Red Lion adds hotel near Palm Springs

Spokane’s Red Lion Hotels Corp. announced Wednesday it is adding a franchise location in Cathedral City, Calif.

This fall the 97-room Quality Inn & Suites Date Palm will convert to Red Lion Hotel Cathedral City. Cathedral City is approximately seven miles southeast of Palm Springs.

Red Lion has made a strategic decision to expand through franchising new locations.

Company CEO Jon Eliassen said the property is a good addition that will appeal to travelers to the Palm Springs and Southern California region.

A Palm Springs-area hotel makes sense, offering more options to winter business or recreation travelers, Eliassen said.

The hotel is owned and managed by Sang and Connie Chae of WR Management Co., based in Bellevue.

State gains jobs; jobless rate unchanged

OLYMPIA – Washington saw continued job growth last month, but state officials said Wednesday that the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.3 percent.

According to numbers released by the state Employment Security Department, there was an estimated net gain of 10,200 jobs from May to June, with the biggest growth in professional and business services, manufacturing, and leisure and hospitality.

Windows 8 will be launched Oct. 26

NEW YORK – Microsoft says Windows 8 will go on sale Oct. 26. The upgrade to its operating system is designed to work better with touch screens and on tablet computers.

Microsoft announced the date in a blog post and at its annual sales meeting Wednesday. Microsoft is releasing the software as a downloadable upgrade that day for PC owners and is letting PC makers start selling computers with Windows 8 the same day.

As an upgrade for users of Windows XP, Vista or 7, Windows 8 will cost $40. That’s much less than Microsoft Corp. has charged for previous operating system upgrades. People who bought a Windows 7 computer on June 2 or later can upgrade for $15.

AT&T to offer shared data plans in August

LOS ANGELES – AT&T announced Wednesday it will introduce shared data plans, a month after Verizon began offering its own shared data plans.

The Texas-based carrier said it will start selling AT&T Mobile Share plans in late August.

“New and existing customers can share a single bucket of data across smartphones, tablets, and other compatible devices, plus get unlimited talk and text,” AT&T said in a release.

The plans will allow for up to 10 shared devices, but they must include at least one smartphone.

Mortgage problems continue to dog BofA

Bank of America can’t shake its mortgage headache.

In a reminder that the consequences from the financial crisis are far from over, the bank said Wednesday that investor disputes over bad mortgages and mortgage-backed bonds have more than doubled from a year ago.

The bank beat Wall Street’s profit expectations for April through June, and executives emphasized that the bank is setting aside less money for bad loans overall, a sign that more customers are paying back loans on time.

But the growing investor claims suggest the mortgage problem, which has already cost the bank more than $13 billion, is growing.

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