Business news briefs: Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board appoints new director

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PLCB appoints new director

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board appointed John E. Metzger as the acting executive director, filling a vacancy created when former CEO Joe Conti retired a year ago. Since 2010, Mr. Metzger had been the PLCB's supply chain director.

Washington County Penney closing

J.C. Penney Co. will close its Washington Mall store in Washington County as part of the department store chain's ongoing turnaround efforts. A total of 33 underperforming locations around the country will close by early May, eliminating a total of about 2,000 jobs, according to the Plano, Texas, retailer. The closing should save about $65 million annually.

Wal-Mart faces rights accusations

Federal officials filed a formal complaint charging Wal-Mart violated the rights of workers who took part in protests and strikes against the company. The National Labor Relations Board says Wal-Mart illegally fired, disciplined or threatened more than 60 employees in 14 states for participating in legally protected activities to complain about wages and working conditions. The labor board's general counsel laid out similar charges in November, but held off on filing a complaint while trying to work out a settlement.

Gasoline, energy boost prices

U.S. wholesale prices increased in December, pushed up by rising gasoline prices and energy costs. The Labor Department says the producer price index, which measures costs before they reach the consumer, rose 0.4 percent last month. Gasoline prices reversed recent declines and increased 2.2 percent last month. Excluding volatile energy and food prices, wholesale costs increased 0.3 percent in December and 1.4 percent year over year.

Apple refunding in-app purchases

Apple will refund at least $32.5 million to consumers to settle a federal case involving purchases that children made without their parents' permission while playing on mobile apps, the government announced Wednesday. The Federal Trade Commission said Apple will make full refunds for any such in-app purchases.

Canada raps Google over ads

Google has run afoul of Canadian law by displaying Web ads linked to a person's health history. Canada's interim privacy commissioner Chantal Bernier said a man received so-called behavioral advertisements based on his browsing history: After searching for information about devices to treat sleep apnea, he began to see ads for those devices.


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