APPLE COURTS BUSINESS WITH NEW iPHONE APPS: Apple Inc. wants the iPhone to become a business e-mail gadget -- and a portable video game machine that also might help users manage their health records. To help fuel that transformation, the company is teaming with a prominent venture capital firm to offer $100 million to lure developers to the iPhone to create the next generation of applications. Apple unveiled new software Thursday that reflects its effort to court business customers and placate third-party developers who want to build applications for iPhones. A beta version of the free software went out Thursday; the full version will be out in June. Apple is foraying beyond the consumer cell phones while supporting innovations that could spur sales.
IRS FREE FILE PROGRAM TO HELP WITH REBATES: People who do not normally file a tax return can now use the IRS Free File program to get their economic stimulus package payment, the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday. The tax agency said people filing for no reason other than to get their payments should use those companies listed on the IRS Web site, www.irs.gov, at Free File -- Economic Stimulus Payment. Some 97 million taxpayers with incomes of $54,000 or less are eligible for Free File, under which 19 companies offer free preparation and electronic filing to the IRS. Individuals can receive between $300 and $600, and married couples from $600 to $1,200, under the economic stimulus act. Parents may also qualify for a $300 payment for each eligible child younger than 17. To qualify, individuals and families must have at least $3,000 of income from a combination of earned income and other sources such as Social Security retirement or disability benefits or Veterans Administration survivor benefits. But people must file a tax return to receive a payment.
FORD RECALLS TRUCKS BECAUSE OF SEAT BACKS: Ford Motor Co. is recalling about 100,000 2008 F-Series trucks because the driver's seat does not conform with federal standards. Ford says the weld connecting a bracket and the driver's seat back could crack on a small number of vehicles. As a result, the vehicles do not comply with federal rules for seat back strength. The recall covers F-250 through F-550 Super Duty trucks. More than 87,000 of the trucks are in the United States and 14,000 are in Canada. Owners will be notified of the recall later this month. For more information, owners can call Ford at 800-392-3673.
FAA TO SEEK $3M FINE AGAINST SOUTHWEST: The Federal Aviation Administration will seek a penalty of at least $3 million against Southwest Airlines Co. for failing to inspect older planes for cracks. The airline said Thursday it had complied with regulators' requests and would contest any fine. The FAA could officially notify Southwest of actions against it as early as Thursday, said a person familiar with the issue who spoke on condition of anonymity because the FAA had not announced any action. The FAA is looking into Southwest's failure to do required inspections on some of its older Boeing 737s. The planes are covered by an FAA safety directive for inspecting older aircraft for structural soundness. The aim of the program is to find and repair small cracks before they become a safety hazard. A spokeswoman for Southwest, Beth Harbin, said the airline brought the issue to the FAA's attention and believed it had handled the matter to the agency's satisfaction, resolving the issue last year.
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GOOGLE EARTH TOLD TO BACK OFF U.S. BASES: The Pentagon has banned Google Earth teams from making detailed street- level video maps of U.S. military bases. A message to all Defense Department bases and installations late last week told officials not to allow the Web site to take panoramic views inside the facilities. Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, chief of the U.S. Northern Command, said Thursday the decision was made after at least one Google crew requested and then was permitted access to a base, identified in the message as Fort Sam Houston. He said the videos might provide sensitive information and endanger base personnel.
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57: Percentage of executives who said Tuesday is the most productive day of the week for employees, according to the findings of an Accountemps survey.
11: Percentage who said Wednesday.
12: Percentage who said Monday.
3: Percentage who said Friday.
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