Nation & World
House extends tax breaks
The House rushed through a last-minute measure Wednesday to extend a massive package of expired tax breaks for banks, investment firms, commuters and NASCAR track owners. The bill would enable millions of businesses and individuals to claim the tax breaks on their 2014 returns. It would add nearly $42 billion to the budget deficit over the next decade. The more than 50 tax breaks benefit big corporations and small businesses, as well as teachers and people who live in states without a state income tax.
High court mulls pregnant worker case
The Supreme Court is weighing how much employers must do to accommodate pregnant workers under a federal law aimed at combating discrimination against them. Questions from several justices during arguments Wednesday suggested the court could be searching for a middle ground between United Parcel Service and former driver Peggy Young. UPS refused to give Young temporary light-duty work so she could avoid lifting heavy packages after she became pregnant in 2006.
Americans find streaming is the way to go
Americans are turning away from live TV on the tube and tuning in to streaming services, a Nielsen report says. That’s bad news for cable and satellite TV providers. Americans are increasingly watching TV shows and movies on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon streaming and other services. CBS and HBO have announced standalone streaming services as well. About 45 percent of Americans stream television shows at least once a month, according to research firm eMarketer.
Economy picking up steam
The U.S. economy kept expanding in October and November, helped by solid gains in consumer spending, manufacturing and overall employment, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest survey of business conditions around the country. The Fed survey found many areas of strength and for the first time this year, the report did not see a need to qualify its summary of growth by using words like “modest” and “moderate.”
Boeing test flight uses green diesel
Chicago-based Boeing said Wednesday it completed the first test flight using green diesel, a fuel blend of oils and fats already used in trucks and other ground transportation. Boeing officials have said the use of green diesel for jets is a “major breakthrough” in the industry’s quest to wean itself off fossil fuels and reduce harmful emissions.
New line brewing for Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart is going into the coffee business. A spokeswoman for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. confirmed Wednesday that plans are in place for the company to open a New York coffee shop. She declined to offer more details, such as when it will open. The shop will be in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, within the same building that holds the company’s headquarters.
The Associated Press and Chicago Tribune contributed.