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Last Update on October 05, 2015 17:21 GMT


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Growth in the U.S. services sector slowed in September as sales fell and new orders plunged, evidence that stock market volatility may have hit consumer confidence and limited spending.

The Institute for Supply Management says its services index fell to 56.9 last month from 59 in August, which was the second-highest reading in a decade. Any reading above 50 signals expansion.

A measure of sales fell to 60.2, still a healthy reading, from 63.9. A gauge of new orders, however, dropped nearly 7 points to 56.7. That suggests sales growth may continue to cool in the coming months.

The ISM is a trade group of purchasing managers. Its services survey covers businesses that employ 90 percent of workers, including construction firms and financial services.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is heralding an agreement on an ambitious Pacific Rim trade pact.

The U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim countries finalized a deal on the Trans Pacific Partnership after marathon negotiating sessions in Atlanta through the weekend. It cuts trade barriers, sets labor and environmental standards and protects multinational corporations' intellectual property. The White House says the agreement will eliminate tariffs on all made-in-America manufactured goods exported to TPP countries.

Obama say the agreement levels the playing field for U.S. farmers, ranchers and manufacturers and keeps countries such as China from writing "the rules of the global economy."

Congress will have 90 days to review the agreement before voting on it. Members will have to give it an up-or-down vote, no amendments allowed.

The 11 other countries include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.


PARIS (AP) -- Leading world economies are close to adopting sweeping changes to international tax rules that could end tax-dodging by powerful multinationals.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released a plan Monday to end tax shelters and require companies to pay taxes in the countries where they earn profits, among other measures.

The OECD says the plan could bring $100 billion to $240 billion into government budgets. It's the result of two years of negotiations among dozens of governments, companies and non-governmental groups. Finance ministers from leading world economies will discuss the plan in Peru on Thursday, and their leaders are expected to finalize it at a G-20 summit next month in Turkey.

Google, Facebook, Starbucks and Amazon are among many companies criticized for shifting profits to low-tax jurisdictions.


MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Leaders of the Philippine services outsourcing industry say they expect a big increase in business as the result of a new, highly detailed diagnosis coding system adopted by the U.S. for insurance claims.

The Philippines is the world's leader in international call center services. Its information technology and outsourced services industry is expected to employ 1.3 million people by 2016, when annual earnings are seen to reach $25 billion.

Dan Reyes, chairman of the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines, said Monday the new U.S. coding system will open up more processing jobs and the Philippines stands to gain because of its large pool of graduates in medical-related fields. His group says earnings have jumped 30 percent for Philippine companies providing medical billing services.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Twitter is embracing Jack Dorsey as its CEO in hopes that its once-spurned co-founder can hatch a plan to expand the short messaging service's audience and end nearly a decade of financial losses.

The hiring revealed ends Twitter's three-month search for a new leader. It marks the 38-year-old Dorsey's second stint as CEO since he helped start the San Francisco company more than nine years ago.

Twitter dumped Dorsey his first time around, but its board of directors now appears convinced he has the maturity to fix the problems that has caused the company's stock to lose nearly half its value in the past five months.

Dorsey will step down as chairman from the company, but he will continue as CEO of Square Inc., a company he co-founded in 2009.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Justice Department and five states have finalized a settlement of more than $20 billion arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The deal announced Monday resolves all civil claims against BP and ends five years of legal fighting over the nearly 134 million-gallon spill.

The settlement finalizes an agreement first announced in July.

Among other requirements, BP will be forced to pay $5.5 billion in Clean Water Act penalties and nearly $5 billion to five Gulf states: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

The spill followed the April 2010 explosion on an offshore rig that killed 11 workers. BP earlier settled with people and businesses harmed by the spill, a deal that's so far resulted in $5.84 billion in payouts.


BERLIN (AP) -- As the U.S. Congress prepares to question Volkswagen officials in Washington over its manipulation of American emissions tests, German media are reporting the company itself is focusing on three development managers who have been suspended.

Bild newspaper reported Sunday that Heinz-Jakob Neusser, head of development at VW, and engineers Ulrich Hackenberg and Wolfgang Hatz had been put on forced vacation in the wake of the scandal. Other newspapers had similar reports.

Hatz declined comment through a spokesman and neither of the other two responded to emails seeking comment, while VW refused to comment Monday on "speculation."

Bild reported that VW's internal investigation had turned up contradictory information on Hackenberg's possible involvement, while Hatz denied knowledge.

VW's top manager in the US, Michael Horn, is to testify before Congress on Thursday.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal health authorities are ordering manufacturers of specialized medical scopes to study how the reusable devices are cleaned following a series of life-threatening bacterial outbreaks at U.S. hospitals.

The Food and Drug Administration said the three companies must submit plans to study how well hospital staffers actually follow instructions for disinfecting the scopes between uses. The agency hopes this information will shed light on a recent spate of infections involving antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" linked to the scopes.

The FDA issued the instructions to Olympus American, Fuji Medical Systems and Hoya Corp.

The FDA came under fire earlier this year after outbreaks at two Los Angeles hospitals were linked to the duodenoscopes. The specialized fiber-optic scopes are threaded down the throat and stomach to diagnose and treat conditions in the digestive tract.

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