Baby bounce: Royal infant may help UK economy
LONDON - British officials are hoping that the impending royal birth will produce a bouncing baby buoy for the economy.
With the Duchess of Cambridge due to give birth to an heir to the throne next month, it's time for citizens and groups to consider how to best mark the moment.
Happy occasions often boost consumer confidence, sparking a spring in the step that leads right to the shopping mall for street party snacks, summer frocks and suntan lotion.
And happy national occasions with the royal family and a new heir hit an emotional jackpot in Britain - boosting national pride along with tea, cakes and commemorative china.
8 charged in hacking of payroll, financial firms
NEWARK, N.J. - U.S. prosecutors announced fraud and other charges Wednesday against eight alleged members of an international cybercrime ring that the government said hacked into the computers of more than a dozen leading financial institutions and the U.S. military's payroll service.
Prosecutors said the scheme to steal millions from customer accounts was led by Oleksiy Sharapka, 33, of Kiev, Ukraine, who remained at large along with a second Ukrainian national.
Four of the defendants had been arrested by Wednesday morning, including key associates in New York, Massachusetts and Georgia accused of using stolen identities to try to cash out the hacked accounts, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said.
The government said institutions whose computer networks were hacked included Aon Hewitt, Automated Data Processing Inc., Citibank, E-Trade, Electronic Payments Inc., Fundtech Holdings LLC, iPayment Inc., JPMorgan Chase Bank, Nordstrom Bank, PayPal, TD Ameritrade, TIAA-CREF, USAA, Veracity Payment Solutions Inc. and the payroll arm of the U.S. Defense Department.
The ring targeted electronic payment systems of the various institutions in a bid to steal at least $15 million from U.S. customers, prosecutors said.
The criminal complaint notes that some of the efforts to steal funds from customer accounts were blocked.
BP: Demand for energy worldwide slows down
LONDON - Global demand for oil, gas, coal and nuclear power grew at a slower pace last year because of weak economic growth, recession and increased efficiency, energy company BP said Wednesday.
In an annual review of the world energy market, BP PLC said growth in energy consumption slowed to 1.8 percent from 2.4 percent in 2011. Demand continued to grow in China and India, which together accounted for almost 90 percent of the global increase. But even growth in developing countries was slower than it has been over the last decade.
Energy demand in the United States fell 2.8 percent.
CEOs optimistic, look to hire more by year's end
Chief executives for the largest U.S. companies are more optimistic about sales over the next six months and plan to add more workers.
The Business Roundtable said Wednesday that its April-June quarterly survey found 32 percent of its members expect to expand payrolls in the next six months. That's up from 29 percent in the January-March survey. And 78 percent expect their sales to increase. That's up from 72 percent from the previous survey.
Consumers have kept spending this year, despite an increase in Social Security taxes. That's helped the economy grow at a modest pace.
Facebook hashtags debut,
letting users find topics
Facebook is introducing hashtags, the number signs used on Twitter, Instagram and other services to identify topics being discussed and allow users to search for them.
Facebook Inc. said in a blog post Wednesday that users will be able to click a hashtag to see a feed of discussions about a particular topic. For example, typing a hashtag in front of "ladygaga" or "sunset" will turn the words into a link that users can click on to find posts about Lady Gaga or sunsets.
Facebook said hashtags are a first step toward making it easier for users to find out what others are discussing.
If Twitter's use of hashtags is any indication, Facebook will likely incorporate them into its advertising business.
Tire maker's buyer committed to US plants
TOLEDO, Ohio - A tire maker whose main market is India is buying Ohio's Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. for $2.2 billion and making a commitment to maintain its three U.S. manufacturing plants, Cooper's CEO said Wednesday.
India's Apollo Tyres Ltd. said the combined company will be the world's seventh-largest tire maker.
ESPN to end broadcasts in 3-D by end of year
ESPN will stop broadcasting in 3-D by the end of the year, the network said Wednesday, dealing a major blow to a technology that was launched with great fanfare but has been limping along for years.
The sports network said there were too few viewers to make 3-D broadcasts worthwhile.
The Associated Press