- Associated Press - Monday, October 6, 2014

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Hewlett-Packard splits off PC, printer businesses

NEW YORK (AP) - Hewlett-Packard is splitting itself into two companies, one focused on its personal computer and printing business and another on technology services such as data storage, servers and software, betting that it can drive faster sales growth with more-focused operations.

Hewlett-Packard, like other PC makers, has struggled as customers shifted toward smartphones and tablets and away from desktops and laptops. It also has been shifting its services business toward cloud computing opportunities as fewer customers opt for traditional data storage. The company has posted revenue declines in 11 of the past 12 quarters and laid off tens of thousands of people in recent years as it attempts to cut costs.

HP hopes that the two units will be worth more separately and be able to grow more quickly apart than they can together.



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GM uses Facebook, calls to get recalled cars fixed

DETROIT (AP) - Eight months after General Motors began recalling more than 2 million cars because of a deadly ignition-switch defect, less than half the owners have gotten their vehicles fixed.

At first, the problem was a shortage of parts. But now the problem is people.

Despite the heavy publicity surrounding the scandal, many drivers evidently haven’t heard of the recall or haven’t grasped how serious the defect is because it hasn’t given them any trouble.

As a result, GM has been forced to go beyond the usual ominous-sounding recall letters.

It has sent out Facebook messages and made phone calls to owners of the cars, mainly Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions. CEO Mary Barra has even sent a personal letter urging people to get the switches replaced.

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Wal-Mart plans 1-stop health coverage shopping

NEW YORK (AP) - Wal-Mart is taking one-stop shopping to another area: health insurance.

The world’s largest retailer plans to work with DirectHealth.com, an online health insurance comparison site and agency, to allow shoppers to compare coverage options and enroll in Medicare plans or the public exchange plans created under the Affordable Care Act.

The strategy is another step into insurance marketing as the retailer tries to use its mammoth size to expand beyond food and other basics at a time of sluggish traffic and sales. It also could help Wal-Mart compete with drugstore chains such as Walgreen and CVS, which are rapidly adding health care services.

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Euro Disney shares dive as it needs bailout

PARIS (AP) - In Europe, even Mickey Mouse is getting a bailout.

The Disney resort on the outskirts of Paris is getting a financial lifeline from owner The Walt Disney Company to handle rising debt and a decline in visitors at a time of economic uncertainty in Europe.

The 1 billion-euro ($1.3 billion) lifeline will see the park’s California masters take control of Euro Disney, which runs Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park. Until now, the U.S. company owned only 40 percent of the theme park operator, alongside Saudi prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal and a host of small European investors who originally paid 11 euros a share for their piece of the Disney dream.

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NBA extends television deals with ESPN and TNT

NEW YORK (AP) - The NBA and its television partners couldn’t wait to extend their contracts.

The league renewed its deals with ESPN and TNT even though two seasons remain on the old ones. With potential competition from Fox looming, both networks were willing to pay generously to secure the rights long term.

The NBA’s annual revenue from the agreements will increase from $930 million to more than $2.6 billion, according to a person familiar with the terms. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the league did not announce financial figures.

The contracts will run an additional nine years through the 2024-25 season. The previous eight-year agreements end after 2015-16.

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Paulson: AIG bailout designed to be punishment

WASHINGTON (AP) - The 2008 government bailout of American International Group Inc. was specifically designed to punish the insurance giant, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in U.S. court Monday.

The $85 billion loan package extended to AIG - then reeling from the financial and housing crisis - gave the government control of 80 percent of its stock. Unlike other major financial firms rescued in the middle of the worst economic downturn in roughly 80 years, Paulson said that AIG shareholders should have faced punishment for their troubled balance sheet as part of any rescue.

Paulson’s testimony came as part of a lawsuit brought by former AIG chairman and CEO Maurice Greenberg. The 89-year-old is suing the federal government for damages of roughly $40 billion, saying that it violated the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment by taking control of AIG without “just compensation” in return for the shares.

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Obama claims progress on Wall Street rules

WASHINGTON (AP) - A year after prodding financial regulators to act more swiftly to rein in Wall Street, President Barack Obama on Monday claimed progress in toughening banking rules but urged bank overseers to consider additional ways to prevent the kind of risk-taking that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis.

Obama met Monday with top financial regulators at the White House, including Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, to discuss the pace of implementing the four-year-old regulatory overhaul that Obama signed into law in 2010.

A year ago, with regulations behind schedule and major pieces of the law not yet in place, Obama voiced concern about the slow pace and urged regulators to exhibit urgency in adopting new rules. At the time, regulators had completed rules on only 40 percent of the nearly 400 regulations required by the law.

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Experimental drug provided to Dallas Ebola patient

WASHINGTON (AP) - A North Carolina drugmaker is providing its experimental antiviral drug to a Dallas patient being treated for Ebola, an emergency step authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.

Officials at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said Monday that their patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, is in critical condition and being treated with brincidofovir, an oral medicine developed by Chimerix Inc.

The Durham, North Carolina-based drugmaker said earlier that physicians sought FDA permission to use the company’s drug, which is in late-stage testing for several other types of viruses.

The FDA grants emergency access to unapproved drugs on a case-by-case basis, usually when a patient faces a life-threatening condition for which there are no alternatives. The agency has not approved any drugs or vaccines to safely and effectively treat Ebola.

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APNewsBreak: Trump name coming off closed casino

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - The Trump name is coming off the shuttered Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City.

Trump Entertainment Resorts began removing letters spelling out the Trump name on the casino’s exterior Monday morning. Also, workers removed slot machines from the casino, which shut down on Sept. 16.

The action is part of a lawsuit Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka are pressing against Trump Entertainment to have their name stripped from the Trump Taj Mahal casino, and the company itself. They claim the company let the two casinos fall into such disrepair that it violated quality standards agreed to by both sides. The company is in bankruptcy and threatening to shut its last casino - the Taj Mahal - next month.

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Hilton selling Waldorf Astoria New York for $1.95B

MCLEAN, Va. (AP) - Hilton Worldwide is selling the Waldorf Astoria New York to Chinese insurance company Anbang Insurance Group Co. for $1.95 billion.

Hilton will continue to manage the storied hotel for the next 100 years as part of an agreement with Anbang.

The Waldorf Astoria New York has restaurants including Peacock Alley, Bull and Bear Prime Steakhouse and Oscar’s. The companies said Monday that the property will undergo a major renovation.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 17.78 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,991.91. The S&P; 500 fell 3.08 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,964.82. The Nasdaq composite fell 20.82 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,454.80.

U.S. benchmark oil rose 60 cents to $90.34 a barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oils imported by U.S. refiners, gained 48 cents to $92.79 a barrel in London. Natural gas dropped 14 cents to $3.90 per 1,000 cubic feet amid forecasts of mild temperatures along parts of the East Coast. Wholesale gasoline rose 3.47 cents to $2.413 a gallon. Heating oil rose 0.5 cent to $2.621 a gallon.

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