By The Associated Press___ Unemployment risks creating new divide in Europe BRUSSELS (AP) â¿¿ Record unemployment and fraying social welfare systems in southern Europe risk creating a new divide in the continent, the EU warned Tuesday, after figures showed joblessness across the 17 EU countries that use the euro hit a new high. Eurozone unemployment rose to 11.8 percent in November, the highest since the euro currency was founded in 1999, according to the statistical agency Eurostat. The rate was up from 11.7 percent in October and 10.6 percent a year earlier. In the wider 27-nation European Union, the world's largest economic bloc with 500 million people, unemployment broke the 26 million mark for the first time. But the trend is not uniform. Unemployment is increasing mainly in those countries, mostly in southern Europe, where market concerns over excessive public debt have pushed governments to make the toughest savings, moving the economies into recession. ___ Smart TVs get smarter, by just a little bit LAS VEGAS (AP) â¿¿ In the not-so-distant future, couch potatoes will be waving, pointing, swiping and tapping to make their TVs react, kind of like what Tom Cruise did in the 2002 movie "Minority Report." That's the vision of TV manufacturers as they show off "smart TVs" at the International CES in Las Vegas. The sets will recognize who's watching and will try to guess what viewers want to see. They'll respond to more natural speech and will connect with your smartphone in a single touch. But don't worry about "Big Brother" looking back at you. Manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics Co. will allow motion-capturing cameras to be pointed away. ___ TV-over-Internet service expands despite lawsuits NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ The Barry Diller-backed Internet company that challenged cable and satellite TV services by offering inexpensive live television online plans to expand beyond New York City this spring.
In the wake of a federal court ruling that tentatively endorsed its legality, Aereo will bring its $8-a-month service to Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington and 18 other markets in the U.S., as well as to New York's suburbs. For the past year, the service had been limited to New York City residents as the company fine-tuned its technology and awaited guidance on whether its unlicensed use of free, over-the-air broadcasts amounted to a copyright violation.A federal judge in New York ruled in July that the service doesn't appear to violate copyright law because individual subscribers are assigned their own, tiny antenna at Aereo's Brooklyn data center, making it analogous to the free signal a consumer would get with a regular antenna at home. Aereo spent the subsequent months selecting markets for expansion and renting space for new equipment in those cities. ___ Google executive gets look at NKoreans using Internet PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) â¿¿ Students at North Korea's premier university showed Google's executive chairman Tuesday how they look for information online: they Google it. But surfing the Internet that way is the privilege of only a very few in North Korea, whose authoritarian government imposes strict limits on access to the Web. Google's Eric Schmidt got a first look at North Korea's limited Internet usage when an American delegation that he and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson are leading visited a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang. Other members of the delegation on the unusual four-day trip include Schmidt's daughter, Sophie, and Jared Cohen, director of the Google Ideas think tank. Schmidt, who is the highest-profile U.S. business executive to visit North Korea since leader Kim Jong Un came to power a year ago, has not spoken publicly about the reasons behind the journey to North Korea.
___Lampert faces tough road as Sears CEO NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Shares of Sears Holdings Corp. fell Tuesday, a day after the retailer announced that chairman and hedge fund billionaire Edward Lampert will take over the role of CEO. The investor queasiness came even as the Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based company offered an update on holiday sales that showed some improvements at its Sears stores. Overall, the company still faces a long, uphill battle to turn itself around. Lampert succeeds Louis D'Ambrosio, who is leaving in February because of family health matters. D'Ambrosio will remain on the board until the company's annual meeting in May. He was named CEO in February 2011, ending a three-year search. Lampert has been known as a hands-on chairman at the operator of Sears and Kmart. The change formalizes that role at a time when the retailer is struggling with sales declines and losses. ___ APNewsBreak: Sandy report details NY's storm needs ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) â¿¿ Floodgates for tunnels, subways and airports as well as a network of safe havens like old Civil Defense shelters should be among quick, simple preventive measures that New York installs ahead of future storms, according to the full report by an expert panel examining Superstorm Sandy's effects in the state. The 205-page report obtained by The Associated Press also calls for two more tunnels out of Manhattan, a rapid bus system, another Long Island Rail Road track and details how to better pay for it all by forging new partnerships with companies. It includes several ways to improve insurance coverage for the state and for residents. Some elements of the report were presented last week, but the report wasn't released publicly. The full report was delivered to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to include some recommendations in his State of the State speech Wednesday.
___US consumer debt rises on more car, school loans WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ U.S. consumers took on more debt in November to buy cars and attend school, but stayed cautious with their credit cards. The Federal Reserve said Tuesday that consumers increased their borrowing in November by $16 billion from October to a seasonally adjusted record of $2.77 trillion. Borrowing that covers autos and student loans increased $15.2 billion. A category that measures credit card debt rose by just $817 million. ___ Unemployment falls below 7 percent in most US cities WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Unemployment rates fell below 7 percent in a majority of U.S. cities in November, suggesting steady job gains are benefiting most parts of the country. The Labor Department said Tuesday that rates fell in November from October in 215 of the 372 largest metro areas. Rates were unchanged in 33 and rose in 124. Rates dropped below 7 percent in 192 cities. That's the first time since the recession ended that more than half of large cities had rates below that threshold. And 52 had rates below 5 percent. ___ Tax filing season starts Jan. 30 for most WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The Internal Revenue Service says late changes to federal tax laws should mean only a short delay for most taxpayers to file their 2012 returns. The agency said Tuesday that more than 120 million taxpayers â¿¿ about 80 percent of all filers â¿¿ should be able to start filing their federal returns on Jan. 30. Others will have to wait until late February or March to file because the agency needs time to update and test its systems. Those who will have to wait include people claiming residential energy credits, depreciation of property or general business credits. The filing season had been slated to start Jan. 22 but was delayed by the last-minute tax package passed by Congress Jan. 1.
___Target unveils year-round online price match NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Target Corp. is pledging to match prices of select online rivals year-round, a move that underscores how physical and online retailing are meshing together. Matching online prices is rare but expected to become more common as shoppers move increasingly online. Target, the nation's second largest discounter behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said it will match prices that customers find on identical products at top online retailers, all the time. The online list includes Amazon.com as well as the websites of Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Toys R Us and Babies R Us. Target's move follows a similar holiday price match that began Nov. 1 and ended Dec. 16. Target is also making permanent its holiday offer of matching prices of items found at its stores with those on its website. And for the first time it will include products that are out of stock on Target.com. ___ By The Associated Press(equals) The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 55.44 points, or 0.4 percent, to 13,328.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 4.74, or 0.3 percent, to 1,457.15. The Nasdaq composite index shed 7 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,091.81. Benchmark oil fell 4 cents to finish at $93.15 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, rose 5 cents to finish at $111.94 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Natural gas fell 5 cents to end at $3.22 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline added 2 cents to end at $2.79 a gallon. Heating oil rose 3 cents to $3.06 a gallon.