China's inflation rate eases to 2 pct. in February PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Sunday, 09 March 2014 06:08

BEIJING (AP) — China's inflation rate eased in February to 2 percent year-on-year amid signs the world's second-largest economy might be cooling.

The consumer price rise reported Sunday by the National Bureau of Statistics was down from January's 2.5 percent. The rise in politically sensitive food costs decelerated to 2.7 percent from January's 3.7 percent.

Lower inflation could ease pressure on Chinese leaders as they try to focus on promised reforms aimed at making the economy more productive and keeping growth strong.

Producer prices, measured as goods leave the factory, declined by 2 percent from a year earlier. Producer price inflation has been negative for two years, reflecting excess production capacity in many industries that has led to price-cutting wars.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Global ho-hum greets hubbub over bitcoin's creator PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by BREE FOWLER, AP Business Writers RYAN NAKASHIMA, AP Business Writers   
Saturday, 08 March 2014 07:44

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Who is bitcoin's real creator? The bitcoin community is reacting to that burning question with a collective ho-hum.

Developers and bitcoin enthusiasts from Finland to Texas are downplaying the media frenzy that occurred Thursday after Newsweek identified the digital currency's creator as a Japanese American living in Southern California, only to have the man vehemently deny it to The Associated Press.

The furor, they say, means little to bitcoin's future as a viable form of money.

The computer code that underpins bitcoin has changed dramatically since its inception in 2009, spawning a generation of entrepreneurs seeking to ride its growing popularity to newfound wealth, outside of government controls.

MasterCard, Visa plan group focused on security PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MARCY GORDON, AP Business Writer   
Saturday, 08 March 2014 07:45

WASHINGTON (AP) — Visa and MasterCard want banks and retailers to work together on securing customer data and stop blaming each other after a massive data breach during the holiday season.

The two payment networks announced Friday that they are bringing together large and small banks, credit unions, retailers, makers of card processing equipment and industry trade groups in a group that aims to strengthen the U.S. payment system for credit and debit cards.

The data breaches affecting Target Corp., the No. 2 U.S. discounter, and luxury retailer Neiman Marcus have shaken consumers' confidence.

An estimated 40 million credit and debit card accounts were affected by the breach at Target. Stolen were customers' names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates, debit-card personal identification numbers and the embedded codes on the cards' magnetic strips. The theft could be the biggest data breach on record for a U.S. retailer.

Report faults oversight of foreign student program PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by DONNA CASSATA, Associated Press   
Saturday, 08 March 2014 07:41

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government is falling short in assessing the risks of a program that allows tens of thousands of foreign students to stay in the United States and work for close to 2 1/2 years, according to a newly released report from the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO, Congress' investigative arm, examined the optional practical training program in Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As of November 2013, the program had approved 100,000 of the 1 million foreign students in the U.S. to work for 12-31 months in a job related to their completed academic studies.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, requested the investigation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement "has taken initial actions to identify risks across student and exchange visitor program-certified schools; however, ICE has not analyzed available information to identify and assess potential risks specific to the (program) posed by schools and foreign students," the GAO concluded in its Feb. 27 report.

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