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AIG resolves all legal disputes with ex-chairman Greenberg

NEW YORK - American International Group Inc. has agreed to settle all disputes with its former chairman, Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, the company said late Wednesday. The insurance company, which was bailed out by the government and is now owned by U.S. taxpayers, also resolved its complaints against former Chief Financial Officer Howard I. Smith. AIG said it will pay up to $150 million in past legal fees and expenses for both Greenberg and Smith. The agreement calls for the reimbursements to be reviewed by a third party. Under the terms of the agreement, AIG will also return a Persian rug from the company's headquarters to Greenberg, as well as photographs of Greenberg with Chinese leaders in AIG's Shanghai building. Greenberg will also have access to AIG's archives to write his memoirs. Greenberg was ousted from New York-based AIG amid an accounting scandal in 2005. Mark Herr, an AIG spokesman, said the legal costs that AIG reimburses Greenberg and Smith may be covered at least partially by insurance.

- Associated Press

Tight economy forces some to stay home for Thanksgiving

CHICAGO - Millions of Americans are spending the holiday at home, saying the poor economy has made it unaffordable to hit the road or board a plane. Nearly 38 million people are expected to take trips this year, slightly more than last year but 20 million fewer than in 2005 when the economy was better, according to AAA auto club. Air travel is expected to drop 6.7 percent this holiday compared with last year, AAA said.

- Associated Press

Jobless claims dip, spending rises in sign of rebound

WASHINGTON - In a hopeful sign for the economy, the number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits fell below 500,000 last week for the first time since January. Consumer spending also picked up in October, and new-home sales hit their highest point in more than a year. Combined, the news suggested that the economy should be able to sustain at least a modest rebound. The number of people filing first-time claims for jobless aid fell by 35,000 to 466,000, the Labor Department said Wednesday. That was the fewest since September of last year. And it was far better than the 500,000 economists had expected. Still, analysts noted that jobless claims would have to drop to near 400,000 for several weeks to signal actual growth in employment.

- Associated Press

Salvation Army's kettles now ready for credit cards

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - There could be less jingle in the Salvation's Army's hallmark red kettles this season. The charity is testing kettles that take debit and credit cards. The growth of so-called "plastic kettles" comes as fewer shoppers carry cash. Last year Salvation Army tested the credit machines in two cities, Dallas and Colorado Springs. This year the plastic kettles will be tested in more than 120 cities. The kettles that take credit don't look any different. But next to the metal red kettles are wireless card readers that resemble do-it-yourself readers at gas stations. The machines print two receipts, one for the donor and one to drop in the kettle. Salvation Army pays processing fees.

- Associated Press

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