Volaris will offer Phx.-Mexico flights

PHOENIX - Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is welcoming a new airline that will operate direct flights to two cities in Mexico.

Volaris, the largest Mexican low-cost airline, will fly nonstop, three times a week from Phoenix to Mexico City and Phoenix to Guadalajara beginning later this year. Details on exact days and times have not yet been released.

Volaris CEO Enrique Beltranena and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton say the flights will strengthen economic ties and bolster tourism.


Slower US growth might delay Fed

WASHINGTON - The U.S. economy may not be strong enough for the Federal Reserve to slow its bond purchases later this year.

That's the takeaway from economists after the government cut its estimate Wednesday of growth in the January-March quarter to a 1.8 percent annual rate, sharply below its previous estimate of a 2.4 percent rate. The main reason: Consumers spent less than previously thought.

Most economists think growth will remain low as consumers and businesses continue to adjust to federal spending cuts and higher taxes. Growth is expected to reach an annual rate of only about 2 percent in the April-June quarter.

Even if the economy improves slightly, it would be hard to meet the Fed's forecast of 2.3 to 2.6 percent growth for 2013.

Microsoft tweaks troubled Windows 8

SAN FRANCISCO - Microsoft is trying to improve slumping PC sales and turn around growing criticism of its flagship operating system with the release of a revised version of Windows 8.

On Wednesday, Microsoft made a preview version of Windows 8.1 available for download. It includes alterations meant to address consumer dissatisfaction with the operating system. Analysts believe users' frustration with Windows 8 is partly to blame for the biggest drop in personal computer sales in nearly two decades.

Barnes & Noble gives up on tablets

Barnes & Noble Inc.'s decision to stop competing in the tablet business potentially will accelerate a break-up of the largest U.S. bookstore chain, Bloomberg News reports.

With its Nook Media digital unit racking up more losses in its fiscal fourth quarter, the company said that to cut costs and limit inventory risk it will stop making tablets and partner with electronics manufacturers.

BP mounts offensive in settlement dispute

NEW ORLEANS - With an ad blitz and a tersely worded letter, BP is mounting an increasingly aggressive campaign to challenge what could be billions of dollars in settlement payouts to businesses following its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Starbucks baristas in NY must share tips

ALBANY, N.Y. - Starbucks baristas must share their tips with shift supervisors, but assistant managers don't get a cut, New York's highest court ruled Wednesday.

The court found that shift supervisors do much of the same work as the coffee servers and therefore get to share in the tips. It also ruled the company can deny those tips to assistant managers. The ruling backed Starbucks' policy of divvying up the tips.

Hospitality industry groups say the state court decision will likely affect policies at similar restaurants and coffee shops.

Walmart calls it quits with Paula Deen

Walmart Stores Inc. announced it has ended its relationship with Southern celebrity chef Paula Deen, part of the continuing fallout in the wake of revelations that she used racial slurs in the past.

The world's largest retailer currently carries a variety of products under Deen's moniker at all of its 4,000 U.S. namesake stores.

Associated Press; Bloomberg News