Listen Live:

UK’s Sky News coverage of London terror attack

ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
51°
Broken Clouds
H 60° L 47°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    51°
    Current Conditions
    Broken Clouds. H 60° L 47°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    61°
    Today
    Partly Cloudy. H 70° L 54°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    71°
    Tomorrow
    Partly Cloudy. H 70° L 54°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Business News

Business News

  • Official figures show retail sales in Britain bounced back strongly in February but that the underlying picture remains gloomy as the country prepares to start two years of discussions to leave the European Union. The Office for National Statistics said Thursday that retail sales rose 1.4 percent in February from the previous month. An increase had been expected following three monthly declines. On a three-month basis, however, retail sales are still down by 1.4 percent. That's the worst three-month performance since March 2010. Analysts say the underlying picture suggests that households are reining in spending ahead of Prime Minister Theresa May's upcoming triggering of the two-year Brexit process as well as rising inflation largely related to higher energy prices.
  • Philadelphia's new tax on sweetened beverages is exceeding expectations. Figures released Thursday by the city's Department of Revenue show the tax brought in $6.4 million in February. The city had projected the tax would generate $5.9 million for the month. The 1.5-cent-per-ouce tax on sweetened and diet beverages funds pre-K and community schools. It also will help pay to renovate recreation centers, libraries and parks. The tax generated $5.9 million in January, more than double its prediction of $2.3 million. The tax is imposed at the distributor level. If fully passed onto the consumer, it amounts to $1.44 on a six-pack of 16-ounce bottles. Pepsi is pulling 2-liter bottles and 12-packs of its products from Philadelphia stores to offer products and sizes that working families can better afford.
  • If you’re expecting a big tax refund this year, you’ve probably already decided what you’re going to do with that money. Whether it’s a vacation, a new jet ski or a nice boost to your retirement savings, you’re probably pretty excited about the extra cash. But here’s the deal: Getting a big tax refund each year isn’t necessarily a good thing. It means you haven’t been putting that money to work for you all year long. “If you are receiving a refund this year, it means that you overpaid your taxes during the course of the year. Instead of giving the government your hard-earned money, think about all of the great things you could have done with that money,” says Ron Weber, a senior marketing manager with Quicken Inc. “You could have paid off credit accounts, invested it in your future, and/or spent it as you earned it. Money is always better in your pocket than in someone else’s — even if that someone else is the government.” Here’s how you can make sure you boost your bottom line this year by not overpaying your taxes and also not getting a refund. Review Your Withholdings Sit down and review your paycheck withholdings and see if you can break even when it comes to the taxes you pay. You’re looking for your Goldilocks zone. Not too little, not too much, but just right. “If you are unsure what to do, experiment until you get it right,” Weber advises. “Most people are unaware that you can change your number of payroll exemptions as many times as you wish.” You can also try using a tool to help you find your Goldilocks zone. The Internal Revenue Service has a withholdings calculator that can help you see how much difference a change in your withholdings will make. Certainly, you don’t want to owe taxes next year if you can avoid it, but getting your tax refund as close to zero as possible means you can invest or spend the additional income on a regular basis instead of letting the Treasury Department store it for you. As you review your withholdings, you’ll want to be sure you … Don’t Forget Your House … If you own your own home, you probably know you can claim mortgage interest and property tax deductions, so take into account how much that will reduce your tax burden. … Or Your Investments If you own investment property, you’ll also want to consider any expenses you can deduct that might affect your taxes for next year. … Or Big Life Events “There are certain life events that you want to keep in mind when changing your exemptions such as marriage, having children or any situation where you decrease the number of dependents, such as divorce,” Weber says. “Also, keep in mind that while you are able to change the number of withholdings as often as you wish, your employer doesn’t have to apply it until the first payroll ending 30 days after you submit the change, effectively limiting the number of times you actually can change. Other than these considerations, the ultimate goal each year is to get your refund close to zero. Make it a game and see how close you can come.” But You’re Terrible at Saving Money, You Say? Of course, if saving isn’t your forte and you’re going to just end up spending whatever additional income you get throughout the year, letting Uncle Sam hold it for you might not be such a bad idea if you plan to put your refund directly into a retirement account like an IRA. The IRS will even help you keep your promise to invest the money by direct depositing all or part of your refund into savings, an IRA or even toward buying savings bonds. If that’s your situation, you can read our guide on how to maximize your tax refund. But investing that money into a 401K throughout the year could be a better alternative, especially if your employer provides matching funds. Those savings can pile up, especially if you start young. If you’re planning to turn your refund into the start of a lifetime of saving, check out our list of 50 things young people can do to make sure they’re set when it’s time to retire. Also remember that keeping your credit in good standing helps you save money throughout the year, on everything from loan and credit card interest rates to mortgages. A good way to check on how your credit is faring is by getting credit your two free credit scores, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.   Related Articles How to Get a Credit Card After Bankruptcy The Best Easy-to-Get Credit Cards This article originally appeared on Credit.com.
  • Once you’ve decided it’s time to buy your own home, saving for that 20% down payment is step one toward doing it. Instead of waiting years, here are six ways to help you save up for that down payment in a matter of months. 1. Explore the Market If you are saving money to buy your dream home, consider taking a detour through a lower-priced neighborhood first. Buying a lower-cost home means you won’t have to save as long for the down payment. As the home’s value goes up, you can use the equity you’ve built to help you get into a higher-priced home later on, particularly if you find a fixer-upper and you’re good at repairs. 2. Keep Your Priorities in Focus While it may be tempting to put off other priorities when trying to save for an important goal, Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations at Freedom Financial Network, says paying the rent should always be your first priority. Next, Gallegos says, pay down credit card debt. “Few, if any, investments will return as much,” he explains. Additionally, having more available credit on your card will improve your debt-to-income ratio and creates a financial cushion that you may need for unexpected costs after moving in to your new home. 3. Automate Your Savings You can create a budget based on your current expenses to determine how much you can save each month. Once you have determined how much you can afford to save, automatically transfer that amount from your checking account to a savings account. “Save before you ever have the money in your hand,” Gallegos says. “Record this expense like a bill every month.” 4. Generate More Income To raise money quickly, Gallegos says it pays off to turn your spare time into money-making opportunities. Look around your apartment for unneeded items to sell online or have a yard sale. “Even small proceeds can accumulate surprisingly quickly,” he says. “Maybe you have skills where you can turn a hobby into a part-time, money-making enterprise. Babysit, tutor, do yard work or other part-time work.” 5. Track Your Daily Expenses Before pulling out your wallet, ask yourself how badly you need to buy something. For example, if there is free coffee at work, do you really need to go to the coffee shop every morning? Gallegos admits it sounds cliché to ask such questions, “yet this is just the type of disciplined act that will get someone on track to saving as much as possible as quickly as possible,” he says. To further reduce daily spending, Gallegos recommends paying with cash instead of using a debit or credit card. “Many studies report that people spend up to 15 to 20% less when paying with cash,” he says. 6. Reduce Household Expenses There are many ways to reduce monthly expenses at home that can help build your savings for a down payment more quickly. Washing clothes in cold water saves up to 90% of the energy expended in the washing cycle, notes Gallegos. Switching to cold water will directly reduce next month’s utility bill. Plus, speaking of laundry, skip the dryer. That’ll eliminate carbon emissions and help you bank away extra dollars, he adds. You should also eliminate drafts in your home and turn the hot water temperature down to 120 degrees, which will save you money. Per EnergyStar.gov, a house’s water heater “can waste anywhere from $36 to $61 annually in standby heat losses and more than $400 in demand losses.” Implementing only one of these ideas may not increase your savings significantly, but if you try a few of them, it can make a real difference to your savings account after a few months and get you on the right track to having enough for your new home. [Editor’s Note: A good credit score can make buying a new home more affordable, too, since it’ll help you qualify for a low interest rate. You can see where your credit stands by viewing two of your scores for free on Credit.com.]   Related Articles 16 Confusing Mortgage Terms Deciphered What Is a Qualified Mortgage? This article originally appeared on Credit.com.
  • As you throw open doors and cast out the dirt that’s collected in your home all winter, remember that spring is also an ideal time to spruce up your finances  — especially those areas that may benefit from tax refund cash. Tax season is a natural time to think about your current and future financial state as you sift to find W-2s, property tax statements and capital gains or losses in your portfolio. Your refund can also help you make overdue financial repairs — think lingering bills or a lackluster emergency fund — or perhaps invest in a stock that you’ve had your eye on. Here are some practical steps you can take to bring new order and tidiness to your finances this spring. Pay off high-interest debt Putting your refund check toward paying off credit card bills that you amassed over the holidays isn’t the most fun way to spend a windfall, but it is among the smartest. This is true even if your refund won’t eliminate all of your debt. The average American household had nearly $17,000 in credit card debt in 2016; meanwhile, the average tax refund last year was just shy of $3,000. Suppose you have multiple credit card accounts. Which should you pay first? Mathematically, it makes the most sense to pay down the account with the highest annual percentage rate. But some research suggests that paying off smaller debts first — known as the “debt snowball” method — may provide a psychological boost that keeps your debt management efforts on track. Either way, you can’t go wrong by paying down high-interest debt. Adjust your withholdings It may feel strange to think this when you get a big check from the government, but there’s wisdom in considering making a move to not get a refund next year — and instead using the additional cash in each paycheck to seed your bank accounts and retirement savings. Eliminating that $3,000 refund could put $250 a month in your savings account. Put that cash each paycheck toward a holiday spending account, for example, and you may eliminate the stress of paying off high-interest credit card debt this time next year. You can adjust your withholdings any time of year through a W-4 form. Ask your employer’s human resources department for more details. Remember, a refund indicates you’re overpaying your taxes every paycheck — and giving an interest-free loan to the federal government in the process. Open a retirement savings account If you’ve already paid down high-interest debt and reclaimed previously withheld money from your paychecks, the next move involves earning a little return for yourself. Consider plunking your refund into a traditional individual retirement account or a Roth IRA. Both allow you to contribute up to $5,500 a year — or $6,500 if you’re 50 or older — but have different tax implications. Your contribution to a traditional IRA is tax-deductible, but the withdrawals in retirement are not. For a Roth IRA, the reverse is true: You pay taxes upfront on the contributions, but you won’t have to pay taxes on withdrawals in retirement. If you already have a traditional or Roth IRA, consider putting your refund check toward your annual contribution limit for the year. And if you haven’t rebalanced your portfolio in a while, it’s also a good time to make changes to your investments and make sure risk is spread among different asset classes. Buy company stocks If the abundance of recent news on stocks — a phenomenon driven in large part by the tumultuous Snapchat initial public offering — has you wondering how to buy stock, keep this in mind: Only 13.8% of American families own individual company stock, according to a 2014 Federal Reserve report. Although most IRAs and 401(k)s offer exposure to the stock market through index funds and exchange-traded funds — vehicles that comprise a selection of stocks and thereby reduce risks for investors — many retirement accounts don’t allow investors to purchase individual stocks. If you want to start buying company shares, you can use your refund check to open a brokerage account. But remember: Many experts recommend having no more than 10% of your total portfolio in individual company stocks — and likely less if you’re anywhere near retirement age. Make investments in companies with an eye toward long-term growth, not short-term gains. Profits favor the patient investor. Kevin Voigt is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: kevin@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @kevinvoigt. The article Use Your Tax Refund to Spring Clean Your Finances originally appeared on NerdWallet.

News

  • An off-duty Fulton County police officer shot a man after a chase in Atlanta Wednesday morning, the GBI says. The officer, whose name has not been released, was in his personal vehicle about 11 a.m., when he responded to a theft at a T-Mobile store on Mount Zion Parkway in Morrow, GBI spokesman Rich Bahan said.  The officer followed the suspect’s car into the city limits of Atlanta while reporting the incident to 911, Bahan said. At some point near Alyson Court, the two cars collided and when the driver got out of his car the off-duty officer shot him with his service weapon, Bahan said.   MORE:  Sheriff: Man out on bond for murder arrested after fighting victim’s family Ex-NFL player jailed after allegedly attacking woman in front of kids Police: Men brought ‘bag of bullets’ to shootout with alleged gang members Witness Jay Mitchell told Channel 2 Action News he thinks the man was shot in the stomach area after the police officer chased him and tried to pull him over. The suspect kept driving even after he was shot, Bahan said, and Atlanta police stopped him in the 1700 block of Lakewood Avenue. Whether the off-duty Fulton County officer stayed on the scene was not released, but his car was found parked at a store on Cleveland Avenue, Channel 2 reported. The man who was shot was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, Bahan said. The shooting is the fourth in less than a week involving a Georgia officer. A Georgia State Patrol trooper fatally shot a man after a chase early Saturday in Polk County. Jason Dennis Watkins, 36, was taken to Polk County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. RELATED: GSP trooper fatally shoots man after chase Willie Ivy III, 29, of Atlanta, died after a Fulton County police officer and an armed security guard shot him early Saturday in College Park, the GBI said.  RELATED: Man dead in police-involved shooting incident in College Park A Pickens County sheriff’s sergeant on Tuesday shot and critically injured Gary Lee Castle after he “moved aggressively” toward the official “with a large metal pipe in his hand,” the sheriff’s office said. RELATED: Sergeant shoots, critically injures man, Pickens County sheriff says In January and February, the GBI conducted 17 officer-involved shooting investigations, agency spokeswoman Nelly Miles said. RELATED: OVER THE LINE: Police shootings in Georgia The GBI investigated 78 police shootings in the state last year. In other news:
  • A middle school bus driver in the Valdosta area is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol while students were on her bus, according to the Lowndes County sheriff. Amanda Mullinax, 41, registered more than twice the legal limit, Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk said. A school resource officer at Hahira Middle School smelled alcohol on Mullinax, and a student said she had been drinking, the Macon Telegraph reported. The night before, deputies were called to a domestic dispute at Mullinax’s home and found she had been drinking heavily, Paulk said. RELATED: School bus driver charged in accident that injured child She could face multiple counts of child endangerment since there were about 44 students on the bus, the newspaper reported. Read more of the story here. In other news:
  • U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch vowed to uphold the law if confirmed to the nation’s highest court, not tipping his hand as he sidestepped controversial political subjects, as Gorsuch directly pushed back against President Donald Trump’s criticism of federal judges. “When anyone criticizes the honesty or integrity, the motives of a federal judge, I find that disheartening; I find that demoralizing,” Gorsuch said in response to questions from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “Anyone including the President of the United States?” Blumenthal pressed. “Anyone is anyone,” Gorsuch replied. In a day of testimony that stretched for almost twelve hours, Gorsuch parried most questions from Democrats, who tried in vain to get him to reveal his views on issues like abortion, and items that might come before the Supreme Court, like President Trump’s travel ban. Gorsuch repeatedly refused to take the bait. “I can’t get involved in politics, and I think it would be very imprudent of judges to start commenting on political disputes,” Gorsuch said. Under questioning from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Gorsuch was asked what he had discussed with President Trump on the issue of abortion. “In that interview did he ever ask you to overrule Roe v Wade?” Graham asked. “No, Senator,” Gorsuch replied, adding that if the President had asked that question, “I would have walked out the door.” Gorsuch was pressed about the President in a number of different ways, telling Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that, “nobody is above the law in this country, and that includes the President of the United States.” With Republicans strongly in support of Gorsuch, there was already maneuvering behind the scenes over the expected floor fight in the Senate, as Democrats have made clear they think the GOP should be forced to get 60 votes for his nomination. That has prompted GOP leaders to criticize the threat of a filibuster. “If there aren’t 60 votes for a nominee like Neil Gorsuch it’s appropriate to ask the question is there any nominee any Republican president could make that Democrats would approve,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Gorsuch’s lengthy day of testimony ended on a light note, as Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) suggested to Gorsuch that he have a cocktail before bed. “Just don’t drink vodka,” Kennedy said to chuckles from the audience. Kennedy then drew even more laughter by adding in one more surprise. “You never been to Russia, have you?” “I’ve never been to Russia,” a smiling Gorsuch said.
  • Donald Trump Jr. is facing criticism for tweeting in the hours after Wednesday's London attack a months-old comment from London Mayor Sadiq Khan that terror attacks are part of living in a big city. Trump Jr. tweeted : 'You have to be kidding me?!: Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan.' The tweet included a link to a Sept. 22 story from Britain's Independent newspaper that includes the quote from Khan, who was asking Londoners to be vigilant following a bombing in New York City. British Member of Parliament Wes Streeting was among numerous Britons who responded to the tweet with criticism. He called Trump Jr. 'a disgrace' and accused him of using a terrorist attack for 'political gain.' When asked about Trump Jr. on Thursday, Khan told CNN: 'I'm not going to respond to a tweet from Donald Trump Jr. I've been doing far more important things over the past 24 hours.' He added that 'terrorists hate the fact' that cities including London, New York and Paris have 'diverse communities living together peacefully.