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U.S. consumer confidence hits three-decade low

WASHINGTON — US consumer confidence plunged to the lowest level in more than three decades in early August, according to data published Friday by Reuters and the University of Michigan. Their index of consumer sentiment tumbled to 54.9, its lowest reading since May 1980, when the index sank to 51.7.…

Europe stocks mainly down after short selling ban

PARIS — Europe’s main stock markets mainly opened lower on Friday after France, Italy, Spain and Belgium banned on short selling amid continued volatile trade due to concerns over the US and eurozone debt crisis. In Paris, the CAC 40 stock index dropped 2.06 percent to 3,019.84 points, as official…

U.S. firms pile up cash, but not jobs

NEW YORK — Piles of cash built up since the financial crisis have left big US companies sitting pretty as financial markets gyrate, but their reluctance to invest is holding back US growth. The result is that while corporate America is looking good amid all the instability, the country is…

Google+ social network adds games

SAN FRANCISCO — Google+ added games, including the hugely popular Angry Birds, to the fast-growing social network vying with Facebook to be the hub for people’s online lives. “We want to make playing games online just as fun, and just as meaningful, as playing in real life,” Google senior vice…

No charges for bloggers who published details of iPhone 4 prototype

SAN FRANCISCO — Prosecutors on Apple’s home turf have decided not to pursue criminal charges against Gizmodo technology bloggers who got hold of a lost iPhone 4 prototype. A man who purportedly found the gadget in a bar and another who brokered a deal to sell it to Gizmodo will…

Pfizer begins long-delayed payouts over Nigerian drug trial

US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer on Thursday began long-awaited compensation payments to families over a 1996 drug trial blamed for the deaths of 11 children and disabilities in dozens of others. But even as the compensation process began, the company faced further criticism since only four families were paid in the…

Britons use social networking sites to expose rioters

Britons took to social networking sites on Wednesday to expose the rioters who went on the rampage for four nights, posting photos of masked gangs looting and hurling missiles. Much of the violence, which started in London but has since spread to other parts of the country, was captured on…

Fresno County moves to shut down medical marijuana shops

Officials in Fresno County, California voted last night in favor of a controversial measure that bans all distribution of medical marijuana and forces production into warehouses along the county’s industrial areas. Growers and sellers are almost certain to challenge the ordinance in court, arguing that it violates the state law’s…

Apple to recycle all computers and displays, free of charge

In a little noticed update to its website, Apple, the world’s largest computer company, said this week that it would begin recycling old Macs, PCs and monitors sent to them through the mail — and they’re even picking up the shipping bill. Apple’s e-waste recycling program was first launched in…

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