AP Business NewsBrief at 5:34 a.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Smart watches gain interest and popularityPALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) _ On a sunny day at a picnic table in Silicon Valley, Eric Migicovsky glanced down at his wristwatch. He wasn't checking the time, he was checking his email. Glancing up, he grinned. The message was from yet another journalist. In this corner of a world obsessed with the latest tech gadget, Migicovsky is this week's hotshot as his start-up company rolls out its new, high-tech Pebble smart watches. The $150, postage stamp-sized computer on a band is tethered wirelessly to a wearers' Android or iPhone.
Senate Democrats, GOP to stage votes on rival cutsWASHINGTON (AP) _ Across-the-board spending cuts all but certain, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate are staging a politically charged showdown designed to avoid public blame for any resulting inconvenience or disruption in government services. The two parties drafted alternative measures to replace the cuts, but officials conceded in advance the rival measures were doomed.
Senate Dems' bill light on deficit cuts in 2013WASHINGTON (AP) _ White House-backed legislation in the Senate to replace $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts would raise the deficit through the end of the budget year by tens of billions of dollars, officials said late Wednesday as the two parties maneuvered for public support on economic issues. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that under the Democratic measure, deficits also would rise in each of the next two years before turning downward.
BP exec back on the stand in oil spill trialNEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Another BP executive was expected on the witness stand Thursday to face more questions from attorneys for the U.S. government, which is trying to prove the oil company is mostly to blame for a deadly explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that led to a massive oil spill. Mark Bly led the company's internal probe of its 2010 blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, but said the investigation wasn't intended to look at the disaster through the "lens of responsibility."
Dutch deficit on path to break European rulesAMSTERDAM (AP) _ Dutch government deficit spending is set to break European limits in both 2013 and 2014, a development that may compel Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem to go to opposition parties to seek approval for new tax hikes or spending cuts. The Central Planning Bureau forecast released Thursday estimates that the country's deficit will amount to 3.4 percent of annual gross domestic product this year, and 3.3 percent in 2014.
Deutsche Telekom Q4 net profit of $1 billionFRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ Deutsche Telekom saw net profit recover to (EURO)793 million ($1.04 billion) in the fourth quarter as the telecoms group declared it was "on the offensive" with new investments in higher-speed networks. Despite the improved net profit, against a loss of (EURO)1.34 billion last year, global sales declined 1.4 percent to (EURO)14.71 billion _ and sagged 4.1 percent in the U.S. market, where the company is trying to turn around its business with the help of a merger with mobile provider MetroPCS Communications.
As trend wanes, Vegas casinos fold on poker roomsLAS VEGAS (AP) _ The Tropicana hoped to step back into the big leagues when it opened its poker room in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, touting it as the coolest in town. But that same morning, federal agents shut down the three biggest online poker sites on the Internet. Last September, less than a year and a half later, the iconic casino quietly swapped out its green felt tables for slot machines.
How to fix US debt without hurting fragile economyWASHINGTON (AP) _ An ax is scheduled to hit the federal budget Friday: Unless the White House and Congress reach a budget deal by then, automatic cuts will carve $85 billion from authorized spending through Sept. 30 and $1.2 trillion over the next decade. The cuts in defense spending, unemployment benefits and other programs could slow an already struggling economy. And they would leave unaddressed the biggest long-term threats to the government's finances _ rising bills for Medicare and Social Security.
ADB president nominated to head Japan central bankTOKYO (AP) _ Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe vowed to push ahead with more aggressive monetary easing as he Thursday nominated Haruhiko Kuroda to head the country's central bank. The current Bank of Japan governor, Masaaki Shirakawa, will step down on March 19, three weeks before his term is due to end. The nomination of 68-year-old Kuroda, an Oxford-educated former vice minister of finance, was widely expected. He is currently president of the Asian Development Bank. A parliamentary vote on Kuroda's appointment is due next month.
Performance of US companies in China worsensBEIJING (AP) _ U.S. companies in China say revenue and profits fell last year as the economy slowed and they faced more difficult government regulation, a business group reported Thursday. The report by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai added to complaints that Beijing might be trying to shield Chinese companies from foreign rivals in possible violation of market-opening pledges.
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