The Associated Press___ Judge approves American-US Airways merger NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ American Airlines won bankruptcy court approval Wednesday to combine with US Airways and form the world's biggest airline. The combined airline will have 6,700 daily flights and annual revenue of roughly $40 billion. The new American Airlines will fly slightly more passengers than United, the current No. 1. It will be run by Doug Parker, the CEO of US Airways Group Inc., who began pursuing a merger shortly after American filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2011. ___ Small business squabbles over paid sick time laws NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Two months after a severe flu season forced millions of workers to stay home, paid sick time is becoming an issue for many small business owners. City councils in Portland, Ore., and Philadelphia earlier this month approved laws requiring employers to give their workers paid sick leave. And two Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill in Congress that would make paid sick leave a federal requirement. There's a great divide among business owners over the issue. On one side are opponents who say paid sick time creates financial and administrative burdens for businesses that are struggling with a still recovering economy and uncertainty about health care costs and federal budget cuts. Others argue that it makes for a happier workplace and encourages employees to stay home instead of coming to work and infecting everyone around them. ___ Cyprus: cash withdrawals capped at 300 euros NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) â¿¿ Banks in Cyprus are to open for the first time in more than a week on Thursday, operating for six hours, but restrictions will be in place on financial transactions to prevent people from draining their accounts. Among the capital controls, cash withdrawals will be limited to 300 euros ($383) per person each day. No checks will be cashed, although people will be able to deposit them in their accounts. The controls will be in place for four days.
___Panera trying new pay-what-you-want experiment ST. LOUIS (AP) â¿¿ Order a bowl of turkey chili at a St. Louis-area Panera Bread cafe and it'll cost you a penny. Or $5. Or $100. In other words, whatever you decide. Three years after launching the first of five pay-what-you-want cafes, the suburban St. Louis-based chain on Wednesday quietly began its latest charitable venture that takes the concept on a trial run to all 48 cafes in the St. Louis region. The new idea experiments with a single menu item, Turkey Chili in a Bread Bowl, available at each St. Louis-area store for whatever the customer chooses to pay. The new chili uses all-natural, antibiotic-free turkey mixed with vegetables and beans in a sourdough bread bowl. The suggested $5.89 price (tax included) is only a guideline. All other menu items are sold for the posted price. ___ Signed contracts to buy US homes dips slightly WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in February, but the level stayed near a three-year high, and analysts believe sales of previously occupied homes will keep rising in the coming months. The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales dipped to 104.8 in February. That's down from January's reading of 105.2 â¿¿ the highest since April 2010, when a homebuyer's tax credit was boosting sales. Signed contracts are 8.4 percent higher than a year ago. ___ BRICS plan development bank to fund infrastructure DURBAN, South Africa (AP) â¿¿ Leaders of five of the world's emerging economic powers agreed Wednesday to create a development bank to help fund their $4.5 trillion infrastructure plans â¿¿ a direct challenge to the World Bank that they accuse of Western bias. But the rulers of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa â¿¿known as the BRICS group â¿¿were unable to agree on some basic issues including how much capital the bank would need.
___Lululemon: Downward dog not required for returns NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ No "downward-facing dog" is required. Lululemon said Wednesday that no demonstrations of yoga or any other positions are needed to return the pricey black yoga pants that the company pulled from shelves last week after finding that they were too sheer. The Vancouver-based yoga gear maker's statement comes a day after a New York Post report that was widely circulated by the media recounted one woman's tale of being asked by sales staff to bend over to prove that the yoga pants she was trying to return were sheer. ___ Wal-Mart says loss likely from bribery probe NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it is 'probable' that the world's largest retailer will incur a loss due to ongoing bribery investigations by itself and government agencies, but it says it is too early to speculate on the size of the damage. The company said it does not currently expect the loss to be material. The statements came in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission filing late Tuesday. Wal-Mart Stores has been dealing with allegations that surfaced last April that it failed to notify law enforcement that company officials authorized millions of dollars in payments in Mexico to speed up getting building permits and gain other favors. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act forbids American companies from bribing foreign officials. ___ Credit Suisse buys Morgan Stanley wealth unit GENEVA (AP) â¿¿ Credit Suisse Group will buy Morgan Stanley's wealth management businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, but not in Switzerland. Switzerland's second-largest bank says it is acquiring $13 billion in assets mostly belonging to wealthy people across Europe, but it didn't disclose further details. With one of the world's biggest private banking operations, Credit Suisse has been overhauling its investment banking division and merging its private banking and wealth management arms to cut costs and satisfy regulators.
___By The Associated Press(equals) The Dow Jones industrial average fell 33.49 points to close at 14,526.16, a loss of 0.2 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 0.92 to 1,562.85. The Nasdaq composite inched up 4.04 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,256.52. Benchmark oil for May delivery gained 24 cents to close at a five-week high of $96.68 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by U.S. refineries, rose 33 cents to $109.69 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Wholesale gasoline rose less than a penny to $3.12 a gallon. Heating oil rose 4 cents to $3.04 a gallon. Natural gas advanced by 8 cents to $4.07 per 1,000 cubic feet.