Business

Starbucks CEO stands by pledge to hire refugees

NEW YORK (AP) -- Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz presided over his last annual shareholder meeting as head of the company Wednesday by standing by its pledge to hire refugees and expanding on previously announced goals to hire veterans and at-risk youth. The moves underscored the progressive image Schultz has helped cultivate for Starbucks as he prepares to cede the CEO job next month to Starbucks President Kevin Johnson.

Google's YouTube losing major advertisers upset with videos

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- AT&T, Verizon and several other major advertisers are suspending their marketing campaigns on Google's YouTube site after discovering their brands have been appearing alongside videos promoting terrorism and other unsavory subjects. The spreading boycott confronts Google with a challenge that threatens to cost it hundreds of millions of dollars.

From mail-order watches to a skyscraper: A look at Sears

Sears got its start more than 130 years ago as a mail-order watch seller. It grew to become the world's largest retailers. But today, it is struggling. It has been closing stores to fight falling sales and this week said it has "substantial doubt " that it can stay in business. Here's a look at Sears through the years: 1886 -- Richard Sears starts the R.W. Sears Watch Co. in Minneapolis.

Activists seek to intervene in Nebraska Keystone XL review

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Activists who want to derail the Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska are again mobilizing to try to make their case to a small state commission that will decide the project's fate. Opponents asked the Nebraska Public Service Commission Wednesday to let them intervene in the case, allowing them to file legal briefs, cross-examine witnesses and present formal arguments alongside pipeline developer TransCanada's attorneys.

Retirement dreams fizzle for some with 'Obamacare' repeal

CHICAGO (AP) -- Workers dreaming of early retirement are getting the jitters as Washington debates replacing the Obama-era health care law with a system that could be a lot more expensive for many older Americans. The uncertainty over the cost of coverage in the individual market has caused some in their 50s and early 60s to put plans on hold.

Trump's SEC pick, a lawyer for Goldman, to face skepticism

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Goldman Sachs may be about to get another friend in Washington. Jay Clayton, a well-connected Wall Street lawyer who is President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, is sure to face sharp questions from Democrats at his confirmation hearing Thursday over his years of work for Goldman and other financial giants.

Melting business: Warmer US winter hurts small companies

NEW YORK (AP) -- The big snowstorm in the U.S. Midwest and East last week was a respite for some small business owners, after a generally mild winter that has nipped into the revenue of many companies and forced them to rethink their cold-weather strategies. Retailers who sell winter clothing or snow shovels have had fewer customers this season.

US home sales slowed in February after surge in January

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans retreated from buying existing homes in February, a pullback after sales in January had surged to the fastest pace in a decade. But over the past 12 months, sales are up solidly. Sales of existing homes fell 3.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

Asian shares up as Wall Street steadies, with eye on US vote

TOKYO (AP) -- Shares were modestly higher Thursday in Asia after Wall Street steadied overnight. Investors are awaiting a vote in the U.S. Congress on health care legislation that is seen as a bellwether for the capacity of the administration of President Donald Trump to deliver on campaign promises for tax and regulatory reform. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 index edged 0.1 percent higher to 19,057.26. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.3 percent to 24,399.

Justices side with leading cheerleading uniform maker

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with the leading maker of cheerleading uniforms in a copyright dispute with a smaller rival, ruling that uniform designs can be protected under copyright law. The justices ruled 6-2 on Wednesday to uphold a lower court ruling in favor of Varsity Brands in its copyright infringement lawsuit against Star Athletica.

Court sides with workers in bankruptcy case over lost wages

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with hundreds of former workers at a New Jersey trucking company who said they were unfairly denied a claim for lost wages after the company filed for bankruptcy protection. The justices ruled 6-2 that a bankruptcy court should not have approved a plan allowing Jevic Transportation Inc. to settle other legal claims first, leaving nothing for the workers.

Google Maps already tracks you; now other people can, too

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Google Maps users will soon be able to broadcast their movements to friends and family -- the latest test of how much privacy people are willing to sacrifice in an era of rampant sharing. The location-monitoring feature will begin rolling out Wednesday in an update to the Google Maps mobile app, which is already installed on most of the world's smartphones. It will also be available on personal computers.

Eurozone chief urged to quit for 'liquor and women' quip

BRUSSELS (AP) -- Portugal led calls on Wednesday for the eurozone's top official to resign for what many saw as derogatory comments about debt-ridden southern nations spending foolishly and relying on their northern partners to bail them out. Portuguese Prime Minister Antonia Costa said he was outraged by comments earlier this week from Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who chairs discussions of his peers in the 19-country eurozone.

Germans see rising pensions as wages increase

BERLIN (AP) -- The German government says pensions will rise by up to 3.6 percent this year as a result of higher wages in Europe's biggest economy. The Labor Ministry said Wednesday that pensions will increase by 1.9 percent in the former West Germany on July 1 and 3.6 percent in the formerly communist east. That will narrow the gap between the two regions, with easterners' pensions rising to 95.

AP Interview: Emirates defends security as laptop ban looms

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- The president of Emirates, the Middle East's biggest airline, defended security measures at the carrier's Dubai hub on Wednesday and said the ban on personal electronics onboard U.S.-bound flights came without warning. Tim Clark told The Associated Press that he only learned of the new U.S. regulations the previous day, saying the carrier "had no prior knowledge whatsoever.

Hard times for Sears as retailer notes doubt about future

NEW YORK (AP) -- Sears, a back-to-school shopping destination for generations of kids, has said that after years of losing money that there is "substantial doubt" it will be able to keep its doors open. But it also insisted that its actions to turn around its business should help reduce that risk.

AkzoNobel rejects second takeover bid by PPG Industries

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- Industrial paints and chemicals company AkzoNobel has rejected a second unsolicited takeover bid from U.S. company PPG Industries worth 22.4 billion euros ($24.1 billion). AkzoNobel CEO Ton Buechner said in a statement Wednesday that the bid "significantly fails to recognize the value of AkzoNobel" and is not in the interest of the company, its shareholders or its staff.