Thomson Reuters cuts jobs; more business briefs

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Thomson Reuters cuts jobs

News and financial information company Thomson Reuters said on Wednesday it is cutting 2,500 jobs, or about 4 percent of its workforce, this year as it tries to reduce costs and turn around its largest division. CEO Jim Smith told analysts on a conference call the company is eliminating the positions from its "Financial and Risk" division, which rents out trading terminals to the financial industry. It accounts for just over half of Thomson Reuters' revenue. "These are not easy decisions, but our cost structure has to meet our customer's requirements," Smith said. Thomson Reuters has about 60,000 employees. -- AP


NATION


Car complaints at all-time low

Our cars are more dependable than ever, says J.D. Power and Associates. The consulting company's latest study, which measures problems experienced in the last year by owners of 3-year-old vehicles, found that reported problems fell 5 percent to the lowest level since J.D. Power began collecting this data in 1989. Lexus, Porsche, Lincoln and Toyota owners reported the fewest problems, while Jeep, Mitsubishi, Dodge and Land Rover owners had the most. Owners reported an average of 126 problems per 100 vehicles from the 2010 model year, down from 132 in last year's survey. Problems can be anything from engine failure to dashboard electronic glitches to excessive wind noise. -- AP


Apple pares MacBook Pro price

Apple says it has lowered the price of its 13-inch MacBook Pro laptops by $200 and updated its processors. It also launched new models with faster processors and more memory. Apple Inc. said Wednesday the MacBook Pro with Retina display and 128 gigabytes of flash memory will now cost $1,499, down from $1,699. A new model with 256 gigabytes of flash will cost $1,699. The 15-inch model has a faster processor and the same price. Apple unveiled the new models last fall. They have flash memory instead of the traditional hard drive, which makes them thinner and lighter. Apple reported a surprising decline in Mac sales in the final quarter of 2012. It sold 4.1 million, down 22 percent from shipments a year earlier. -- AP


WORLD


U.S.-EU free-trade plan eyed

The European Union and the United States announced Wednesday they have agreed to pursue talks aimed at achieving an overarching trans-Atlantic free trade deal. The 27-country EU said such an agreement, first announced in Tuesday's State of the Union address by President Barack Obama, would be the biggest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated. Any agreement could boost the EU's economic output by 0.5 percent and the United States' by 0.7 percent, according to some estimates. That would be a highly desirable outcome when the EU and the United States are both struggling with slow growth, high unemployment and high levels of debt. "Both of us need growth," said José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, the EU's executive arm. "And both of us have budgetary problems." -- AP


Brazil 'iphone' wins Apple tiff

Brazil's patent authority has bitten Apple. The agency says the iPhone name in Brazil belongs to a local company called Gradiente SA, not to the global computer giant. A patent office spokesman says the decision published Wednesday doesn't forbid Apple from using the name in Brazil. It only makes it clear the rights belong to the Brazilian company. To stop Apple's use of the brand name, Gradiente would have to take it to court, or reach a settlement. Gradiente had filed its request to use the iPhone brand in 2000. That right was granted in 2008, and the company started making "iphones" -- with a lowercase "p" -- in December. The phone runs on the Android operating system, developed by Apple archrival Google Inc. -- AP

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