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National business briefs

  • August 13, 2014 - 7:20 PM

A diverse workforce at Apple

Apple’s workforce may be 70 percent male and 55 percent white, but the company still managed to hand in one of the most impressive diversity scorecards in Northern California’s Silicon Valley. In revealing for the first time the demographic breakdown of its workforce, Apple reported that 18 percent of its employees are black and Hispanic, which compares to 5 percent for Google and Twitter and 6 percent for Facebook and Yahoo. The release of the report, following similar actions by major Silicon Valley companies, comes amid a heightened focus on the nature of the people who power the valley.

Recall involves 40,000 Land Rovers

More than 40,000 Land Rover SUVs in the United States are being recalled because the passenger-side air bag may fail to deploy in a crash. According to documents posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Jaguar Land Rover will recall 40,551 LR2 and Range Rover Evoque models to fix the electronic system that determines whether someone is sitting in the passenger seat. In the affected vehicles, that system could fail, resulting in the front-seat passenger’s air bag being totally or partly disabled.

SeaWorld stock takes a dive

Shares of SeaWorld Entertainment took a record drop after the company’s earnings missed Wall Street expectations. The Orlando-based company also conceded for the first time that attendance at its theme parks has been hurt by negative publicity concerning accusations by animal-rights activists that SeaWorld mistreats killer whales. In the past, SeaWorld executives attributed declining attendance numbers to a rise in ticket prices and a shift in the timing of the Easter holiday this year.

WellPoint becomes Anthem

Health insurance giant WellPoint Inc. is changing its corporate name to Anthem, the well-known brand it uses in California and other states. The makeover comes as health insurers increasingly compete for individual consumers on government-run exchanges under the federal Affordable Care Act. The change is expected to take place by the end of the year.

Banks dealing with more pot merchants

A top federal official in Washington, D.C., said that 105 banks and credit unions are doing business with legal marijuana sellers, suggesting that federal rules giving financial institutions the go-ahead to provide services to dealers are starting to work. The Obama administration in February gave the banking industry the green light to offer financing and accounts to pot distributors who can legally conduct business in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Sellers hailed the decision as a step toward bringing marijuana commerce out of the shadows and into the mainstream financial system. But banking groups said the guidance did little to allay fears of doing business with companies whose products remain illegal under federal law.

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