Business news

EU warns that Europe needs major reforms


BRUSSELS --- Europe's economy will stagnate unless governments make major reforms to boost growth, just as they rein in spending to curb soaring debt levels, the European Union's economy chief warned Tuesday.

Low growth prospects and rocketing debt in many of the EU's 27 nations have alarmed financial markets.

EU Economy Commissioner Olli Rehn called for government action to speed up economic output, saying his forecasts show growth will not top 1.5 percent and the jobless rate will stay close to current highs without reforms over the next five years.

He said EU forecasts showed "ambitious structural reforms" could help the economy grow by more than 2 percent over the next ten years.

89 deaths could be linked to Toyota issue

WASHINGTON --- Unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles might have been involved in the deaths of 89 people over the past decade, upgrading the number of deaths possibly linked to the faults, the government said Tuesday.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that from 2000 to mid-May, it had received more than 6,200 complaints involving sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles. The reports include 89 deaths and 57 injuries over the same period. Previously, 52 deaths had been suspected of being connected to the problem.

Toyota Motor Corp. has recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide since fall because of problems with gas pedals, floor mats and brakes. The Japanese automaker paid a record $16.4 million fine for its slow response to an accelerator pedal fault and is facing hundreds of state and federal lawsuits.

Airline asks for help replacing attendants

DALLAS --- American Airlines is looking for management employees to volunteer as flight attendants in case the regular attendants go on strike.

The airline sent an e-mail Tuesday to managers, appealing for help. Contract talks between American and the flight attendants' union broke off Friday with no new sessions scheduled and with the parties far apart on pay and other issues.

The union has asked federal mediators for permission to strike after a 30-day cooling-off period, but officials haven't yet granted the request. Flight attendants voted to support a call for a strike.

1.5 million businesses, sites use Google ads

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. --- Google has revealed the size of its lucrative Internet ad network in the U.S. It spans more than 1.5 million advertisers and Web sites.

The Associated Press calculated the figure from a state-by-state breakdown that the company released Tuesday.

Airlines add peak fees to summertime flights

LOS ANGELES --- Cashing in on an expected increase in summer air travel, the nation's largest airlines are charging passengers a "peak travel surcharge" of up to $30 per seat for flights most days this summer.

The country's major airlines have imposed a "peak travel surcharge" on 74 of the 98 days from Memorial Day to Labor Day, according to an analysis by, a Web site that keeps track of fees and fares.

The airlines have also added peak travel fees for flights on several days around the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holidays.