Local & State
Home building group changing name
The Home Builders Association of Greater Columbia is changing its name. The 50-year-old organization that represents the Midlands’ building industry today officially becomes the Building Industry Association of Central South Carolina, the group was expected to announce today during its Columbia Housing Summit. Association president John Covert said in a statement: “This change will better reflect the members of our association and the area that we serve. We do much more than just build homes and our reach far exceeds that of ‘greater Columbia.’”
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Nation & World
Amazon extends free shipping
Amazon is courting last-minute holiday shoppers by extending its free-shipping deadline by one day to Dec. 19. Orders over $35 are eligible for free shipping. Last year’s deadline was Dec. 18. The e-commerce company says members of its $99 annual Prime loyalty program can order by Dec. 22 for two-day shipping. Retailers are hoping to avoid shipping snafus that occurred last year while at the same time getting the last-minute online shoppers dollar. Wal-Mart said last week the cutoff for orders with standard shipping to reach homes by Christmas is Dec. 19.
New home construction slips
Construction of new homes fell slightly in November, reflecting weakness in construction of single-family homes. Builders started construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.03 million homes and apartments last month, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. That was a decline of 1.6 percent from October when construction activity had posted a 1.7 percent gain. Applications for building permits also were down in November, falling 5.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.04 million. Analysts are still looking for housing to regain momentum in 2015.
‘Angry Birds’ suit goes on
A federal judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit by a Seattle artist who says she was cheated out of millions of dollars when the company that sold her line of plush pet toys called “Angry Birds” reached a deal with the Finnish company that makes the insanely popular video game of the same name. Juli Adams designed the “Angry Birds” toys in 2006 for The Hartz Mountain Corp. Three years later, she says in her lawsuit, Hartz licensed her intellectual property to game-maker Rovio Entertainment without telling her.
T-Mobile gives customers a break
T-Mobile is now letting customers carry over their unused cellular-data allotments for up to a year. U.S. wireless carriers have been pushing consumers into larger data plans, but they typically lose what they don’t use at the end of their billing month. Under T-Mobile’s plan announced Tuesday, customers would be able to stash what they don’t use for the future. Customers will also get a one-time free allotment of 10 gigabytes when the program starts next month.
BofA violating 2 settlement rules
Bank of America has failed two of 31 tests designed to see whether it is complying with a national mortgage settlement’s rules, a report Tuesday from the settlement’s watchdog shows. The tests involve sending pre-foreclosure letters to borrowers and notifications to people seeking mortgage modifications. The report from former N.C. Banking Commissioner Joseph Smith measures compliance by Bank of America and other mortgage servicers with the 2012 legal settlement. The results mean the Charlotte bank has to implement a plan to correct the behavior or face penalties.
Roddie Burris, The Associated Press and The Charlotte Observer contributed.