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U.S. lawmakers ask trade czar to stem data threats PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MARCY GORDON, AP Business Writer   
Monday, 16 December 2013 07:35

WASHINGTON (AP) — Members of Congress want the Obama administration to demand that U.S. allies back away from proposed restrictions on international data transmissions, saying those actions could hurt U.S. companies.

Some nations are seeking to tighten the flow of data after reports this fall of the National Security Agency conducting massive information-gathering efforts abroad.

Germany has asked European Union officials to consider restrictions that would prevent U.S. companies from processing commercial and personal data from customers in Europe. That could affect the flow of information and hurt U.S. businesses such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

Other proposals could affect the development of cloud computing.

A bipartisan group of House members — 12 Democrats and six Republicans — has sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, insisting that nations abandon such efforts as a condition of pending trade pacts.

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Mega Millions jackpot climbs toward a new record PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 16 December 2013 07:23

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Strong weekend Mega Millions ticket sales easily could push Tuesday's jackpot above last year's record $656 million prize, a lottery official said Sunday.

No ticket matched the six number needed to win Friday's $425 million prize. It was raised Saturday to $550 million for Tuesday's drawing — the fourth largest in U.S. history.

Paula Otto, executive director of the Virginia Lottery and Mega Millions' lead director, told the Associated Press that sales were up by as much as 20 percent in states that reported their weekend numbers. Sales were expected to spike on Tuesday, the day of the drawing.

"I think we'll be very close to the record, and maybe even surpass it," Otto said. "The challenging part in predicting is that so many of the sales happening on the day of the drawing.

"But lotto players are procrastinators. They tend to buy on the day of the draw."

As of Friday, players had bought enough tickets to cover roughly half of the 259 million possible number combinations, Otto said.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Amazon workers in Germany on strike over wages PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 16 December 2013 07:33

BERLIN (AP) — Hundreds of workers at Amazon.com in Germany have walked off the job in an effort to put pressure on the American online retailer in the busy days before Christmas to settle on a new wage agreement.

The ver.di union said Monday that several hundred workers were staging one-day warning strikes at Amazon logistics centers in Leipzig, Bad Hersfeld and Graben.

Ver.di says German workers will also picket with American colleagues outside the Amazon headquarters in Seattle to press their demands.

The union says Amazon workers receive lower wages than others in retail and mail-order jobs. Amazon says its distribution warehouses in Germany are logistics centers and employees are already paid on the upper end of what workers in that industry earn.

Amazon has about 9,000 fulltime employees in Germany.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Vegas developer selling $7.85M mansion for bitcoin PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Sunday, 15 December 2013 08:01

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A casino owner-turned-commercial developer is asking $7.85 million to sell a Las Vegas home, and he's willing to accept the online currency bitcoin for the deal.

Jack Sommer said he got the idea to seek bitcoin for his 25,000-square-foot mansion from two of his sons, who've been involved in making and trading the currency.

"The advantage is that we're expanding our market and adding some notoriety," Sommer said.

Bitcoin peer-to-peer trading began in 2009. Value is purchased through an exchange website with a mainstream paper currency, such as dollars or euros, though trading isn't government-regulated.

Using the currency can streamline international business deals, said Julian Tosh, a consultant and owner of the marketplace website bitcoinsinvegas.com.

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