NTSB says 787 batteries aren't necessarily unsafe

WASHINGTON - Despite a battery fire in one Boeing 787 Dreamliner and smoke in another, the type of batteries used to power the plane's electrical systems aren't necessarily unsafe - manufacturers just need to build in reliable safeguards, the nation's top aviation safety investigator said Wednesday.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman said she doesn't want to "categorically" rule out the use of lithium ion batteries to power aircraft systems, even though it's clear that safeguards failed in the case of a Japan Airlines 787 that had a battery fire while parked at Boston's Logan International Airport last month.

"Obviously what we saw in the 787 battery fire in Boston shows us there were some risks that were not mitigated, that were not addressed," Hersman told reporters in an interview. The fire was "not what we would have expected to see in a brand new battery in a brand new airplane," she said.

The board is still weeks away from determining the cause of the Jan. 7 battery fire, Hersman said.

Boise Cascade's stock soars 25% after IPO

LOS ANGELES - Riding a U.S. housing recovery and a booming stock market, building materials maker Boise Cascade jumped 25 percent in its market debut Wednesday.

It's the latest solid first-day gain for an IPO, boding well for other companies that want to raise money by going public.

Cruise company Norwegian Cruise Line rose 30 percent in its Jan. 18 debut and has kept rising. Child-care provider Bright Horizons gained 27 percent on Jan. 25. Homebuilder Tri Pointe added 12 percent on Jan. 31.

RBS hit with $610M fine in interest-rate scandal

LONDON - Britain's Royal Bank of Scotland on Wednesday became the third major bank to be caught up in a global probe of interest rate manipulation, but what makes the $610 million fine against the lender so remarkable is how it will be paid: by the bankers themselves.

Because RBS is 80 percent owned by the British government, which bailed it out during the 2008 financial crisis, the bank plans to cut 2012 bonuses and claw back previous payouts from staffers implicated in the fraud, their managers and some other employees. To take money from the corporation would, in effect, amount to making British citizens pay for the bank's role in the scandal.

RBS, Barclays of the U.K. and UBS of Switzerland were found to have rigged the London interbank offered rate, or LIBOR. It is the rate banks use to lend money to one another and provides the basis for trillions of dollars in contracts around the world; including mortgages, bonds and consumer loans.

Home Depot is set to hire 14% more temp workers

ATLANTA - Home Depot plans to add more than 80,000 temporary workers ahead of its busiest season, about 14 percent more than a year ago, as a housing rebound spurs spending on remodeling and landscaping.

The company is hiring mostly seasonal workers, though some will be offered full-time work, said Tim Crow, Home Depot's executive vice president of human resources. Last year more than half of 70,000 temporary employees gaind permanent jobs, he said.

Home Depot is adding workers to run cash registers and work in the garden and other departments this spring as Lowe's Cos. boosts seasonal hiring by 13 percent.

Analysts estimate that Atlanta-based Home Depot, which has about 331,000 workers, will report a 10 percent rise in fiscal fourth-quarter sales, the biggest quarterly gain since 2007.

The Associated Press