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â¿¿ Updates: WALL STREET



WASHINGTON â¿¿ Boeing took a major step toward getting its 787 "Dreamliners" flying again, proposing a fix for the plane's troubled batteries that could allow flights to resume as early as April, congressional officials say. The next question is whether the Federal Aviation Administration will agree to a plan that appears focused on containing a fire and let the planes fly even though the root cause of the battery problems isn't yet known. By Joan Lowy and Joshua Freed.

AP photo.


â¿¿ JAPAN-BOEING 787 â¿¿ Japanese authorities have identified the causes of fuel leaks and other problems with Boeing's 787 but are still investigating the more serious battery problem that forced an emergency landing in January and the worldwide grounding of the jets.


NEW YORK â¿¿When the top executives of the world's wireless industry gather next week in Barcelona for their annual trade show, cellphones will be taking a back seat to discussion of cars, electric meters and insulin monitors. Now that most people have cellphones, the industry is looking to connect other devices to keep growth going. Organizers expect record attendance for the show and a boost to Barcelona's struggling economy. By Technology Writer Peter Svensson.


WASHINGTON â¿¿ The Food and Drug Administration has approved a first-of-a-kind breast cancer medication that targets tumor cells while sparing healthy ones. The drug Kadcyla from Roche combines the established drug Herceptin with a powerful chemotherapy drug and a third chemical linking the medicines together. Cancer researchers say the drug may offer a clear advantage over older drugs because it delivers more medication with fewer side effects. By Business Writer Matthew Perrone.


NEW YORK â¿¿ With barely a week to go before $85 billion of government spending cuts kick in, Wall Street is keeping its nerve. An early 2013 rally that pushed the S&P 500 index up 6 percent is still moving along, and a consensus is emerging that the spending cuts won't be enough, on their own, to derail the market. Analysts say the attention being paid to the cuts far exceeds the actual impact they will have on the $16 trillion U.S. economy. By Business Writer Steve Rothwell.



WASHINGTON - Unlike in earlier rounds of budget brinkmanship, President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans both seem content with the political ground they hold and are satisfied to let across-the-board spending cuts take effect on March 1. This time, there is no market-rattling threat of a US. default to force the two sides to compromise, no government shutdown on the short-term horizon and no year-end deadline to prevent a tax increase for every working American. By Special Correspondent David Espo.



WASHINGTON â¿¿ Republicans and other fiscal conservatives keep insisting on more federal austerity and a smaller government. Without much fanfare or acknowledgement, they've already gotten much of both. By Tom Raum.

AP photos.


DETROIT â¿¿ It's been called one of medicine's "open secrets" â¿¿ allowing patients to refuse treatment by a doctor or nurse of another race. In the latest example, a white man with a swastika tattoo insisted a black nurse not be allowed to touch his newborn. Now the nurse is suing the hospital, claiming it bowed to his illegal demands. The Michigan case is just one of several lawsuits filed in recent years that highlight this seldom-discussed issue, which quietly persists almost 60 years after the start of the civil rights movement. By Jeff Karoub.

AP photos.


LONDON â¿¿ Credit ratings agency Moody's Investors Service downgrades Britain's government bond rating one notch from the top AAA to AA1, citing weaknesses in the economy's medium-term outlook..



NEW YORK â¿¿ Help wanted. Unemployed people need not apply. It's a frustrating catch for those out of work in an era of high unemployment: looking for a job, only to find that some employers don't want anyone who doesn't already have one. A few states and Washington, D.C., have outlawed the practice. But New York City's billionaire businessman mayor vetoed such a measure Friday. By Jennifer Peltz.


Strong earnings from big U.S. companies push the Dow Jones industrial average to a rare triple-digit gain but the S&P 500 index still posts its first weekly loss of the year. By Business Writer Daniel Wagner.

AP photo.

â¿¿ OIL PRICES â¿¿ The price of oil is little changed after a 5 percent fall over the last two days. The drop in crude shows signs of slowing the upward spiral of gas pump prices as well, at least temporarily.

â¿¿ SMALLBIZ-SBA-BUDGET CUTS â¿¿ The head of the U.S. Small Business Administration says she doesn't expect operations at the agency to be dramatically affected by automatic federal budget cuts scheduled to begin March 1.



WASHINGTON â¿¿ Limited data and unreliable estimates on air pollution from oil and natural gas production is hindering the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to police the drilling boom, the agency's internal watchdog says. By Dina Cappiello.


Federal prosecutors are investigating Johnson & Johnson's practices in marketing a line of hip replacements recalled in 2010 because many had to be replaced within a few years, part of a string of more than 30 product recalls by the health-care giant in the last 3 1/2 years. By Business Writer Linda A. Johnson.

â¿¿ UNDER ARMOUR-NIKE-LAWSUIT â¿¿ Under Armour sues Nike over use of "I will" in campaigns.

â¿¿ DARDEN-OUTLOOK â¿¿ Darden Restaurants, struggling to draw more customers into its Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants, predicts a third-quarter profit that could fall below Wall Street's expectations and cut its outlook for the year.

â¿¿ FDA-TOBACCO DIRECTOR â¿¿ An FDA veteran who helped spearhead efforts to regulate the tobacco industry in the 1990s is taking over the agency's Center for Tobacco Products.

â¿¿ GERMANY-EARNS-VOLKSWAGEN â¿¿ Germany's Volkswagen says 2012 profit increased 41 percent to $28.7 billion. It expects higher revenue this year but is aiming for the same amount of profit in a difficult economy.

â¿¿ YAKIMA-BIKE RACK RECALL â¿¿ Yakima recalls bike racks used on vehicles with rear-door spare tires; bolts can break.

â¿¿ FRANCE-EARNS-AIR FRANCE-KLM â¿¿ Costs associated with cutting jobs, higher fuel prices and weakness in Europe combine to swell losses at airline Air France-KLM.

â¿¿ DENMARK-EARNS-MOLLER-MAERSK â¿¿ Moller-Maersk, the Danish shipping company, says its fourth-quarter profit reached $975 million on improved rates and costs in its container unit, the world's largest.

â¿¿ EUROPE-FORD â¿¿ Ford will launch its new Tourneo Courier minivan at the Geneva Motor Show.



NEW YORK â¿¿ A federal judge blocks Apple from conducting a shareholder vote on a package of governance proposals, handing a victory to a rebel investor who is trying to persuade the company to share more of its cash with its investors. By Technology Writer Peter Svensson.


RAPID CITY, S.D. â¿¿ Futurists have long proclaimed the coming of a cashless society, where dollar bills and plastic cards are replaced by fingerprint and retina scanners smart enough to recognize a living account holder. What they probably didn't see coming was that one such technology would debut not in Silicon Valley, but at a small state college in remote western South Dakota. By Amber Hunt.

AP photos, video.

â¿¿ BRITAIN-PHONE HACKING â¿¿ U.K. authorities won't charge Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of the News of the World, in connection with the now-defunct tabloid's phone hacking scandal.

â¿¿ QUALCOMM-POLITICAL SPENDING â¿¿ New York's comptroller has dropped his lawsuit against Qualcomm Inc. after the wireless technology company agreed to disclose more information about its political spending.

â¿¿ PANETTA-CYBERSECURITY â¿¿ Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says that the next meeting of NATO defense ministers will include a major focus on cybersecurity.



PYONGYANG, North Korea â¿¿ North Korea will soon allow foreigners to tweet, Skype and surf the Internet from their cellphones, iPads and other mobile devices in its second relaxation of controls on communications in recent weeks. However, North Korean citizens will not have access to the mobile Internet service to be offered by provider Koryolink within the next week. By Jean H. Lee.


BRUSSELS â¿¿ The European Union predicts that the economy of the 17 countries that use the euro will shrink again in 2013, but will improve in the second half of the year. The EU says the Eurozone is likely to contract a further 0.3 percent this year, in contrast to its prediction last November of 0.1 percent growth. By Juergen Baetz.

AP photos.


â¿¿ EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK â¿¿ Banks are repaying $80.6 billion in emergency loans they got last year from the ECB â¿¿ an amount much lower than expected and a sign that that the region's troubles with shaky lenders are not going away.

â¿¿ GERMANY-ECONOMY â¿¿ A key survey of German business optimism rose sharply in February, adding to the evidence that the country will avoid a recession.


SINGAPORE â¿¿ Already one of the most densely populated countries in the world, tiny, land-scarce Singapore is projecting its population to swell by a third over the next two decades. To accommodate the influx, its planners envisage expanding upward, outward and downward. By Heather Tan.

AP photos.

â¿¿ EUROPE-HORSE MEAT â¿¿ Ireland's government says an Irish meat processor has been discovered sending horse meat mislabeled as beef to a company in the Czech Republic.

â¿¿ TAIWAN-MOGUL ON THE MARCH â¿¿ A Taiwanese media mogul whose pro-China statements have outraged many on this democratic island of 23 million people is on the verge of seeing his empire and influence grow even larger. AP photo

â¿¿ POLAND-LOT â¿¿ Poland's LOT airline will present a plan to stave off bankruptcy next month after the government indicated that there will be no more money for the lossmaking state-owned company.


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Shallow pockets

Consumers are feeling the impact of higher payroll taxes and rising gas prices, and so are the nation's retailers. Cautious investors may want to consider a mutual fund that focuses on companies that supply consumer staples -- goods that are in consistent demand even when the economy is slow, like food and household products.


HP shares jump

The stock of struggling computer maker Hewlett-Packard jumped after it reported results late Thursday that trumped the forecasts of financial analysts.

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