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National business briefs, July 10

National business briefs, July 10
By The Associated Press Published: July 10, 2013

Business briefs

GM recall may expand

— U.S. safety regulators are trying to determine whether General Motors should expand the number of midsize cars that are being fixed under a May recall. The probe affects the 2012 and 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco, Buick LaCrosse and Buick Regal sedans. In May, GM recalled nearly 43,000 cars because a defective generator control module could stall the engine or cause a fire. The cars have GM's eAssist gas-electric hybrid system. Under the recall, GM was to replace the modules in about 22,000 cars and test the remaining 21,000. But the government recently said there was a fire in a car that had been tested. It's looking into whether the modules should be replaced in all the cars. GM said the recall is continuing and it is cooperating in the investigation.

IMF sees slowing growth

— The International Monetary Fund is forecasting slower global growth for 2013 and 2014 in an update of its outlook three months ago. The lending agency cited on Tuesday expectations of a more protracted recession in Europe and a slowdown in key developing countries such as China and Brazil. The update of the IMF's World Economic Outlook issued in April projects the world economy will grow at 3.1 percent this year, the same rate as last year and down from a forecast of 3.3 percent three months ago. The 2014 forecast was cut to 3.8 percent from 4.0 percent.

Walmart fights pay rule

— Walmart said it won't build three stores it had planned for the District of Columbia if lawmakers approve a bill that would force the retailer to pay its employees at least $12.50 an hour. Arkansas-based Walmart Stores Inc. had been planning to build six stores in the nation's capital. But a Walmart representative wrote in an op-ed published online Tuesday by The Washington Post that the retailer will abandon plans for three of those stores if the bill gains final approval from the D.C. Council Wednesday. Walmart said the bill will also jeopardize three stores already under construction. The bill is backed by worker advocates and unions, which have said employees of big-box stores should earn a “living wage.” It applies only to stores doing business in spaces of 75,000 feet or more.

Alaska air hikes bag fee

Alaska Airlines is raising its fee for checking a suitcase to $25, bringing it in line with most major airlines. Starting Oct. 30, the Seattle-based airline will charge passengers $25 each for the first and second checked bags. Additional bags will cost $75. Alaska currently charges $20 per bag for the first three suitcases. The airline is also increasing the fee to change tickets to $125. Currently, Alaska charges $75 if the change is made online and $100 if the change is made through a call center. Passengers who change tickets 60 or more days from the day of travel will not incur any fee at all. Alaska Airlines Group Inc. expects the changes to result in $50 million of additional revenue each year.

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