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  • Aer Lingus rejects bid by British Airways parent Dec 18, 2014 12:53 PM
    Irish airline Aer Lingus has rejected a takeover bid by the International Consolidated Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways and Spain’s Iberia. Shares in the Dublin-based carrier surged by as much as 21 percent Thursday amid rumors of a possible bid. Those gains were pared after IAG issued a statement confirming its proposal had been rejected by the Aer Lingus board. Analysts long have seen IAG as a likely bidder for Aer Lingus. IAG chief executive Willie Walsh was previously chief executive of Aer Lingus before the formerly state-owned airline’s 2006 privatization. Aer Lingus operates a substantial European short-haul network and a half-dozen routes to the United States. In recent years it has struggled to compete with larger Dublin-based rival Ryanair, which has mounted three failed takeover bids.

  • Ex-Hulu CEO Kilar unveils Vessel, paid online video service Dec 18, 2014 1:01 AM
    Former Hulu Chief Executive Officer Jason Kilar has signed up YouTube stars, major media companies and celebrities including Alec Baldwin for a new subscription video service called Vessel.

  • Britain’s message for UAE visit: Nice, not naughty Dec 18, 2014 6:15 AM
    Britain wants to make sure its citizens are more nice than naughty while soaking up the Persian Gulf sun this holiday season. A social media campaign by British Embassy staff in the United Arab Emirates running this week is a play on the classic poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and includes travel advice aimed at keeping unwitting Britons out of trouble.

  • Gauge of U.S. economy rises 0.6 percent in November Dec 18, 2014 12:54 PM
    An index designed to predict the future health of the economy posted a third straight solid gain in November. The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading indicators increased 0.6 percent last month, matching the revised October gain. The October reading had originally been reported as a 0.9 percent increase. The index rose 0.8 percent in September after being unchanged in August. Conference Board economists say the widespread gains in the leading index are pointing to strong underlying conditions in the U.S. economy that should propel growth through the winter. “The biggest challenge has been, and remains, more income growth,” said Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein. “However, with labor market conditions tightening, we are seeing the first signs of wage growth starting to pick up.” The leading index is composed of 10 forward-pointing indicators. In November, eight of the 10 indicators showed gains with the strongest contributions coming from the spread on interest rates and new manufacturing orders. The two components which held the index back were weekly unemployment claims and applications for building permits. Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc., said that the main message being sent in recent months by the leading index is that the overall economy is poised to turn in solid growth of around 3 percent.

  • Average U.S. 30-year loan rate falls to 3.80 percent Dec 18, 2014 12:53 PM
    Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week, with the benchmark 30-year loan rate reaching a new low for the year. The rates’ historically low levels could be a boon to potential homebuyers. Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage dropped to 3.80 percent this week from 3.93 percent last week. It is now at its lowest level since May 2013.

  • Poll: 81 percent of Russians back Putin even as ruble falls Dec 18, 2014 12:53 PM
    From a Western perspective, Vladimir Putin’s days as president of Russia should be numbered: The ruble has lost about half its value, the economy is in crisis and his aggression in Ukraine has turned the country into an international pariah. And yet most Russians see Putin not as the cause, but as the solution.

  • U.S. jobless aid applications decline to 289,000 Dec 18, 2014 12:52 PM
    Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, a sign of solid job security and growing confidence among employers. Weekly unemployment benefit applications dropped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 289,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That is the lowest level since late October.

  • Report: Culvert repairs pose environmental risks Dec 18, 2014 11:55 AM
    A Purdue University engineering report recommends states require standardized testing to safeguard against environmental contamination caused by a widely used method for rehabilitating aging drainage culverts. Assistant engineering professor Andrew Whelton says the nation’s culvert infrastructure is decaying and states have no standardized product test method that screens out technologies or construction practices that can cause environmental damage. He says there’s evidence that a frequently-used technology called cured-in-place pipe have caused fish kills, harmed wastewater treatment plants and caused evacuations of day care centers, schools and government buildings. Whelton says a newly developed modified procedure can be used on freshly manufactured pipe rehabilitation materials to potentially screen out hazardous materials.

  • McDonald’s in Japan limits orders of fries Dec 18, 2014 5:57 AM
    Only small fries with that? McDonald’s in Japan is limiting the serving size of fries as stocks run short due to labor disruptions on the U.S. West Coast. McDonald’s began rationing its fries Wednesday morning.

  • Jeb Bush said to end Barclays advisory role at end of year Dec 18, 2014 12:52 PM
    Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will give up his senior adviser role at Barclays Plc at the end of the year after announcing he may run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The decision, reached mutually, will allow him to focus on politics, said the person, who asked not to be identified because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. Barclays Chief Executive Officer Antony Jenkins, 53, has cut thousands of jobs as he shrinks the London-based lender’s investment bank to boost profits. The CEO’s pledge to overhaul the bank’s culture after the company was fined for interest-rate manipulation has been set back by probes into equity and currency trading. The shares have declined 14 percent this year. Bush, 61, is the brother of former President George W. Bush and the son of former President George H.W. Bush. In 2007, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. named Jeb Bush as a member of its private-equity advisory board. The Financial Times reported yesterday that Bush would be leaving Barclays at the end of the year. (An earlier version of this story corrected description of Bush in the first paragraph.) To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Morris in London at smorris39bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3bloomberg.net Christine Harper, Simone Meier

  • Obama reignites political debate over Cuba Dec 18, 2014 10:11 AM
    The surprising move by President Barack Obama to restore U.S. ties with Cuba reignited long-simmering political passions over the fate of the island nation, reinforcing yet another difference between Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and several Republicans eyeing bids for the White House. Yet even in Florida, the nation’s most essential swing state, those distinctions may not matter as much as they once did.

  • A look at North Korea’s cyberwar capabilities Dec 18, 2014 9:55 AM
    Most North Koreans have never seen the Internet. But the country Washington suspects is behind a devastating hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment has managed to orchestrate a string of crippling cyber infiltrations of South Korean computer systems in recent years, officials in Seoul believe, despite North Korea protesting innocence.

  • US consumer prices fell 0.3 percent in November Dec 17, 2014 10:54 AM
    Plunging gasoline costs pulled U.S. consumer prices lower in November, muting inflation across the entire economy. The Labor Department said Wednesday the inflation reading fell a seasonally-adjusted 0.3 percent last month, after prices were flat in October. Gas costs plummeted 10.5 percent in November, the steepest decline in nearly six years.

  • FedEx misses Street 2Q forecasts Dec 17, 2014 10:54 AM
    FedEx’s second-quarter earnings jumped 23 percent, but the package delivery company missed Wall Street forecasts and left its expectation for the full fiscal year unchanged.

  • Irish lawmakers open probe into banking crisis Dec 17, 2014 10:54 AM
    Irish lawmakers opened a fact-finding investigation Wednesday into the causes of Ireland’s banking crisis, when a collapsing property market exposed reckless lending and forced the country to take an emergency international bailout. Prime Minister Enda Kenny hopes to publish findings by November 2015. The televised hearings represent the first time that key players in the catastrophe — bankers, regulators, former ministers and property developers — will publicly explain their role. “We will hear from those who were at the helm when Ireland ran aground, as well as from those who were in the engine room,” said Ciaran Lynch, chairman of the 11-member, all-party Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis. He expressed hope that the effort would allow Ireland “to learn from previous mistakes and to ensure that, as far as is possible, we do not create the circumstances which would lead to a similar disaster.” The first witness, Finnish financial expert Peter Nyberg, author of a 2011 government-commissioned report analyzing the crisis titled “Misjudging Risk,” said Ireland’s leaders and finance chiefs made several years of mistakes by fueling a runaway property market amid weak regulation and no credible plans for a crash. Ireland’s highly leveraged banks faced ruin as a decadelong construction boom ground to a halt in 2008, and foreign creditors refused to lend new funds. The government nationalized most banks to forestall their collapse but Ireland’s own borrowing costs soared, forcing the nation to take a European-International Monetary Fund loan rescue in 2010. Ireland resumed normal borrowing in late 2013 with only three of the original six banks still intact. When a lawmaker asked Nyberg to assess “how bad was the Irish banking sector at misjudging risk,” the Finn raised his eyebrows and offered a wry laugh. “The Irish institutions,” he said, “were pretty good at misjudging risk.”

  • US current account deficit rises to $100.3 billion Dec 17, 2014 10:56 AM
    The U.S. current account trade deficit widened slightly in the July-September quarter, largely due to foreign institutions paying less in fines and penalties to the U.S. government.

  • Chicago ‘petcoke’ handler says it’ll enclose piles Dec 17, 2014 1:16 PM
    A company storing petroleum coke on Chicago’s southeast side says it plans to build a huge structure to contain the grainy black piles and keep them from blowing around. KCBX Terminals said Tuesday that it’ll build a $120 million structure about 1,000 feet long, 200 feet wide and 100 feet tall to comply with a city requirement to enclose “petcoke.” Construction would begin next fall and take two years — even though the city requires that petcoke piles be enclosed by 2016. The company is asking the city to waive that timeline. Petcoke is a byproduct of oil refining often used as industrial fuel. Many residents want the piles removed, saying they worry about their health. A proposed city ordinance would limit the amount of petcoke stored in Chicago.

  • US Fed slashes inflation forecast for 2015 Dec 17, 2014 1:42 PM
    The Federal Reserve has sharply cut its forecast for inflation next year, saying it will remain far below its 2 percent target through 2015. The Fed said Wednesday that it now expects inflation to fall to between 1 percent and 1.6 percent in 2015, down from a previous forecast in September of 1.6 percent to 1.9 percent.

  • 14 arrested, charged in 2012 meningitis outbreak Dec 17, 2014 10:19 AM
    Fourteen owners or employees of a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy were arrested Wednesday in connection with a 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people nationwide and was traced to tainted drug injections.

  • Fed promises ‘patient’ approach to a rate increase Dec 17, 2014 2:53 PM
    The Federal Reserve is edging closer to raising interest rates from record lows given a strengthening U.S. job market and economy. But it says it will be “patient” in determining when to raise rates.

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