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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, March 22, 2010

BUSINESS BRIEFS
British Air says it's coping with strike


Advertiser News Services

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Terminal 5 at London's Heathrow Airport was unusually quiet yesterday, the second day of a cabin-crew strike.

Associated Press

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LONDON British Airways cabin crews walked off the job for a second day yesterday, but the airline insisted the strike was having less impact than expected.

The airline locked in a bitter dispute with workers over a pay freeze and changing working conditions was forced to cancel or delay hundreds of flights over the weekend as cabin crews launched a three-day strike after negotiations collapsed on Friday. But BA said it was coping well due to its extensive contingency plans and the fact that many workers ignored the strike call.

AVERAGE INCOME TAX REFUND 10% BIGGER

The average income tax refund is up nearly 10 percent from a year ago, reflecting tax credits included in last year's economic stimulus package, according to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman.

Vice President Joe Biden is expected to announce the increase today to promote tax benefits available through the Recovery Act of 2009, which provided a tax credit of $400 for workers, or $800 for married couples.

Through March 12, the average tax refund was a record $3,036, up $266 from the same period a year earlier, Shulman said in a statement.

DEBT COULD SINK RECOVERY, IMF WARNS

BEIJING The International Monetary Fund warned the world's wealthiest nations yesterday to watch their surging levels of government debt, saying it could drag down the growth needed to ensure continued economic recovery.

The economic crisis is leaving "deep scars in fiscal balances, particularly in the advanced economies," John Lipsky, the IMF's No. 2 official, told the China Development Forum in Beijing. He said countries that have been going into debt to stimulate their economies should now prepare for belt-tightening steps next year.

This year, the average debt-to-GDP ratio in the wealthiest countries is projected to reach levels that prevailed in 1950 in the aftermath of World War II, Lipsky said.