GM commits to rollover crash death reduction

Published December 6, 2006

General Motors Corp. will make side curtain air bags that protect people in rollover crashes standard equipment on all vehicles by the 2012 model year, the automaker said Tuesday. The announcement was made as GM unveiled a $10-million crash test facility in suburban Detroit that will help it study rollover crashes. GM officials hope to find ways to keep people from being ejected in rollovers and develop sensors for rollover-enabled air bags, which can help reduce injuries and prevent ejections.

File electronically, avoid tax loan ads

The Internal Revenue Services and private tax preparers have agreed that a free electronic filing program will be offered for 2006 tax returns without solicitations for refund loans that sometimes carry high interest charges and fees, the IRS said Tuesday. The IRS said the Free File Alliance, a coalition of tax-preparation software manufacturers that make their software products available for free, would no longer include side offerings such as Refund Anticipation Loans in their programs.

Amazon steps up publishing capacity

Amazon.com has fired up a new line of digital printing presses at its distribution centers around the country, betting that bigger authors and publishers will feed growth in on-demand book publishing. Amazon will use Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Indigo presses at its fulfillment centers and its BookSurge subsidiary, Sean Sundwall of Amazon said. The presses offer better quality and higher capacity than the company's previous on-demand printing setup, he said. The Indigo digital presses used by Amazon offer quality similar to traditional offset presses, and can print maximum orders of about 5,000, Michael Swack of HP said.

It's no cliche: Rich keep getting richer

The richest 2 percent of adults own more than half of the world's household wealth, perpetuating a yawning global gap between rich and poor, shows research published Tuesday by the World Institute for Development Economics Research in Helsinki, Finland. Based on 2000 data, the richest 1 percent of adults - most of whom live in Europe or the United States - owned 40 percent of global assets. The richest 10 percent of adults accounted for 85 percent of assets, the report said. By contrast, the bottom 50 percent of the world's adult population owned barely 1 percent of the world's wealth. "Income inequality has been rising for the past 20-25 years and we think that is true for inequality in the distribution of wealth," said James Davies, a professor of economics at the University of Western Ontario, one of the report's authors.