British Airways frequent flyer accounts hacked, the governor of Indiana defends controversial new law and "Home" is where the moviegoers are. Read about these and more of the day's top business news stories.
Indiana Governor Defends Religious Freedom Law
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence took to the airwaves Sunday to defend Indiana’s controversial religious freedom law, which has faced business boycotts and widespread criticism. The legislation, which takes effect July 1, prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion. Pence refused to say if the law would allow discrimination against gays and lesbians, but did announce he would consider a second law that “amplifies and clarifies” the legislation. He also vowed, “We’re not going to change the law.” Indianapolis-based Angie’s List has already announced it would put off a planned $40 million expansion.
Domestic Consumer Spending up 0.1 Percent in February
Consumer spending rose slightly last month, the Commerce Department said Monday. Personal spending increased a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent from February after ticking downward 0.2 percent in January and a revised 0.2 percent in December, the Wall Street Journal reports. Personal income, a measure of money received from wages, government assistance programs and other sources, increased 0.4 percent in February.Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.
British Airways Confirms Hacking of Frequent Flyer Accounts
British Airways announced Sunday it had frozen tens of thousands of its frequent flyer accounts that had been hacked. The airline said no personal information had been viewed or stolen, but warned customers that some fliers might temporarily not be able to use their air miles, Reuters reports. It also said it expected the system to be back to normal in the next day or so.
“Home” Trumps “Hard at the Box Office
The family film, “Home” trounced the R-rated “Get Hard” at the box office. The animated feature based on a popular children’s book and featuring the voice of Jim Parsons as an alien earned $54 million, surpassing forecasts of between $30 million and $35 million in its opening weekend. “Get Hard” earned $34.6 million, making it the number one opening for an R-rated film starring Will Ferrell or Kevin Hart. In third place was “Insurgent,” the sequel to “Divergent.” Disney’s “Cinderella” came in fourth with $17.5 million. The critically acclaimed horror film “It Follows,” scared up $4 million to round out the top five.
Under Fire Dutch Bank Directors Surrender Bonuses
Amid public outrage, ABN Amro board members are giving up a 100,000-euro ($110,000) pay increase after the Dutch government delayed a decision on selling the nationalized bank, the Associated Press reports. In a statement Sunday, the directors said they made the decision "now that our remuneration is the subject of discussion and threatens to affect the future of ABN Amro." Most of its directors had received the pay increase to compensate for the fact that they were banned from receiving bonuses after the bank was nationalized in 2008. In turn, Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem announced Friday he was delaying selling the bank. He welcomed Sunday's decision, saying he would reconsider the sale after a parliamentary debate, the AP reports.
Australia to Join Negotiations to Establish Chinese-Led Bank
Australia announced Sunday that it would enter negotiations to establish a new a Chinese-led Asian regional bank that has emerged as a potential threat to U.S. Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Treasurer Joe Hockey said in a joint statement that the government will sign a memorandum of understanding that will allow Australia to participate as a prospective founding member in negotiations to set up the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB, the Associated Press reports. The U.S. has expressed concern that the bank will undercut the World Bank, where the U.S. has the most clout, and the Asian Development Bank, where it is the second-largest shareholder after Japan.