BC-US--Business Features Digest, US

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NEW YORK â¿¿ Five years after the financial crisis, households around the world are still playing it safe with their money, too spooked and distrustful to take risks needed to revive a sluggish global economy. An AP analysis of households in the 10 largest economies shows they have pulled hundreds of billions of dollars out of stocks, cut borrowing for the first time in decades and poured money into savings and bonds that offer puny interest payments, often too low to keep up with inflation. It's a flight to safety not seen on such a global scale since World War II, and the implications are huge. Shunning debt and spending less can be good for one family's finances. When hundreds of millions do it together, it can starve the global economy. This is the third installment of "The Great Reset," an AP series exploring major changes wrought by the Great Recession. By Business Writer Bernard Condon.

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AP Photos.


GREAT RESET-DEVELOPING ECONOMIES â¿¿ Spending by the developing countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China in the financial crisis helped keep a global recession from becoming a global depression. But now the BRICs are stumbling. A look at what's tripped them up. By Business Writer Bernard Condon.

GREAT RESET-HOLZHAUSEN Q&A â¿¿ Arne Holzhausen, a senior economist at insurer Allianz, says what's keeping people from taking chances is not just a fear of loss, but something more deeply rooted: a mistrust of the financial system. By Business Writer Bernard Condon.


â¿¿ AP Video: An overview of Great Reset-Investing.

â¿¿ AP Photos: A mobile-friendly photo gallery showing nearly a dozen ways people in the world's 10 biggest economies have been playing it safe with their money.

â¿¿ AP Interactive: A data visualization comparing statistical trends in personal debt, spending and investing in the world's 10 largest economies.

â¿¿ AP Graphic: Compares statistical trends in personal debt, spending and investing in the world's 10 largest economies.

â¿¿ AP Glance: Shows key events and milestones in the stock market and economy in the five years since the financial crisis. AP Photos.


LOS ANGELES â¿¿ Could the recent spike in mortgage rates derail the housing recovery? Not if you ask economists and brokers who make their living selling homes. Most foresee stable gains over the next year. Prices are rising and more people are putting homes up for sale. Historically, mortgage rates for a 30-year loan remain a bargain at well below 5 percent. Many buyers are worried if they don't act now, they could be priced out down the road. By Alex Veiga.

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AP photos.

With: HOUSING RECOVERY-MORTGAGE RATES-GLANCE â¿¿ A look back at average mortgage rates.


WASHINGTON â¿¿ As many high-profile agencies sit idle because of the federal government shutdown, others are humming along just fine, thank you. Many of them have escaped the fiscal ax because they pay much of their own way, or enjoy a revenue stream that's insulated from Congress. By Alicia A. Caldwell.

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AP photo.


WASHINGTON â¿¿ OK, gridlocked politicians we're used to. But why padlock the Statue of Liberty? You don't see other democracies shuttering landmarks and sending civil servants home just because their political parties can't get along. The potential for a partial shutdown is a quirk of American history. So if you're bored with blaming House Republicans or President Barack Obama, you can lay some responsibility on, among others, the Founding Fathers. Here's a history of government shutdowns, American-style. By Connie Cass.

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AP photos, video.


NEW YORK â¿¿ Procter & Gamble executives were shocked the first time they saw a man shave while sitting barefoot on the floor in a tiny home in India. He had no electricity, no running water, and no mirror. The 20 or so U.S.-based executives observed the man during one of 300 visits to homes in India. The visits kicked off the 18-month process to develop Gillette Guard, a low-cost razor designed for emerging markets like India. By Mae Anderson.

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AP photos.


BEIJING â¿¿ China for years has welcomed the world's trash, creating a roaring business in recycling and livelihoods for tens of thousands. Now authorities are clamping down on an industry that has helped the rich West dispose of its waste but also added to the degradation of China's environment. By Joe McDonald.

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AP photos.


SAN FRANCISCO â¿¿ Internet stocks are heating up again, just as Twitter is preparing to turn up the temperature with its highly anticipated IPO. The once-scorned stocks of Netflix and Facebook have soared to new highs in the last month and Yahoo's long-languishing stock has regained its vigor. It all bodes well for Twitter's IPO, which could be completed as soon as November. By Michael Liedtke.

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AP photo.


SAN FRANCISCO â¿¿ The digital domain is creeping off our desktops and onto our bodies, from music players that match your tunes to your heart beat, to mood sweaters that change color depending on your emotional state. Wearable technologies have long been a sideshow to mainstream laptop and smartphones, but this year Google's glasses and rumors of Apple's iWatch are popularizing the field. By Martha Mendoza.

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AP photos.



NEW YORK â¿¿ It didn't take long to see how computerized wristwatches might help us manage our digital lives. It also didn't take long to see how Samsung's new Galaxy Gear smartwatch falls short. These watches are supposed to offer quick access to many of the things you normally do on your phone. To be useful, the Gear needs more useful apps and features â¿¿ ones that actually work and give you what you need. I have no doubt Samsung will get there one day, but for now it feels like a $300 prototype. By Anick Jesdanun.

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NEW YORK â¿¿ Airlines are introducing a new bevy of fees, but this time passengers might actually like them. Unlike the first generation of charges which dinged fliers for once-free services like checking a bag, these new fees promise a taste of the good life. Among the offers: seats with more legroom, early boarding, iPads for rent preloaded with movies, first-class meals for coach passengers and a luggage delivery service. By Scott Mayerowitz.

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AP photos.


Sunlight may be free, but if you use it to make electricity your power company wants you to pay. As rooftop solar systems gain broader acceptance, utilities in many states are trying to find ways to keep the systems' owners paying for power lines and other parts of the electric grid even when they use it less. By Ray Henry and Jonathan Fahey.

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AP photos, video.


PASSAIC, N.J. â¿¿ The CEO'S letter angered many St. Mary's Hospital workers. "Presently, the retirement plan's trust is severely underfunded," he said, blaming investment losses and the hospital's decision not to put any money into one of its pension plans for more than a decade. "As a federally recognized church plan," St. Mary's had the right to do that, he noted. Also: There was no government pension insurance to fall back on. Pension shortfalls at some religiously affiliated hospitals and service agencies are raising new alarms and spotlighting a largely overlooked gap in the law protecting Americans' retirement benefits. "I felt betrayed," by both the health care system and the church, said a former crisis counselor at St. Mary's, which quietly converted its federally insured pension plan to an uncovered church plan in 2001. The hospital's pending purchase by a for-profit company will see many workers get a fraction of their expected pensions. By National Writer Adam Geller.

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AP Photos.


NAIROBI, Kenya â¿¿ When Ohio resident Bill Haynes heard about the shooting at Westgate Mall by Islamic extremist gunmen last month, he considered canceling his upcoming 17-day safari to Kenya and Tanzania. Tourism generates 14 percent of Kenya's GDP and employs 12 percent of its workforce, according to Moody's and the World Travel and Tourism Council. Moody's predicts the attack will cost Kenya's economy $200 to $250 million in lost tourism revenue, estimating it will slow growth of Kenya's GDP by 0.5 percent. By Jacob Kushner.

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AP photo.


RIO DE JANEIRO â¿¿ For Mayor Eduardo Paes, it's not enough that Rio de Janeiro is both an Olympic and a World Cup host city. He's determined to turn Rio into a cinema hub, the Los Angeles of South America. By Jenny Barchfield.

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AP photos.



The health care overhaul is expected to help millions buy insurance coverage, but that assistance has limits. Individuals who do not have the option to obtain insurance from their employer, and who make more than about $46,000 â¿¿ or a family of four bringing in more than $94,200 â¿¿ will not be eligible for income-based tax credits. Here are some shopping tips if you make too much to land a helping hand from the nation's new health insurance system. By Tom Murphy.

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Investors are giving stock mutual funds another shot after getting burned during the financial crisis, but they're being choosy. Since January, investors have put more money into stock mutual funds than they've pulled out for eight straight months, according to the most recent data from the Investment Company Institute. A look at which kinds of stock funds have been winners and losers. By Stan Choe.

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NEW YORK â¿¿ Feeling stuck with your old smartphone? When you're ready to upgrade, there are a growing number of options for trading in your phone for cash or credit toward a shiny new one. By Anne D'Innocenzio.

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NEW YORK â¿¿ Chances are, the nearly 60 million people who work for small businesses will be affected by the new health care law. Whether or not their employers provide health insurance, and regardless of whether companies are subject to the law, employees will need to know what their health insurance options are, and where to find them. Some questions and answers for small business employees. By Joyce M. Rosenberg.

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AP photo.

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