Global Glance: EU mulls change of tack in US trade pact; Marriott buys Starwood

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

EU mulls change of tack in US trade pact

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union ministers expressed pessimism Friday that the bloc can conclude a massive trade pact with the U.S. anytime soon and debated whether to change tack on the talks. “There is some new start or some new approach needed,” Slovak Economy Minister Peter Ziga, whose country holds the EU’s rotating presidency, told reporters ahead of informal trade talks in Bratislava on Friday. After three years of negotiations, big differences remain over the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, with work needed in all of the 30 chapters the pact will entail. Read more

Big email hack doesn’t exactly send the message Yahoo needed

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo has been struggling for years to keep people coming back to its digital services such as email. That challenge just got more daunting after hackers stole sensitive information from at least 500 million accounts. The startling breach disclosed Thursday is believed to be the largest to hit a single email provider. The security breakdown risks magnifying Yahoo’s preexisting problems – specifically, that it is losing users, traffic and the advertising revenue that follows both, to rivals such as Google and Facebook. Read more

Marriott buys Starwood, becoming world’s largest hotel chain

NEW YORK (AP) — Several of the best-known names in travel are now united in one hotel company. Marriott International closed Friday morning on its $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, bringing together its Marriott, Courtyard and Ritz Carlton brands with Starwood’s Sheraton, Westin, W and St. Regis properties. In total, 30 hotel brands now fall under the Marriott umbrella to create the largest hotel chain in the world with more than 5,700 properties and 1.1 million rooms in more than 110 countries. That’s more than 1 out of every 15 hotel rooms around the globe. Read more

UPS testing drones for use in its package delivery system

MARBLEHEAD, Mass. (AP) — One of the world’s largest package delivery companies is stepping up efforts to integrate drones into its system. UPS has partnered with robot-maker CyPhy Works to test the use of drones to make commercial deliveries to remote or difficult-to-access locations. The companies began testing the drones on Thursday, when they launched one from the seaside town of Marblehead. The drone flew on a programmed route for 3 miles over the Atlantic Ocean to deliver an inhaler at Children’s Island. Read more

Government severs ties with for-profit colleges accreditor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hundreds of for-profit colleges could close, leaving up to 600,000 students scrambling to find other schools, after the Education Department withdrew recognition of the nation’s largest accreditor of for-profit schools. The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools said it would appeal Thursday’s decision to Education Secretary John B. King Jr. In a statement, ACICS Interim President Roger Williams said the council would “continue diligent efforts to renew and strengthen its policies and practices” to meet the department’s criteria for accreditors. Read more

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