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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Business in brief: Bonneville Power Administration regains hiring control

From wire reports

PORTLAND – The U.S. Department of Energy says it’s restoring control over hiring decisions to the Bonneville Power Administration – authority it took away from the power-marketing agency in the wake of a hiring scandal.

The announcement Tuesday came more than a year after the government released findings about hiring practices that disadvantaged veterans and about retaliation against whistleblowers.

Last October, the Department of Energy assumed control of the agency’s human resources and legal staffs, including ultimate authority over the agency’s hiring process.

Since then, the BPA has reconstructed 1,259 hiring cases involving more than 22,000 job applications.

Four veterans have so far filed suit against the agency alleging they’re victims of hiring discrimination.

The BPA manages much of the region’s power grid.

EU watchdog critical of Apple’s Irish tax deal

BRUSSELS – Apple risks having to repay Ireland tax rebates worth billions of dollars after the European Union’s competition watchdog said Tuesday the company appears to be benefiting from illegal tax deals there.

In a preliminary report into the company’s overseas tax practices, the 28-nation bloc’s executive Commission said the low tax treatment Ireland is granting Apple counts as state aid and could be illegal under EU law.

If the finding is confirmed, Apple Inc. could face a huge bill because it funnels the bulk of its international sales through subsidiaries in Ireland.

July home prices reflect slow sales, growing glut

WASHINGTON – U.S. home prices in July increased at the slowest pace in 20 months, reflecting sluggish sales and a greater supply of houses for sale.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 6.7 percent in July from 12 months earlier. That’s down from an 8.1 percent gain in June and the smallest increase since November 2012.

Buyers owed refund for ‘weight-loss’ undies

PORTLAND – If you purchased caffeine-infused underwear because of promises it will make you thinner, federal regulators say you were hoodwinked – but at least you can get your money back.

The Federal Trade Commission announced this week that two companies have agreed to refund $1.5 million to consumers who purchased “shapewear” that supposedly can reduce cellulite and fat because it’s infused with caffeine, vitamin E and other things. The FTC says there’s no scientific evidence to back the claims made by Norm Thompson Outfitters, of Oregon, and Wacoal America Inc., of New Jersey.