Global Glance: US consumer spending jumps, Volkswagen profits fall in 1st quarter

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Here are today’s top business headlines from across the nation and world:

US consumer spending scores biggest jump in 6 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer spending surged in April by the largest amount in more than six years, led by a big jump in purchases of autos and other durable goods. The Commerce Department says consumer spending increased 1 percent last month after a flat reading in March. Incomes rose a solid 0.4 percent, matching the March gain. Wages and salaries, the most important component of incomes, gained 0.5 percent. Read more

Scandal-hit Volkswagen sees profits fall in 1st quarter

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German automaker Volkswagen saw its net profit fall 19 percent in the first three months of the year as it grappled with a costly scandal over cars it had equipped to cheat on diesel emissions tests. The company called it a “respectable” result considering the tough conditions and said it had the financial resources to weather the scandal. Read more

Striking Verizon workers to return Wednesday; deal inked

NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly 40,000 striking Verizon employees will return to work Wednesday after reaching a tentative contract agreement that includes 1,300 new call center jobs and nearly 11 percent in raises over four years but also makes health care plan changes to save the company money, the company and unions said Monday. Read more

UN health agency trumpets ‘plain packaging’ for tobacco

GENEVA (AP) — The UN health agency says “plain packaging” on tobacco products has shown to be an effective complement to health warnings, advertising restrictions, and curbs on misleading packaging to help save lives. The World Health Organization released Tuesday an 86-page report on “plain packaging,” hoping to decrease the lure of smoking on “World No Tobacco Day.” Read more

Wal-Mart needs to grow overseas, and China’s the big prize

SHENZHEN, China (AP) — Zhong Guoyan sifted through piles of fish at a Wal-Mart in Shenzhen, one of China’s largest cities. She studied the fins, to make sure they were bright red and firm. She peered at the eyeballs – were they bulging? In American Wal-Marts, customers are not offered the opportunity to fondle their fish. But America is not China, as the world’s biggest retailer has learned. If the Arkansas-based company wanted to win over foreign consumers like Zhong, it would have to shed some of its American ways, and cater to very different customs and conventions that are fast changing. Read more

US economy showing signs of life after slow start to year

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy is showing signs of more life after a less-than-stellar start to the year. The government said Friday that first-quarter growth, while disappointing, wasn’t as bad as first thought. And a number of more recent indicators are showing decent gains in key areas like consumer spending and housing. Read more

EU Court adviser: Employers can ban Muslim headscarf

LUXEMBOURG (AP) — A senior adviser to the European Court of Justice says a European Union business may legitimately prohibit an employee from wearing a Muslim headscarf on the job, provided the ban is based on a general company rule prohibiting visible political or religious symbols in the workplace, and not on prejudice against a particular religion. Read more

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