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Volkswagen to shed 30,000 jobs, cutting costs after scandal

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Volkswagen announced plans Friday to cut 30,000 jobs in a wide-ranging restructuring of its namesake brand as it tries to recover from a scandal over cars rigged to cheat on diesel emissions tests.

The German company said the job cuts, which account to around 5 per cent of its global workforce, are part of a long-term plan to improve profitability and shift resources and investment to electric-powered vehicles and digital services.

At a news conference at Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, company officials said 23,000 of the job cuts will be in Germany and that the measures will save some 3.7 billion euros ($4 billion) a year from 2020. Volkswagen employs around 120,000 people at its namesake brand in Germany.

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The effects of India’s currency reform? ‘Chaos’ say analysts

NEW DELHI (AP) — The sudden withdrawal of 86 per cent of India’s currency has left cash in short supply, retail sales stumbling and wholesale markets in turmoil.

That’s just the immediate fallout from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise effort to stamp out corruption by making cash hoards in large denomination bills worthless. But what lies ahead could be even worse, some analysts say.

“Basically, you’ve created chaos,” said Steve H. Hanke, an applied economist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a global authority on currency policy. “India is a cash economy. It’s not like Europe or the U.S. where everyone is running around with a credit card. That’s not the world of India.”

“It doesn’t look like this thing was thought through at all,” he said.

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Trump claims to save auto plant. But it wasn’t closing

DETROIT (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump claimed Thursday that he convinced the chairman of Ford Motor Co. not to move an assembly plant from Kentucky to Mexico. But Ford never intended to move the plant, just production of one of the vehicles it makes.

Trump said in a tweet that Bill Ford, the company’s executive chairman, telephoned him with the news that a “Lincoln plant” would stay in Louisville. Instead Ford decided to keep production of the Lincoln MKC small SUV at the Louisville Assembly Plant. Ford had previously said it would move production of the MKC out of the plant in order to build more Ford Escapes there.

A factory in Cuautitlan, Mexico, was likely to get the MKC. Under a contract negotiated last year with the United Auto Workers, Ford agreed to invest $700 million in the Louisville plant in return for moving production of the MKC. Because Escape production would increase, no Louisville jobs would be lost.

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Obama blocks new oil, gas drilling in Arctic Ocean

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is blocking new oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean, handing a victory to environmentalists who say industrial activity in the icy waters will harm whales, walruses and other wildlife and exacerbate global warming.

A five-year offshore drilling plan announced on Friday blocks the planned sale of new oil and gas drilling rights in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas north of Alaska. The plan allows drilling to go forward in Alaska’s Cook Inlet southwest of Anchorage.

The blueprint for drilling from 2017 to 2022 can be rewritten by President-elect Donald Trump, in a process that could take months or years.

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As Trump talks wall, China builds bridges to Latin America

LIMA, Peru (AP) — An expected U.S. economic retreat from Latin America under Donald Trump is causing the region’s leaders to look halfway around the world, to China, for help weathering the possible financial headwinds.

They’ll have the perfect opportunity to make their appeal this week when Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a Pacific Rim summit as part of a visit to Ecuador, Peru and Chile.

This is Xi’s third time in Latin America since taking office in 2013, and when he wraps up the tour he will have visited 10 countries in the region — the same number as President Barack Obama, who has been in office twice as long.

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Trump agrees to $25M settlement to resolve Trump U lawsuits

SAN DIEGO (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump agreed Friday to pay $25 million to settle several lawsuits against his now-defunct school for real estate investors, averting a trial in a potentially embarrassing case that he had vowed during the campaign to keep fighting.

If approved by a judge, the deal announced by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman would lay to rest allegations that Trump University defrauded students who paid up to $35,000 to enrol in programs that promised to share Trump’s secrets of the real estate industry.

The deal would settle a lawsuit Schneiderman filed three years ago and two class-action lawsuits filed in California on behalf of former students.

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Daily fantasy sports rivals DraftKings and FanDuel to merge

BOSTON (AP) — Daily fantasy sports rivals DraftKings and FanDuel have agreed to merge after months of speculation and increasing regulatory scrutiny.

The two companies made the announcement Friday, saying the combined organization would be able to reduce costs as they work to become profitable and battle with regulators across the country to remain legal.

In a matter of a few short years, the two have raised millions of dollars through investors and sponsorship deals, drawing the attention of policymakers across the country.

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Abercrombie off the mark in 3Q as turnaround efforts sputter

NEW ALBANY, Ohio (AP) — Abercrombie & Fitch’s plan to turn around its once-popular teen clothing brand failed to bring back shoppers to its stores.

The company said Friday that a key sales measure fell for the third straight quarter, that its profit plummeted 81 per cent in the latest quarter and that it expects a rough holiday season for the Abercrombie brand.

Once a top shop for teens, Abercrombie has struggled to attract youngsters who are more likely to shop at cheaper fast-fashion chains such as H&M and Forever 21. Abercrombie ditched its sexy advertising and banished shirtless male models from its stores last year, but people are still not coming to its stores like they had been. Sales at established Abercrombie stores fell 14 per cent in the most recent quarter, and the company said it expects the brand to remain “challenging” throughout the rest of the year.

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The Dow Jones industrial average slid 35.89 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 18,867.93. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 5.22 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 2,181.90. The Nasdaq composite touched a record high early on, but turned lower and gave up 12.46 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 5,321.51.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 27 cents to close at $45.69 a barrel in New York, while Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, added 37 cents to $46.86 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline stayed at $1.34 a gallon. Heating oil picked up 1 cent to $1.46 a gallon. Natural gas climbed 14 cents, or 5.2 per cent, to $2.84 per 1,000 cubic feet.