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  • Cuba cigar boom? Not yet, stores and customers say Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 12:13 PM ET

    It's not for the average customer, "said Erik Otero, who left Cuba when he was 3 and has been rolling cigars since age 11.. Licensed American travelers to Cuba will soon be able to return home with up to $400 of merchandise, of which $100 combined can be spent on alcohol or tobacco products. Sampson Clay, visiting Miami from Cincinnati on his honeymoon, stopped at the...

  • Apple CEO donating to gay rights campaign in South Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 12:00 PM ET

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala.— Apple chief executive Tim Cook, the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 1,000 company, is donating money to help fund a gay rights initiative in his native Alabama and two other Southern states, organizers said Thursday. Organizers said it would help fund a three-year, $8.5 million campaign launched in April in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.

  • Ford expands drivers air bag recall nationwide Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 8:47 AM ET

    DETROIT— Ford Motor Co. has agreed to government demands to expand a driver's side air bag inflator recall to the entire U.S. Ford's action puts pressure on BMW and Chrysler, the only two automakers that haven't agreed to national recalls. Honda and Mazda already took their recalls national.

  • In surprise, Wyo. senator to head budget committee Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 7:53 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— The Alabama lawmaker who has been the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee for the past four years ended his effort Wednesday to become the panel's chairman, clearing the way for a colleague from Wyoming to lead the committee when the GOP controls Congress next year. Though men both arrived in the Senate 18 years ago, Enzi has seniority on the...

  • Fed eyes audit push as key political challenge in 2015 Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 1:00 AM ET

    Federal Reserve is lobbying to stem a rising threat to its independence as the "Audit the Fed" movement, once seen as usual background noise, looks set to gain momentum in 2015 when Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress. Fed officials are making their case for independence across Capitol Hill, reminding politicians of the damage that can come from...

  • DETROIT, Dec 15- The president of the United Auto Workers union on Monday called the National Labor Relations Board's recent decisions to allow employees to use company email to organize and unions to hold faster elections to represent workers "the right thing to do." "It made all the sense in the world," Dennis Williams told reporters at the union's headquarters in...

  • 14 cities get Bloomberg 'innovation team' grants Monday, 15 Dec 2014 | 9:01 AM ET

    NEW YORK— Fourteen cities ranging from Long Beach, California, to Jerusalem are getting up to $3 million from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's foundation to create "innovation teams" to jump-start new approaches to poverty, public safety, job growth and other issues, the foundation announced Monday. Winners range in size from Centennial, Colorado,...

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 13- The threat of a U.S. government shutdown began to lift on Saturday as Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate struck a deal for a vote on a $1.1 trillion federal spending bill, ending a dispute fueled by Tea Party firebrand Ted Cruz. A similar situation began unfolding in the Democratic-controlled Senate after Cruz and two other Senate...

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 13- The U.S. Senate passed a five-day extension of federal funding on Saturday, staving off a government shutdown and buying lawmakers more time to resolve a fight over a longer, $1.1 trillion spending bill led by Tea Party firebrand Ted Cruz. On Saturday, a similar situation looked to be unfolding in the Democratic-controlled Senate after Cruz...

  • DETROIT, Dec 12- Chrysler Group is expanding its U.S. recall of older-model vehicles with Takata Corp passenger-side air bags, adding a second inflator design to the recall and more affected regions. The company said no accidents or injuries in any of its vehicles have been linked to any Takata passenger-side inflators. Chrysler was one of 10 automakers who...

  • Chrysler expands air bag recall Friday, 12 Dec 2014 | 8:16 AM ET

    It's part of a growing problem worldwide with air bag inflators made by Japanese auto parts supplier Takata Corp.. At first Chrysler agreed to replace passenger air bag inflators in Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The new boundaries are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and five U.S. territories.

  • Renasant of Miss. buying Ga. bank in $258M deal Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014 | 6:45 PM ET

    JACKSON, Miss.— Mississippi- based regional bank Renasant Corp. said Wednesday that it will acquire Georgia- based Heritage Financial Group, the parent of HeritageBank of the South for $258 million in stock. The merger will move Renasant, based in Tupelo, into southern Georgia and northern Florida for the first time and slightly bolster the bank's position in the...

  • Obama announces $1B for early childhood education Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014 | 6:09 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— Declaring early childhood education "one of the best investments we can make," President Barack Obama on Wednesday followed up on a promise to expand early education opportunities for tens of thousands of children by announcing $1 billion in public-private spending on programs for young learners. He said the investments announced at a daylong...

  • Tenn. governor questions UAW process at Volkswagen Tuesday, 9 Dec 2014 | 3:55 PM ET

    Bill Haslam, a longtime critic of the United Auto Workers' efforts to organize foreign automakers in the South, on Tuesday questioned the process by which the union qualified under a new labor policy at the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee. Haslam told The Associated Press after a Farm Bureau speech that he wants all major labor decisions at the Volkswagen plant in...

  • Dec 9- The United Auto Workers union said on Tuesday it will train workers at Volkswagen AG's plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in an effort to form a U.S. version of a German-style works council, while continuing to push for collective bargaining rights at the factory. Under a new agreement with the German company announced in November, unions that can prove...

  • WAHINGTON/ DETROIT, Dec 3- Chrysler Group has told regulators it will expand a U.S. recall of vehicles with Takata Corp passenger-side air bags, but stopped short of including all models regulators wanted included, a company statement issued on Wednesday shows. "At this time, data analysis indicates the front passenger-side inflators in affected pickups...

  • WAHINGTON/ DETROIT, Dec 3- Chrysler Group has informally told regulators it will expand a U.S. recall of vehicles with Takata Corp passenger-side air bags, a top regulator said. Congressional hearing on problems with Takata air bags in older vehicles sold by at least 10 automakers. In June, the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles unit recalled about 371,000 Dodge, Ram and...

  • DETROIT, Dec 3- As early as 2003, Takata Corp ran an investigation into an air bag inflator that ruptured in a BMW vehicle, but concluded the problem was an anomaly, the company said on Tuesday, ahead of a second U.S. congressional hearing on dangerous air bags it supplied. Hiroshi Shimizu, Takata's chief quality officer, told a Senate committee hearing last month...

  • DETROIT, Dec 1- The United Auto Workers union said on Monday it will press managers of the Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz assembly plant in Alabama to respect the right of workers to discuss organizing a local union while on the factory floor. "It's unfortunate that Mercedes-Benz had to be ordered to simply allow workers to discuss their right to organize," said Kirk...

  • DETROIT, Dec 1- The United Auto Workers union said on Monday it will press managers of the Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz assembly plant in Alabama to respect the right of workers to discuss organizing a local union while on the factory floor. "It's unfortunate that Mercedes-Benz had to be ordered to simply allow workers to discuss their right to organize," said Kirk...