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Business news briefs — Nov. 18

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LOCAL BUSINESS

Ohio shares in award

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, along with the attorneys general of 36 other states and the District of Columbia, announced Monday a $17 million settlement with Google Inc. The complaint centered on computer activity on Safari Web browsers during 2011 and 2012.

In a statement, DeWine said, “Consumers’ default privacy settings were circumvented without their knowledge. ... We negotiated to reach a comprehensive settlement that not only provides significant payment to the states but also addresses the specific practices involved.”

The issue concerned consumers’ Web browsers where third-party advertisers were able to gather information about Web-surfing habits.

By default, Apple’s Safari Web browser is set to block the computer items called “cookies,” but from June 1, 2011, to February 15, 2012, Google circumvented default privacy settings.

Google disabled the circumvention method in February 2012 after the practice was publicly reported.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Hydrogen vehicle coming

Hyundai plans to offer a mass-market hydrogen-powered small SUV in the U.S. next year. The Korean automaker plans to show off the specially equipped Tucson at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this week. It’s the first mass-produced fuel-cell vehicle to be sold or leased in the U.S. Hyundai plans to offer the SUV in Southern California and eventually in other areas as filling stations are built. Toyota and Honda say they’ll offer similar vehicles in 2015.

TECHNOLOGY

Yahoo makes change

Yahoo! Inc. will encrypt all information that flows between its data centers, beefing up security efforts after new reports of spying on digital content by the National Security Agency.

FINANCE

Catholics add auditors

The Vatican has hired another international consulting firm to review its finances as Pope Francis’ economic reforms are strengthened. The Vatican said EY, formerly known as Ernst & Young, will “verify and consult” on the economic activity of the Vatican City State administration, which controls the money-making Vatican Museums, post office and tax-free department store. Meanwhile, U.S.-based consulting firm Promontory Financial Group has been tasked with overhauling the Vatican’s scandal-marred bank and its other main financial department, APSA, which controls the Vatican’s real estate holdings. In one of his first acts in office, Francis created commissions of inquiry for the bank and the overall Vatican administration to cut waste and improve transparency.

CORPORATE

Sale causes name change

The Washington Post Co. is changing its name to Graham Holdings to reflect the sale of its namesake newspaper. The switch will become official Nov. 29, and its New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol will change to “GHC” from “WPO.” Washington Post Co. closed the sale of most of its newspaper business to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Oct. 1. Bezos reached a deal to buy the venerable Capital broadsheet and other newspapers from the Graham family for $250 million in August.

The company’s remaining holdings include the Kaplan education business; several television stations and Phoenix-based Cable One; Slate and Foreign policy magazines and TheRoot.com; home health-care provider Celtic Healthcare, and Forney Corp., which serves the electric utility sector.

RETAIL

Factories found unsafe

Walmart said about 10 of more than six dozen Bangladesh garment factories failed safety checks in audits it commissioned. The retailer hired Bureau Veritas to check some 200 factories it uses in Bangladesh after the April collapse of the Rana Plaza building killed more than 1,100 people and highlighted often grim conditions in the country’s garment industry. About 75 factories have been audited so far and Walmart said it will release results for other factories as the inspections are completed.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.


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