Airlines' on-time efforts shine in October

The nation's leading airlines posted one of their best-ever monthly on-time performances in October, the third straight month where more than 80 percent of flights arrived punctually. The Transportation Department said Monday that 87 percent of flights on the top 13 U.S. airlines arrived on time for the month. That was up slightly from 86.5 percent in September. The two months now rank third and fourth, respectively, among the best on-time tallies in the 21 years where comparable records are available. Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Air had the best ratings, while Spirit was the only airline with an on-time rating below 80 percent.

Mild weather cools natural gas demand

Mild temperatures have lessened demand for natural gas, sending its price down sharply Monday. Stocks of companies that produce natural gas also fell. Natural gas is used to heat more than half of U.S. households, according to the American Petroleum Institute. But with unseasonably warm temperatures, there's less demand for it. Temperatures in Chicago, Detroit, New York and Washington have been as much as 25 degrees above normal in the past five days, according to AccuWeather. And the weather forecasting company expects the mild weather to continue next week, with temperatures expected to be between 20 and 30 degrees above normal. On Monday, the price of natural gas fell 4.8 percent to $1.90 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Yahoo shareholders seek alternate moves

Yahoo is facing more pressure from two shareholders that want the company to pursue other alternatives besides a complex spinoff of its Internet operations. The demands from SpringOwl Asset Management and Canyon Capital Advisors reflect shareholders' frustration with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's inability to revive the company's revenue growth after three-and-half years on the job. Mayer hoped to placate investors with last week's announcement of a revised spinoff, but the company's stock has slid by 6 percent since then. SpringOwl has sent a 99-page presentation to Yahoo's board that calls for the company to lay off 9,000 of its 10,700 workers to help save $2 billion annually. Canyon Capital wants Yahoo to sell its Internet business instead of spinning it off.

Seattle allows Uber, Lyft drivers to unionize

Seattle on Monday became the first city in the nation to allow drivers of ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft to unionize over pay and working conditions. The City Council voted 8-0 in favor of the legislation, which is seen as a test case for the changing 21st century workforce. The companies strongly oppose it and are expected to challenge it in court. The measure requires companies that hire or contract with drivers of taxis, for-hire transportation companies and app-based ride-hailing services to bargain with their drivers, if a majority show they want to be represented. Drivers would be represented by nonprofit organizations certified by the city.

China dominates patent applications

The World Intellectual Property Organization said Monday that China cranked out patent applications at a record pace last year. In a numbers- and graphs-rich survey aimed at pinpointing the state of play worldwide in patents and trademarks, as well as more specific areas like industrial design and "plant variety" applications, the Geneva-based body said China's patents increased by 12.5 percent in 2014 to 928,000. China's total outstripped the combined total emanating from the U.S. and Japan. The U.S. had the second-most patent applications at 578,000. Japan was third with 325,000.

Samsung asks for judgment to be tossed

In its patent dispute with Apple, Samsung is asking the Supreme Court to take a digital-age look at an issue it last confronted in the horse-and-buggy era. South Korea-based Samsung on Monday appealed a $399 million judgment for illegally copying patented aspects of the look of Apple's iPhone, the latest round in a long-running fight between the two tech-industry giants. The last time the Supreme Court heard cases on patents covering the appearance of a product instead of the way it works was in the late 1800s, when the court battles concerned designs of spoon handles, carpets and saddles. The smartphone is fast becoming as common a possession as those items were in the Victorian age. Nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, the Pew Research Center said in April, up from about a third just four years earlier. Apple and Samsung are the top two manufacturers of smartphones. None of the earlier-generation Galaxy and other Samsung phones involved in the lawsuit remains on the market, Samsung said.

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