Government ups air bag warning to 7.8M vehicles
DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government is now urging owners of nearly 8 million cars and trucks to have the air bags repaired because of potential danger to drivers and passengers. But the effort is being complicated by confusing information and a malfunctioning website.
The government's auto safety agency says that inflator mechanisms in the air bags can rupture, causing metal fragments to fly out when the bags are deployed. The inflators are made by Japanese parts supplier Takata Corp.
Safety advocates say at least four people have died from the problem, which they claim could affect more than 20 million cars nationwide. On Wednesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration added 3.1 million vehicles to an initial warning covering 4.7 million cars and SUVs.
'Silicon Beach' brings tech boom to Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (AP) — So long Silicon Valley. These days entrepreneurs and engineers are flocking to a place better known for surfing waves than the Web. Amid the palm trees and purple sunsets of the Southern California coastline, techies have built "Silicon Beach."
In the past few years Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and YouTube have opened offices on the west side of Los Angeles from Santa Monica south to Venice and Playa del Rey. They are joined by hundreds of startups including Hulu, Demand Media and Snapchat, which nixed a $3 billion takeover offer from Facebook. Major Hollywood players like The Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. have launched startup accelerators to help local tech entrepreneurs. The city of Los Angeles even hired its first chief technology officer, former Qualcomm executive Peter Marx, earlier this year.
FedEx, UPS make plans for a better holiday season
DALLAS (AP) — Facing an even bigger mountain of packages this holiday season, FedEx and UPS are hiring more workers to avoid the delays that frustrated shoppers and gift-recipients a year ago.
Last December, the delivery giants were caught off-guard by bad weather and a surge in last-minute online shopping. An estimated 2 million packages were late at Christmas.
On Wednesday, FedEx Corp. said it expects deliveries between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve to rise 8.8 percent over last year, to 290 million shipments. Volume is expected to surge on each of the first three Mondays in December, with FedEx predicting a peak of 22.6 million shipments on Monday, Dec. 15.
Spot will cost you: Pet rents become apartment fad
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Man's best friend is taking a bite out of renters' wallets.
Pet security deposits register in the hundreds of dollars and are getting steeper. Now, a monthly rental payment ranging from $10 to $50 is quickly becoming the norm, adding to the cost. Apartment managers nationwide say they require some safety net against pet damage, while others won't allow animals at all.
The rents and deposits pay for dog-poop picker-uppers, cleaning services and more, but some managers say they charge because they can. Many residents decry the move, arguing they are being bilked to keep their cats and canines.
Social Security benefits get another tiny increase
WASHINGTON (AP) — Come January, nearly 60 million Social Security recipients will get benefit increases averaging $20 a month, the third straight year of historically small pay hikes.
The 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, will also boost government benefits for millions of disabled veterans, federal retirees and people drawing disability payments for the poor.
Year after year of tiny increases are weighing on many older Americans.
The government announced the benefit increase Wednesday when it released the latest measure of consumer prices. By law, the increase is based on inflation, which has been below historical averages so far this year.
For example, gasoline prices have dropped over the past year while the cost of clothing is up by less than 1 percent, according to the September inflation report.