PayPal in space?

From our wire services

PayPal is exploring how payments and commerce will work beyond Earth's realm once space travel and tourism take off. The online payment service said Thursday it is launching an initiative called PayPal Galactic with the help of the nonprofit SETI Institute and the Space Tourism Society, an industry group focused on space travel.

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Spending on rise

Consumers spent more in May as their incomes rose, providing an encouraging sign after a slow start to the year. But spending was weaker in April, February and January than previously estimated. The Commerce Department said consumer spending rose 0.3 percent last month, nearly erasing a similar decline in April. Income rose 0.5 percent.

Job market improving

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 346,000 last week, evidence that the job market is still improving modestly. The four-week average declined to 345,750, the Labor Department said. That's near the five-year low of 338,000 that the average touched last month.

Bangladesh sanctions

The United States is expected to suspend trade privileges for Bangladesh because of concerns about labor rights and worker safety that intensified after hundreds died there in the global garment industry's worst accident. It would mark the culmination of a yearslong review of labor conditions in the impoverished South Asian nation.

Stocks up again

Better news on jobs and consumer spending pushed stocks higher. The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index jumped Thursday, putting the stock market on track for its third advance in three days.

Natural gas declines

The price of natural gas fell to nearly a 4-month low Thursday, and the cost of filling up the family car dropped again as the July Fourth holiday approaches. Natural gas futures fell 16 cents to end at $3.58 per 1,000 cubic feet after the Energy Department said supplies rose more than expected last week.

Paid leave advances

New York City joined Portland, Ore., San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C., this week in requiring employers to provide paid sick time. Similar measures have failed in cities such as Denver and Philadelphia.

Mortgage lender fined

Mortgage Investors Corp., a leading refinancer of veterans' home loans, agreed to pay $7.5 million in fines for calling people on the Do Not Call registry. The Federal Trade Commission said the company also tried to mislead military service members to believe low-interest mortgages were available at no cost.

Curved TV sold

Samsung Electronics Co. rolled out a curved TV for South Korean consumers Thursday that uses an advanced display and costs $13,000. It remains to be seen if consumers will be willing to pay a premium for enhanced imagery after the industry saw weak sales of 3-D screens.

Budget deal reached

European Union officials reached a last-minute deal on a $1.3 trillion budget for the next seven years. The agreement, which includes the bloc's first spending cuts, requires parliamentary approval. But it ends months of infighting in the recession-hit 27-nation area and will pay for everything from infrastructure and farming subsidies to development aid and employment measures.

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