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BC-Business News Digest

AP photos.

INDUSTRY

AUTO SALES-FORECAST

DETROIT â¿¿ An auto industry research firm says an improving economy and a host of new models should push U.S. auto sales above 15 million this year. That's 7 percent higher than the Polk firm's prediction of 14.5 million sales for 2012 â¿¿ itself the strongest year since 2007.

With:

â¿¿ ITALY-FIATâ¿¿ Fiat says 2012 was the worst year for car sales in Italy since 1979, but that the manufacturer nevertheless managed to slightly increase its share of the national market.

â¿¿ WENDY'S-VALUE MENUâ¿¿ Wendy's no longer thinks a hamburger has to be 99 cents to be a deal. The fast-food company has replaced its 99-cent value menu with a beefed up array of options called "Right Price Right Size," with items ranging from 99 cents to $1.99 as costs for meat, cheese and other ingredients rise.

â¿¿ MIDAMERICAN-SOLARâ¿¿ Berkshire Hathaway's utility MidAmerican Energy is buying two solar power projects under construction in Southern California from SunPower Corp. that will generate 579 megawatts of electricity.

â¿¿ CANADA-ARCELOR-POSCO-CHINA STEEL DEAL â¿¿ Global steel giant ArcelorMittal will sell a 15 percent stake in one of its Canadian iron ore operations to an Asian-led consortium for $1.1 billion.

â¿¿ SHELL-ARCTIC DRILL SHIP â¿¿ High seas and strong winds are preventing crews from boarding an oil drilling ship to check for any damage after the large vessel went aground off an uninhabited island in the Gulf of Alaska.

â¿¿ YELLOWSTONE OIL SPILL â¿¿ Federal investigators say Exxon Mobil Corp.'s delayed response to a pipeline break beneath Montana's Yellowstone River made the spill far worse than it otherwise would have been.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA

MICROSOFT-GOOGLE-ANTITRUST PROBE

SAN FRANCISCO â¿¿ Microsoft is making a last-ditch effort to convince government regulators that they need to crack down on Google to preserve competition on the Internet and in smartphone markets.

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