Holiday air travel higher than 2016
About 51 million Americans are expected to fly on U.S. airlines in the three weeks around Christmas and New Year's Day, a 3.5 percent increase over last year.
That's the forecast Wednesday from Airlines for America, a trade group for most of the leading U.S. airlines.
The group credits an improving economy and airfares that have lagged below the rate of inflation.
The forecast counts domestic and international flights between Dec. 15 and Jan. 4.
That would mean about 80,000 more passengers per day. The trade group said airlines are adding about 91,000 seats per day to handle the crowds.
Nuclear fusion project halfway done
BERLIN — A vast international experiment designed to demonstrate that nuclear fusion can be a viable source of energy is halfway toward completion, the organization behind the project said Wednesday.
Construction of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, or ITER, in southern France has been dogged by delays and a surge in costs to about $23.7 billion.
ITER's director-general, Bernard Bigot, said the project is on track to begin superheating hydrogen atoms in 2025, a milestone known as "first plasma."
"We have no contingency plan," he told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Paris.
Scientists have long sought to mimic the process of nuclear fusion that occurs inside the sun, arguing it could provide an almost limitless source of cheap, safe and clean electricity. Unlike in existing fission reactors, which split plutonium or uranium atoms, there's no risk of an uncontrolled chain reaction with fusion and it doesn't produce long-lived radioactive waste.
Home-baked goods legal fight heats up
A group of bakers is challenging a one-of-a-kind New Jersey rule that bans the sale of homemade baked goods.
The New Jersey Home Bakers Association on Wednesday sued the state's health department over rules that require people to have a license before they can sell their home-baked treats.
The nearly decadelong push to overturn the regulation has gained supporters who argue people should be allowed to make money by selling their baked goods without a storefront.
A legislative proposal has been blocked because of public health concerns. A spokeswoman for the health department said the agency doesn't comment on pending litigation.
A Wisconsin court nixed that state's ban in June, leaving New Jersey as the only state with a ban.
Businesses added 190,000 more jobs
U.S. businesses added a robust 190,000 jobs in November, according to a private survey, a sign hiring is strong enough to reduce the already-low unemployment rate.
Payroll processor ADP said last month's hiring followed an even larger gain of 235,000 in October.
Wal-Mart alters name in e-commerce era
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is changing its legal name effective Feb. 1 as it shifts away from physical stores in the age of Amazon's increasing dominance,
The world's largest retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., said Wednesday it will change its legal name to Walmart Inc. from Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
It said the move underscores its growing emphasis on serving shoppers in different ways beyond just physical stores but also online, on their mobile devices and through pickup and delivery.