NSA director says plot against Wall Street foiled
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. foiled a plot to bomb the New York Stock Exchange because of the sweeping surveillance programs at the heart of a debate over national security and personal privacy, officials said Tuesday at a rare open hearing on intelligence — a set-piece for supporters of the spying.
The House Intelligence Committee, led by lawmakers sympathetic to the extraordinary surveillance, provided a venue for officials to defend the once-secret programs. There was limited probing of claims that the collection of people’s phone records and Internet usage has disrupted dozens of terrorist plots, and few details were volunteered.
Army Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, said the two recently disclosed programs — one that gathers U.S. phone records and another that is designed to track the use of U.S.-based Internet servers by foreigners with possible links to terrorism — are critical. But details about them were not closely held within the secretive agency. Alexander said after the hearing that most of the documents accessed by Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former systems analyst on contract to the NSA, were on a web forum available to many NSA employees. Others were on a site that required a special credential to access. Alexander said investigators are studying how Snowden did that.
Chrysler agrees to recall of Jeeps at risk of fire
DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler abruptly agreed to recall 2.7 million older model Jeeps Tuesday, reversing a defiant stance and avoiding a possible public relations nightmare over fuel tanks that can rupture and cause fires in rear-end collisions.
In deciding on the recall, Chrysler sidestepped a showdown with government safety regulators that could have led to public hearings with witnesses providing details of deadly crashes involving the Jeeps. The dispute ultimately could have landed in court and hurt Chrysler’s image and its finances.
The company said calls from customers concerned about the safety of their Jeeps played a part in its going along with the government’s request.
Wake-up call: Starbucks to post calorie counts
NEW YORK (AP) — Starbucks has a new way to wake up its customers: showing the calories in its drinks.
The Seattle-based coffee chain says it will start posting calorie counts on menu boards nationwide next week, ahead of a federal regulation that would require it to do so.
Calorie counts on menus are already required in some parts of the country, including New York City.
G-8 seeks unity on Syrian peace talks, tax evasion
ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland (AP) — President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other G-8 leaders attempted to speak with one voice Tuesday on seeking a negotiated Syrian peace settlement — yet couldn’t publicly agree on whether this means President Bashar Assad must go.
Their declaration at the end of the two-day Group of Eight summit sought to narrow the diplomatic chasm between Assad’s key backer, Russia, and Western leaders on starting peace talks in Geneva to end a two-year civil war that has claimed an estimated 93,000 lives.
G-8 leaders also published sweeping goals for tightening the tax rules on globe-trotting corporations that long have exploited loopholes to shift profits into foreign shelters that charge little tax or none. But that initiative, aimed at forcing the Googles and Apples of the world to pay higher taxes, contained only aspirations, not binding commitments.
US consumer prices rise just 0.1 per cent in May
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer prices rose slightly last month, as higher energy costs partly offset cheaper food. The small increase is further evidence that consumers are benefiting from mild inflation.
The consumer price index ticked up a seasonally adjusted 0.1 per cent in May from April, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Over the past 12 months, prices have risen just 1.4 per cent.
Excluding volatile food and gas costs, core prices rose 0.2 per cent in May from April. Core prices are up just 1.7 per cent over the past 12 months, in line with the Federal Reserve’s inflation target of 2 per cent.
US home construction rises 6.8 per cent in May
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders stepped up home construction in May and applied for permits to build single-family homes at the fastest pace in five years. The gains show housing remains a key source of growth for the economy.
The overall pace of homes started rose 6.8 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 914,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That offset part of the 14.8 per cent decline in April. May’s rate is still below March’s pace of more than 1 million — the fastest in five years.
Construction increased in May for both single-family homes and apartments and condos.
With Samsung, Jay-Z’s business continues to boom
NEW YORK (AP) — He really is more than a businessman.
Jay-Z’s partnership with Samsung for his new album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” is another sign of how musicians are finding new ways to push, sell and promote their music, and how the multiplatinum performer — who famously rapped “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man” — continues to leverage his enduring popularity into a successful brand.
Jay-Z will give his new album to 1 million users of Galaxy mobile phones on July 4, three days before the album’s official release date. The 43-year-old broke the news about his twelfth album in a three-minute commercial during the NBA Finals.
Details about the Samsung-Jay-Z deal, announced Sunday, weren’t disclosed and both parties did not grant interviews.
Sprint sues to stop Dish Clearwire buyout
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Sprint is suing to stop Dish Network’s buyout of wireless data network operator Clearwire. The nation’s third-largest cellphone carrier said the proposed deal violates the rights of Sprint and other Clearwire shareholders.
Dish has offered to pay $4.40 per share for Clearwire, which has recommended that its shareholders approve the offer. That reverses its earlier stance in support of a takeover bid by Sprint, its majority shareholder.
Sprint, headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., has bid $3.40 per share for the minority stake in Clearwire it doesn’t already own.
MGM, AEG to develop 20,000 seat Las Vegas Strip arena
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Years of talk about building an arena capable of hosting professional sports and big-name concerts yielded an announcement Tuesday that casino giant MGM Resorts International and entertainment company AEG will build a privately financed 20,000-seat indoor venue on the Las Vegas Strip.
Construction on the $350 million arena should start next summer on land that MGM Resorts owns between the New York-New York and Monte Carlo resorts, the two companies said in a joint announcement. Completion is expected by spring 2016.
The international design firm Populous will draw up plans for premium seating and hospitality areas for entertainment and sports events, the statement said. Populous designed London’s O2 arena, Berlin’s O2 World arena and Kansas City’s Sprint Center, among other projects.
European car sales hit 20-year low for May
MILAN (AP) — European car sales had their worst May in 20 years as the region’s recession drags on, the European automakers’ association said Tuesday.
Passenger car demand for May dropped by 5.9 per cent on the same month last year in the 27-country European Union to 1.042 million units, the lowest level for that month since 1993 when sales dropped below 1 million, according to new figures released by ACEA. For the first five months of the year, sales dropped 6.8 per cent to 5.07 million.
After hitting a 17-year low in 2012 with a little over 12 million new registrations, European passenger car sales have continued to sag as the European economy struggles to recover from its debt crisis.
By The Associated Press=
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 138.38 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 15,318.23. The Nasdaq composite index rose 30.05 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 3,482.18. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 12.77 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 1,651.81.
Benchmark oil for July delivery rose 67 cents to close at $98.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oil varieties, gained 55 cents to $106.02 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Wholesale gasoline added 2 cents to $2.88 a gallon. Heating oil was rose 1 cent to $2.96 per gallon. Natural gas gained 3 cents to $3.91 per 1,000 cubic feet.