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VOL. 37 | NO. 15 | Friday, April 12, 2013
EMPHASIS ISSUE: Higher Education

Get started before graduation

Midstate universities have a plan to give grads the tools needed to find jobs

It’s always been easy to get a job out of college if mom or dad is chairman of the board.

Lottery rebound lifts record 105K scholars

More high school students graduating in May will go to college with a Tennessee Lottery scholarship, making it the largest class in the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship’s history.

Austin Peay’s rapid growth mirrors Clarksville's

The Great Recession hit about the time Timothy Hall took over as president of Austin Peay State University in 2007. Hall steered the school through the turbulent times and says APSU is now stable and thriving.

James + Associates honored for I-24 bridge project

Most everyone in and around Nashville remembers, with a shudder, last year’s weekend closures of I-24 near downtown for overpass repair.

Local Weather
Today
Nashville, TN
51°F
Cloudy
Wind: 3 mph
Humidity: 74%

EVENTS

Predators Foundation Wine Festival and Tasting. Featuring more than 200 higher-end wines, beer and a spirits tasting and an extensive silent auction with more than 200 items. Tonight's event also will include culinary delicacies and a photo opportunity with GNASH. A VIP dinner & tasting will take place in the Patron Platinum Club. It will feature a five-course dinner with wine pairing and hand-crafted wines. The VIP event begins at 6 p.m. and is $200 per person. VIP guests may attend the Wine Festival prior to the VIP dinner. Bridgestone Arena. Information: www.predators.nhl/club/page.htm

more events »

REAL ESTATE

Strong Q1 home sales drive Midstate real estate prices higher

Pity the poor bargain hunters. Since the beginning of the housing downturn, they’ve been able to buy houses at discount prices. Not anymore.

Midstate real estate trends for first quarter 2013

First quarter 2013 real estate trends for Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford and Wilson counties, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

Midstate real estate trends for March 2013

March 2013 real estate trends for Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford and Wilson counties, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

REALTY CHECK

Big difference between $499,999, $500,000

For all of our lives we have seen products advertised with a 99 cent suffix, that suffix is usually preceded by a number, or at times a whole slew of them.

LEGISLATIVE PROFILE

Legislature’s legacy: Fixing things that ‘aren’t broken’

As the state legislature moves toward completion, state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley) offers his assessment:

NEWSMAKERS

Cybera adds leadership to support expansion

Cybera, Inc., a provider of network and application security solutions, has expanded its executive team by adding Greg Tennant as senior vice president of marketing and strategy, and Ron Robinson as senior vice president of sales.

GUERRILLA MARKETING

The psychology of pricing

As much as we buyers hate to admit it, we’re emotional creatures, at least when it comes to decision making. We make a decision to buy based on emotional factors first, and afterward seek rational justification for the decision we’ve essentially already made. This same principle applies to how we assess your brand’s price points as well – whether you sell products or services.

SMART STUFF 4 WORK

The anatomy of a habit

As humans, we would have a hard time getting through the day without our strongly ingrained habits. But as you know, some habits produce good results, some produce undesirable results.

I SWEAR

Doctor finds way to avoid trouble – admit mistake

Something happened recently that cries out for a column. I got an email from a friend with a link to a “health column” in a ski resort town newspaper somewhere in these United States. The column’s author was a doctor with a clinic in the ski village.

KAY'S COOKING CORNER

Take the cake with Cinco de Mayo treat

One of my and my husband’s favorite places to visit is Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. We love the ocean (of course), but also we love the language, the history, the beautiful old buildings and the food.

STATE LEGISLATURE

Casada faces high hurdle on campaign finance bill

NASHVILLE (AP) — An effort to revive a failed bill to boost the amount of money political groups can give to candidates and to do away with reporting requirements for donations by corporations faces a high hurdle in the House.

General Assembly OKs Haslam's $32.8B budget plan

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam's $32.8 billion budget has cleared the Tennessee General Assembly.

Charter school authorizer bill advances

NASHVILLE (AP) — The sponsor of a proposal that seeks to change the way certain charter schools are authorized said Wednesday the measure is needed to continue education reform in Tennessee.

House barely approves animal abuse reporting bill

NASHVILLE (AP) — A bill seeking to require anyone recording or taking photos of livestock abuse to turn images over to law enforcement within 48 hours was approved in the House on Wednesday with the bare vote minimum needed.

NASHVILLE AREA

Lipscomb ranked in top 25 for veterans

NASHVILLE (AP) - Lipscomb University's college of business is being ranked among the top 25 in the country for veterans returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

AUTO INDUSTRY

GM says diesel Chevrolet Cruze gets 46 mpg

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. says the new diesel version of the Chevrolet Cruze gets 46 miles per gallon on the highway, making it more efficient than some hybrids.

AutoNation profit up 14 pct. on growing car sales

DETROIT (AP) — AutoNation's first-quarter net income rose 14 percent as the country's largest auto dealership chain reaped benefits from a U.S. car and truck sales recovery that is gaining strength.

Chinese automakers struggle against global rivals

SHANGHAI (AP) — These should be good times for Chinese automakers as they prepare to show off their latest models at the Shanghai auto show.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Measure of US economy's health declines in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — A measure of the U.S. economy's future health declined slightly in March, signaling that growth could slow this spring.

US unemployment aid applications rise to 352K

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits increased just 4,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 352,000. The slight gain kept applications at a level consistent with solid hiring and suggests March's sluggish hiring may be temporary.

Slight decline in midday trading on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Disappointing earnings from a range of companies pushed the stock market lower on Thursday, giving major indexes their third loss this week.

Oil rises near $88; natural gas jumps 4 percent

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil rose from a four-month low Thursday, while natural gas soared to the highest level in 21 months on signs of robust demand for the fuel.

Labor nominee Perez pledges open mind

WASHINGTON (AP) — Labor secretary nominee Thomas Perez sought to assure senators Thursday that he would approach the job with an open mind and a willingness to work with business and labor groups alike to create new jobs.

American Airlines trims 1Q loss as labor costs fall

DALLAS (AP) — The parent of American Airlines is reporting a smaller loss for the first quarter than a year ago on slightly higher revenue and much lower labor costs.

Morgan Stanley profit dips, but beats predictions

NEW YORK (AP) — Morgan Stanley's profit and revenue dipped in the first quarter. Results beat Wall Street's expectations, but the stock still dipped in pre-market trading.

PepsiCo's profit beats expectations as sales rise

NEW YORK (AP) — PepsiCo Inc. reported a first-quarter profit on Thursday that beat Wall Street expectations as price hikes helped lift sales.


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17
STATE LEGISLATURE

Senate passes Haslam budget proposal

NASHVILLE (AP) — Lawmakers in both chambers of the General Assembly on Wednesday approved Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's $32.8 billion budget proposal.

Bill increasing campaign contribution limits fails

NASHVILLE (AP) - A bill that would have done away with the reporting requirements for direct corporate contributions to Tennessee political candidates has failed in the House.

Bill to change selection of Tenn. AG passes Senate

NASHVILLE (AP) — A proposed constitutional amendment to give lawmakers the power to select the state attorney general passed the Senate on Wednesday, even though opponents argue there's no need to change the current process.

Virtual school cap passes; charter schools delayed

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee House has approved a proposal that caps enrollment in virtual schools.

STATEWIDE

State must release information in 50 child deaths

NASHVILLE (AP) - The state Department of Children's Services was ordered Wednesday to give the media records from the case files of 50 children who died or nearly died after the agency became involved with them.

MIDSTATE

Windham expanding in Hendersonville, Alcoa

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee officials say national collections agency Windham Professionals is expanding operations in Hendersonville and Alcoa, adding 245 jobs in the process.

NASHVILLE AREA

Downtown driver service centers to close for renovations

NASHVILLE (AP) - The state Department of Safety is closing driver services centers in Columbia and downtown Nashville for renovation.

AUTO INDUSTRY

European car sales plummet, even in solid Germany

MILAN (AP) — Europe's auto market is in freefall. Once the motor for Europe's economy, the car industry has fallen victim to the region's widening recession and soaring unemployment. Carmakers have suffered 18 straight months of declining sales as people worried that they might soon be out of a job put off making big purchases.

Toyota's hybrid vehicle sales pass 5 million

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota's global sales of gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles have surpassed 5 million in a milestone for a technology that was initially greeted with skepticism.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Fed: Strong housing, auto sales boost US economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — A strengthening housing recovery and robust auto sales contributed to moderate growth across the United States in late February and March, according to a Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday.

Apple stock falls to one-year low on supplier news

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Apple Inc. hit their lowest levels in a year and half on Wednesday, after a supplier hinted at a slowdown in iPhone and iPad production.

Stocks fall on signs of slowing global economy

NEW YORK (AP) — As evidence of a slowing global economy grows, investors are showing some caution just one week after U.S. stocks hit an all-time high.

Oil slide continues, falls below $87 a barrel

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil dove again Wednesday, the latest in a series of declines that has pushed the price down by $10 a barrel over two weeks.

Deal approved in Muslims' suit against McDonald's

DETROIT (AP) — A judge has finalized a $700,000 settlement between McDonald's and members of Michigan's Muslim community over claims a Detroit-area restaurant falsely advertised food as prepared according to Islamic law.

Bank of America's profit soars, revenue dips

NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America's profit soared in the first quarter, helped by mortgages and wealth management. But revenue fell and profits missed expectations.

BofA to settle mortgage investors' class-action

NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by investors who bought mortgage investments from Countrywide Financial, the California-based lender it acquired in 2008. The announcement came as the nation's second biggest bank reported higher net income for the first quarter, but missed analysts' expectations.

American Airlines resumes most flights

DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines resumed most flights Wednesday, a day after a massive technology failure forced the nation's third-largest carrier to ground all planes from coast to coast.

Yahoo's ad slump overshadows 1Q earnings gain

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo's Internet advertising revenue crumbled further during the first three months of the year, renewing doubts about the company's turnaround efforts despite a surge in earnings.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Report: US footing greater bill for overseas bases

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is footing more of the bill for overseas bases in Germany, Japan and South Korea even as the military reduces the number of American troops in Europe and strategically repositions forces in Asia, a congressional report says.


TUESDAY, APRIL 16
STATEWIDE

Jimmy Haslam: Investigation centers on customer rebates

NASHVILLE (AP) - Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said Tuesday the federal government has launched a criminal investigation into rebates offered by the truck stop chain owned by his family, including his brother, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

Gov. Haslam says he knows no reason for FBI's Pilot search

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday he still doesn't know why federal agents searched the Knoxville headquarters of Pilot Flying J, the family-owned chain of truck stops run by his brother, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.

STATE LEGISLATURE

Lawmakers pass bill for more ignition interlocks

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal to make Tennessee's ignition interlock law apply to more drunken drivers has cleared the Legislature.

Senate OKs Tennessee animal abuse reporting bill

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal that would require anyone recording images of animal abuse to submit unedited footage or photos to law enforcement within 48 hours has passed the Senate.

Bill to create charter schools panel delayed

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal to create a state panel to authorize charter schools for five counties is having a hard time getting out of a key Senate committee.

House passes watered down switchblade bill

NASHVILLE (AP) - The state House has passed a watered down version of a bill that originally would have lifted a ban on switchblades and knives with blades longer than 4 inches.

Judicial redistricting plan passes Senate

NASHVILLE (AP) - A proposal to redraw Tennessee's judicial districts for the first time since 1984 has passed the Senate.

Haslam signs measures to protect high school, college students

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam has signed two bills that seek to protect the health of high school and college students.

EpiPen bill headed to governor

NASHVILLE (AP) — Legislation that would authorize at least two epinephrine auto-injectors be placed in all public and private schools in Tennessee is headed to the governor for his consideration.

Senate panel OKs school security bill

NASHVILLE (AP) — A proposal that would allow school districts to hire individuals with prior law enforcement experience to handle security is headed for a full Senate vote.

COURTS

Lawyer sued over handing of estate

NASHVILLE (AP) - A lawsuit against a former court-appointed conservator claims he misappropriated at least $450,000 from the estate of an elderly woman.

MIDSTATE

Tracy raises 4 times more than DesJarlais

NASHVILLE (AP) - State Sen. Jim Tracy has raised more than four times as much as the embattled congressional incumbent he is challenging in the Republican primary next year.

REGIONAL

Role reversal: GOP blasts Obama plan to sell TVA

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a political role reversal, Republicans are blasting President Barack Obama's plan to consider selling the Tennessee Valley Authority, an icon of the New Deal long targeted by conservatives as an example of government overreach.

AUTO INDUSTRY

GM to roll out new line of smaller pickups

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors plans to roll out a line of completely revamped midsize pickup trucks, with gas mileage and features designed to take sales from Toyota's market-leading Tacoma.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Stock market rebounds from worst day of the year

NEW YORK (AP) — Strong housing and earnings reports helped stocks rebound from their worst day of the year.

Oil bounces back as dollar weakens

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil fell as low as $86 a barrel on Tuesday before recovering and finishing slightly higher.

Dell, Icahn agree on a share ownership cap

Dell Inc. and Carl Icahn have agreed to cap his stake in the personal computer maker while the panel considers competing takeover bids from the billionaire investor, a group led by CEO Michael Dell and buyout specialist Blackstone Group.

Cars, utilities lift US industrial output in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. industrial output rose in March as cold weather kept utilities busy generating heat and a surge in auto production helped offset broader weakness in manufacturing.

US housing starts surpass 1 million in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. homebuilders broke the 1 million mark in March for the first time since June 2008. The gain signals continued strength for the housing recovery at the start of the spring buying season.

US consumer prices drop 0.2 pct on cheaper gas

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer prices declined last month as the cost of gas fell sharply and food prices were unchanged. The tame reading is the latest evidence that the sluggish economy is keeping inflation in check.

American Airlines set to file reorganization plan

DALLAS (AP) — US Airways began studying a potential merger with American Airlines several months before American filed for bankruptcy protection in late 2011, according to papers filed Monday by the two companies.

Coca-Cola's independent bottlers see shifting role

NEW YORK (AP) — Coca-Cola has struck preliminary deals to begin handing back more of its U.S. distribution network to independent bottlers, a move that's expected to improve profit margins in its flagship market.

Softbank says its bid for Sprint Nextel superior

TOKYO (AP) — SoftBank Corp. says it believes its bid for U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Nextel is a better choice than the $25.5 billion counteroffer by Dish Network Corp.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Bipartisan bill would remake immigration system

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. immigration system would undergo dramatic changes under a bipartisan Senate bill that puts a new focus on prospective immigrants' merit and employment potential, while seeking to end illegal immigration once and for all by creating legal avenues for workers to come here.


MONDAY, APRIL 15
STATE LEGISLATURE

Measure to let cities form school systems advances

NASHVILLE (AP) — Legislation that would clear the way for cities to begin forming municipal school systems is needed to continue education reform in Tennessee, proponents of the measure said Monday.

Tennessee animal abuse reporting bill hits Senate snag

NASHVILLE (AP) - An effort to require animal abuse whistleblowers to quickly submit damning evidence to law enforcement has hit a snag in the state Senate over questions about the true intentions of the bill.

Governor signs public notices bill

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a bill to require public notices to be published on newspaper websites.

Proposal would allow Tennessee cities form own school systems

NASHVILLE (AP) — A measure that would allow cities to form their own school systems is scheduled to be heard on the Senate and House floors Monday evening.

Focus on education bills in final days of session

NASHVILLE (AP) — As the 108th Tennessee General Assembly draws to a close, state lawmakers are hoping to push through education proposals that include creating a state panel to authorize charter schools for five counties and a measure that would clear the way for cities to begin forming municipal school systems.

STATEWIDE

FBI agents at Haslams' Pilot Flying J headquarters

KNOXVILLE (AP) — FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents on Monday locked down the headquarters of Pilot Flying J, the truck stop business owned by the family of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and his brother, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.

DCS to improve training for abuse investigators

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Department of Children's Services is reorganizing following problems that led to the recent resignation of Commissioner Kate O'Day.

Inmate dental care contract goes to higher bidder

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Tennessee Department of Correction has awarded a new contract for state inmate dental care to a company which submitted a bid $16 million higher than a competitor.

Tennessee finance chief to retire from Haslam Cabinet

NASHVILLE (AP) - State finance chief Mark Emkes is retiring after presiding over three annual spending plans, Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's administration announced Monday.

DCS plans to announce reorganization

NASHVILLE (AP) — Officials with the Tennessee Department of Children's Service are unveiling a reorganization of the troubled child welfare agency.

HEALTH CARE

Report finds lax oversight of specialty pharmacies

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional investigators say pharmacy boards in nearly all 50 states lack the information and expertise to oversee specialty pharmacies like the one that triggered a deadly meningitis outbreak last year.

COURTS

Supreme question: Can human genes be patented?

WASHINGTON (AP) — DNA may be the building block of life, but can something taken from it also be the building block of a multimillion-dollar medical monopoly?

AUTO INDUSTRY

HP Pelzer building plant in Athens, 200 jobs

NASHVILLE (AP) - A new automotive supplier plant with 200 new jobs is coming to Athens.

GM, Ford to collaborate on new transmissions

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors and Ford are putting aside their longstanding rivalry to work together to develop a new generation of fuel-efficient automatic transmissions.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Stock market takes biggest drop this year

NEW YORK (AP) — A steep fall in commodity prices led the stock market to its worst day this year on Monday, as worries about the global economy resurfaced.

Oil drops to 4-month low as China growth slows

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil dropped to a four-month low, as a slowdown in China's growth added to doubts about the strength of the world economy and global demand for crude.

AP sees slight revenue decline in 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — The Associated Press said Monday that its revenue declined slightly in 2012 because U.S. elections and the Olympics drew less interest than expected, but it was largely successful in replacing lost revenue with increased sales of video and photos.

J.C. Penney draws $850M from revolving credit line

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney Co. said it has drawn $850 million from its $1.85 billion revolving credit line, a sign that the flailing department store chain is in a cash crunch after a disastrous turnaround plan launched early last year.

Dish Network offering to buy Sprint in $25.5B deal

NEW YORK (AP) — Dish Network Corp. is trying to snag U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Nextel Corp. away from its Japanese suitor in recognition of the way satellite dishes are losing their relevance in the age of cellphones that play YouTube videos.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Lawmakers ready to unveil immigration deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan group of senators is almost ready to share with colleagues and voters an immigration overhaul crafted over several months.


FRIDAY, APRIL 12
STATE LEGISLATURE

House adds exceptions to bill to banning drones

NASHVILLE (AP) - The House has passed a bill to ban most warrantless surveillance by unmanned drones in Tennessee, but added a last-minute exemption for events featuring large crowds.

House approves changes to injured workers' claims

NASHVILLE (AP) — After defeating several attempts by Democrats to dial back the proposal, the House on Thursday approved Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's bill to change the way the state considers injured workers' claims.

Welfare penalty for parents dead this session

NASHVILLE (AP) — The sponsor of a proposal to dock the welfare payments of parents whose children fail school refused to listen to a little girl opposing the measure Thursday, saying she was being used as a prop.

NASHVILLE AREA

Tennessee State building new agriculture facility

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee State University plans to break ground on a new agriculture teaching and research facility.

CCA: Workers falsified staffing records at Idaho prison

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A private company that operates Idaho's largest prison acknowledged Thursday that its employees falsified nearly 4,800 hours of staffing records over seven months last year in violation of its contract with the state.

Southern Baptists' Land to head NC seminary

NASHVILLE (AP) - Southern Baptist leader Richard Land will be the next president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary, in Charlotte, N.C.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Volkswagen March sales flat as Europe struggles

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German automaker Volkswagen AG says sales were flat in March and that global car markets outside North America and China "are becoming even more difficult."

Nissan to increase pay at Tennessee, Mississippi plants

Nissan Motor Co. will raise pay for its employees in Tennessee and Mississippi.

Japanese, other automakers hit with air bag recall

DETROIT (AP) — Six automakers, including Toyota, Honda and Nissan, are recalling nearly 3.4 million older-model vehicles worldwide because of defective air bags that can send shrapnel flying into the passenger compartment.

STATEWIDE

Number of women-owned businesses booming in Tennessee

The number of women-owned businesses in Tennessee has grown faster than the national average over a 16-year period, according to a recent report commissioned by American Express OPEN.

Compounding pharmacies turn away FDA inspectors

NASHVILLE (AP) - Compounding pharmacies like the one responsible for the deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis last year have refused access to inspectors.

Residents told to be leery of fake contractors

NASHVILLE (AP) — State officials are urging Tennessee residents to verify the licenses of potential home contractors to avoid possible scams.

New Tennessee billboards promote tobacco hotline

NASHVILLE (AP) — New billboards are going up across the state promoting the toll-free Tennessee Tobacco Quitline that helps people seeking to end their tobacco habits.

Stream cleanup grants available from TWRA

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has grants available to help groups clean up streams.

Lamar Alexander raises $1M for senate re-election

NASHVILLE (AP) - U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander has raised more than $1 million for his 2014 re-election campaign in the first quarter of the year.

Watts Bar nuclear plant on schedule for 2015 open

NASHVILLE (AP) - A nuclear plant first begun in 1973, then mothballed, is on schedule to open in December 2015.

REGIONAL

Unemployment rates for US cities in the South

Unemployment rates fell in more than 80 percent of large U.S. cities in February from January, suggesting that strong hiring that month benefited the vast majority of the country.

COURTS

Circuit court judge Wilson gets public censure

NASHVILLE (AP) — A circuit court judge in the third district has received a public censure and public reprimand from the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct.

NATIONAL BUSINESS

Stocks end a four-day advance as energy slides

NEW YORK (AP) — A four-day advance came to an end on Wall Street as falling commodity prices brought down the stocks of energy and mining companies.

Oil falls 2 percent, gas prices to keep dropping

NEW YORK (AP) — Signs that the global economy isn't strong enough to quickly burn through the world's ample supplies of oil and gasoline sank crude oil prices for a second straight day.

Gold plunges below $1,500, lowest since 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — Gold futures have notched their biggest one-day fall in more than a year.

Judge denies $20M severance deal for AMR CEO

DALLAS (AP) — A federal bankruptcy judge has denied a proposed $20 million severance payment for the CEO of American Airlines as part of the company's merger with US Airways.

US businesses boosted stockpiles only 0.1 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies restocked their shelves at a much slower pace in February than January, a sign they expected consumer and business spending to weaken.

US retail sales fall 0.4 percent in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales at U.S. retailers fell in March from February, indicating that higher taxes and weak hiring may have made some consumers more cautious about spending.

Wholesale prices drop 0.6 percent in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — A measure of wholesale prices fell in March by the largest amount in 10 months, reflecting a big drop in gasoline prices.

Judge: JCP can sell Martha-designed goods for now

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York State Supreme Court judge says J.C. Penney can sell some goods designed by Martha Stewart that were destined for shelves this spring.

Verizon to extend phone-upgrade waiting period

NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon Wireless, the country's largest cellphone carrier, is extending the time it takes to earn a subsidized phone upgrade from 20 months on contract to 24 months.

Coding boot camps promise to launch tech careers

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Looking for a career change, Ken Shimizu decided he wanted to be a software developer, but he didn't want to go back to college to study computer science.

JPMorgan CEO: 'Work to do' on controls, compliance

NEW YORK (AP) — JPMorgan Chase, the country's biggest bank by assets, says its first-quarter earnings soared, even as revenue fell slightly.

Cold March keeps shoppers' spending tepid

NEW YORK (AP) — So much for new spring shorts and T-shirts. As cold weather lingered across most of the country, Americans shopped modestly in March.

US unemployment aid applications plummet to 346K

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to a seasonally adjusted 346,000, signaling that the job market might be stronger than March's weak month of hiring suggested.

NATIONAL POLITICS

APNewsBreak: Upper-income seniors' Medicare hike

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's plan to raise Medicare premiums for upper-income seniors would create five new income brackets to squeeze more revenue for the government from the top tiers of retirees, the administration revealed Friday.

AP source: Immigration bill could exclude many

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan immigration bill soon to be introduced in the Senate could exclude hundreds of thousands of immigrants here illegally from ever becoming U.S. citizens, according to a Senate aide with knowledge of the proposals.

House GOP pushes bill to halt Labor Board action

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans are poised to approve a measure that would stop the National Labor Relations Board from conducting business until a dispute over the president's recess appointments to the agency is resolved.

Boehner defends Obama on slowing Social Security

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker John Boehner is rejecting a colleague's criticism of a White House proposal to slow the growth of Social Security.

Hagel defends proposed cuts in defense spending

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday defended President Barack Obama's proposed cuts to the military as the best approach as the Pentagon grapples with smaller, deficit-driven budgets.

Senator: Ag growers largely agree on immigration

WASHINGTON (AP) — Agriculture growers have signed off on the major elements of a new program to bring farm workers to the U.S., a key senator said Thursday, moving a major immigration bill a step closer to passage.

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