US Airways shareholders OK merger with American

A merger between US Airways and American Airlines, creating the nation’s largest air carrier, has taken another step forward with the approval of a majority of US Airways shareholders.

About 99 percent of US Airways Group shareholders who voted Friday supported the merger with American’s parent company, AMR Corp.

The vote was not surprising as it was US Airways that first proposed the merger after AMR Corp. filed for bankruptcy in 2011.

“This approval is a major milestone on our path to completing the merger, and we continue to make excellent progress overall thanks to the focused efforts of the dedicated representatives from both companies,” said Doug Parker, chairman and chief executive of US Airways and incoming chief executive of the combined company.

The deal must still win approval from federal regulators and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which is overseeing the bankruptcy of AMR.

Under the proposed merger, the new company would be called American Airlines, with headquarters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, nearly 950 planes and more than 100,000 workers.

Regulators’ ‘action level’ puts limit on arsenic in apple juice

Almost two years after consumer groups raised alarms over arsenic levels found in apple juice, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday proposed an “action level” of 10 parts per billion of inorganic arsenic, the same limit that environmental regulators place on drinking water.

The agency said it was confident that apple juice is generally safe for children and adults to drink but the new limit will make it easier to take enforcement action when higher levels of arsenic are discovered.

“FDA’s action level sends a strong signal to industry to help keep out of the food supply even the occasional lot of apple juice with arsenic levels above those permitted in drinking water,” FDA spokeswoman Theresa Eisenman said in an email. “The action level will also provide FDA investigators with the information they need when considering regulatory action.”

Markets inch higher, still manage to set record

It was another record day on Wall Street — barely.

After spending most of Friday flat or down, stocks rallied at the last minutes and closed slightly higher, just enough to post new record highs for the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, 15,464.30 and 1,680.19, respectively.

The gains were tiny. And the new record doesn’t mean much for investors, who hardly have any more money now than they did a day earlier. But it is a sign that investors believe the market’s rally this year may not be over yet.

- From news service reports