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Fast-food protest organizers plan global actions

Updated: Friday, May 16, 2014 |
Fast-food protest organizers plan global actions story image
NEW YORK (AP) - Labor organizers say protesters will turn out in the. U.S. and more than 30 other countries on Thursday in support of higher pay for workers at fast-food chains including McDonald's, Burger King and Taco Bell.

The demonstrations build on a campaign by unions to bring attention to the plight of low-wage workers and get the public behind the idea of a $15-an-hour wage. The businesses say such a wage would hurt their ability to create jobs.

The campaign comes as President Barack Obama works to raise the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which translates to about $15,000 a year for a full-time job.

The protests have captured media attention at a time when the gap between the rich and poor has widened. Protest turnouts have varied widely, however.
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Last Update on June 01, 2015 17:10 GMT

CONSUMER SPENDING

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. consumer spending in April posted the weakest performance in three months, but a solid gain in income growth should help boost spending in the future.

The Commerce Department says consumer spending was flat in April after a revised 0.5 percent increase in March, which had been the biggest gain since last August. Personal income rose a healthy 0.4 percent after being unchanged in March.

The flat reading for consumer spending in April had been expected given weakness previously reported in retail sales and auto sales for the month. Economists, however, forecast that spending will rebound in coming months. Strong gains in employment should translate into more confident consumers who are willing to spend more.

Consumer spending is closely watched because it accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.

ECONOMY-MANUFACTURING

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. manufacturing growth accelerated in May for the first time in six months, propelled by more new orders and an increase in hiring.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, says that its manufacturing index rose to 52.8 last month, from 51.5 in April. That's the highest reading since February. Any reading above 50 signals expansion.

A measure of production fell, but it remained above 50. A gauge of new orders rose to the highest level since December, a sign production should pick up in the months ahead.

And a measure of employment jumped to 51.7, after falling below 50 in April. That means manufacturers added jobs last month.

CONSTRUCTION SPENDING

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. construction spending climbed in April to the highest level in more than six years, fueled by healthy gains in housing, government spending and non-residential construction.

The Commerce Department says construction spending advanced 2.2 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1 trillion, the highest level since November 2008. Spending had risen a more modest 0.5 percent in March.

The gain included a 0.6 percent rise in residential construction and a 3.1 percent jump in non-residential activity such as office buildings, hotels and shopping centers. Government projects increased 3.3 percent, reflecting the biggest jump in spending on state and local projects in three years.

Economists are looking for construction to provide solid support to the economy this year.

SUPREME COURT-BANKRUPTCY

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A unanimous Supreme Court says homeowners who declare bankruptcy can't void a second mortgage even if the home isn't worth what they owe on the first mortgage.

The justices on Monday ruled in favor of Bank of America in two Florida cases where bankrupt homeowners wanted to "strip off" a second loan because they were underwater on the primary mortgage.

Lower courts allowed both homeowners to nullify the second loans and the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed both cases.

But Bank of America said the rulings conflicted with Supreme Court precedent. The company argued that the second loan might be repaid eventually if the property's value rises.

The homeowners argued that the second loans were basically worthless.

SUPREME COURT-RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has sided with a Muslim woman who did not get hired after she showed up to a job interview with clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch wearing a head scarf.

The justices said Monday that employers generally have to accommodate job applicants and employees with religious needs if the employer at least has an idea that such accommodation is necessary.

Job applicant Samantha Elauf did not tell her interviewer in Oklahoma she was Muslim.

But Justice Antonin Scalia said for the court that Abercrombie "at least suspected" that Elauf wore a head scarf for religious reasons. Scalia said: "That is enough."

GENERAL MOTORS-MICHIGAN

WYOMING, Mich. (AP) -- General Motors Co. plans to invest $119 million in tools and equipment to support production of future vehicle components in western Michigan.

The automaker said Monday that the plans for its Grand Rapids Operations in the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming will create about 300 jobs.

The plant currently has about 500 employees and produces a variety of precision-machined automotive engine components used in Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles. Detroit-based GM says details on the plans are expected to be released later.

The investment in the GM Components Holdings LLC plant is part of the $5.4 billion investment in U.S. facilities that GM announced in April. The about 300 jobs represents nearly half of 650 planned employee additions within GM.

AUTO LOANS

DETROIT (AP) -- Auto loan terms are getting longer and leasing is on the rise as car buyers seek lower monthly payments.

Experian Automotive says the average new-car loan was 67 months in the first quarter. The average used-car loan was 62 months. Both are the highest since Experian began tracking them in 2006.

Long-term loans lasting 73 to 84 months accounted for a record 29.5 percent of all new-car loans. That was up 19 percent from the first three months of 2014. Long-term loans for used cars rose 13 percent, to 16 percent of all used-car loans.

The average new car loan was a record $28,711. The average monthly payment rose $14 to $488.

A record 31.5 percent of new cars were leased. The average monthly lease payment dropped $7 to $405.

DISNEY-CFO RESIGNS

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Disney's chief financial officer, Jay Rasulo, will resign at the end of June.

Once considered a possible candidate to replace CEO Bob Iger when Iger retires in 2018, Rasulo's resignation paves the path to Disney's top job for Tom Staggs, who became chief operating officer in February.

Disney has not officially named a successor to Iger.

A new chief financial officer was not immediately named.

Rasulo, who joined Disney in 1986, had been chairman of Disney's parks and resorts division and became CFO five years ago. He was also recently responsible for overseeing operations at YouTube channel operator Maker Studios.

GENERAL MOTORS-IGNITION SWITCH DEATHS

DETROIT (AP) -- The death toll from faulty ignition switches in small cars made by General Motors has reached 109.

Victims' families are being offered compensation of at least $1 million each by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was hired by GM last year. In addition, GM has agreed to make offers to 208 people who were injured in crashes caused by the switches in the Chevrolet Cobalt and other older-model cars.

GM recalled 2.6 million of the cars last year, but acknowledged it knew about problems with the switches for more than a decade.

Feinberg's compensation fund received 4,342 claims by the Jan. 31 deadline. About 7 percent remain under review. Eighty-four percent were deemed deficient or ineligible.

GM paid $200 million to settle claims filed with Feinberg as of March 31.

BLACKBERRY-TYPO

NEW YORK (AP) -- BlackBerry has reached a settlement with Typo, a maker of iPhone keyboards co-founded by "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest, which the smartphone maker had accused of ripping off its design.

Typo Products LLC will be banned from selling keyboards for mobile devices with a screen size that's less than 7.9 inches, essentially knocking them out of the iPhone market as the largest model of the Apple phone has a height of 6.22 inches.

BlackBerry Ltd., based in Canada, first filed a lawsuit against Typo last year, saying that the startup copied its smartphone's keyboard. Typo's keyboard was a case that snapped on to the iPhone and had a physical keyboard.

Typo could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

MICROSOFT-WINDOWS 10

NEW YORK (AP) -- Microsoft will roll out the latest version of its Windows operating system at the end of July.

The company said Monday that Windows 10 is designed with mobile computing in mind, allowing users to switch seamlessly between personal computers, tablets, smartphones and other gadgets. The operating system is intended to give apps a similar feel on all devices and comes with a new Web browser integrated with Cortana, the company's voice-activated answer to Apple's Siri.

Microsoft Corp. says Windows 10 will be available in 190 countries as a free upgrade on July 29 for anyone currently running Windows 8.1 or 7, the two previous versions of the software.

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