Southwest Airlines told to change its method for calculating luggage weight


Southwest Airlines told to change its method for calculating luggage weight

Federal officials have told Southwest Airlines to fix the way it calculates the weight of luggage loaded on flights after finding frequent mistakes during a yearlong investigation. Southwest said Tuesday that it has made improvements in its methods for calculating the weight and balance of loads, and that it isn’t facing enforcement action. The airline said that it voluntarily reported the issue to the Federal Aviation Administration last year. The FAA investigation was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper said internal FAA documents showed that the airline made frequent mistakes in calculations and luggage-loading practices that could cause errors when pilots compute their plane’s takeoff weight. Southwest crews count bags they load and use an average weight to calculate the load. The FAA found cases in which the bag load was more than 1,000 pounds heavier than paperwork indicated, the newspaper reported. FAA inspectors believed pilots might respond incorrectly to an engine emergency if they had inaccurate information about the distribution of weight between front and rear cargo bays. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Walmart sales a bright spot for the holidays

Walmart defied a gloomy government retail sales report for December, delivering fiscal fourth-quarter profits and sales that beat Wall Street expectations. The world’s largest retailer also enjoyed another quarter of surging e-commerce sales during the critical holiday period as it expanded its online assortment and services. Shares moved higher in morning trading Tuesday. The report provides more evidence that Walmart’s efforts to expand online grocery services, including curbside pickup and home delivery, are widening the gap between itself and traditional rivals while at the same time holding its own against online leader Amazon. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Payless to close all stores in North America by the end of May

Payless Inc. and its North American subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy protection, with the discount shoe retailer saying it plans to close its 2,500 stores in North America by the end of May. The company, which is taking its second trip to bankruptcy court in two years, said retail operations outside North America, including company-owned stores in Latin America, aren’t included in the Chapter 11 filing and will continue business as usual. The company, which sought relief in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, said last week it would begin liquidation sales and shut down its online operations. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Pittsburgh newspaper names writer of controversial editorial as its new editor

Last year, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette chose Martin Luther King’s birthday as the publication date for an editorial headlined “Reason as Racism.” On Monday, a little more than a year after that piece drew national criticism, The Post-Gazette named its editorial page director, Keith C. Burris, as its newsroom leader. The appointment of Burris, who wrote the “Reason as Racism” editorial, comes at a stormy time at the Pittsburgh daily. Relations between the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh and the paper’s owner, Block Communications, have been tense. Things came to a head on the night of Feb. 9, when John R. Block, the publisher, subjected staff members to a tirade in the newsroom. The “Reason as Racism” editorial drew backlash from the local community, former and current newsroom employees, and even members of the Block family. “We do not condone the sentiments expressed in the piece,” members of the Block family wrote in a letter to The Post-Gazette editor published three days after the editorial ran. “We do not condone the whitewashing of racism, nor the normalization of it. We cannot remain silent and by implication approve of the use of The Post-Gazette to provide cover for racism.” Burris also had a hand in the firing of a longtime editorial cartoonist, Rob Rogers, in June, after Rogers complained that his cartoons critical of President Trump had been censored. — NEW YORK TIMES



Twitter tightens rules on European political ads

Twitter said Tuesday it is tightening up rules for European Union political ads ahead of bloc-wide elections this spring, following similar moves by fellow tech giants Facebook and Google. The social media company said it is extending restrictions already in place for federal elections in the United States. Under the new rules, which will also apply in Australia and India, political advertisers will need to be certified. It’s also taking steps to increase transparency. Ads, in the form of ‘‘promoted tweets,’’ from the past seven days will be stored in a publicly accessible database showing how much was spent, how many times it was seen, and the demographics of the people who saw it. Facebook and Google have put in similar systems ahead of the EU vote in May, as the US tech companies respond to criticism they didn’t do enough to prevent misuse of their platforms by malicious actors trying to sway previous elections around the world. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Danske barred from Estonia amid Russian money laundering scandal

Estonian authorities said Tuesday that the local branch of Danske Bank must close after the financial group admitted that massive amounts of money from Russia and former Soviet states had been laundered through the subsidiary. The Estonian Financial Supervisory Authority said the activities of Denmark’s largest financial institution must cease in Estonia within eight months. Danske Bank said it will comply with the request, shutting its banking activities in all three Baltic countries and in Russia. The Copenhagen-based bank admitted in September that some 200 billion euros ($226 billion) had flown through accounts at its Estonian branch from 2007 to 2015, following reports of transfers, including from family members of Russian President Vladimir Putin. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Burberry apologizes for hoodie with noose-shaped strings

The chief executive and chief creative officer of luxury fashion powerhouse Burberry have apologized for putting a hoodie with strings tied in the shape of a noose on their London Fashion Week runway. The knotted strings surfaced after Sunday’s show when a model hired to walk (but not wear the outfit) complained both before the show and on Instagram, saying the noose not only evoked lynchings but also suicide. Marco Gobbetti, the brand’s CEO, said in a statement Tuesday that Burberry is ‘‘deeply sorry for the distress’’ the top has caused and has removed it from the autumn-winter collection, along with all images featuring the look. Riccardo Tisci, Burberry’s creative director, also apologized, saying ‘‘while the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realize that it was insensitive.’’ — ASSOCIATED PRESS


NJ governor signs law expanding paid family leave

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed into law a bill expanding the state’s paid family leave program. The Democrat signed the legislation Tuesday in Piscataway. The bill doubles paid family leave from six to 12 weeks. Lawmakers most recent estimate that the average benefit under the new law would rise to $859 a week, from $632. New Jersey is one of five states, along with the District of Columbia, with paid family leave. — ASSOCIATED PRESS