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Companies boost mobile payment services

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SAN FRANCISCO » The tech industry has been saying for years that smartphones would make traditional wallets obsolete. But most people still use cash or plastic when they shop in stores.

That could change later this year when three leading tech companies are promising to give shoppers more reasons to use "digital wallets."

Apple said last week that it’s adding store-issued credit cards and store rewards programs to Apple Pay, the mobile payments service it launched last fall. Google is readying a similar service for millions more smartphones to run on its Android software. And Samsung promises a service for its newest Galaxy smartphones will be accepted in more stores than both Apple Pay and Google’s Android Pay.

Austerity measures see success in Europe

LISBON, Portugal » Europeans in countries that adopted unpopular austerity measures to overcome the recent financial crisis are starting to reap the rewards, even if times are still hard for many and numerous factors are playing a role in the recovery.

Spain has one of the fastest-growing economies in the European Union. Ireland, a model student in the lessons of austerity, has slashed unemployment nearly in half in the past three years. And even Portugal, one of the worst-hit of the crisis countries, is showing tentative green shoots of economic growth. With the government in Athens rebelling against austerity, some people see Greece as trying to duck out of its commitments and dodge the pain that others went through.

Unemployment increases in 25 states

WASHINGTON » Unemployment rates rose in 25 states last month, driven higher in many cases by more people who began looking for work but didn’t immediately find jobs.

Rates fell in nine states and Washington, D.C., and were unchanged in 16 states, including Hawaii, the Labor Department said Friday.

Despite the pickup in unemployment rates, employers are hiring at a robust pace, boosting job growth in most parts of the country. Thirty-seven states added jobs last month, while 12 states cut jobs. Hiring in Montana was flat.

All Nippon Airways begins Houston flights

With its new nonstop flights between Tokyo and Houston, Japan’s All Nippon Airways now serves 10 cities in North America, and the CEO says he is looking for more destinations in the U.S. heartland.

All Nippon, or ANA for short, was drawn to Houston by the large number of connecting flights there to Latin America on partner United Airlines. The airline hopes travelers in the central U.S. will see Tokyo as a jumping-off spot to other points in Asia. ANA is optimistic enough in the demand that it began service last week with 250-seat Boeing 777 jets instead of the smaller Boeing 787.

Hershey to cut 300 jobs in bid to simplify

HERSHEY, Pa. » Hershey is expected to cut about 300 jobs by the end of the year as it looks to simplify its operations. The candy maker also cut its revenue outlook for the year.

Its shares fell more than 3 percent in afternoon trading Friday. The company has about 22,000 employees globally.

The company did not specify where the job cuts would come from, but said manufacturing operations are not included in the plans.

Comcast founder Ralph Roberts dies at 95

NEW YORK » Ralph Roberts, a cable pioneer who built Comcast from a small cable TV system in Mississippi into an entertainment and communications behemoth, has died. He was 95.

Comcast said in a statement that Roberts died Thursday night in Philadelphia of natural causes.

He was in his 40s when he began his career in the fledgling cable industry, with a $500,000 purchase of American Cable Systems, a company with 1,200 subscribers in Tupelo, Miss. A string of acquisitions followed. Roberts changed the name of the company to Comcast and ran it until he was in his 80s.


City Mill Co. has announced the following new members of its management team: 
>> Shannan Hammond has been named the new training and development administrator. She has 20 years of retail management experience, including working at Home Depot and Walmart.

>> Will Hom has been appointed as the new IT manager. He has 15 years of experience, including serving as director for MIS at a New York advertising agency.

Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties has announced that Heidi M. Dickens has joined the firm’s Windward office as an independent agent. She has more than 15 years of real estate experience in Hawaii and Southern California, including serving as realtor-associate at Century 21 All Islands.

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