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Soaring coal prices fueled by China's economic growth have made mining parts of the Australian landscape far more lucrative than farming it. It's one example of how China's emergence as a global trading power may transform countries in ways never contemplated and not yet fully understood.

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Government investigating makers of cellphone apps

The government is investigating whether software companies that make cellphone apps have violated the privacy rights of children by quietly collecting personal information from phones and sharing it with advertisers and data brokers, the Federal Trade Commission said Monday. Such apps can capture a child's physical location, phone numbers of their friends and more.

The FTC described the marketplace for mobile applications â¿¿ dominated by online stores operated by Apple and Google â¿¿ as a digital danger zone with inadequate oversight. In a report by the FTC's own experts, it said the industry has grown rapidly but failed to ensure that the privacy of young consumers is adequately protected.

The FTC did not say which or how many companies it was investigating.

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Obama tax plan no small deal to small businessmen

President Barack Obama's plan to increase taxes on top earners would have only a small impact on the nation's economy, according to congressional budget experts. But don't tell that to small business owners facing a tax hike.

Obama's proposal would hit about 940,000 people who report business income on their individual or household returns, says the Joint Committee on Taxation, the official scorekeeper for Congress. That's only 3.5 percent of the people who report business income, but those business owners are projected to earn 53 percent of the $1.3 trillion in business income that will be reported on individual returns next year.

That, Republicans in Congress argue, makes those business owners an important engine for economic growth and job creation.

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