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Business News

Last Update on August 22, 2014 07:30 GMT

AMERICAN AIRLINES-MINORS

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- American Airlines says it will extend its fee for unaccompanied minors to charge $150 extra each way for children between 5 and 14.

The change starts Sept. 3. Currently, American charges a fee on top of the regular fare for unaccompanied minors between 5 and 11.

The airline announced the change Thursday in an employee publication.

American says extending the fee to more youths will ensure the safest possible travel for them and match the policy at US Airways. The two merged in December to form American Airlines Group Inc.

United Airlines charges $150 each way for minors 5 to 11; Delta charges $100 each way for those 5 to 14; at Southwest it's $50 each way for kids 5 to 11.

WEALTH INEQUALITY-CENSUS

NEW YORK (AP) -- A report from the Census Bureau is the latest evidence that the rich are getting richer while the poor get poorer.

The study released Thursday divided the U.S. into five groups, from wealthiest to poorest. The median net worth of the richest households rose 11 percent between 2000 and 2011, to $630,754. The next-wealthiest group's net worth also rose.

But because wealth dropped for the majority of Americans, the median household net worth for the country overall declined about 7 percent to $68,828.

The report was compiled using surveys done by the Census. It includes stocks, money in the bank, home values, retirement accounts and other assets in its measurement of net worth.

AIRLINES-LABOR DAY TRAVEL

Airline group forecasts uptick in Labor Day travel

A trade group for the nation's big airlines predicts that air travel over the Labor Day weekend will rise 2 percent from the same holiday last year.

If correct, the forecast would be more good news for the airlines. Nine big U.S. carriers earned $3.8 billion in the first half of this year, allowing them to pay down debt, reward shareholders and order new planes.

Airlines for America predicted Thursday that 14 million people would fly within the U.S. in the seven days ending Sept. 2, the day after Labor Day.

Separately, the auto club AAA forecasts that 34.7 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home by car or plane over a 5-day period ending on Labor Day. That would be a 1.3 percent increase over 2013.

HOME DEPOT-CEO

NEW YORK (AP) -- Home Depot says Craig Menear, the president of its U.S. retail operations, will become president and CEO of the company Nov. 1.

Frank Blake has been Home Depot's chairman and CEO since 2007, and he will remain chairman of the company.

Menear became president of the company's U.S. retail unit in February. He has worked for Home Depot since 1997.

Home Depot Inc. is based in Atlanta and is the largest U.S. home improvement retailer. On Tuesday, the company reported strong second-quarter results and raised its forecast for the full year. It said purchases of major items like appliances and water heaters improved compared to last year, and its results have been helped by the improving U.S. housing market.

FORD RECALLS

DETROIT (AP) -- Ford is recalling more than 160,000 vehicles in North America for two safety issues.

The largest recall involves 159,395 Focus ST and Escape vehicles from the 2013 and 2014 model years. Ford says their engines could hesitate or stall because of a wiring problem.

Ford also is recalling 616 Focus and C-Max cars made earlier this month because their steering gears don't have the proper number of ball bearings. That can potentially degrade the remaining ball bearings and lead to a loss of steering control.

Ford says there have been no accidents or injuries related to either recall. The 616 cars are still at dealerships and haven't been sold.

Ford Motor Co. will notify customers and repair the vehicles for free.

ARGENTINA-DEFAULT

NEW YORK (AP) -- A U.S. judge says Argentina's announced plans to evade his orders by failing to make required payments to U.S. bondholders is illegal and cannot be carried out.

Judge Thomas Griesa called the republic's actions toward U.S. bondholders "lawless" at a court hearing in New York City on Thursday.

But he stopped short of finding Argentina in contempt.

Argentine officials have called the U.S. hedge funds that refused to swap their bonds for lesser valued ones "vultures."

The funds are owed about $1.5 billion. Argentina says paying it would force it to owe other bondholders over $20 billion.

A lawyer for Argentina urged the judge to reject as premature a request by U.S. bondholders that Argentina be found in contempt.

MEXICO-DIALING DEPORTEES

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) -- Thousands of Mexican citizens deported by U.S. authorities are finding refuge at call centers in Tijuana and other border cities.

In perfect English -- some hardly speak Spanish -- they converse with American consumers who buy gadgets, have questions about warrantees or complain about overdue deliveries.

Many of the workers spent nearly all their lives in the U.S., which is a major selling point for Mexico over English-language industry leaders like India and the Philippines. They can chat comfortably about the U.S. housing market and Super Bowl contenders. They know slang.

One consulting firm estimates that by end of the year, Mexico's outsourced call centers will have more than 85,000 workstations -- which may be staffed two or three shifts a day. It expects Mexico to hit 110,000 in 2020.

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American Air will charge for solo kids up to 14

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- American Airlines says it will extend its fee for unaccompanied minors to charge $150 extra each way for children between 5 and 14.

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