Daily Briefing

DAILY BRIEFING

August 04, 2009

Layoffs likely after GM fails to find enough early retirees

DETROIT - About 6,000 General Motors Co. blue-collar workers have taken the latest round of early retirement and buyout offers, but it fell short of the company's goal, meaning more layoffs are likely. GM has about 54,000 factory workers and wants to end the year with 40,500, a cut of about 13,500. Monday's report means that about 7,500 too few workers took the offers, setting the stage for more layoffs. It was not immediately known how many workers from the GM transmission plant in White Marsh took the buyout. The automaker announced in June and July that it would close 15 U.S. factories employing about 22,000 workers by the end of 2012. Spokeswoman Sherrie Childers-Arb said Monday that the number of layoffs has yet to be determined because some workers at closed factories could take open jobs at other factories.

- Sun staff and news services

Google CEO leaves Apple board as companies compete

NEW YORK - Google CEO Eric Schmidt is resigning from Apple's board of directors as the Internet search leader increasingly develops products that compete with Apple's core businesses, including the popular iPhone. Apple Inc. said Monday that Schmidt would have had to recuse himself from large portions of the company's board meetings to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Schmidt had been on Apple's board since August 2006. His resignation comes as the Federal Trade Commission is looking into whether Google Inc.'s common ties with Apple might discourage competition. Just a few months ago, Schmidt expressed confidence that such an inquiry into his role on Apple's board won't find any evidence that the ties between the two companies throttle competition in such areas as mobile phones.

- Associated Press

BofA agrees to pay SEC $33 million over bonuses

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Securities and Exchange Commission Monday said Bank of America Corp. has agreed to pay $33 million to settle charges the Charlotte bank misled investors about bonuses paid to Merrill Lynch & Co. executives. The SEC alleged that in proxy materials sent to shareholders about the proposed Merrill acquisition, Bank of America said the New York investment bank had agreed to not pay year-end bonuses without Bank of America's consent. The bank, however, had already authorized Merrill to pay up to $5.8 billion in bonuses for 2008 under the merger agreement. Bank of America did not admit wrongdoing.

- McClatchy Tribune

Rosedale Walmart to reveal fully renovated store

The Walmart in Rosedale will unveil a new store design Wednesday. The three-month renovation of the store on Petrie Way includes wider aisles, a brighter interior and signs that are easier to read. The store will also group departments consumers frequent most for quicker shopping. For example, home wares is near grocery. There is also a new section called Celebration Station, which focuses on party supplies. The store was open during its renovation.

- Andrea K. Walker

Government counting on shame to help loan effort

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration wants to shame the mortgage industry into doing a better job of helping borrowers avoid losing their homes to foreclosure. By publishing the names of companies that are lagging behind in the government's plan to ease the housing crisis, officials are counting on public outrage to get the industry on track. The Treasury Department today plans to report on the progress of loan servicers - companies that collect mortgage payments - that are in line for up to $50 billion in subsidies. When the plan was launched in March, the government said it hoped to help up to 4 million financially distressed homeowners modify their mortgages to lower their payments. As of last week, just 200,000 homeowners were on track to get a modification, and the government has extracted a verbal promise to reach 500,000 by Nov. 1.

- Associated Press

United Airlines, Jet Blue tweeting cheap fares

Tech-savvy fliers who are members of the micro-blogging site Twitter have a new way to find last-minute fare deals. United Airlines and JetBlue have introduced Twitter-exclusive promotions - "twares" in the case of United and "cheeps" for JetBlue. These deals reward the companies' Twitter followers, or those that sign up to receive the airlines' updates via the site. The deals are announced on Twitter and can disappear within hours. JetBlue set up a special account, "JetBlueCheeps," that posts fresh deals every Monday morning. United Airlines, meanwhile, offers its "twares" through its main Twitter account, "UnitedAirlines." The deals can come at any time and usually expire within two hours.

- Chicago Tribune

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