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Last updated: February 20. 2013 3:04AM - 104 Views

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House to vote on debt limit

The House is scheduled to vote Wednesday on an increase in the nation's debt limit, a move designed to prevent a first-ever government default.


The vote marks a change in strategy for House Republicans who run the chamber and who remain adamant about reducing government spending but decided not to use the debt limit to trigger a confrontation with President Barack Obama.


Instead, they have said the debt increase measure will require the House and Senate to approve budgets that call for spending cuts, with pay withheld for lawmakers in either house that failed to do so.


The current debt limit is $16.4 trillion.


Groupon nixes gun deals

Groupon Inc. has stopped all current and future gun-related deals, bowing to customer pressure a month after the deadly mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.


The Chicago company said Monday it has cancelled existing and planned discounts for shooting ranges, conceal-and-carry and clay shooting.


The statement didn't specify the company's motives or when it would resume such deals, other than to say that the category is under review following recent customer and merchant feedback.


It said it plans to review its international standards for these deals while they're on hold.


The move has come under fire from some businesses who say their deals were canceled abruptly because of the change in policy. Some media outlets cited a Texas gun shop owner who is calling for a Groupon boycott after he said the site scrapped his deal for a concealed handgun training course.


Southwest early board: $40

Want to board first on a Southwest Airlines flight? Now you can pay $40 for the privilege.


Southwest Airlines will let people pay to be part of their first boarding group, group A. The airline does not have assigned seating and lets passengers board in three groups, A, B and C.


Currently, passengers can ensure they board first by buying a special business class ticket or joining a loyalty program. Now, everyone will have that option if spots are available. Passengers will be able to pay at the gate starting 45 minutes before a flight leaves.


Facing higher fuel and other costs, airlines have sought to boost revenue in a variety of ways including charging extra to check a bag or sit next to a loved one.


Crisis risks still seen

The world has not yet escaped the risk of a collapse in the global economy despite some renewed confidence heading into 2013, the founder of the World Economic Forum told The Associated Press on Monday.


Swiss economist Klaus Schwab, speaking on the eve of the elite annual gathering in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos, called for the business and government leaders heading there to focus on cautious realism and a recovering public trust to avoid another major financial crisis.


The problems and the risks have not gone away, he said in an interview. The world economy may still confront a collapse if very negative constellations occur.


Markets started strongly this year, with many stock indexes near multi-year highs, and the euro currency union no longer seems in danger of breaking apart. Throughout 2012 the world's central banks have flooded financial systems with new money.


But unemployment remains high in many developed economies and the public's faith in business and government leaders is falling. The euro alliance and Japan are in recessions. And politicians in the United States are struggling to finalize a budget deal to avoid a potential default that would cause havoc in financial markets.


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