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Thursday, 17 October 2013 11:58

Treasury moves to resume normal borrowing

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Treasury Department is rolling back the extraordinary measures it's used since May to keep the government from breaching the debt limit. As a first step, it will resume sales of state and local government Treasury securities. States and cities use these securities to keep money temporarily before it's used in such areas as construction projects. Treasury stopped issuing the securities in May to keep the government from exceeding the $16.7 trillion debt limit. On Wednesday, Congress approved legislation suspending the debt ceiling until Feb. 7. That allows the government to resume borrowing and to halt the book-keeping maneuvers it had used to remain under the debt ceiling.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House is urging quick congressional approval of a deal to raise the debt ceiling and end the partial government shutdown. White House spokesman Jay Carney says the deal reached by Senate leaders "achieves what's necessary" to reopen the government, remove the threat of default and move past brinksmanship. Carney says the agreement is bipartisan and that President Barack Obama is looking for Congress to act so he can sign it and remove the threat to the economy. Obama's spokesman is praising Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell for working together. Reid announced the deal at the start of Wednesday's Senate session.  The agreement would reopen the government through Jan. 15 and increase the nation's borrowing authority through Feb. 7. 

CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) - Apple says that its new iPhones will go on sale in Italy, Russia, Spain and more than 25 other countries on Oct. 25. The phones also will be available in more than a dozen other countries, including India and Mexico, on Nov. 1. The iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C both went on sale in the U.S. last month. They are also currently being sold in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the United Kingdom. The 5S starts at $199 in the U.S. when bought along with a new wireless plan. The 5C, a cheaper version of the phone geared to emerging markets, starts at $99 in the U.S. with a new wireless plan.

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has testified behind closed doors about his role in taking Detroit into bankruptcy, a rare interview with lawyers for creditors. Snyder waived executive privilege and gave a deposition under oath Wednesday at his office in Lansing. The testimony can be used as evidence in an upcoming trial that will determine whether Detroit is eligible to shed billions of debt in bankruptcy court. Later in a statement, the Republican governor said bankruptcy was the only "viable option" for Detroit. He approved the recommendation. Union attorney Sharon Levine says Snyder didn't disclose a plan for retiree pensions. She says the governor also believes there were good-faith negotiations with creditors before the bankruptcy filing.

WASHINGTON (AP) - You'll have to get coverage by Valentine's Day or thereabouts to avoid penalties for being uninsured, the Obama administration confirms, clarifying one of the health care law's least popular requirements. That's about six weeks earlier than a March 31 deadline often cited previously. The explanation: coverage typically starts on the first day of a given month, and it takes up to 15 days to process applications. You still have to be covered by March 31 to avoid penalties for those remaining uninsured. But to successfully accomplish that you have to send in your application by the middle of February. The Jackson Hewitt tax preparation company pointed out the wrinkle. An administration official confirmed it. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Nothing is happening in Washington's budget battle that would suggest a resolution is near. President Barack Obama is having House Democrats to the White House for a private meeting this afternoon. The White House says the president intends to invite Republicans and senators in the coming days. Republicans are demanding talks on deficit reduction and Obama's health care law to approve spending legislation. Obama says he won't negotiate until the budget is approved with no strings attached. Still, there are indications that both sides might be open to a short-term extension of the debt limit and a temporary end to the shutdown, giving them more time to resolve their disputes. The partial government shutdown is in its ninth day, while the Treasury Department says it will run out of bookkeeping maneuvers and hit the country's borrowing limit in about a week or so.

Tuesday, 01 October 2013 11:49

Amazon to hire 70,000 seasonal workers

SEATTLE (AP) - Amazon.com says it is hiring 70,000 full-time seasonal workers around the U.S. to fill orders during the holiday season. The world's largest online retailer says the hires are an increase of 40 percent over last year's 50,000 workers. Seasonal employees at Amazon.com Inc. order fulfillment centers are eligible for health care benefits and, on average, earn 94 percent of the wages of regular employees. Amazon says it plans to convert "thousands" of the temporary jobs into full-time roles after the holiday season. Tuesday's announcement from the Seattle-based company follows seasonal hiring announcements from other large retailers. Wal-Mart Stores said last week that it is hiring 55,000 seasonal workers. It is also elevating 35,000 temporary workers to part-time positions and 35,000 part-time workers to full-time jobs. 

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