After hurricanes strike, US Virgin Islands pitches Florida investors to help rebuild

Business / Business News /

After the worst hurricanes in U.S. Virgin Islands history, economic development specialists from the territory is seeking investors, offering generous tax incentives.

The U.S. territory, which was hit by Hurricanes Irma, Maria and Jose, used the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show as a platform to pitch professional service firms and light ...Read more

In challenging times, Chicago's Mag Mile retail rents stay among North America's highest

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CHICAGO -- Chicago's North Michigan Avenue storefronts still bring in some of the highest rents in North America, with new deals averaging $550 per square foot even amid volatile times for retailers.

Magnificent Mile annual retail rents remained unchanged from 2016, according to the Main Streets Across the World report by commercial real estate...Read more

Real estate Q&A: No 'hard' law offers guidance for when HOAs require buyers to join golf clubs

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Q: Our homeowner association recently passed an amendment to our community requiring everyone who buys a resale in our community to join the golf and country club. It is costly to do so, and I am having a problem selling my home. Can the association do this? – David

A: This is an area of law where there is no clear answer to give you. You ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Can mortgage shoppers rely on the APR?

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APR stands for "Annual Percentage Rate," designed to be a comprehensive measure of the cost of credit that mortgage borrowers could use to compare loans offered by different lenders, or loans with different features. The APR adjusts the interest rate to take account of all loan fees paid up front by the borrower to the lender. (Note: It does NOT...Read more

Bill Gates just bought a huge chunk of land — he wants to build his own 'smart city'

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The richest man in the United States wants to build his own city.

Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates put down $80 million for a massive swath of land in Arizona, about 45 minutes west of downtown Phoenix, KPNX reports.

His goal? Developing 25,000 acres of land into a 'smart city' that will be called "Belmont." The ...Read more

Murkiness surrounds firm linked by dossier to hacking of Democrats

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WASHINGTON -- The dossier that has fueled investigations into Russian connections to Donald Trump's team got a lot right. Indeed, congressional probes and the first guilty plea in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation have shown the document's suggestions that the Kremlin sought for years to cultivate Trump, that it cozied up to key ...Read more

Cruise company won't refund customers after FEMA takes over ship

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MIAMI -- Native-born Montanan Mindy Bausch thought the cruise she booked after a random political survey call might be the ticket to getting her nature-loving husband out of Montana and to the Bahamas for a warm Caribbean vacation.

"We don't travel," she explained via email. "My husband's idea of a vacation is sleeping in a tent in 20 degree ...Read more

California fines Anthem $5 million for failing to address consumer grievances

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California's managed-care regulator has fined insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross $5 million for repeatedly failing to resolve consumer grievances in a timely manner.

The state Department of Managed Health Care criticized Anthem, the nation's second-largest health insurer, for systemic violations and a long history of flouting the law in regard ...Read more

Airbnb boasts best quarter ever, but doesn't claim to be 'perfect'

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SAN FRANCISCO -- From Chris Lehane's perspective, Airbnb has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.

The San Francisco-based home-sharing startup just saw its best quarter ever. It's big bet on activity booking is paying off. And more cities are coming to terms with its revolutionary short-term rental model.

Those were some of the main ...Read more

US intelligence warns high-tech firms of flaws in software — and often gets ignored

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government informs software companies of 90 percent of the security flaws the intelligence community finds in their products, but a significant number of vendors ignore the warnings, the federal cyber czar said Wednesday.

Rob Joyce, the White House cybersecurity coordinator, said many high-tech firms act quickly to issue ...Read more

Consumer Confidential: Swamp deepens as Trump names former drug industry exec to be health secretary

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Alex Azar, President Donald Trump's pick to serve as Health and Human Services secretary, represents everything wrong with the incestuous relationship that often exists between government officials and the industries they oversee.

This is a guy who, after being active in George W. Bush's presidential campaign, landed a plum job with the ...Read more

China's real-estate agents explain why they love Seattle and if they think foreign homebuying will keep surging

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SEATTLE -- One of the biggest stories in the Seattle-area real-estate market continues to be the strong interest among homebuyers coming from China.

Although foreign sales here are down a bit lately, King County in recent years has become one of the most sought-after U.S. regions for people in China looking for a home as an investment or to ...Read more

Senate tax bill ditches stock option change after outcry from tech startups

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WASHINGTON -- A revised Senate tax bill has ditched a change in the treatment of stock options after an outcry from technology startups.

The original bill released last week proposed to tax stock options on the date they vest instead of when they are cashed in. Technology startups such as Hyperloop One, Airbnb, Uber and Vimeo complained that ...Read more

Richard Cordray is stepping down as Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director

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WASHINGTON -- Richard Cordray announced Wednesday that he expects to step down before the end of the month as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Cordray was appointed by President Barack Obama as the first director of the bureau, which was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law. Cordray's term was not set to ...Read more

Target's conservative profit outlook for holidays sends shares tumbling

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Target executives are full of confidence heading into the holiday season, but investors showed more concern Wednesday about how the retailer's lowered prices, investments to boost employee wages and the higher costs to fulfill digital orders will continue to take a toll on its profits.

The company's shares were trading down 6 ...Read more

Tech Q&A: Solving the mystery of Windows updates

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Q: Several years ago, I purchased an HP Envy PC, model h8-1414. I've upgraded the operating system from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. Now I can't get automatic Windows 10 updates to complete; the updates freeze and I'm forced to restart the PC. A few hours later, the PC tries to update Windows 10 again, with the same result. Because of...Read more

Car recalls are at an all-time high, but 30% remain unrepaired

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Vehicle recalls are regularly in the news, warning of inadvertent air bag deployments, faulty door latches, even risks of fire, not to mention the ongoing Takata air bag recall that dwarfs all others.

But the steady stream of recalls masks the fact that about 30 percent of recalled vehicles remain unrepaired on America's roads, according to ...Read more

Mark Phelan: Autonomous cars likely to transport elderly, children in future

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Self-driving cars will change millions of people's lives for the better by providing independence and mobility to those who can't drive because of physical limitations or age. The technology will allow more people to live on their own terms and participate in what the most of us consider everyday life.

"Autonomy promises better mobility and ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Can mortgage shoppers rely on the APR?

Business / Business News /

APR stands for "annual percentage rate," designed to be a comprehensive measure of the cost of credit that mortgage borrowers could use to compare loans offered by different lenders, or loans with different features. The APR adjusts the interest rate to take account of all loan fees paid up front by the borrower to the lender. (Note: It does not...Read more

Should brick-and-mortar shops be able to veto sidewalk vendors?

Business / Business News /

LOS ANGELES -- When pushcart vendors try to set up shop in front of his East Hollywood gas station, Jacques Massachi tells them to leave.

"I don't allow them. I just don't allow them," Massachi said.

The sidewalk sellers can end up obstructing traffic in and out of the gas station, he complained. And if they hawk hot dogs, ice cream or ...Read more