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Wal-Mart gives $20,000 to local Urban League

The Wal-Mart Foundation awarded a $20,000 grant to the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga for the Urban Youth Empowerment Program designed to help those age 14 to 24 years old who have gotten in trouble with the law and need assistance in developing occupational and employment skills.

"Our mission is to enable African-Americans and other disadvantaged persons to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights," said Ronni Darlene Pruitt, program director of Urban League of Greater Chattanooga. "This grant will help us make a difference in the life paths of young adults in Chattanooga who have made mistakes in the past and want to become productive members of the community."

Jeff Eversole, Wal-Mart market manager in Chattanooga, said the grant is part of $35.7 million in cash and in-kind contributions Wal-Mart has made in Tennessee over the past year to help nonprofit groups.

"Through this donation, Chattanooga-area youth will have the opportunity to continue their education and gain skills to support themselves and build a career," Eversole said.

VW nixes proposal to merge with Fiat

Volkswagen Chief Executive Matthias Mueller has rebuffed overtures about merging with Fiat Chrysler, saying his company had enough on its plate already as it battles to recover from a diesel emissions scandal, according to Reuters.

Fiat Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne said Tuesday that European market leader VW would be hardest hit by PSA Group's purchase of Opel, which will create a stronger European No. 2, and the pressure could prompt VW to sit down with FCA.

Marchionne has long advocated car industry mergers to share the costs of making cleaner and more technologically advanced vehicles and on Tuesday stressed deals were as vital as ever.

VW has an assembly plant in Chattanooga that produces the Passat sedan and Atlas SUV.

China grants approval to 38 Trump trademarks

China has granted preliminary approval for 38 new Trump trademarks, a move that offers a potential business foothold for President Donald Trump's family company and protects his name in a country notorious for counterfeiters.

The trademarks cover everything from hotels and golf clubs to bodyguard and concierge services, public documents show.

Trump's lawyers in China applied for the marks in April 2016, as Trump railed against China at campaign rallies, accusing it of currency manipulation and stealing U.S. jobs. Critics maintain that Trump's swelling portfolio of China trademarks raises the possibility of conflicts of interest.

China's Trademark Office published the provisional approvals Feb. 27 and Monday.

If no one objects, they will be formally registered after 90 days. All but three are in the president's own name. China already registered one trademark to the president, for Trump-branded construction services on Feb. 14, the result of a 10-year legal battle that turned in Trump's favor after he declared his candidacy.

Labor force will shrink without new immigrants

America's work force will only grow over the next two decades if new immigrants arrive to replace retiring Baby Boomers, a report from the Pew Research Center finds.

In a report out Wednesday, Pew projects the U.S. working-age (25-64) population will grow from 173 million in 2015 to 183 million in 2035. But new immigrants will account for all the growth. Without them, the number of working-age Americans would drop to 166 million by 2035.

As Baby Boomers retire, the number of U.S.-born working-age adults with U.S.-born parents will account for a smaller share of working-age population: 66 percent in 2035, down from 74 percent in 2015.

Uber self-driving cars back on California roads

Uber's self-driving cars will return to California's streets, though the ride-hailing company doesn't immediately plan to pick up passengers.

Uber received permits Wednesday to run two Volvo SUVs on public roads, the California Department of Motor Vehicles said. Regulators also approved 48 people as backup drivers who must sit behind the wheel in case the prototype cars malfunction.

The permits resolve a conflict dating to December, when Uber — an aggressive player in the self-driving race to market — rolled out a self-driving car pilot program in San Francisco without the approval of state regulators. Uber knew about the DMV's permit requirement but argued its cars do not meet the state's definition of an "autonomous vehicle" because they need a person to monitor them and intervene if needed.

Employers add most staff in three years last month

U.S. private businesses added the most jobs in three years last month, a private survey found, a sign hiring is picking up seven years after the recession ended.

Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that businesses added 298,000 jobs in February, up from 261,000 in January. The gains were led by a huge 66,000 increase in construction, the most in 11 years, and 32,000 manufacturing jobs.

The hiring boom in construction likely was driven by unseasonably warm weather in most of the country. Still, job gains were broad-based and suggest increased business optimism has led to more hiring.

The ADP surveys cover only private businesses and often diverge from official figures. Economists forecast that the government's jobs report, due Friday, will show an increase of 186,000 jobs, according to data provider FactSet.

Georgia Power selling key Atlanta property

Georgia Power plans to test the market for a prime property along the Atlanta Beltline in a move that could trigger a new wave of dense development on the popular trail.

The utility's operations center at 760 Ralph McGill Boulevard next to the Historic Fourth Ward Park is one of the largest remaining single tracts along the Beltline's popular Eastside Trail. It's long been coveted in the Atlanta real estate community because it touches the trail and the park.

The 10-acre site is just south of the bustling Ponce City Market, which developer Jamestown turned into a thriving technology, dining, shopping and residential hub.

"We plan to place the facility on the market this April to gauge interest, but we have not committed to selling the property," Georgia Power spokeswoman Ashley West said in a statement. Georgia Power has engaged the international team of Scott Cullen, Leigh Martin and Mark Lindenbaum at real estate services group JLL to sell the property. A price has not been publicly announced.

Turf maker sued over warranties

An artificial turf company being sued after a report executives knew fields might not live up to lofty marketing claims has hired the attorney who led the National Football League's investigation into New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

NJ.com reported Montreal-based FieldTurf is facing at least six lawsuits in federal courts in New Jersey, Minnesota and California.

The company has hired New Jersey attorney Ted Wells. Wells concluded in his investigation of Brady that he was likely "generally aware" about the deflation of footballs in the 2015 AFC Championship game. Brady served a four-game suspension.

FieldTurf said it has lived up to its warranties and hasn't hurt taxpayers. The company said it will continue to take care of customers while defending itself against the lawsuits.

Nashville sit-ins site restored as eatery

The site of civil rights sit-ins in 1960, the Woolworth building in downtown Nashville, will reclaim its historic look as it becomes a soul food restaurant with live music.

At Wednesday's news conference inside the under-construction building, restaurant entrepreneur Tom Morales said it's an act of love and responsibility to save the building, reference its history and create its own identity.

Woolworth on 5th is expected to open in late 2017. The building was recently a Dollar General.

Mayor Megan Barry said civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis was first arrested at a sit-in at the Woolworth lunch counter.

Morales said the venue will look like it did in 1960, with the rebuilt counter. It will feature 1950s and 1960s rock and soul music, dancing, spoken word and plays.

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