Financial
Gates back on top of Forbes' billionaire rankings PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 07:44

NEW YORK (AP) — Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is once again the world's richest person.

Forbes magazine announced its ranking of the world's billionaires Monday. Gates, who led the list for 15 of the past 20 years, won the spot back from Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu, who had topped the list for the past four years. Gates' net worth is estimated at $76 billion; Slim Helu follows at $72 billion.

Spanish clothing magnate Amancio Ortega, known for the Zara retail chain, maintained his No. 3 spot and came out ahead of famed U.S. investor Warren Buffett, who ranked fourth. Larry Ellison of Oracle came in fifth.

Forbes says a record 1,645 billionaires made the list this year, with an average net worth of $4.7 billion. That's up from 1,426 billionaires last year with a net worth of $4.2 billion. Total net worth of this year's list was $6.4 trillion, up from $5.4 trillion last year.

The magazine said that 1,080 of the billionaires were self-made, 207 inherited their wealth and 352 inherited a portion but are still growing it.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 07:45
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Cold weather heats up sales for some companies PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JOSEPH PISANI, AP Business Writer   
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 07:29

NEW YORK (AP) — The harsh winter has been rough for some businesses, but for a lucky few, the frigid weather means more cold, hard cash.

Ace Hardware is having its best winter in more than a decade for snow blower and shovel sales. Waterproof boots are on a long backorder at clothing maker L.L. Bean. And more people are staying home and ordering gooey grilled cheese sandwiches and booze from Delivery.com.

"The concept of a polar vortex doesn't feel good, but it's good for business," said Kane Calamari, a vice president at Ace Hardware Corp.

Much of the country has been in a deep freeze. Only 32 winters have been colder in the last 119 years, according to Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at the National Climatic Data Center, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration.

With more Americans stuck indoors, customers are ordering up more meals and arranging to have their laundry picked up through Delivery.com's website and smartphone app. Sales at the company, which operates in major metro areas such as New York, Chicago and Washington D.C., rose 30 percent in January and February compared with the year before. Orders for soups, wine and vodka have spiked.

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Florida firm to pursue sunken gold in Ohio dispute PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by AMANDA LEE MYERS, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 07:38

CINCINNATI (AP) — A Florida company has reached an agreement to recover the remaining gold from a ship that sank off the Carolina coast in 1857 and more recently has been embroiled in legal fights involving a fugitive treasure hunter, the firm announced Monday.

Tampa, Fla.-based Odyssey Marine Exploration can begin working to recover gold bars and coins from the SS Central America as soon as April, pending approval of the agreement from an Ohio judge.

In 1988, shipwreck enthusiast and Ohio native Tommy Thompson led an expedition that found the vessel, also known as the Ship of Gold. He took gold from the ship that later sold for between $50 million and $60 million.

The treasure became the subject of various lawsuits involving a group of Ohio investors who paid $12.7 million to fund Thompson's expedition but say they never saw any returns and workers who said they weren't properly paid for signing confidentiality agreements to keep the ship's location and other information secret.

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U.S. sues Sprint over company's wiretap expenses PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 07:27

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Federal officials filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that Sprint Communications Inc. overbilled government agencies $21 million for wiretap services.

The lawsuit filed federal court in San Francisco alleges that that subsidiary of Sprint Corp. collected unallowable expenses from the FBI, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and other government agencies while carrying out court-ordered wiretaps and other electronic intercepts of its customers.

Communication companies ordered by courts to intercept customers' communications are allowed to recoup the cost of installing and maintaining the wiretaps.

The lawsuit arises from a dispute between communication companies and the federal government over the expense of installing and maintaining wiretaps. In 1994, lawmakers passed a law requiring communication companies to upgrade their equipment and facilities to ensure they can comply with court orders seeking wiretaps of their customers.

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