DETROIT – Honda is adding nearly 105,000 vehicles to its growing U.S. recall of driver’s side air bag inflators that can explode with too much force.
The added vehicles include nearly 89,000 Pilot SUVs from the 2008 model year, as well as about 11,000 Civics from 2004 and another 5,000 Accords from the 2001 model year.
Honda said that it’s the first recall of 2008 Pilots for potential problems with driver’s air bags made by Takata Corp. of Japan.
Dealers will replace the driver air bag inflators for free. With the added vehicles, Honda has now recalled 5.5 million Honda and Acura cars and SUVs nationwide from the 2001 to 2011 model years because of the air bag problems.
The company said it will send letters to owners of vehicles in the expanded recall “over time” as replacement parts become available.
Jobless claims hold steady
WASHINGTON – The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits basically held steady last week, as the job market continues to outpace broader economic growth.
The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment aid rose slightly by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 291,000. Jobless claims have been subdued for the past two weeks after winter storms caused them to spike at the end of February due to closed schools and construction sites.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 2,250 to 304,750. That average has dropped 7.5 percent over the past year.
Booze calories to be listed on label
NEW YORK – Want to know how many calories are in your shot of Johnnie Walker or your pint of Guinness? You’re about to find out.
Diageo, the global alcohol giant behind those brands, along with Smirnoff, Bailey’s, Bushmills and others, said it will put alcohol-content and nutrition information on the labels of its products. The label will include information like the drink’s alcohol by volume, fluid ounces of alcohol, calories, carbohydrates, and fat content based on a typical serving size.
The U.S. government approved nutritional labels for alcoholic beverages in 2013, but they’re voluntary.
Amazon cleared to test drones
NEW YORK – The Federal Aviation Administration said it has issued online retailer Amazon a certificate to experiment with unmanned aircraft for research, development and crew training.
The FAA said Thursday that under the provisions of the certificate, the flights must be conducted at 400 feet or below during daylight hours. The drone must also remain within the line of sight of the pilot and observer. The person flying the aircraft, meanwhile, must have a private pilot’s certificate and current medical certification.
Amazon.com Inc. must also provide monthly data to the FAA on the number of flights conducted, pilot duty time per flight, unusual hardware or software malfunctions and other information. The Seattle company had asked the FAA for permission to fly drones for package deliveries last July.
Tag Heuer to offer smartwatch
NEW YORK – Watch out Apple: Swiss company Tag Heuer is developing its own smartwatch with tech rivals Google and Intel.
The announcement Thursday comes a month before Apple Inc. starts selling its smartwatch.
Tag Heuer’s version is expected to be ready at the end of the year. The companies did not say what it will look like or how much it will cost, but watches from the luxury timepiece maker typically cost $1,000 and up.
Lufthansa strike grounds flights
BERLIN – Thousands of international travelers were stranded Thursday as a strike by Lufthansa pilots was extended to long-haul flights, and Germany’s largest airline said it was preparing for even more cancellations today.
After canceling 84 of 153 of its long-haul flights on Thursday, affecting 18,000 passengers, Lufthansa said another 790 flights would have to be called off today as the Vereinigung Cockpit union shifted focus again to short- and medium-haul runs.
The airline said 90 of today’s cancellations would be due to a separate labor issue in Italy, where air traffic controllers were to go on strike.
The two strikes today were expected to affect some 94,000 of its passengers, the airline said, though long-haul flights would return to normal operations.
Mortgage rates fall slightly
WASHINGTON – Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week, remaining near historically low levels at the start of the spring home-buying season.
Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the national average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 3.78 percent from 3.86 percent last week.
The average rate for a 15-year mortgage, popular with homeowners who refinance, slipped to 3.06 percent from 3.10 percent last week.
The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was 0.6 point, unchanged from last week. The fee for a 15-year mortgage also remained at 0.6 point.
The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 2.97 percent from 3.01 percent. The fee was stable at 0.5 point.
For a one-year ARM, the average rate was unchanged at 2.46 percent. The fee remained at 0.4 point.
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