Leak highlights key role of private contractors
NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. government monitors threats to national security with the help of nearly 500,000 people like Edward Snowden — employees of private firms who have access to the government’s most sensitive secrets.
When Snowden, an employee of one of those firms, Booz Allen Hamilton, revealed details of two National Security Agency surveillance programs, he spotlighted the risks of making so many employees of private contractors a key part of the U.S. intelligence apparatus.
James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, called Snowden’s leak “gut wrenching.”
Apple revamps look of iPhone, iPad software
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is throwing out most of the real-world graphical cues from its iPhone and iPad software, like the casino-green “felt” of its Game Center app, in what it calls the biggest update since the iPhone’s launch in 2007.
The new operating system, called iOS 7, strives for a clean, simple, translucent look. Apple is redesigning all its applications and icons to conform to the new look, driven by long-time hardware design chief Jony Ive.
Apple demonstrated the new software at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on Monday. The new design direction was widely expected and will show up on iPhones, iPad and iPod Touches this fall, the company said.
S&P boosts outlook for US government’s long-term debt
WASHINGTON (AP) — Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services upgraded its outlook Monday for the U.S. government’s long-term debt. S&P cited the government’s strengthened finances, a recovering U.S. economy and some easing of Washington’s political gridlock.
The credit rating service raised its outlook to “Stable” from “Negative,” which means it’s less likely to downgrade U.S. debt in the near future.
S&P also reaffirmed the government’s “AA+” long-term and “A-1+” short-term unsolicited sovereign credit ratings. The long-term rating remains a notch below S&P’s top grade.
Obama nominates Furman as top economic adviser
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has nominated Jason Furman, a veteran White House economic official, as chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers.
Obama calls Furman, 42, one of the most brilliant economic minds of his generation. He says Furman never forgets he’s fighting for the middle class and those who aspire to join it.
If confirmed by the Senate, Furman would replace Alan Krueger, who is returning to his former post as a professor at Princeton University. Obama praised Krueger, saying he’s driven by the principle that no full-time worker in America should be impoverished.
American, US Airways name post-merger leadership
DALLAS (AP) — The new American Airlines will have more top executives from smaller but more successful US Airways than from the current American.
Five US Airways executives will follow their current CEO, Doug Parker, when he takes control after the airlines complete their proposed merger. Three executives from American parent AMR Corp. were named to the new company’s leadership team.
AMR and US Airways Group Inc. hope to complete their proposed merger this summer. The deal still needs approval by U.S. antitrust regulators and AMR’s bankruptcy creditors.
McDonald’s says cheap eats helped lift sales
NEW YORK (AP) — Cheap eats and new menu items helped McDonald’s boost a key sales figure in May, bouncing back from a decline the previous month.
The world’s biggest hamburger chain said Monday that global sales rose 2.6 per cent at restaurants open at least a year, helped by an extra Friday in the month. In the U.S., the figure rose 2.4 per cent, as the Dollar Menu and its new chicken wraps and egg white breakfast sandwiches lifted results.
In Europe, the figure rose 2 per cent, as declines in Germany and France were offset by strong results in the United Kingdom and Russia.
Microsoft hypes next-gen Xbox One games at E3
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Microsoft has its head in the cloud with Xbox One.
The company focused on how cloud computing will make games for its next-generation Xbox One console more immersive during its Monday presentation at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the gaming industry’s annual trade show. Microsoft announced last week that the successor to the Xbox 360 must be connected to the Internet every 24 hours to operate, and the system would ideally always be online.
The upcoming console’s cloud computing capabilities were demonstrated by fleshing out dense environments in third-person open-world games like the zombie-fighting sequel “Dead Rising 3” and cartoony shooter “Sunset Overdrive.” The racing simulator “Forza MotorSport 5” introduced a feature called “drivatar,” which mimics players’ driving styles and allows their “drivatars” to play for them offline.
Travellers to buy Canadian insurer for about $1.1 billion
NEW YORK (AP) — Property and casualty insurer The Travelers Cos. will spend about $1.1 billion in cash to buy The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Co. and strengthen its reach north of the U.S. border.
The New York-based insurer said Monday The Dominion’s distribution network and customer base will help Travelers bolster its commercial lines business and presence in Canada.
Travellers will use debt and possibly preferred stock to help pay for the deal. It expects that the acquisition will have no significant impact on this year’s earnings per share and will provide a slight boost to 2014.
B&G Foods to buy owner of Pirate’s Booty brand
PARSIPPANY, N.J. (AP) — Food maker B&G Foods Inc. is buying Robert’s American Gourmet Food, which owns the Pirate’s Booty brand, for $195 million in cash.
B&G Foods makes foods under brands such as Cream of Wheat, Mrs. Dash and Grandma’s Molasses. CEO David Wenner says the acquisition helps it grow its natural snacks business.
Robert’s American brands also include Smart Puffs and Original Tings and is owned by VMG Partners, Driven Capital Management, founder Robert Ehrlich and other owners.
Lululemon CEO to step down
Lululemon is on the hunt for a new CEO.
The Canadian yoga clothing company that made headlines earlier this year for its see-through pants snafu said Monday that CEO Christine Day will step down as head of the company after a successor is named. Day has worked as CEO for more than five years.
The company made the announcement as it reported a slight increase in its fiscal first-quarter profit on higher revenue.
By The Associated Press(equals)
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 9.53 points at 15,238.59, a loss of 0.06 per cent. The S&P 500 index was essentially flat, falling 0.57 point to 1,642.81, or 0.03 per cent. The Nasdaq composite edged up 4.55 points to 3,473.77, a gain of 0.1 per cent.
Benchmark oil for July delivery fell 26 cents to close at $95.77 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil rose $4.06, or 4.4 per cent, last week and closed at $96.03 a barrel on Friday.
Wholesale gasoline slipped 2 cents to $2.85 a gallon. Heating oil fell less than 1 cent to $2.88 per gallon. Natural gas dropped 3 cents to $3.80 per 1,000 cubic feet.