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Monday
Mar282011

Harry & David Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Gail Oskin/WireImage(MEDFORD, Ore.) -- Harry & David Holdings Inc., a retailer known for its gift baskets, Fruit of the Month Club and gourmet treats, announced Monday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Medford, Oregon-based company said it reached an agreement with about 81 percent of its senior noteholders on a reorganization plan that will get rid of the majority of the company's debt.  The noteholders also vowed to support a $55 million rights offering that will provide the company with the adequate amount of equity financing to come out of the bankruptcy.

Despite the bankruptcy filing, Harry & David said it will continue to conduct business online and at its stores nationwide.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar282011

Would a Receipt Make Paying Income Taxes Less Despised? 

Ryan McVay/Photodisc(NEW YORK) -- Would an itemized receipt from the federal government make paying income taxes less painful, maybe even fun?

A bipartisan group of lawmakers and public policy experts thinks so, and it has begun a campaign to make the IRS provide every U.S. taxpayer with exactly that.

A receipt, they say, would show where each cent of your annual tax payment goes, making abstract government programs more concrete and personal opinions on tax cuts, or hikes, better grounded in facts.

"Presumably, Americans will never like paying their taxes," David Kendall and Ethan Porter write in an article laying out the proposal in the journal Democracy published this month. "But with the right policy proposals -- and with their implementation -- they might not despise doing so."

The document, envisioned as no more than one page, would allow taxpayers to see and make sense of proportional differences in federal funding for programs such as NASA, environmental protection, foreign aid and veterans affairs, they say.

It would be mailed to taxpayers who file with paper forms and emailed to those who file electronically, according to the proposal.

The receipt would identify the total tax paid and itemize how much proportionally went to the top 32 federal budget expenditures. More comprehensive data could be found online.

"With a well-designed receipt, myths and misconceptions about taxing and spending that refuse to die would be met with a mortal blow," Kendall and Porter wrote.

One of the most common myths, according to polls, is that U.S. taxpayers spend more on foreign aid than they do on Social Security or Medicare.

A household with $50,000 of income that paid $6,883 in 2010 federal income taxes, for example, would learn that the largest portion of its money went to defense programs ($1,375), social security ($1,334) and Medicare ($845).

Only $43 went to foreign aid.

"During this tough economy, American taxpayers deserve to know exactly how the government is spending their hard-earned dollars," Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who is sponsoring legislation to create a tax-receipt system, said in a statement.

"That kind of transparency is the first step towards addressing our exploding debt and deficit."

Federal debt per American is $45,000. Interest payment on the debt is the sixth-largest, federal-budget expenditure.

"Taxpayers have a right to know where their money goes, how much Uncle Sam is borrowing on their behalf and what they get in return for it," Democratic Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, who also supports the tax-receipt legislation. said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar282011

Global Oil Prices Dropping; US Stock Futures Up After Strong Week

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Global oil is seeing a drop in prices Monday amid news that rebel forces in Libya are making gains.

West Texas crude futures fell to $105 a barrel overnight as Libyan rebels reportedly took control of at least two oil ports.  Their leaders say oil production will be resumed in the country soon.

Meanwhile, European and U.S. stock futures are up Monday morning after strong gains the week before.  Last week, the Dow and other averages saw their strongest weekly gain -- around three percent -- since last July.

The Asian stock market, however, is trending lower with more concerns about the dangerous radiation leak from Japan's cripped nuclear power plant.  Japanese automakers and other industries in the country are also still facing a huge challenge with rolling power blackouts and some parts suppliers knocked out by the earthquake.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar282011

Robert Gibbs to Manage Facebook's Communications?

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- He might have been on the top of the heap when he was White House press secretary, but now Robert Gibbs can say that he really has “friends” in high places.

According to a story in Monday’s New York Times, Gibbs is talking with officials at social networking site Facebook to assist in the management of their communications.

Those familiar with the negotiations say that discussions are still in the planning stages and could ultimately lead nowhere.

While Gibbs had talked about taking a major role in President Obama’s presumed reelection campaign, Facebook is apparently pressuring Gibbs to take a private sector job ahead of the company’s much publicized initial public offering, which could happen by early 2012.

A job with Facebook could turn out to be extremely lucrative for Gibbs because his compensation package would probably include a salary and shares ahead of the IPO.  It’s expected to be one of the biggest public offerings in history, given Facebook’s estimated value of $60 billion.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar282011

Seven New York IT Workers Reportedly Win $319 Million Jackpot

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(ALBANY, N.Y.) -- A handful of New York state government workers may be able to quit their jobs, if reports are true that the group of seven were the lucky ones who hit the $319 million Mega Millions jackpot in Friday night's drawing.

Emanuel Biondi, Public Employees Federation Council leader for New York's Division of Housing and Community Renewal, told CNN the big winners were seven information technology professionals at the agency.

No one has stepped forward to claim the prize or state that they're holding the winning ticket.  The state lottery office has been closed since the drawing Friday night.

The winning ticket was purchased at Coulson's News Center, a mainstay downtown news and convenience store in the state capital of Albany, according to the Mega Millions website.

"It's very neat to know someone who comes into my store is going to be very wealthy from a ticket we sold them.  It makes me feel warm inside," Steve Hutchins, owner of Coulson, told LotteryPost.com.

The winning numbers were 22-24-31-52-54, with Megaball number 4.  The jackpot is the sixth-highest in the game's history.  The largest jackpot was $390 million in March 2007.

If the winner or winners take the prize in a one-time lump sum, the payment will be $202.9 million after taxes.

Steve Gallucci, the manager of Coulson's, told ABC affiliate WTEN-TV in Albany that he doesn't yet know who won.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar282011

Inventor of Super Glue Dies at 94

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(KINGSPORT, Tenn.) -- Harry Wesley Coover Jr., the inventor of Super Glue, passed away over the weekend at his Kingsport, Tennessee home.  He was 94.

Coover came up with the idea for the adhesive during his time working for Tennessee Eastman Company.  While there, he took notice of new refractometer prisms that were accidentally glued together and saw that as an opportunity to create the product that came to be known as Super Glue.

The ultra-powerful adhesive with a vast variety of uses, technically known as cyanoacrylate, has since become a staple in kitchen drawers as well as businesses.  Physicians and veterinarians have even been known to use Super Glue to close wounds when sutures aren't available.

Last year, Coover was honored at the White House with the National Medal of Science.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar272011

Wells Fargo Joins Other Banks in Dropping Debit Rewards

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Wells Fargo has announced it will discontinue its debit rewards plan for new customers in the wake of a proposed law that would limit how much retailers can charge customers when they use a debit card.

The move comes amidst a flurry of banks canceling similar services, including JP Morgan Chase and San Francisco Bank.

As government officials aim to reduce fees incurred by debit card users, banks are attempting to offset a change that they say will result in a significant decrease in revenue it receives from retailers.

JP Morgan Chase has said its decision to drop the rewards program will not take effect until July, while Wells Fargo has yet to say if the change will impact existing customers.

Officials say the proposed legislation is scheduled to be implemented in July.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar272011

Costco Asks State to Change Liquor Laws, Again

Getty(KIRKLAND, Wash.) -- Wholesale giant Costco is taking another shot at the privatization of liquor, just months after its proposed I-1100 bill was rejected.

In November, Costco proposed a bill that would allow any store with a liquor license to sell hard liquor, thereby eliminating the state from cashing in on what private retailers like Costco believed would be a profitable move.

However, the company's pitch failed to convince lawmakers that the state should hand over the right to sell booze to anyone who wants to, prompting Costco to revaluate its plan.

As a result, Costco is now pushing for a compromise -- allow any store more than 9,000 square feet the right to sell booze, and recoup additional tax revenue in return.

The proposal would include a profit-sharing plan whereby the state would potentially receive funds upfront by the retailer and subsequent liquor tax on a per-year basis.

State officials have yet to comment on Costco's latest pitch.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar272011

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air Solve Computer Problem

Alaska Airlines(SEATTLE) -- Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air on Sunday said that operations at both airlines close to being back to normal following a computer system outage on Saturday.

According to a joint press release issued by the airlines, the computer system issue has been resolved and the majority of flights for both Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air were reportedly operating on time on Sunday, although some flights were delayed due to crew scheduling issues. The airlines advised that their customers should check with them before heading to the airport.

On Saturday Alaska and Horizon were forced to cancel 150 flights due to the computer system problem, with over 12,000 passengers being affected.

"On behalf of the 13,000 Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air employees, I offer my profound apology to customers inconvenienced by this disruption," Alaska Airlines President Brad Tilden said in a statement.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar262011

Number of T.G.I. Friday's Restaurants to Double Globally

Stockbyte(DALLAS) -- Carlson Restaurants has announced that it plans to double the number of T.G.I. Friday's restaurants globablly

The restaurant's parent company has outlined a strategic plan called Ambition 2015, aimed at solidiying Carlson as the "restaurant, employer and investment of choice by 2015."

Carlson Restaurants President and Chief Executive Officer Nick Sheppard says the company has a number of measures planned to help it reach its desired goal of doubling its international presence over the next five years with its trademark brand.

"With the strength of our Friday's brand, our management team and our franchise partners, we are uniquely positioned to dramatically increase the footprint of our business," Shepherd said.

According to a repot by Knapp Track, T.G.I. Friday's outpaced the rest of the casual dining market in the U.S. by 1.6 percent in 2010.

T.G.I. Friday's has 350 international locations in 60 countries other than the United States.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio