DETROIT (AP) - General Motors is teaming with a Detroit urban farming nonprofit to build what the automaker says is the city's first occupied shipping container homestead. In a news release Wednesday, GM says the container home will be constructed of 85 percent scrap materials donated by the company and built in part by employee volunteers. When completed this spring, the 40-foot-long home will feature 320 square feet of living space with two bedrooms, a bathroom and kitchen. It'll be built on the grounds of GM's Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant. The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative says the dwelling will be used to show how repurposed materials can be used to benefit urban agriculture. A university student caretaker will live in the home and manage a farm while using the land for agricultural research activities.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - After Apple recalled the innovations of its founder Steve Jobs, its bitterest rival Samsung stood behind Google technology when a lawyer for the Korean company delivered closing arguments at a patent trial. Samsung lawyer William Price argued Tuesday at the conclusion of the monthlong case in San Jose that the company didn't copy Apple's iPhone in creating its own devices. Instead, Price said Samsung engineers used the Google-developed software Android to create its increasingly popular smartphones and tablets. Price argued that Samsung made the best hardware for Google's software, which upset Apple executives who feared the competition. Price argued that Jobs and Apple had declared a holy war on Google - the sole reason Apple filed a lawsuit accusing Samsung of infringing its patents.
DETROIT (AP) - Former General Motors CEO Dan Akerson's compensation fell 18 percent last year to just over $9 million. The company attributed the decline to the timing of stock awards. Akerson retired in January. He earned $1.7 million in salary last year, the same as in 2012. But his stock awards fell by almost $2 million to $7.3 million. Spokesman Tom Henderson says Akerson's short-term stock awards were bumped up in 2012 in anticipation of his 2014 retirement. He gave up some long-term stock awards when he retired. Akerson's replacement, Mary Barra, received just over $5.2 million last year as product development chief, up 12 percent from 2012. GM says she'll get a package this year worth $14.4 million. The company disclosed the compensation packages Friday in its annual proxy statement.
DALLAS (AP) - American Airlines is making money again and beating expectations after its merger with US Airways. The company posted earnings of $480 million Thursday, a record for the first quarter, which is usually the weakest three-month period for airlines during the year. As separate airlines, American and US Airways lost $297 million a year earlier. The profit works out to 65 cents per share, easily topping analyst projections for 48 cents per share. Revenue rose 5.6 percent to $10 billion, just below analyst forecasts of $10.02 billion. American Airlines Group Inc., formed by the December merger, is the largest airline in the world. Shares of the Fort Worth, Texas, carrier are higher in premarket trading.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose this week with the spring home-buying season beginning. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate for the 30-year loan rose to 4.33 percent from 4.27 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage increased to 3.39 percent from 3.33 percent. Mortgage rates have risen almost a full percentage point since hitting record lows about a year ago. Warmer weather has yet to boost home-buying as it normally does. Rising prices and higher rates have made affordability a problem for would-be buyers. Sales of new homes fell 14.5 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Purchases of existing homes also declined last month, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday.
NEW YORK (AP) - Thousands of postal workers around the country are expected to protest the opening of postal counters in Staples stores that are staffed with retail employees. Thursday's protests are planned at 50 locations in 27 states, including rallies in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Last year, Framingham, Mass.-based Staples Inc. began offering postal services under a pilot program that now includes some 80 stores. The American Postal Workers Union objects, because they say well-paid union workers have been replaced by low-wage nonunion workers. The union says that could lead to layoffs and post office closings. The union says postal workers "have taken an oath to protect the sanctity of the mail," unlike retail workers. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says the program has nothing to do with privatization but is a response to customer demands for convenience.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) - Google is now offering trips down memory lane on its digital maps. The new twist on time travel is debuting Wednesday as part of the "Street View" feature in Google's maps, a navigational tool that attracts more than 1 billion visitors each month. The Street View snapshots will now include an option to see what neighborhoods and landmarks looked like at different periods during the past seven years, as Google Inc. has been dispatching camera-toting cars to take street-level pictures for its maps. Although the photos only date back to 2007, some of them illustrate dramatic changes, such as the gradual recovery of New Orleans neighborhoods in the years following Hurricane Katrina's devastation. Scrolling over to Washington D.C. offers a look at the restoration of the historic Howard Theatre.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Norfolk Southern Corp.'s first-quarter profit fell 18 percent as severe winter weather slowed shipments and the railroad delivered 1 percent less freight overall. The Norfolk, Virginia, based railroad said Wednesday it earned $368 million, or $1.17 per share, during the January-March period. That's down from $450 million, or $1.41 per share, a year ago. Last year's results were helped by a one-time $60 million real estate gain that boosted profits by 19 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings per share of $1.15 for the latest quarter. Norfolk Southern says revenue declined 2 percent to $2.69 billion. Analysts expected $2.739 billion. Declines in automotive, construction and forest product shipments offset increases in crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas shipments. Norfolk Southern shares fell 92 cents to $96 in premarket trading.
CHICAGO (AP) - Grain futures were Mixed Tuesday in early trading on the Chicago Board of Trade. Wheat for May delivery was unchanged at 6.6825 a bushel; May corn was 3.75 cents higher at 4.9225 a bushel; May oats were unchanged at 3.9525 a bushel; while May soybeans was 6.75 cents lower at 14.92 a bushel. Beef higher and pork lower on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. June live cattle was 1.20 cents higher at $1.3575 a pound; May feeder cattle was .70 cent higher at 1.7880 a pound; June lean hogs loss .10 cents to $1.2225 a pound.
NEW YORK (AP) - Target's massive data breach last year caused consumers to panic and drew attention to Internet crime. Yet a new study finds that breaches on retailer payment systems are less common than other kinds of attacks. More than twice as many of last year's Internet data breaches resulted from various small online acts, such people clicking on malicious Web links and choosing easy-to-guess passwords. A worldwide report from Verizon is considered to be one of the top annual looks at Internet-related crime. It's due out Wednesday. While such large-scale attacks such as Target's grab headlines, the number of breaches of payment systems has fallen in recent years. In 2013, there were just 198 recorded breaches of payment systems, or 14 percent of the total.