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Thursday
Feb102011

Unemployment Claims Drop for Second Straight Week to 383,000

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The number of people filing for unemployment benefits continued to drop for a second straight week, according to the Labor Department's latest report released Thursday.

For the week ending Feb. 5, the department said jobless claims dropped by 36,000 to 383,000.  The previous week, claims stood at 419,000.

The four-week average also went down, decreasing by 16,000 to 415,500 from the previous week's average of 431,500.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb102011

Report: Twitter Worth Close to $10 Billion

Photo Courtesy - Nicholas Kamm/AFP/ Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Twitter, the online messaging network, estimates its revenue will reach a reported $100 million this year, but its value is estimated to be 100 times that amount, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal reported Thursday Twitter is believed to be worth between $8 billion and $10 billion.

Meanwhile, the messaging service, which had a revenue of $45 million in 2010, estimates its revenue will more than double this year to $100 million to $110 million.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb102011

Food Prices on the Rise

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Consumers may soon pay more for many products, as prices of corn, soybeans, wheat and other basic foods are soaring due to a shortage.

When the price of corn goes up, meat may cost more becaue corn is used to feed cattle hogs and chickens. 

Cereal makers are being squeezed as well, as more price hikes for breakfast cereal and many other popular foods are almost certain.

A severe drought in China could also push basic food prices even higher. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb102011

Report: Apple Starts Production on New iPad

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Apple has begun manufacturing a new version of the iPad that will be sleeker and faster than its predecessor, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal, citing sources, reports the second generation tablet will be thinner and lighter than the first model, and will feature a camera on the front of the device for video-conferencing.  The new iPad will also have a faster processor and more memory.

The tablet is expected to debut in the next couple of months, and will initially only be available through Verizon and AT&T in the U.S.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb102011

US Airways Unloads Increased Fees on Heavy Luggage

Photo Courtesy - USAir [dot] com(TEMPE, Ariz.) -- Here's a little reminder for anyone planning to fly US Airways in the near future: travel light.

The carrier announced a series of price hikes for passengers who insist on taking everything with them but the kitchen sink.

These new prices, which apply to flights purchased now for travel on or after March 1, mean bags weighing between 50 and 70 pounds will cost $90, up from $50.  Previously, people hauling bags weighing more than 70 pounds were charged $100.  But, effective immediately, the fee is now $175.

US Airways said that checked bags fees will remain at $25 and $35 for the first and second bags respectively.  However, the price of all bags checked after that jumps from $100 to $125 each.

So far, no other airlines has announced similar price hikes for overweight and oversized luggage sizes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb102011

IRS Establishes Initiative for Taxpayers Hiding Assets Offshore

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Internal Revenue Service announced a new voluntary disclosure initiative intended to "bring offshore money back into the U.S. tax system" allowing people with undisclosed income hidden overseas to "get current with their taxes," the agency said in a statement Tuesday.

According to the limited-time offer, Americans who have been hiding money in offshore accounts have until August to fess up and avoid jail time.  The initiative would require those who come forward to pay back taxes, interest and reduced penalties. 

IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said the risk to individuals hiding assets offshore is increasing due to new laws forcing foreign banks to hand over information on American depositors.

Taxpayers have until the Aug. 31 deadline to file "all original and amended tax returns," the agency stated.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb092011

Facebook Opens Office in Hong Kong, Second in Asia

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(HONG KONG) - Social networking giant Facebook is set to expand its global operations with an office in Hong Kong, reports the BBC.

The office will be its second in Asia after one was opened in Singapore last year. The site, however, continues to be banned from operating in China where the company would have access to an additional 450 million Internet users.

Facebook currently has 500 million users worldwide.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb092011

Activision to Disband 'Guitar Hero' Franchise

Photo Courtesy - Activision(NEW YORK) - Amid a drop in revenue, the maker of the popular video game Guitar Hero plans to disband the franchise, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Activision Blizzard Inc. reported a drop in net revenue to $1.43 billion, down from $1.56 billion. The Call of Duty: Black Ops publisher also reported a $233 million loss in shares, although adjusted earnings of 53 cents per share beat analyst expectations.

The companies outlook for the current quarter is falling short of industry expectations as shares drop in after-hours trading.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb092011

Big Banks to Charge Fees for Low Checking Balances

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) - If you don't have a large amount of cash in your checking account, you may have to start paying a hefty fee to keep it, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Four of the country's largest banks - Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Citibank - will start charging monthly fees to customers who carry a low balance in their checking accounts. The charges could add up to as much as $100 a year.

"Wealthy consumers will be able to avoid these charges by maintaining high balances," Jeremy T. Rosenblum, a Philadelphia lawyer and consumer finance specialist, told the Los Angeles Times. "But for the poor and moderate-income people whose balances are lower, it's going to be much harder to avoid these fees."

The new fees are likely the result of new regulations on the banking industry that limit late fees and overdraft penalties that provided billions in revenue to the banks each year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb092011

Bernanke: Could Take 10 Years For Unemployment to Go Down

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A sobering assessment on how long it may take to reduce unemployment has come from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.
 
He warned congress it could take four years or more and up to 10 years to reduce unemployment to what he called normal levels.
 
Bernanke told congress that despite a sustained economic recovery, reducing unemployment will be painfully slow.    

Urging reform of the tax laws, and a plan to reduce the deficit, the fed chairman expressed some optimism that an economic recovery may help. "We have seen increased evidence that a self-sustaining recovery in consumer and business spending may be taking hold," said Bernanke.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio