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BC-APFN-US-Business News Digest



Business News at 2 p.m.

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All times EDT.

TOP STORIES:

KRAFT-HEINZ

NEW YORK — Some of the most familiar names in pickles, cheese, hot dogs and other packaged foods are set to come under the same roof after H.J. Heinz Co. announced it plans to buy Kraft Foods in a deal to create one of the world's largest food and beverage companies. The combination of the two companies was engineered by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital. By Michelle Chapman and Candice Choi. SENT: 780 words, photos.

With:

— KRAFT-HEINZ-THE COMPANIES — A look at companies and brands that will be combined under the Heinz-Kraft deal. SENT: 130 words.

RARE DISEASES-DRUGS

TRENTON, N.J. — The global pharmaceutical industry is pouring billions of dollars into developing treatments for rare diseases, a class of disorders that once drew little interest from major drugmakers but could now point the way toward a new era of innovative therapies and big profits. By Linda A. Johnson. SENT: 1,300 words, photos, video.

WITH:

— RARE DISEASES-BY THE NUMBERS — A look at some key statistics on rare diseases. SENT: 200 words.

SEAFOOD FROM SLAVES-ABRIDGED

BENJINA, Indonesia — Hundreds of men in a remote Indonesian island and its surrounding waters are forced to catch seafood, and suffer severe beatings, 22-hour shifts and sometimes confinement in a cage. In a year-long investigation, the AP interviewed more than 40 current and former slaves, and tracked their catch to the supply chains of some of America's largest stores and supermarkets. By Robin McDowell, Margie Mason and Martha Mendoza. SENT: 1,100 words, photos, video, interactive. Longer version, 3,600 words, also available.

With:

— SEAFOOD FROM SLAVES-REACTION — Thailand's biggest seafood company says it has cut ties with a supplier named in an Associated Press report after determining it might be involved with forced labor and other abuses. SENT: 300 words.

SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK

NEW YORK — Small business owners may get mad when staffers vent on social media about their jobs, hours, pay, even the boss's personality, but they may not be able to get even. The government protects workers' rights to say what they want about where they work, even if it's in a vitriolic and insulting tweet or post. By Joyce M. Rosenberg. SENT: 700 words, photos.

RUSSIA-CRISIS DRINKING

MOSCOW — As the economic crisis pinches Russians finances, a dangerous new trend is emerging: the consumption of home-made moonshine, medical alcohol or even cleaning products. By James Ellingworth. SENT: 900 words, photos.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

DURABLE GOODS

WASHINGTON — Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods fall in February for the third time in the past four months, while a key investment category falls for a sixth month. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 450 words, photo.

FINANCIAL MARKETS

NEW YORK — U.S. stock indexes are moving lower, bringing the market further below record highs reached earlier this month. By Matthew Craft. SENT: 490 words. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.

INDUSTRY:

FOOD-FOOD WASTE MOVEMENT

NEW YORK — What's for dinner? How about leftover cartilage of skate with herring-head tartar sauce or cured tuna blood line aioli? Dishes using scraps and usually ignored bits comprise the menu at chef Dan Barber's WastEDny, a pop-up project at one of his Blue Hill restaurants intended to shed light on the many tragedies of food waste. By Leanne Italie. SENT: 1,060 words, photos, video.

JAPAN-FINANCING COAL

MUTTAGI, India — Despite mounting protests, Japan continues to finance the building of coal-fired power plants with money earmarked for fighting climate change, with two new projects underway in India and Bangladesh, The Associated Press finds. By Karl Ritter and Aijaz Rahi. SENT: 880 words, photos.

— LUMBER LIQUIDATORS-INVESTIGATION — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating the safety Lumber Liquidators laminate flooring made in China. SENT: 520 words.

— ANTHRAX DRUG-FDA — Federal health officials say they've approved an infusible drug to treat patients who have been exposed to anthrax. SENT: 150 words.

— BOEING SOUTH CAROLINA-UNION — Production workers at Boeing plants in South Carolina will decide next month whether they want union representation by the Machinists. SENT: 320 words.

— BRITAIN-WOMEN ON BOARDS — The percentage of women on the boards of the country's top companies is on track to meet a target of 25 percent by the end of the year, a study tracking female achievement shows. SENT: 370 words.

— FRANCE-PLANE CRASH-LUFTHANSA — Executives, pilots and employees of German airline Lufthansa hold a moment of silence for the 150 people who died aboard Flight 9525, operated by the company's low-cost unit Germanwings. SENT: 250 words, photos.

— GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS-LABELING — Inspired by the popular "USDA organic" label, House Republicans are proposing a new government certification for foods free of genetically modified ingredients. It's part of an attempt to block mandatory labeling of foods that include genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. SENT: 640 words.

— SUPREME COURT-EPA EMISSIONS — The Supreme Court appears divided in a dispute over the Obama administration's first-ever regulations aimed at reducing power plant emissions. SENT: 150 words. UPCOMING: Will be updated.

— HOWARD JOHNSON'S-SALE — One of the three remaining Howard Johnson's restaurants still in business has been sold and will close after a nearly 60-year run in a New York village. SENT: 130 words.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

DIGITAL LIFE-REVIEW-SONY PLAYSTATION TV

NEW YORK — You probably won't save money with Sony's PlayStation Vue television service, but you'll get a modern way of watching TV. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 800 words, photo.

With:

— DIGITAL LIFE-REVIEW-SONY PLAYSTATION TV-CHANNELS — List of channels live and on demand. SENT: 800 words, photo.

— COMCAST-TIME WARNER DELAY — Comcast says it expects its $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable to take longer because of a long-running regulatory review. Comcast said in a blog post that it now expects the FCC's review to finish in the middle of the year. By Tali Arbel. SENT: 230 words.

SILICON VALLEY-SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION

SAN FRANCISCO — An attorney for a Silicon Valley venture capital firm says it did not retaliate against a female junior partner by deciding not to promote her after she filed a gender discrimination complaint. By Sudhin Thanawala. SENT: 130 words, photo. UPCOMING: Will be updated.

AUTOS:

UAW-WAGES

DETROIT — The leader of the United Auto Workers union rejects a third tier of lower wages for members who make auto parts. Dennis Williams was responding to reports that General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. may propose a third tier of pay. He already is under pressure from union members to end a second tier of wages that's about half the $28 per hour made by longtime workers. By Tom Krisher. SENT: 700 words, photo.

— FORD-RECALL — Ford is recalling about 213,000 police vehicles in North America to fix springs that may not keep doors closed in a crash. SENT: 140 words.

— BEHIND THE WHEEL-CAMRY HYBRID — The roomy, fuel-sipping Toyota Camry Hybrid family sedan gets better for 2015 with more appealing exterior styling, upgraded interior, improved ride and handling and quieter passenger cabin. SENT: 890 words, photo, box.

INTERNATIONAL:

— GREECE-BAILOUT — European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says the Greek government is to present no later than early next week the reform plans that are key to unlocking urgently needed rescue funds. SENT: 130 words, photos.

— AUSTRALIA-ASIAN BANK — Australia's prime minister says he supports the proposed development of a Chinese-backed Asian regional bank as long as it was transparent and not run by a single country. SENT: 540 words.

GERMANY-ECONOMY — A closely watched survey is showing a bigger-than-expected increase in German business confidence as managers in Europe's biggest economy take a brighter view of its outlook for the next six months. SENT: 130 words.

— IRAQ-OIL — Iraq's oil exports for last month are below planned levels, the country's Oil Ministry says, depriving the nation of badly needed funds for its battle against the Islamic state group. SENT: 400 words, photo.

PERSONAL FINANCE:

ON THE MONEY-HOME APPRAISALS

In many markets, the combination of rising home values and a shortage of available homes for sale sets up sellers to potentially receive competing offers. That could also increase the likelihood that the appraised value of the home will come in below the agreed up sale price, potentially scuttling the deal. Here are some tips on what to do if that happens. By Alex Veiga. UPCOMING: 750 words by 4 p.m.

A sampling of Money & Markets modules is below. The full digest for AP's Money & Markets service can be found at markets.ap.org. For questions about Money & Markets content, please contact Trevor Delaney (800-845-8450, ext. 1807). For technical support: Todd Balog (816-654-1096). After 6 p.m., contact the AP Business News desk (800-845-8450, ext. 1680) for content questions; 1-800-3AP-STOX for technical support and 212-621-1905 for graphics help.

CENTERPIECE

Buyback binge

The majority of companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index reduced their total number of shares outstanding last year, pushing up earnings per share. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

Lumber Liquidators faces investigation

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating Lumber Liquidators over concerns about possible formaldehyde in its Chinese-made laminate flooring. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.


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