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March 28, 2014 | By Walter Hamilton
Profit at Tribune Co., the parent of the Los Angeles Times and other newspaper, radio and television properties, fell sharply last year amid a further decline in newspaper advertising and a significant drop in earnings at its broadcast division. The Chicago media company reported net income of $241.6 million for the year, down 43% from $422.5 million in 2012. Total operating revenue fell 8% to $2.9 billion, with a 6% decline in publishing and an 11% drop in broadcasting. For the fourth quarter, revenue dropped $97 million, or 11%, to $773 million, partly because the quarter included one fewer week than the previous year's final three months.
March 26, 2014 | By Hugo Martin
For the first time since California-based Virgin America was launched, the airline backed by billionaire Richard Branson has reported an entire profitable year. For 2013, Virgin America's net income was $10.1 million, compared with a loss of $145.4 million in 2012, the airline reported Wednesday. The news comes about a month after sources reported that the airline plans to go public later this year. Virgin America Chief Executive David Cush has previously said he was waiting for the carrier to show a profit for several quarters before initiating a public listing.
March 25, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will consider a proposition that will strike many Americans as bizarre: that large, for-profit businesses can refuse on religious grounds to comply with a federal mandate that they include contraception in their employee health plans. Three companies - Hobby Lobby, a chain of craft stores with 13,000 full-time employees; Mardel, a bookstore chain; and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a cabinet manufacturer - are challenging the mandate. The businesses say it would require them to cover forms of contraception that the owners regard as equivalent to abortion - and thus offensive to their religious faith.
March 25, 2014 | Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO - Millions of dollars in welfare benefits are ending up in banks' pockets each year when poor Californians access their taxpayer-funded benefits, according to state statistics and a report released Tuesday. Like many other states, California issues electronic cards to welfare recipients so they can withdraw public assistance from ATMs. Last year, $18.9 million was spent on ATM fees. The year before they topped $19.4 million. The state welfare system allows recipients to make four free withdrawals per month at ATMs run by MoneyPass, part of U.S. Bank.
March 23, 2014 | By Hugo Martín
Travelers protested when airlines began charging bag fees in 2008, saying the extra charge was a blatant money grab. But a new study concludes that the nation's airlines quietly lowered airfares slightly to make the bag fees more palatable to those fliers who would get stuck paying the new charge. Still the airlines are profiting because the drop in fares was so small it did not totally offset the added cost of checking a bag, the study found. "The fact that the airlines are doing it must mean they are coming out ahead," said Jan Brueckner, an economics professor at UC Irvine who co-wrote the study with other economics experts.
March 23, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
For-profit colleges that wildly exaggerate their graduates' success and talk prospective attendees into taking on extraordinary debt are not only harming their students but costing taxpayers billions of dollars on wasted Pell grants and defaulted federal student loans. After an earlier court defeat, the Obama administration is trying again to set rules to stop schools from overpromising to attract students. This time, the rules should stick. The administration has spent years looking for ways to crack down on the bad actors within the for-profit college industry, which accounts for just 13% of college enrollment but almost half of all federal student loan defaults.
March 19, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
KB Home Inc. shares were up nearly 7% in early trading Wednesday after the Los Angeles home builder said it posted a first-quarter profit for the first time since 2007. Revenue, home prices and future orders rose significantly as the company continued to benefit from the rebound of the housing market. The company reported revenue of $451 million for the three months ended Feb. 28, up 11% from the $405 million of revenue it posted in the same period a year earlier. The average selling price of a new home was $305,200, an increase of $33,900, or 12%, from the year-earlier quarter.
March 19, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
In a landmark settlement of criminal charges, Toyota Motor Corp. admitted deceiving regulators about deadly safety defects and agreed to pay $1.2 billion, the largest penalty ever imposed on an automaker. In the unprecedented deal with the U.S. Justice Department, the world's largest automaker admitted it misled consumers about two defects that caused unintended sudden-acceleration incidents - sticking gas pedals and floor mats trapping the pedals. “Toyota put sales over safety, and profit over principle,” said George Venizelos, assistant director of the FBI. “The disregard Toyota had for the safety of the public was outrageous.
March 18, 2014 | By Michael A. Helfand
Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate - the requirement that employers provide employee health insurance that covers contraception - impermissibly infringes on the religious liberty of religiously motivated corporations. The legal battles over the mandate have been legion; more than 300 plaintiffs have filed more than 90 cases across the country, all contending that providing health coverage for contraception would require them to violate their faith.
March 17, 2014 | Stuart Pfeifer
If you're an outdoors enthusiast or weekend warrior, chances are you're a fan of Sport Chalet Inc. If you're an investor, well, that's another story. Living up to its moniker, "the Experts," Sport Chalet staffs its stores with marathon runners, professional triathletes, experienced divers, snowboarders and skiers. The goal is to present athletes with a top-notch shopping experience they won't get in big-box or discount retailers -- or on, which has been swallowing up business from brick-and-mortar retailers for years.
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