Business & Tech

TALKING POINTS

TSA screened record number of airport travelers at end of Fourth of July weekend

AVIATION

TSA screened record number of airport travelers at end of Fourth of July weekend

The number of people screened at airport checkpoints last Sunday set a record as people streamed home after a four-day holiday weekend. The Transportation Security Administration said Thursday that its officers screened 2,795,014 passengers and airline crew members, barely beating a record set just five weeks earlier, over the Memorial Day weekend. TSA screens about 2.2 million people on an average day. The top four days and eight of the busiest 10 in TSA history have occurred this year, as airlines report booming travel demand. TSA says that despite Sunday’s record crowds, fewer than 1 percent of passengers waited 30 minutes or more in checkpoint lines. The agency is telling summer travelers to arrive at the airport two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international one. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

INTERNATIONAL

France wants
to impose tax
on US tech giants

President Emmanuel Macron’s government waded into a potentially messy fight with the White House on Thursday as French lawmakers voted to impose a tax on Facebook, Google, and other American technology giants despite a blunt warning from the Trump administration. The measure, which the White House said could amount to an unfair trade practice, is likely to be signed into law by Macron within two weeks, placing France squarely in the crosshairs of President Trump’s escalating trade wars. The finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, told the French Senate before the vote that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Robert Lighthizer, the White House’s top trade negotiator, phoned him Wednesday to say that the United States was opening an investigation into the French tax using a mechanism Trump had already employed to impose sweeping tariffs on China. — NEW YORK TIMES

LEGAL

Harvey Weinstein changes legal team again, 60 days before trial starts

With one lawyer bolting amid public backlash and another saying he and his client just couldn’t get along, a judge on Thursday approved a request to recast Harvey Weinstein’s defense team yet again, this time a mere 60 days before the disgraced movie mogul is due to stand trial in New York on sexual assault charges. Lawyer Jose Baez, who’s known for representing high-profile clients such as Casey Anthony, asked for permission to leave Weinstein’s sexual assault case. The judge asked Weinstein if that was OK with him. Weinstein replied, ‘‘Yes’’ and the court gave the green light. Weinstein, who ignored journalists’ questions outside the Manhattan courtroom, is adding two new lawyers, Donna Rotunno and Damon Cheronis, both of Chicago. The lawyers have promised the judge that they won’t seek to postpone the trial from its scheduled Sept. 9 start. Rotunno has espoused a philosophy that the #metoo movement, spurred by revelations about Weinstein’s alleged behavior, is overblown and that women are ‘‘responsible for the choices they make.’’
— ASSOCIATED PRESS

ATHLETIC WEAR

Lululemon opens Chicago store to workouts

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Lululemon Athletica Inc. is flexing its muscles. On Thursday, the high-end yoga pants maker opened a Chicago store where shoppers can work out like at a traditional fitness studio. And if visitors forget their own gear, they can borrow a Lululemon outfit to sweat in and return — it’s washed between each use — in hope they’ll end up buying (an unworn version) of the item when the workout’s over. With two exercise rooms, a meditation area and a cafe serving smoothies, salads, kombucha, and beer, the new location will offer six to 10 classes a day for $25 apiece. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

E-COMMERCE

Amazon to spend $700m to retrain workers

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Amazon has increasingly turned to robots and automation technology to fetch products from the shelves of its warehouses to ship to customers. Now the company says it needs to help its workers adapt to the rapid change. The e-commerce giant said Thursday that it planned to spend $700 million to retrain a third of its workers in the United States, an acknowledgment that advances in technology are remaking the role of workers in nearly every industry. Amazon said the program amounts to one of the world’s largest employee-retraining efforts. It will apply across the company, from corporate employees to warehouse workers. The company said about 100,000 workers would be retrained by 2025.
— NEW YORK TIMES

RETAIL

Charming Charlie declares bankruptcy again, to close about 260 stores

Fashion accessory retailer Charming Charlie plans to close its roughly 260 stores as part of a second trip to bankruptcy court in less than two years, according to court documents. Charming Charlie Holdings Inc. filed for Chapter 11 protection in Delaware, a little more than a year after emerging from a court restructuring. The company plans to hold going-out-of-business sales, which it expects will last about two months and generate $30 million. Charming Charlie has more than 3,000 full- and part-time employees. The company, founded in Houston in 2004, has stores in shopping malls across the United States. Charming Charlie is known for organizing its bright merchandise by color, and its core customer base is middle-aged women, chief financial officer Alvaro E. Bellon said in a court declaration. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

MORTGAGES

Rates largely
the same

Mortgage rates were caught in a tug of war this week as economic news pushed them up and then pulled them down, leaving them back where they started. According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average held steady at 3.75 percent. It was 4.53 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed-rate average rose to 3.22 percent. It was 3.18 percent a week ago and 4.02 percent a year ago. — WASHINGTON POST

ECONOMY

Consumer prices barely rose in June

US consumer prices rose just 0.1 percent in June, as cheaper gas prices were offset by higher rents and auto costs. The Labor Department said Thursday that the consumer price index increased 1.6 percent in June from a year earlier. That is down from 1.8 percent in May and the second straight drop. However, excluding the volatile food and energy prices, core inflation rose 0.3 percent in June, the biggest increase in 18 months. It rose 2.1 percent from a year ago. Inflation has been muted throughout the 10-year expansion, now the longest on record, even as the unemployment rate has dropped to a very low 3.7 percent. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell cited persistently low inflation on Wednesday as a justification for potentially lowering short-term interest rates at the Fed’s next meeting in late July. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

ECONOMY

Unemployment filings at a
three-month low

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Filings for unemployment benefits declined to a 12-week low, underscoring the Federal Reserve’s view that a robust labor market is underpinning economic expansion. Jobless claims dropped to 209,000 in the week ended July 6, which included the July 4 holiday, according to Labor Department data released Thursday. The figure was less than all estimates in a Bloomberg survey. The four-week average, a less-volatile measure, fell to 219,250 from 222,500. — BLOOMBERG NEWS