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Ford’s expanded airbag recall includes 12 million pickups

Ford Motor Co., pressured by federal regulators, agreed Thursday to expand a recall of the F-150 pickup truck, America’s top-selling vehicle.

It covers nearly 1.2 million F-150s built for the 2004 and 2005 model years and some built for 2006. It also includes 16,000 Lincoln LT pickups from the 2006 model year.

An electrical short can cause the air bags to inflate without a crash, and could injure drivers.

Ford dealers will replace an airbag wire in the steering wheel free of charge.

Associated Press

Wal-Mart pays in harassment case

FRESNO, Calif. – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has agreed to pay $440,000 to settle a federal harassment lawsuit by 10 employees who say they endured ethnic slurs and derogatory remarks on a daily basis while working at a Sam’s Club store in Fresno, Calif.

Wal-Mart owns and operates Sam’s Club.

Nine of the lawsuit plaintiffs were of Mexican descent and one was married to a Mexican. The alleged harasser was a Mexican-American co-worker.

The plaintiffs say they first complained in April 2006 but managers failed to address the harassment.

Associated Press

Best Buy bets on mobile devices

NEW YORK – Best Buy plans to open up to 800 mobile-device stores as it shrinks its “big-box” stores in an effort to be more competitive as consumers increasingly shop online.

The largest U.S. electronics retailer plans to shrink square footage at big-box stores by 10 percent over the next three to five years. Meanwhile, it plans to open 600 to 800 Best Buy Mobile stand-alone stores, executives said at an analyst conference on Thursday.

But Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn says physical stores remain a cornerstone of Best Buy’s strategy.

Associated Press

J&J recalls more smelly pills

TRENTON, N.J. – Johnson & Johnson issued yet another recall Thursday, this one for about 57,000 bottles of a widely used epilepsy pill, due to complaints of a chemical odor.

The health care giant said it is recalling two lots of 100-milligram tablets of Topamax, sold between Oct. 19 and Dec. 28, 2010. The lot numbers are OKG110 and OLG222. J&J said fewer than 6,000 of the bottles are believed to still be on the market.

J&J said only that the pills were sold in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

The New Brunswick, N.J., company has now issued 22 product recalls, involving well over 300 million bottles of medicines, since September 2009. Many of the recalls involved widely used nonprescription drugs such as Motrin and Children’s Tylenol.

Associated Press

Hiring pushes Google stock down

SAN FRANCISCO – Google Inc. is helping the economy and hurting its stock. The company is hiring so many employees to work on long-term projects outside its thriving search advertising business that its expenses are growing at a much faster pace than its revenue.

The strategy came into sharper focus in Google’s first-quarter earnings report released Thursday.

Google has committed to hiring at least 6,200 workers this year, the most in its 13-year history.

Google shares shed $31.36, or 5.4 percent, to $547.15 in extended trading, after the release of the results. At that price, the stock has now fallen by about 12 percent since the announcement that Eric Schmidt would replace Larry Page as executive chairman.

In its Thursday report, the company said it earned $2.3 billion, or $7.04 per share, in the period ending in March. That was an 18 percent increase from nearly $2 billion, or $6.06 per share, last year. Revenue was nearly $8.6 billion, a 27 percent increase from last year.

Associated Press