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Digest

As gas prices surge, inflation growth eases

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 16, 2007


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Washington

Consumer inflation eased a bit in April even though gasoline prices surged for a second straight month. Consumer prices rose by 0.4 percent last month following a 0.6 percent jump in March, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. The April increase was slightly lower than expected, although gasoline pump prices jumped by 4.7 percent after a 10.6 percent advance in March. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, edged up just 0.2 percent as falling prices for clothing, airline tickets and tobacco products helped restrain underlying inflation. Through the first four months of this year, consumer inflation is rising at an annual rate of 4.8 percent, almost double the 2.5 percent increase for all of 2006. The acceleration has occurred in large part because of higher costs for food and energy.

VW Passat fires lead to inquiry

Volkswagen AG's 2000 to 2003 Passat cars are being investigated by a U.S. safety agency after 19 reports of fires that may be caused by malfunctioning ignition coils. The inquiry may affect about 346, 000 gasoline-powered Passats with four- and six-cylinder engines, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tuesday on its Web site. The fires were in the engine compartment, the instrument-panel area and on the underside of the cars near the catalytic converter, the agency said. No injuries were reported. Volkswagen, Europe's largest automaker, sold 352, 668 Passats during the four years covered by the investigation, according to Autodata Corp. of Woodcliff Lake, N.J. The Passat is second among the German automaker's models in U.S. sales, behind the Jetta.

RALEIGH, N.C.

Site won't give sex offenders' names

MySpace.com said Tuesday it won't comply with a request by attorneys general from eight states to hand over the names of registered sex offenders who use the social-networking Web site. In a statement, MySpace's chief security officer, Hemanshu Nigam, said state and federal laws prohibit the Web site from sharing such information. "We are doing everything short of breaking the law to ensure that the information about these predators gets to the proper authorities, " he said. In December, MySpace announced it was partnering with Sentinel Tech Holding Corp. to build a database with information on sex offenders in the United States. Software to identify and remove sex offenders from the site has been used for 12 days, and MySpace has "removed every registered sex offender that we identified out of our more than 175 profiles, " Nigam said.

COLUMBUS, Ohio

Limited Brands to sell part of Express

Limited Brands Inc. will sell a majority interest in its underperforming Express apparel brand and is considering options for its Limited Stores chain, the retailer said Tuesday. Limited Brands, the operator of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, said it is selling 67 percent of its interest in Express to affiliates of private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $548-million. The sale is expected to be completed by July.

[Last modified May 16, 2007, 00:33:40]


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