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Associated Press

Posted on May 14, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Editors:

Among the stories for Tuesday from The Associated Press:

TEXTING AND DRIVING

NEW YORK — The country's four biggest cellphone companies are set to launch their first joint advertising campaign against texting while driving, uniting behind AT&T's "It Can Wait" slogan to blanket TV and radio this summer. AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile will be joined by 200 other organizations backing the multi-million dollar ad campaign. The campaign is unusual not just because it unites rivals, but because it represents companies warning against the dangers of their own products. By Peter Svensson

AP photo.

BLACKBERRY CONFERENCE

ORLANDO, Fla. — BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. unveiled a lower-cost BlackBerry, the Q5, that is designed to entice consumers in emerging markets as the company stepped up efforts to regain market share lost to the iPhone and Android devices. The "slim, sleek" Q5 will have a physical keyboard and will be available in red, black, white and pink. By Kyle Hightower.

JAPAN-SONY

TOKYO — A U.S. hedge fund has proposed that Sony Corp. sell up to 20 percent of its entertainment business and use the money to strengthen its ailing electronics unit, drawing a quick rejection from the sprawling Japanese consumer conglomerate. By Yuri Kageyama.

BANGLADESH-BENETTON

Benetton has become the latest global retailer to agree to sign a one-of-kind pact to improve safety at Bangladesh factories following a building collapse that killed more than 1,100 workers in the country last month. By Anne D'Innocenzio.

Also:

—BANGLADESH-BUILDING COLLAPSE— Thousands of mourners gathered at the wreckage of a Bangladeshi garment factory building to offer prayers for the souls of the 1,127 people who died in the structure's collapse, the worst tragedy in the history of the global garment industry.

IRS-POLITICAL GROUPS-MILLER

WASHINGTON — The acting commissioner of the IRS says the agency was guilty of a "lack of sensitivity" in screenings of political groups seeking tax-exempt status.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

SMALLBIZ-SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM

NEW YORK — Small business owners were a little more optimistic during April but are generally still cautious.

FARM BILL

WASHINGTON — There's still a little something for everyone in massive farm bills that Congress is considering this week, even though the legislation would cut billions of dollars from federal farm and food subsidies.

IMPORT PRICES

WASHINGTON — Prices paid by U.S. importers fell in April for the second straight month, pushed lower by another decline in imported petroleum. Falling import prices help keep inflation in check.

OIL MARKET TRANSFORMATION

Booming oil production in the U.S. and Canada and shrinking oil consumption throughout the developed world is transforming the global oil trade, according to a report published Tuesday by the International Energy Agency. U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil will continue to dwindle, OPEC's share of the world market will ebb and increasing amounts of oil will flow to the developing economies of Asia. The threat of a chronic oil shortage is all but gone, but drivers will still pay high prices for gasoline and political insecurity in the Middle East or elsewhere could still lead to price spikes around the world. By Jon Fahey.

— OIL PRICES — The price of oil slid below $95 a barrel as the International Energy Agency raised its U.S. oil production forecasts and cut its prediction for global crude demand.

WALL STREET

NEW YORK — Stocks edged higher in early trading on Wall Street, led by gains for financial companies, putting markets back at record levels.

AUTOS:

CHRYSLER-ENGINE STALL INVESTIGATION

DETROIT — U.S. auto safety regulators are investigating complaints that the engines in three Chrysler models can stall without warning.

JAPAN-NISSAN

KAMINOKAWA-MACHI, Japan — Nissan Motor Co. President Carlos Ghosn welcomed the yen's recent decline to what he called "neutral" levels for the Japanese automaker's profitability, but said it must drop further to be "normal."

— MAZDA-INVESTIGATION — U.S. auto safety officials are investigating complaints that doors won't close properly on more than 39,000 cars made by Mazda.

— INDYCAR-BROWN-CEO — Zak Brown has turned down an offer to become CEO of IndyCar Series, choosing instead to remain with the motorsports marketing company he founded.

INDUSTRY:

FOOD AND FARM-BIOTECH TUBERS

BOISE, Idaho — A dozen years after a customer revolt forced Monsanto to ditch its genetically engineered potato, an Idaho company aims to resurrect high-tech spuds.

AP photos.

GERMANY-EARNS-MERCK

FRANKFURT, Germany — Higher prices for its multiple sclerosis drug Rebif helped German pharmaceutical and high-tech materials company Merck KGaA post a 54 percent rise in first-quarter profit. Merck also saw stronger sales of materials for liquid-crystal displays and raised its profit forecast, saying it would achieve its 2014 goals this year. By David McHugh.

— GERMANY-EARNS-DEUTSCHE POST DHL — Mail, express delivery and freight company Deutsche Post DHL saw its profits dip in the first quarter as the weak global economy saw companies ship fewer goods by air and after a large one-time gain in the year-ago quarter.

— FRANCE-EARNS-EADS — European aerospace company EADS said strong deliveries by airplane maker Airbus helped drive higher earnings in the first quarter and laid out the hope that the new A350 long-range aircraft should make its first flight this summer.

— VISA-ANTITRUST PROBE — The European Union says Visa has agreed to reduce some credit card payment fees significantly to address concerns raised by the bloc's antitrust authority.

—INDONESIA-MINE COLLAPSE — Police say dozens of workers are trapped underground after a tunnel caved in at a giant U.S.-owned gold and copper mine in Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

GERMANY-GOOGLE AUTOCOMPLETE

BERLIN — A top German court has ordered Google Inc. to act on requests to remove autocomplete entries from the search engine after a suit claimed the feature made defamatory suggestions. The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe upheld a complaint from an unidentified company selling nutritional supplements and its founder, identified only as "R.S."

MICROSOFT-GOOGLE CHAT

SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft's disdain for Google doesn't extend to all of its rival's products. In a rare bit of cooperation, Microsoft's Outlook.com is giving users of its free email service the option of logging into Google Chat to exchange instant messages and engage in audio or video conversations. By Michael Liedtke

JAPAN-SHARP

TOKYO — Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp. named a new president, reshuffling its top management to help restore profitability after reporting a record loss. By Elaine Kurtenbach.

GERMANY-AMAZON

BERLIN — A union representing workers at Amazon in Germany says members are striking in a push for higher wages from the online retailer. The ver.di union is urging Amazon to adopt wage agreements similar to those governing retail and mail-order workers. The union says those agreements include Christmas bonuses and extra pay for working nights, Sundays and holidays and could mean as much as 9,000 euros ($11,700) more annually for Amazon workers.

INTERNATIONAL:

EUROPE-FINANCIAL CRISIS

BRUSSELS — European Union finance ministers are seeking ways to cut down on tax evasion and hammer out controversial building blocks of the region's planned banking union to stabilize its financial system. British Chancellor George Osborne insisted cracking down on tax evasion was important in the current economically difficult times. Don Melvin and Juergen Baetz.

AP photos

EUROPE-ECONOMY

LONDON — A larger-than-expected increase in industrial production across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro has raised hopes that the recession in the currency bloc has eased or even ended. Official figures released from Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, showed eurozone industrial output rose a monthly 1 percent in March, double the rate expected in the markets and the biggest gain since July 2011. By Pan Pylas.

Also:

— GREECE-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Greece has raised 1.3 billion euros ($1.69 billion) in a treasury bill auction held after the country's bailout lenders approved the payment of a new batch of rescue loans.

— GERMANY-ECONOMY — Germany's ZEW survey of investor optimism barely rose in May, reflecting the weak economy in the euro currency union. Meanwhile, inflation in Europe's largest economy has hit its lowest rate in nearly three years largely on the back of a fall in fuel costs.

— POLAND-ECONOMY — Official figures show that Poland's economy barely grew in the first quarter of the year.

— FRANCE-LABOR LAW— France's parliament is expected to pass a package of significant labor reforms that the government hopes will help stop rising unemployment and jumpstart the country's stagnant economy. It includes measures such as making it easier for workers to change jobs and making it easier for companies to fire employees.

— AUSTRALIA-ECONOMY — The Australian government's promise to deliver a budget surplus in the current fiscal year has blown out to a 19.4 billion Australian dollar ($19.4 billion) deficit as a fading mining boom coupled with a buoyant Aussie dollar slows the economy.

SWITZERLAND-MONEY-LAUNDERING

GENEVA — Swiss authorities investigated several reports of terrorist financing among a high number of suspected money-laundering cases connected to banks last year, federal police said. The number involving terrorist financing rose to 15 in 2012, five more than a year earlier, due to a single complex case of almost $8 million, according to an annual report issued by the Money Laundering Reporting Office in the Swiss capital Bern.

— CROATIA-AIRLINE STRIKE — Croatia Airlines pilots and cabin crews have gone on strike over planned salary cuts and layoffs that are part of efforts to restructure the loss-making state carrier ahead of the country's European Union entry.

— GERMANY-NIGERIA-PIRACY— A German ship operator says five crew members kidnapped from one of its ships off the coast of Nigeria last month have been released.

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