CNN Money: Top business headlines for July 11

    5:36 AM, Jul 11, 2013   |    comments
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    NEW YORK (CNN) -- CNN Money's Maribel Aber has your top business and financial news on this Thursday, July 11.

    Wal-Mart, Gap sign Bangladesh safety agreement
    Major U.S. retailers announced a plan to improve safety conditions in Bangladesh garment factories Wednesday. The Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative was developed over the past five weeks under the guidance of former U.S. Senators George Mitchell and Olympia Snowe through the Bipartisan Policy Center. It was signed by 17 retailers including Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), Gap (GPS, Fortune 500), J.C. Penney (JCP, Fortune 500), Kohl's (KSS, Fortune 500), Macy's (M, Fortune 500), Sears (SHLD, Fortune 500), Target (TGT, Fortune 500), The Children's Place (PLCE), L.L. Bean and Nordstrom (JWN, Fortune 500).

    University of Arkansas aims to grow STEM graduates
    The University of Arkansas announced Wednesday that it will lead an initiative to increase its number of STEM graduates in partnership with the state's two-year colleges. The goal is to increase the number of graduates with bachelor's degrees in the STEM fields -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Beginning in the spring of 2014, the UA will offer online, undergraduate STEM courses to the state's two-year schools with a goal of helping prepare associate-degree students for bachelor's level work.

    Oil prices surge above $106, gasoline tops $3.50
    U.S. oil prices jumped above $106 a barrel Wednesday, their highest level in over a year, as stockpiles of crude dwindled and tensions in Egypt kept traders on edge. Gasoline prices in the United States also began to move higher. Oil prices rose nearly $3 a barrel following a report from the American Petroleum Institute showing a 9 million barrel draw down in crude oil stored in tanks around the country. Another report from the U.S. Energy information Administration showed a similar draw.

    The hidden 17% tax: Your cell phone bill
    Your wireless carrier isn't the only one pocketing money when you pay your cell phone bill. Local, state and federal governments, 911 systems and even school districts tack on taxes and surcharges to your wireless bill that end up costing American cell phone customers an extra 17.2%, on average, according to the Tax Foundation. That's up from 16.3% fifteen months ago. For consumers accustomed to single-digit sales taxes, these double-digit fees can appear unusually burdensome. But unlike sales, income or property taxes, wireless taxes remain largely hidden -- tacked on to the end of your monthly wireless bill and often ignored.




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