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Published on NewsOK Modified: January 15, 2015 at 5:09 pm •  Published: January 15, 2015
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Litany of problems pushes Target into giving up on Canada

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target is giving up on its money-losing foray into Canada after just two years, closing 133 stores and cutting loose more than 17,000 employees.

Target said it didn't see how it could stop losing money before at least 2021 on its first international expansion. The closing links Target with a series of other retailers who have learned the hard way that the northern border is tough to cross.

During a call with investors Thursday, CEO Brian Cornell described the decision as "very tough."

What went wrong? Cracking the Canadian retail market, about one-tenth the size of the U.S. and right next door, looks simple. Target's difficulties show it's not.

There are costly regulations. In addition, most Canadians live near the U.S. border, compare prices religiously and are willing to shop in the U.S. to save money.

There's also increasing competition. Canadian standbys like Dollarama and Canadian Tire are formidable rivals. And Wal-Mart Stores Inc., already the biggest retailer in Canada, cut prices to fend off Target.

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Switzerland stuns markets by giving up on currency peg

LONDON (AP) — Rarely has one statement prompted such a dramatic move in currency markets.

The Swiss franc achieved a turbo-charged lift Thursday after the Swiss National Bank, or SNB, ditched an increasingly expensive policy to limit the export-sapping rise of the currency. Within minutes of the early morning announcement, the currency spiked around a third against the euro and the dollar while Swiss shares tanked, prompting confusion and a fair degree of anger across trading room floors.

The decision by the SNB to call time on its efforts to prevent the euro from trading below 1.20 francs was a huge surprise and came amid mounting speculation that the European Central Bank will next week back a big stimulus program that will put more euros in circulation which would further dilute their value. That expectation has pushed the euro down to near-decade lows against the dollar.

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Q&A: US government eases Cuba travel restrictions

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans are one step closer to being able to vacation in Cuba, but don't pack your bathing suit and sunscreen just yet.

A new set of government regulations takes effect Friday, severely loosening travel and trade restrictions that have been in place for 54 years. The rules follow President Barack Obama's announcement last month of a reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the communist island. Only Congress can fully remove the embargo but it is up to the administration to enforce — or turn a blind eye — to the travel ban.

Travel and hospitality companies are salivating at the chance to set up shop in Cuba. Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International and the Carnival Corp. have all expressed interest.

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China's Xiaomi takes aim at Apple with new phone

BEIJING (AP) — Rising smartphone star Xiaomi is moving upmarket and taking aim at Apple's iPhone.

The Chinese manufacturer known for ultra-low-priced handsets on Thursday unveiled a new model that Chairman Jun Lei said is comparable to Apple's iPhone 6 but thinner, lighter and much cheaper. The phone starts at 2,299 yuan ($375), less than half the 5,288 yuan ($865) price of an iPhone 6 in China.

Xiaomi, founded in 2010, passed South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. in the second quarter of last year as the best-selling smartphone brand in China by number of handsets sold. The company is expanding into India and other developing markets but has yet to announce plans to enter the United States or Europe.

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Court filings show Caesars unit owes Gordon Ramsay, Nobu

Caesars Entertainment Operating Co.'s bankruptcy reveals a few people, places and companies owed money including celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, Clark County where the Las Vegas Strip sits and the Nobu restaurant chain co-founded by actor Robert De Niro.

The debt-heavy unit of the casino giant filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy early Thursday and listed 50 entities it owes the most money to behind others owed billions on secured debt.

Ramsay is owed $307,479.

Nobu is owed $459,963.

Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa says the company mistakenly listed the agency as an unsecured creditor owed $46.9 million for a bond issued in 2008 to move power lines underground on Caesars' land on Flamingo Road. He says the county is a secured creditor, bumping it up in line to be paid back.

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