Gasoline prices expected to fall in 2013
NEW YORK (AP) — At least gasoline should cost you less this year.
Hamburgers, health care and taxes are all set to take a bigger bite out of the family budget. But drivers’ annual gas bills are expected to drop for the first time in four years.
Forecasters say ample oil supplies and weak U.S. demand will keep a lid on prices. The lows will be lower and the highs won’t be so high compared with a year ago. The average price of a gallon of gasoline will fall 5 percent to $3.44, according to the Energy Department.
Obama nominates Lew to lead Treasury
WASHINGTON (AP) — For 30 years Jack Lew has had a hand in some of the biggest economic deals negotiated in Washington. What awaits him if he’s confirmed as treasury secretary could far exceed any challenge of the past — a triple-decked potential crisis that will test his experience the moment he opens his office door on the third floor of the Treasury Building
Lew, nominated for the job Thursday by President Barack Obama, has honed his skills in the trenches of fiscal policy, helping forge major deals encompassing Social Security and budgets for the likes of former Speaker Tip O'Neill and President Bill Clinton.
Obama highlighted that experience in announcing Lew’s selection, an unmistakable nod to the fast-approaching deadlines to raise the government borrowing limit, avert deep and immediate spending cuts and extend government operations.
Lawmakers release documents on Wal-Mart bribery
NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s CEO Mike Duke found out in 2005 that the retailer’s Mexico unit was handing out bribes to local officials, according to emails obtained by lawmakers.
The emails contradict earlier claims by Wal-Mart senior executives that they weren’t aware of bribes being made by the company.
Democratic Congressmen Elijah E. Cummings and Henry A. Waxman, who are investigating bribery charges at Wal-Mart’s Mexico division, on Thursday released emails that indicate that Duke and other senior Wal-Mart officials were informed multiple times starting in 2005 about bribes being made in the country. U.S. law forbids American companies from bribing foreign officials.
The lawmakers shared the emails, which they say they got from a confidential source, with Wal-Mart on Wednesday, and sent a letter to Duke asking for a meeting to discuss them.
Carmakers let app developers drive innovation
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Googling the nearest gas station, sending email from your smartphone, or booking a table at a restaurant: Those are all things you shouldn’t do while driving. But so many drivers have grown accustomed to their on-the-go tasks that automakers are increasingly trying to make those things easier to pull off with both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road.
As General Motors and Ford commissioned ideas from app makers this week, the possibilities for what you can do with your vehicle’s steering wheel buttons, microphone, speakers and internal gauges are quickly expanding.
How would you like to choose your favorite tune by simply uttering the song’s title, turn your car into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, or respond to an ad you hear on the radio without lifting a finger?
At the International CES show, General Motors and Ford launched programs that will open their designs to developers, inviting them to create software applications for future car models. It’s a relatively new strategy for car makers, but one that many gadget manufacturers employ, including Apple, which did it for the original iPhone in 2007.
Schmidt joins elite few to glimpse net in NKorea
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Google chairman Eric Schmidt’s glimpse of the Web being used at a top university in Pyongyang makes him part of a tiny elite that has seen the Internet operate in North Korea.
His four-day visit to the North was a golden propaganda opportunity for North Korean officials striving to give one of the world’s most closed societies a modern, tech-savvy face. But the images of students surfing the Web in a brightly lit, spacious computer lab were far removed from daily reality for most North Koreans.
Access to the Internet is all but impossible for ordinary North Koreans and even the very few lucky enough to get online are subject to strict oversight of each click and every website. Outside Pyongyang, the word ‘‘Internet’’ is not in the daily lexicon and North Korea’s own intranet only provides state-approved information.
Ford’s souped-up dividend could lure new investors
Ford may get a longer look from curious investors after rolling out a more muscular, souped-up dividend on Thursday.Continued...