AP) _ The Nikkei 225 stock average lost 126.55 points, or 1.5 percent, to close Tuesday at 8,109.53.



TOKYO (AP) _ The dollar climbed against the yen to 98.28 yen from 97.34 yen late Monday.

A service of The Associated Press. Copyright 2009 All rights reserved.

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