Business Highlights


EPA says Volkswagen cheating software may be on more vehicles

WASHINGTON (AP) — Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal widened Friday as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that clandestine software allowing six-cylinder Volkswagen diesel engines to cheat on pollution tests is on more models than originally thought.

The EPA and the California Air Resources Board said the German automaker acknowledged the software is on about 85,000 Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche vehicles with 3-litre engines going back to the 2009 model year. Earlier this month the agencies accused VW of installing the so-called “defeat device” software on about 10,000 cars from the 2014 through 2016 model years, in violation of the Clean Air Act.

The statement says the agencies will investigate and take appropriate action on the software, which the regulators claim allowed the six-cylinder diesels to emit fewer pollutants during tests than in real-world driving.


E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle expands to 6 states

NEW YORK (AP) — An outbreak of E. coli linked to Chipotle that originated in the Pacific Northwest has spread south and east and has now infected people in six states.

New cases have been reported in California, New York and Ohio, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday. The first cases were discovered late last month in Oregon and Washington, and more recently in Minnesota.

Investigators have yet to determine the specific ingredient linked to the illness.


Home values point to a sharp wealth divide within US cities

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s still possible in Boston for a mail carrier, an accountant and a Harvard-trained psychiatrist — basically, the crowd from “Cheers” — to live as neighbours.

That finding by the real estate brokerage Redfin makes the capital of Massachusetts a rarity at a time when neighbourhoods in most U.S. cities are increasingly isolated from each other by income and home values.

Redfin analyzed home sales over the past 24 months in 20 major U.S. cities, breaking down the data by neighbourhood. Many of the cities reflect home values that have outpaced wages over the past 15 years and contributed to a widening wealth gap among neighbourhoods that mirrors a national trend.


Don’t let the airlines lose your suitcase this Thanksgiving

NEW YORK (AP) — Heading into winter, fliers should take extra precautions with their checked luggage — December and January are traditionally the worst months for lost bags.

To avoid problems, arrive at the airport early enough to let your bag get to the plane, and print out a copy of your itinerary from the airline’s website and stick it inside just in case all the tags get ripped off.

In the U.S. during the first nine months of this year, 3.3 bags for every 1,000 passengers didn’t make it to their destination on time, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That’s not great if you are one of those people whose bag is delayed or lost. But consider this: during the 2007 peak in air travel, airlines were mishandling more than twice as many suitcases — 7.2 bags per 1,000 passengers.


Unemployment rates fall in two-thirds of US states

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates fell in 32 U.S. states last month as employers nationwide added the most jobs of any month this year.

Jobless rates rose in just three states in October and were unchanged in 15.

The unemployment rate has tumbled below 4.5 per cent in 21 states, including Texas, Colorado, and Virginia. That’s a historically low level that may help push up pay in the coming months.


US home rental prices rise at slower pace in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home rental prices rose at a slower pace in October, a possible sign that apartment costs are testing the upper reaches of renters’ incomes.

Real estate data firm Zillow said Friday that median rents increased a seasonally adjusted 4.5 per cent from a year ago. This marks a steady deceleration from annual prices gains of 5.3 per cent in September and 6.2 per cent in August. Zillow recently updated its methodology for averaging rental prices, showing that past growth rates were higher than previously reported.

Housing costs have consistently exceeded income growth. Average hourly wages rose just 2.5 per cent over the past year to $25.20, according to the Labor Department.


Starwood warns of data breach at 54 of its hotels

NEW YORK (AP) — Starwood said hackers were able to see debit and credit card information of some people that dined or shopped at 54 of its hotels, including some Sheraton, Westin and W locations.

The hotelier said Friday that malware was found in payment systems at restaurants, gift shops, bars and other retail areas within hotels, but not at the front desk where guests pay for their stay.

Stamford, Connecticut-based Starwood said the malware exposed names on the cards as well as card numbers, security codes and expiration dates. Contact information and PINs were not exposed, the company said, and its loyalty program wasn’t affected.


FDA approves Takeda drug for blood cancer multiple myeloma

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a third drug to treat multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer.

The approved pill, called Ninlaro, is made by Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. The FDA approved two other multiple myeloma treatments this year, one from Johnson & Johnson and the other from Novartis AG.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that about 27,000 people will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma this year and more than 11,200 people will die of the disease.


Tesla recalling all Model S sedans for seat belt issue

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla Motors is recalling its entire fleet of Model S sedans to check their front seat belts after one passenger’s seat belt became disconnected.

The recall — the company’s largest ever — involves 90,000 cars worldwide. Tesla sent an email Friday to affected customers.

Tesla’s other vehicles, the Model X SUV and the Roadster, aren’t affected. Seat belts in the back seat of the Model S also aren’t affected.


Hyundai recalls nearly 305,000 cars for brake light problem

DETROIT (AP) — Hyundai is recalling nearly 305,000 Sonata midsize cars because the brake lights can stay on when the driver isn’t stopping.

The recall covers cars from the 2011 and 2012 model years.

The company says the stopper pad between the brake pedal and the plunger that turns the lights on can deteriorate. That can make the plunger stick and cause the brake lights to stay illuminated. Also, the transmission could be shifted out of park without the brake on, and the system that lets the brakes override the gas pedal may not work.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 91.06 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 17,823.81. The S&P 500 index added 7.93 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 2,089.17. The Nasdaq composite index rose 31.28 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 5,104.92.

U.S. crude lost 15 cents to $40.39 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 48 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $44.66 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline was unchanged at $1.29 a gallon. Heating oil was also little changed at $1.371 a gallon. Natural gas fell 13 cents to $2.145 per 1,000 cubic feet.