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Feb 22, 5:24 PM EST

Business Highlights


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Ford names Lincoln chief to replace ousted N. American head

DETROIT (AP) - A veteran Ford Motor Co. executive who was leading the Lincoln luxury brand has been picked to lead North American operations, replacing an executive who was ousted this week over allegations of inappropriate behavior. Kumar Galhotra, 52, will replace Raj Nair starting March 1, the company said in a statement Thursday.

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Airbnb unveils new category of rentals rated by inspectors

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Airbnb is dispatching inspectors to rate some of the properties listed on its home-rental service in an effort to reassure travelers they're booking nice places to stay. The Plus program is aimed at winning over travelers who aren't sure they can trust the computer-driven system that Airbnb uses to assess the quality of rentals. Airbnb believes travelers will be willing to pay more for inspector-certified properties, allowing property owners to recoup a $149 fee to participate.

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Industrials companies drive US stock indexes mostly higher

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stocks closed mostly higher Thursday after a late-afternoon wave of selling pared some of gains from the market's midday rally. Gains by industrials and other sectors outweighed losses in banks and health care stocks. Energy companies also notched solid gains after crude oil prices recovered from an early slide. Bond yields declined after spiking to four-year highs a day earlier amid rekindled fears of higher inflation and interest rates.

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States to forego most of $650M legal settlement with Takata

DETROIT (AP) - Japanese air bag maker Takata has reached a $650 million settlement over legal claims from 44 state governments and Washington, D.C. But the states won't get much of the money. That's because they have agreed not to collect the settlement so victims of Takata's faulty air bags get larger settlements.

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Leading liberal policy group unveils 'coverage for all' plan

WASHINGTON (AP) -A leading liberal policy group is raising the ante in the health care debate with a new plan that builds on Medicare to guarantee coverage for all. Called "Medicare Extra for All," the proposal released Thursday by the Center for American Progress gives politically energized Democrats more options to achieve a long-sought goal. Even though the plan has no chance of passing in a Republican-controlled Congress, center president Neera Tanden says "it's time to go bolder."

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Mississippi gives tax break to hotel tied to Trump company

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The state of Mississippi has granted a tax break worth just over $6 million to a hotel developer affiliated with the Trump Organization. Mississippi Development Authority spokesman Jeff Rent confirms Thursday that the agency's board approved the tourism tax rebate Wednesday for a hotel in Cleveland, Mississippi. It is being built by a Mississippi-based company that announced a deal in June with the U.S. president's company.

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Another former employee sues Google over issues of diversity

NEW YORK (AP) - Another former Google employee is suing the tech company over issues of diversity. Software developer Tim Chevalier, who is transgender, says he was fired for speaking up about online bullying he experienced at the company and complaining about discrimination, harassment and white supremacy on Google's internal messaging system. Another former employee, James Damore, has already sued, alleging his ouster was driven by a corporate culture that discriminates against white men conservatives.

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Satellites see big fishing's footprint on the high seas

WASHINGTON (AP) - A new global study gives the first comprehensive snapshot of how extensive industrial fishing is. Researchers found more than 55 percent of the world's oceans are fished commercially. Five nations are responsible for 85 percent of high seas fishing. The findings released Thursday in the journal Science relied on billions of automated ship safety signals beamed to satellites.

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So long, free Footlongs: Subway to shake up rewards program

NEW YORK (AP) - Subway is shaking up its loyalty program, giving customers the ability to earn $2 discounts instead of free Footlongs. The changes, taking place next month, are part of Subway's attempts to revamp its image, lure people back to its restaurants and fight falling sales. With the new loyally program, customers who spend $50 will get a $2 discount they can use on any menu item. The previous program gave those that spent $50 a free 6-inch sandwich; those that spent $75 earned a free Footlong.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 2.63 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,703.96. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 164.70 points, or 0.7 percent, to 24,962.48. The Nasdaq fell 8.14 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,210.09. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 1.85 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,529.99.

Benchmark U.S. crude recovered from an early slide, adding $1.09, or 1.8 percent, to settle at $62.77 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 97 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $66.39 per barrel in London. Heating oil gained 2 cents to $1.95 a gallon. Wholesale gasoline added a penny to $1.77 a gallon. Natural gas fell 3 cents to $2.63 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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