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Last Update on May 27, 2015 07:30 GMT


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The IRS says thieves used an online service provided by the agency to gain access to information from more than 100,000 taxpayers.

The information at risk includes tax returns and other tax information on file with the IRS.

The IRS says the thieves accessed a system called "Get Transcript." In order to access the information, the thieves cleared a security screen that required knowledge about the taxpayer, including Social Security number, date of birth, tax filing status and street address.

IRS commissioner John Koskin says, "We're confident that these are not amateurs." Koskinen says the agency was alerted to the thieves when technicians noticed an increase in the number of taxpayers requesting transcripts.

The IRS says the hackers targeted the system from February to mid-May. The service has been temporarily shut down.


BEIJING (AP) -- Coal production in China, the world's biggest coal-consuming nation, fell by 6 percent in the first four months of this year as the economy slows and the government makes a concerted push to reduce carbon emissions.

The National Development and Reform Commission says that Chinese imports of coal also fell, plummeting 38 percent.

China uses roughly half of all of the world's coal production for power generation, heating and industry. That's made China the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) has pledged to stop the growth in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and clean up the country's polluted air. He's also promised to double the percentage of renewable energy in China's energy sources by that year.

A slowdown in China's economy has also tempered demand for coal and slowed growth in overall Chinese energy consumption.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Reynolds American's proposed $25 billion acquisition of rival Lorillard has cleared a key regulatory hurdle to move closer to completing a deal that will unite some of the nation's top cigarette brands.

The Federal Trade Commission gave its consent after wrapping up a 10-month review that concluded Reynolds' previously announced divestiture plans will be enough to preserve competition in the U.S. cigarette market. The approval was narrowly granted on a 3-2 vote of the FTC's commissioners.

Reynolds, the maker of Camel and Pall Mall cigarettes, is creating another competitor by selling its Kool, Salem, Winston, and Maverick brands to the U.K.'s Imperial Tobacco for $7.1 billion. To get the deal done, Reynolds is also selling Lorillard's dominant Blu e-cigarette brand to Imperial in addition to a Greensboro, North Carolina plant.

By making those concessions, Reynolds is still getting to keep Lorillard's best-known cigarette brand, Newport.

The Lorillard acquisition will put Reynolds in a better position to challenge Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes.


Pacific Gas & Electric Co. president announces retirement

UNDATED (AP) -- The president of Pacific Gas & Electric Company is retiring at the end of the year.

California's largest utility announced the retirement of Christopher P. Johns in a statement, and said the board of directors will discuss a replacement before Johns' last day.

Johns led the company through a deadly 2010 pipeline explosion that resulted in a $1.6 billion fine by the California Public Utilities Commission earlier this year.

Federal investigators faulted both PG&E and lax oversight by the utilities commission in the explosion, which killed eight people in the San Francisco suburb of San Bruno.

Johns joined PG&E in 1996 as vice president and controller. He was named chief financial officer in January 2005 and named president of PG&E in August 2009.


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A new lawsuit alleges federal immigration officials routinely delay issuing employment authorization documents to eligible immigrants and fail to issue interim documents, preventing them from working legally.

The suit says immigrants who are renewing their work authorization are also at risk: They can lose their jobs, benefits and, in some states, their driver's licenses.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle and seeks class action status.

Work authorization is typically issued to people eligible for asylum, green cards and other types of visas and immigration statuses.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are required to decide most employment authorization applications within 90 days. In case of delays, the USCIS is required to issue an interim work authorization document.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Germany's Deutsche Bank AG has agreed to pay $55 million to settle civil charges of filing incorrect reports during the financial crisis that downplayed risks of huge losses.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement Tuesday with the big German bank, which is a prominent institution on Wall Street. Deutsche Bank has neither admitted nor denied the allegations but has agreed to refrain from future violations of the securities laws.

The SEC says that in two quarterly reports in 2008 and 2009, Deutsche Bank inflated the value of its transactions designed to hedge against losses on securities in the credit markets, which were turbulent at the time. The agency says that created a "gap risk" worth billions of dollars that wasn't properly taken into account in the bank's reports.

Deutsche Bank says it's already set aside reserves to pay the $55 million penalty, and the payment will have no impact on its previous financial reports. The bank says it has not had any losses related to the "gap risk" because it never materialized.


SAN DIEGO (AP) -- San Diego's dominant newspaper -- the San Diego Union-Tribune -- is laying off nearly a third of its 600 employees. Last week the paper was acquired for $85 million by Los Angeles Times owner Tribune Publishing.

The Union-Tribune says 178 employees -- most in its printing and delivery divisions -- would be laid off and their jobs done in Los Angeles.

A total of 100 people were laid off from operations, including truck drivers, machinists, electricians and pressroom workers. Twenty-nine were cut from circulation and 36 from advertising sales and finance. Nine of the 173 newsroom staffers were laid off, nearly all from the paper's video department.


PARIS (AP) -- The world's No. 1 luxury goods company LVMH is in talks to buy respected French newspaper Le Parisien, a purchase that would complement its other media holding, the financial daily Les Echos.

LVMH says it's been in exclusive negotiations with the Amaury Group which owns the daily Le Parisien and its sister paper Aujourd'hui en France. Amaury also owns ASO, which runs the Tour de France cycling race. It didn't say what it was offering.


DUBLIN (AP) -- The government of Ireland says it intends to sell its 25 percent stake in the Aer Lingus airline to IAG after receiving guarantees that the parent company of British Airways will increase employment and air links with the United States.

IAG, which also operates Spain's Iberia airline, confirms revised terms of its takeover offer in tandem with Ireland's Cabinet announcement. It confirms promises to keep Aer Lingus as a separate brand, to reserve its valuable landing slots at London's Heathrow Airport for Aer Lingus use, and several other conditions demanded by the government in exchange for its acceptance.

IAG first launched its takeover bid in December.


NEW YORK (AP) -- More than 160,000 folding knives made by hunting gear company Gerber are being recalled because the blade can unexpectedly unlock and cause cuts.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says it has received six reports of injuries, two of which required stitches.

The 7-inch Cohort Folding Knife was sold for about $30 at Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's, Home Depot and other stores around the country between January 2013 and March 2015. The CPSC says owners of the knife should stop using it and call Gerber Legendary Blades at 877-314-9130 to receive a replacement. Gerber is based in Portland, Oregon.

The CPSC says 150,000 of the knives are in the U.S., and 11,000 are in Canada.


CPSC recall information:


SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- TiVo Inc. attracted another 285,000 subscribers to its digital video recording technology during its fiscal first quarter, helping propel the company to a performance that exceeded analysts' projections.

The results announced Tuesday lifted TiVo's slumping stock by more than 4 percent in extended trading.

TiVo also announced it is buying Cubiware, a Polish maker of software that helps pay-TV providers design and manage the interactive menus for their services. The deal represents TiVo's latest attempt to expand its presence in markets outside the U.S. Terms of the acquisition weren't disclosed.

TiVo earned $7.9 million, or 8 cents per share, during the three months ending in April. That represented a 3 percent dip from income of $8.1 million, or 7 cents per share, at the same time last year. The decline was driven largely by an additional $1.8 million in interest expenses stemming from debt taken on last September.


NEW YORK (AP) -- Amazon is hiring 6,000 full-time workers to staff up across its more than 50 distribution centers in the U.S.

The workers will pick, pack and ship products to fulfill customer orders. Currently Amazon has about 50,000 full-time workers at the centers.

Amazon has been opening distribution centers across the country in order to speed up delivery times. Its $99 annual Prime membership service comes with free two-day delivery on many items.

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