Japan's economic minister, Akira Amari, tells reporters in Tokyo that the U.S. and Japan failed to reach an accord on a free-trade deal.

Obama and Japan's Abe fail to reach trade accord

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. and Japan failed to reach agreement on free-trade talks as President Obama left Japan on Friday without the breakthrough needed to advance a key element of his broader agenda of strengthening America's hand in Asia.

Despite a last-minute push through the night, the two sides could not bridge their differences on tariffs and market access, clouding the prospects for the proposed free-trade pact among a dozen nations that includes the U.S., Japan, Canada and Mexico.

Obama had hoped to come away from his two-day summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with a bilateral deal that would propel the stalled Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations to a conclusion.

Instead, as Obama headed for South Korea, the second stop of his four-nation Asia tour, the U.S. and Japan issued a statement that made clear they had fallen short of their goal. Although it said that they "have identified a path forward on important bilateral TPP issues," the statement gave no specifics...

The tune "It's a Small World (After All)" will rattle around in your head all day long after riding that attraction in Disneyland's Fantasyland.

It's a Small World to become a big Disney film

It's a Small World, the 50-year-old Disneyland attraction with the singing automatonic children, is reportedly being turned into a movie.

Deadline.com reported that Jon Turteltaub has been hired by Walt Disney Studios to direct the movie based on the attraction, with writer Jared Stern on board to write the script.

Turteltaub has worked with Disney before, directing the two "National Treasure" films staring Nicolas Cage, and "The Kid" starring Bruce Willis. Most recently, he directed "Last Vegas" with Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas and Morgan Freeman.

Stern has also worked for Disney on "Wreck-it Ralph," "Bolt" and "The Princess and the Frog."

Disney officials could not be reached to comment, but Disneyland has arranged a series of events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the boat ride with one of the catchiest soundtracks in the world.

The ride opened in 1964 for the New York World's Fair in honor of the United Nations Children's Fund. The attraction was so popular that at the end...

A shopper heads into the new Alexander McQueen store at the Desert Hills outlet mall.

$100-million Desert Hills expansion includes McQueen, Valentino

Simon Malls unveiled the $100-million expansion of its Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon on Thursday, allowing crowds of tourists and shoppers to stream into new off-price stores from Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Fendi and more.

Fifty new outlet stores make up the 146,000-square-foot build-out. The McQueen store, along with the Helmut Lang and Belstaff shops, marks a first foray into the outlet world in the U.S.

Simon also added a 1,100-space parking garage, new landscaping, lighting and wider walkways. The entire center, which hosts 180 stores such as Armani and Prada, got a facelift.

Participants in the ribbon-cutting ceremony were herded into a large white tent in a courtyard flanked by La Perla on one side and Wetzel's Pretzels on the other. Under chandeliers, guests sipped champagne and watched stilt walkers stroll by the Helmut Lang store.

Simon, which has 325 properties total, said Desert Hills is the most productive outlet center in California and one of the top five of...

Scott London admitted giving a friend inside information about KPMG clients.

KPMG partner who gave tips to golf buddy sentenced for insider trading

A former partner with accounting giant KPMG was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison for giving confidential information about his firm’s clients to a golfing buddy, who used it to make more than $1 million in profits trading stocks.

Scott London, 51, pleaded guilty to insider trading last year, admitting that he gave confidential information about KPMG clients, including Herbalife Ltd. and Skechers USA Inc., to his stock-trading friend several times from October 2010 to  May 2012.

U.S. District Judge George Wu issued the sentence Thursday in Los Angeles. He also ordered London to pay a $100,000 fine. 

Defense attorney Harland Braun had argued for a sentence of 6 to 12 months, noting that his client had already paid dearly for his crime: losing his $900,000-a-year job, his reputation and a host of KPMG friends who are not permitted to talk to him.

The prosecutor in the case, Assistant U.S. Atty. James A. Bowman, said three years was appropriate because of the significant...

Southwest Airlines passengers get their boarding passes at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. Travel agents oppose a bill that would change the way airfares are advertised.

Travel agents oppose effort to erase taxes and fees from airfare ads

A bill that would allow airlines to advertise fares without including taxes and fees would "deceive" travelers about the true cost of flying, according to a trade group for the nation's travel agents.

The proposed federal legislation, which is supported by the nation's airline, allows carriers to advertise base fares with extra fees and taxes shown separately.

The bill would negate a U.S. Department of Transportation rule that took effect in 2012 and requires that all advertised fares show the full cost of a flight, including taxes and fees.

Airlines oppose the rule, saying they want travelers to see how much of the total cost of flying comes from fees and taxes imposed by government.

Some passenger fees are imposed by the airlines themselves, such as fuel surcharges.

“We cannot stand by while anti-consumer legislation is allowed to sail through Congress and unravel protections put in place by the DOT with no input from the traveling public,” said Zane Kerby, president and...


Live chat: Moving in with your parents at age 50

It's not just 20-somethings who are moving in with their parents.

At a time when the sluggish economy has sent scores of young adults back home, older people are quietly moving in with their parents at twice the rate of their younger counterparts.

The surge reflects the grim economic reality that has taken hold in the aftermath of the Great Recession, as middle-age people struggle with issues such as extended unemployment.

Live chat: Join us here at 11 a.m.

Join us for a live video chat at 11 a.m. PDT to discuss this dynamic. Business reporter Walter Hamilton, who wrote about this trend, will be joined by Debbie Rohr, a woman who has been forced by economic necessity to move back in with her mother.

For seven years through 2012, the number of Californians age 50 to 64 who live in their parents' homes swelled 67.6% to about 194,000, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.

The jump is almost exclusively the result...

Zimmer Holdings shares were up more than 14% after it announced Thursday that it would acquire orthopedic products company Biomet in a deal valued at $13.35 billion. Pictured: Overall Thursday morning trading at the New York Stock Exchange.

Zimmer to buy Biomet amid flurry of billion-dollar medical deals

Orthopedic products maker Zimmer Holdings on Thursday announced it will acquire Biomet Inc. in a deal valued at $13.35 billion, including assumption of debt, the companies said.   

The proposed acquisition follows a flurry of billion-dollar deals by pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

PHOTOS: Best and worst countries to grow old in

This week Swiss multinational company Novartis AG, maker of Excedrin, announced a restructuring of its businesses with GlaxoSmithKline that included the sale of GSK's oncology products to Novartis for $14.5 billion. Activist investor Bill Ackman and Canadian firm Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. on Tuesday unveiled details of their $45-billion bid for Irvine pharmaceutical company Allergan Inc., which makes the popular Botox wrinkle treatment.

The acquisition of Biomet is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015. The two companies reported revenues that combined totaled $7.8 billion in 2013. The consolidated company is projected to...

Juicy profits in the stock market have helped the wealthiest Americans become even wealthier.

Rich getting richer: Gap between 1% and 99% deepens

The wealthy are getting even wealthier – in part because they’re so wealthy to start with.

That’s the upshot of new research, which shows that the richest 1% of Americans derive huge profits from capital gains, stock dividends and other types of business- or investment-related gains.

In other words, rich people are making a lot of money on their money.

Anyone, of course, can benefit from stock-related gains. But the rich have benefited a lot more, in part because they have higher incomes that enable them to invest more.

PHOTOS: 10 most expensive cities in the world

The divergence is likely to exacerbate income inequality in coming years, according to the analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.

The analysis found that the share of “income from wealth” going to the top 1% surged to 54% in 2010 from 33.5% in 1979. It was based on data from the Congressional Budget Office.

In 1979, the bottom 90% had 36.2%, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The 9%...

Postal workers plan more protests Thursday at more than 50 Staples locations in 27 states to oppose a partnership between the office supply company and the U.S. Postal Service to operate retail counters at the retailer's stores. Above, a protest in Atlanta last month.

Postal workers union to protest Staples-USPS partnership in 27 states

Members of the American Postal Workers Union are launching protests Thursday in 27 states to decry a partnership between the U.S. Postal Service and office supply company Staples Inc. to run postal counters at its retail stores. 

The agreement between the Postal Service and Staples, announced in November, created a pilot program to operate 82 postal counters at Staples locations across the country. The quick-service counters will be staffed by Staples employees. 

Organizers plan to demonstrate at a Staples location in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, one of four protests planned in California. Of the 82, locations, 32 are in California; none are in Los Angeles.

The postal workers union leadership have criticized the program, saying it will pave the way for privatization of post office jobs, a charge Postal Service officials deny. 

It is "taking away good, stable jobs and replacing them with low-wage, high-turnover jobs," Mike Evans, the union's California president, said in a...

Fixed mortgage rates rose a bit this week but are still a bargain by historical standards. Above, a home for sale in Los Angeles.

Freddie Mac: mortgage rates edge higher, 30-year averaging 4.33%

Fixed mortgage rates edged higher this week, with Freddie Mac reporting that lenders were offering 30-year loans to solid borrowers at an average of 4.33%, up from 4.27% a week ago.

The average for a 15-year fixed loan rose from 3.33% to 3.39%, the McLean, Va.-based home finance company said Thursday.  Start rates for variable-rate loans were unchanged.  

Helped by stimulus measures from the Federal Reserve, the 30-year rate dropped below 3.5% in late 2012, but as recovery set in it rose back above 4.5% by the middle of last year.

It has spent most of 2014 below that level, making mortgage borrowing quite a bargain by historical standards.

QUIZ: How much do you know about mortgage rates?

Most fixed mortgages are packaged up to back bonds that are sold to investors with payment guarantees from Freddie Mac and other government-controlled entities.

These so-called agency bonds are regarded as nearly as safe as securities issued by the federal government, and fixed mortgage rates tend to...

Homes are staying on the market longer in Southern California this spring. Here, prospective buyers tour a house in Highland Park.

Homes selling slower in Southern California. A sign of stability?

In another sign that the hot Southland housing market is throttling down, homes here are staying on the market longer lately.

The share of houses that have been listed for sale for at least two months climbed in the Los Angeles, Orange County, Inland Empire and Ventura regions of Southern California compared with a year ago, according to an analysis by real estate website Trulia.

Thanks to perennially tight supply, Southern California housing markets are still pretty “fast” by historic standards, notes Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko. More than half of all homes in Los Angeles and Orange Counties sold in less than two months -- among the 10 highest rates in the country.

But compared with last year, when prices were significantly lower and the supply of homes for sale was even tighter, the market has slowed a bit. The share of homes on the market for two months in Los Angeles climbed to 44% from 40 a year ago, to 45% from 38% in Orange County and to 53% from 49% in...

TSA's PreCheck program enables fliers who voluntarily offer background information access to a faster screening line.

Only half of Americans say TSA screening makes flying safer

Americans are split on whether airport screening lines make air travel safer.

But at the same time, a majority of American adults worry that faster screening lines for travelers who submit background information might jeopardize airline safety.

The latest measure of the public's attitute on airport security came from a poll of 2,234 adults in the U.S. by the Harris Poll.

It comes only days after a teenage boy slipped undetected onto a Maui-bound jet at Mineta San Jose International Airport.

Half of those who took the poll said the security screening procedures by the Transportation Security Administration make air travel safer. That rate rises to 57% among those who have taken more than five trips in the last year, according to the poll.

Best airlines, worst airlines: JetBlue tops survey as scores slide

But Americans have mixed opinions about TSA's PreCheck program, which enables travelers who submit background information to the government to go through special screening lines without...

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