Economy

Faced with a tech tsunami, Motorola fights to preserve cop-com franchise

As Chicago cops braced for protests in advance of the NATO and G-8 summits in 2012, hometown radio giant Motorola made what seemed like a grand gesture. | 01/27/15 12:31:02 By - By Greg Gordon

Biden: U.S. has Caribbean’s back as it seeks to revamp energy sector

Vice President Joe Biden met with leaders of Caribbean nations Monday, saying the U.S. would do what it could to help those countries revamp their energy sectors, a vital concern given the region’s dependence on oil shipments from ailing Venezuela. | 01/26/15 18:57:00 By - By Chris Adams

Federal debt will explode over next 10 years, CBO says

The federal debt is set to explode over the next decade even as the budget deficit is projected to reach its lowest level of the Obama presidency, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday. | 01/26/15 18:00:06 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Washington state officials unaware at first of November oil spill

State and federal officials are investigating an oil spill from a railroad tank car at Washington state’s largest refinery last November, but key agencies were kept in the dark about it for at least a month. | 01/26/15 17:49:27 By - By Curtis Tate

USDA considers freeing organic growers from promotion fees

Organic farmers are fertilizing a proposal to broaden their exemption from paying industry fees that largely support conventional agriculture. | 01/23/15 17:26:55 By - By Michael Doyle

Audit: Ag department’s penalties on animal-care violations lacking

The U.S. Department of Agriculture continually reduced penalties for animal-care violations around the country and so poorly used its limited resources that it sometimes inspected facilities that had no animals while it skimped on other reviews, according to a new audit. | 01/23/15 13:51:07 By - By Chris Adams

Fed wears a bulls-eye this year on Capitol Hill

Detractors from both major political parties are preparing legislation to rein in the powers of the Federal Reserve, moves that would test and potentially restrain its independence. | 01/22/15 15:08:06 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Canadian dollar drops to 81 cents U.S.

The Canadian dollar tumbled on Wednesday, Jan. 21, and that could mean fewer cross-border shoppers in Washington state. | 01/22/15 11:52:29 By - Dave Gallagher

Amid stagnant wages, Washington mulls how to boost income

The economy is growing, hiring is picking up steadily and falling energy prices mean more cash in the wallet. Yet one key measure of economic well-being remains stubbornly in neutral: the wages of Americans. | 01/21/15 18:16:06 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Obama, Congress agree on infrastructure need, if not fix

President Barack Obama and the Republican-controlled Congress he addressed Tuesday night agree they need to fix the country’s infrastructure funding problem before the money runs out on May 31. But so far, they’ve found little agreement on how to get there. | 01/20/15 22:55:04 By - By Curtis Tate

U.S. shipbuilders gird for McCain assault on protectionist law

Bill Skinner of VT Halter Marine in South Mississippi and fellow chief executives at about 150 other U.S. shipyards know what to do when Sen. John McCain starts rattling his free-trade saber in their direction. | 01/20/15 17:43:08 By - By Greg Gordon

International labor group sees U.S. as bright spot in world’s jobless picture

U.S. unemployment will decline this year to 5.9 percent and will fall further in subsequent years, providing a rare bright spot in the world’s job picture, the International Labor Organization said in a report to be released Tuesday. | 01/19/15 19:05:14 By - By John Zarocostas

Obama to propose 100s of billions in tax increases

President Barack Obama will use his State of the Union speech Tuesday to propose hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases on the wealthy, and to urge that the money be used to finance tax cuts for the poor and middle class, free college, and other benefits. | 01/17/15 20:01:15 By - By Lesley Clark

As waters acidify, Maine looks to Pacific Northwest peers for help

In the icy waters of midcoast Maine, Bill Mook has his eyes on his oysters – and how the waters they need to survive are gradually, but clearly, changing. | 01/16/15 18:10:37 By - By Chris Adams

Are California foie gras, oil train court cases on parallel tracks?

Perhaps the only imaginable connection between trains and foie gras, the famous French delicacy obtained by force-feeding duck or geese to fatten up their livers, would be as an appetizer in the dining car of the luxury Orient Express. | 01/15/15 18:51:24 By - By Curtis Tate

U.S. forecast: Expect cheap oil to stay awhile

The federal government forecasts that low oil prices will continue through the year as a result of the global petroleum glut. | 01/13/15 18:02:45 By - By Sean Cockerham

NTSB adds railroad tank car safety to ‘Most Wanted’ list

The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday added railroad tank car upgrades to its list of “Most Wanted” safety improvements, reflecting a heightened awareness about problems in transporting crude oil and ethanol by rail. | 01/13/15 18:46:20 By - By Curtis Tate

Court upholds California grape commission patents

A tangled legal fight over grape patents ended Friday in a victory for the California Table Grape Commission. | 01/09/15 17:12:12 By - By Michael Doyle

Audit: FEMA mishandled Florida hurricane payments

Some 10 years after the winds died down, federal officials are still cleaning up after a flurry of hurricanes hit Florida in 2004 and 2005, with a new federal audit saying the Federal Emergency Management Agency might have paid cities for damages that insurance should have covered. | 01/09/15 14:59:37 By - By Chris Adams

Is bitcoin the wave of the future or a dangerous fad?

As customers ate lunch at a popular restaurant in Washington’s Adams Morgan neighborhood, few had any inkling they were on the front lines of an international monetary war that’s featured FBI raids, the Deep Web, allegations of money laundering and millions vanishing in a nanosecond. | 01/09/15 17:21:41 By - By James Rosen

Bitcoin’s development plagued by scandal and speculation

Several sensational scandals in the United States and abroad have increased U.S. and foreign governments’ scrutiny of bitcoin, an expanding digital currency that critics say is ripe for criminal abuse. | 01/08/15 16:41:04 By - By James Rosen

Keystone clears energy committee

WASHINGTON The Senate energy committee on a vote of 13 to 9 Thursday passed a bill to authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, moving closer to a confrontation with the president on the issue. | 01/08/15 16:07:17 By - By Sean Cockerham

Railroad: Oil train reports could enable insider trading

In the latest attempt to keep states from publicly releasing information about crude oil trains, one railroad argues that the disclosures could facilitate insider trading. | 01/08/15 02:07:05 By - By Curtis Tate

Farm states: Let us sell to Cuba

Farm state lawmakers and agricultural groups are ramping up efforts to lift the trade embargo against Cuba in the wake of President Barack Obama’s decision to normalize diplomatic ties with Havana. | 01/07/15 18:38:13 By - By Lesley Clark and Lindsay Wise

Obama: Help for younger, first-time homebuyers

President Barack Obama moved Wednesday to make it cheaper for first-time and younger buyers to take out a mortgage. | 01/07/15 20:49:06 By - By Kevin G. Hall and Lesley Clark

Obama picks community banker for Fed

President Barack Obama opted for continuity Tuesday, nominating former community banker Allan R. Landon to fill a seat on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors. | 01/06/15 16:55:00 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Yosemite bid documents provide inside look at lucrative concessions

The next contract to run the concessions at Yosemite National Park is a lucrative and complicated package that’s shedding light on business in the park even as it raises questions about who owns some famous park names. | 01/02/15 17:33:29 By - By Michael Doyle and Mark Grossi

5 keys to the U.S. economy to watch in 2015

Ask five economists what they expect for 2015 and you’re likely to get scores of answers. Don’t fret: We’ve narrowed it down to five pivotal issues that will decide just how strong the U.S. economy grows this year. | 01/02/15 14:17:36 By - By Kevin G. Hall

You’ll have more to spend if gas stays low

If oil and gasoline prices remain at their current unusually low level, Americans will have a lot more to spend on other things. | 01/02/15 13:12:46 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Economic data show a soft start to 2015

The first economic indicators released in 2015 were soft ones, with key gauges of manufacturing activity and construction spending registering below expectations Friday. | 01/02/15 12:02:54 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Communities work to slow expansion of crude oil moved by rail

Mayor Tom Weisner can’t stop the crude oil trains from moving through his city on two railroads, but he’s doing what he can to make sure they do so as safely as possible. | 12/31/14 13:04:09 By - By Curtis Tate

Trains plus crude oil equals trouble down the track

Every day, strings of black tank cars filled with crude oil roll slowly across a long wooden railroad bridge over the Black Warrior River. But with some timber pilings so badly rotted that you can stick your hand right through them, and a “MacGyver”-esque combination of plywood, concrete and plastic pipe employed to patch up others, the bridge demonstrates the limited ability of government and industry to manage the hidden risks of a sudden shift in energy production. | 12/31/14 13:21:11 By - By Curtis Tate

Raise U.S. gas tax, head of International Energy Agency says

The United States and other developed nations should take advantage of low oil prices to impose a tax either on gasoline or fossil fuels – or both – the head of the Paris-based International Energy Agency told McClatchy. | 12/30/14 12:30:39 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Locally crafted spirits hope to become the toasts of their towns

’Tis the season for festive beverages, and revelers increasingly are enjoying locally made spirits as a new generation embraces drinks made from recipes dating tothe days of Prohibition. | 12/30/14 11:56:35 By - By Maria Recio

FBI stands firm on N. Korea as doubts surface over who hacked Sony

Amid growing speculation by some cybersecurity experts that North Korea might not have been behind the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday dismissed the possibility that anyone else was to blame. | 12/29/14 16:53:19 By - By Lindsay Wise

Japan’s nuclear jitters might spur exports of U.S. energy

Living only nine miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which melted down in March of 2011, dairy farmer Masami Yoshizawa said he was angry after he and his herd were exposed to high levels of radiation. | 12/29/14 15:55:36 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Dow hits record high as economic growth pegged at 5 percent

The nation’s economy grew at an unexpectedly strong 5 percent in the third quarter, buoyed by an uptick in personal spending and an increase in wages that has outpaced inflation, the government announced Tuesday. | 12/23/14 17:16:21 By - By Chris Adams

U.S. wine industry toasts decline in Japan’s sake sales

Standing next to the wine display at the Nissin World Delicatessen in Tokyo, Masahiro Ino eyed a $99 bottle of Silver Oak cabernet sauvignon imported from California. | 12/22/14 15:22:16 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Yellen threads needle on first rate hike

The Federal Reserve is on schedule to begin raising interest rates by mid-2015, Chair Janet Yellen confirmed Wednesday, sticking to language nonetheless that ensured the central bank will keep its benchmark lending rate at an unusually low level for a considerable amount of time. | 12/17/14 15:35:32 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Easing rules with Cuba may produce bonanza for U.S. business

The Obama administration’s move Wednesday toward normalized relations with Cuba after five decades of strife may set events in motion that will change business fortunes across the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and the Americas. | 12/17/14 21:20:48 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Organic farmers to get a break on agriculture fees

An organic farming seed planted in the latest farm bill sprouted Tuesday, broadening exemptions from conventional crop promotion fees. | 12/16/14 17:46:41 By - By Michael Doyle

American furs are a hit in Japan, but will the love last?

At the Northern World fur shop in Tokyo, where the most expensive garment sells for $30,000, owner Shoichi Mizuno proudly displayed a rack of coats made with American mink imported all the way from Washington state. | 12/15/14 10:39:31 By - By Rob Hotakainen

IRS’ ‘safe harbor’ loophole frustrates those fighting labor tax cheats

IRS revenue officer Dean Prodromos was rarely a welcome guest when he arrived in the lobby of a company asking about its books. | 12/14/14 00:00:00 By - By Franco Ordoñez and Mandy Locke

Just how did banks get that big win in Washington?

The rollback this week of a key part of Wall Street regulation adopted after the 2008 financial collapse caught much of Washington by surprise, creating an uproar among liberals who called it a payoff to big banks, threatening to derail a bipartisan budget agreement, and almost shutting down the government. | 12/12/14 18:28:33 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Obama’s high-tech deal with China in trouble as WTO talks break down

A China-U.S. agreement to scrap tariffs on high-tech items that was hailed as a major achievement of President Barack Obama’s November visit to Beijing fell apart Friday during negotiations in Geneva because of differences between China and South Korea, diplomats here said. | 12/12/14 18:22:34 By - By John Zarocostas

Audit finds telecom agency board broke contracting rules, flouted disclosure law

The agency tasked with building the nation’s first emergency communications network broke contracting regulations in hiring consultants, and several of its board members with telecommunications industry ties flouted rules for disclosing financial conflicts, auditors reported Tuesday. Story updated: 12/10/14, 4:29 p.m. | 12/10/14 16:31:20 By - By Greg Gordon

Japan’s soaring demand for cow tongue drives U.S. exports

When Manabu Matsumoto took his fiancé to dinner at the Kisuke cow-tongue restaurant in the Japanese city of Sendai recently, the Tokyo couple faced 28 menu choices. | 12/08/14 16:03:26 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Manufacturers both upbeat and gloomy, thanks to Washington

Manufacturers are more upbeat about their own companies’ prospects than at any time in almost a decade. Yet about three-quarters of them also feel the country is on the wrong track. | 12/08/14 05:00:00 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Kentucky, fearing impact of carbon power rule, urges EPA to rethink proposal

Officials with the state of Kentucky say the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency needs to rethink a carbon-pollution rule announced earlier this year that could have the “most significant and far-reaching impact to environmental and energy policy that we have seen in 40 years.” | 12/05/14 15:16:04 By - By Chris Adams

Jobs and wages surge, for best year since 1999

November hiring smashed expectations and raised prospects for stronger-than-expected economic growth in 2015, experts said after a solid jobs report from the government Friday. | 12/05/14 15:15:53 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Falling oil prices might nudge Iran toward nuclear deal, report says

The crash in global oil prices heightens pressure on Iran to strike a nuclear deal with the West and escape crippling international sanctions, according to a report released Tuesday. | 12/02/14 17:43:15 By - By Sean Cockerham

House may vote on one-year tax deal this week

Senior Republican leaders in the House of Representatives moved ahead Monday on a plan to vote as early this week on a bill to extend dozens of tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013, according to multiple sources. | 12/01/14 22:29:10 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Japan-U.S. car dispute threatens Obama’s trade plans

After buying his racy 2005 Dodge Viper for $85,000, Tomomitsu Chiyoda still drives mainly in the slow lane on Japanese roads, he said, making it easier for spectators to take photographs of his silver convertible from the United States. | 12/01/14 14:36:51 By - By Rob Hotakainen

After OPEC sends oil prices plunging, what’s ahead?

Global and U.S. oil prices tumbled sharply to four-year lows Friday on news that the oil-producing cartel OPEC has opted not to cut production, raising the prospects of a world oversupplied with crude for the foreseeable future. | 11/28/14 17:19:56 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Tax showdown: Congress nears deal to avoid hikes, Obama vows veto

Congressional leaders appeared near a deal late Tuesday to renew some $450 billion in tax deductions cherished by consumers, citizens and companies alike. The White House called it a bad deal and vowed a veto, though it faces a tougher Congress in January when Republicans take over the Senate. | 11/26/14 19:07:21 By - By Kevin G. Hall and William Douglas

Senate panel continues probe of Lerner, IRS

The Senate Finance Committee won’t release a final report on the Internal Revenue Service’s inappropriate targeting of conservative organizations this year and will do so only after the panel’s leadership switches party positions next year, its top Democrat and Republican said Friday. | 11/21/14 16:48:46 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Immigration order might not have much economic impact

Will 5 million undocumented immigrants start pushing U.S. citizens out of their jobs now? Will they start getting government benefits and draining city hall budgets? Or will they start moving up the ladder, paying taxes and giving a boost to the economy? | 11/20/14 20:07:02 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Takata, auto executives queried about recall of exploding airbags

Senior executives for Takata Corp. and two U.S. automakers apologized Thursday for deaths and injuries caused by exploding airbags. | 11/20/14 17:58:43 By - By Lindsay Wise

A look at who loses as oil prices keep plunging

The rapid plunge in oil and gasoline prices means huge savings for American consumers, but the steep downward swing may ultimately prove dangerously disruptive to energy-producing countries and companies. | 11/19/14 16:58:58 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Dem vs Dem: Warren takes on housing finance chief

The new head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency has failed to help homeowners who owe more than their house is worth to get partial loan forgiveness, a key Democrat senator charged Wednesday in a rare criticism of a fellow Democrat. | 11/19/14 13:50:56 By - By Kevin G. Hall

As fracking looms, North Carolina officials worry about road damage

Some of the quiet country roads of central North Carolina might not be so quiet much longer. | 11/18/14 16:16:55 By - By Daniel Salazar

With China leading the pack, foreign students flock to US, hitting record in 2013

The number of international students in the United States last year grew to a record 886,052, with China by far leading as the nation sending the most students for the fifth year in a row, according to data to be released on Monday by the Institute of International Education in cooperation with the State Department. | 11/17/14 07:24:13 By - By Renee Schoof

Train derailment, and a bit of luck, strikes again in Casselton, N.D.

What are the odds? For the second time in less than a year, the small town of Casselton, N.D., is in the headlines for the derailment of a crude oil train. | 11/14/14 19:30:57 By - By Curtis Tate

Running low on coal, utilities ask regulators to prod railroads

Ongoing rail service problems have left power plants from Minnesota to Texas low on coal as an early blast of winter weather hit the nation’s midsection this week. | 11/13/14 18:47:50 By - By Curtis Tate

Obama carries U.S. economic clout with him to summit

President Barack Obama carries a big stick with him when he arrives in Australia on Friday to meet with leaders of the world’s largest economies – the U.S. economy. | 11/13/14 16:18:09 By - By Kevin G. Hall and Anita Kumar

Federal contract workers in D.C. plan one-day strike

Federal contract workers at the U.S. Capitol and other high profile locations in Washington planned to go on a one-day strike Thursday, pushing for higher wages and collective bargaining rights. | 11/13/14 08:05:48 By - By Daniel Salazar

Executive suites slower to embrace gays than rest of business

John Browne reached the pinnacle of his profession while hiding a secret that eventually ended his run as the CEO and chairman of global energy giant BP. | 11/12/14 16:33:38 By - By Kevin G. Hall

America’s shift in attitude toward gays started at work

In the beginning, it was about money as much as rights. | 11/12/14 13:51:27 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Offshore wind technology energizes South Carolina researchers

Steady wind patterns from the Atlantic Ocean have long inspired hopes of wind turbines dotting the East Coast. | 11/11/14 17:23:41 By - By Daniel Salazar

Appalachia gathers dissent to gas pipeline bound for eastern N.C.

Fred Powell was born under the misty mountain ridges that hug southwest Virginia, beneath the Appalachian Trail and where Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive turns into the Blue Ridge Parkway, in a farmhouse his great-great-grandfather built in 1832. | 11/11/14 17:46:47 By - By Sean Cockerham

Steady hiring, lower jobless rate suggest improving economy

Steady October employment gains and a drop in the jobless rate to levels last seen in July 2008 suggest the U.S. economy is getting back to normal. | 11/07/14 17:00:14 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Charleston port project raises business, environmental questions

As officials work on plans to deepen the Charleston, S.C., harbor, environmentalists are questioning whether bigger really is better. | 11/06/14 17:58:42 By - By Samantha Ehlinger

Election results aside, financial world expects more of the same

Voters called for change in Tuesday’s nationwide elections, but the financial world isn’t expecting much of it. | 11/06/14 13:34:33 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Another big winner in Tuesday’s elections: Transportation

Besides voting for senators, House members and governors, nearly half the country cast ballots on transportation measures Tuesday, continuing a trend in recent years that’s partially driven by Washington gridlock. | 11/05/14 18:28:38 By - By Curtis Tate

Marijuana wins in Oregon, Alaska and D.C., loses in Florida

Oregon and Alaska became the third and fourth states to fully legalize marijuana on Tuesday, while Floridians rejected a proposal that would have allowed pot to be used for medical reasons. | 11/05/14 10:51:55 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Scientists see fracking as cause of quakes

Evidence is growing that fracking for oil and gas is causing earthquakes that shake the heartland. | 11/04/14 20:39:39 By - By Sean Cockerham

Boo? No fear in consumer sentiment reading

Nothing scary in the latest monthly reading of consumer sentiment by the University of Michigan, which Friday registered the highest level since July 2007. | 10/31/14 12:40:56 By - By Kevin G. Hall

FTC sues Gerber over claims its formula can reduce allergies

Federal regulators on Tuesday sued baby food company Gerber for allegedly misleading consumers with ads that claim its formula can reduce a child’s chances of developing allergies. | 10/30/14 12:22:09 By - By Lindsay Wise

Economy grows at 3.5 percent – enough to matter on Election Day?

The U.S. economy grew at a healthy 3.5 percent annual rate in the last quarter, but Thursday’s report from the Commerce Department might do little to make voters feel more upbeat before next week’s elections, and the good growth is unlikely to be replicated in the final quarter of 2014. | 10/30/14 15:57:35 By - By Kevin G. Hall

New book slams economists, their theories and their forecasts

Jeff Madrick has a bone to pick with the economics profession, and that’s putting it nicely. Consider the title of his new book: “Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World.” | 10/29/14 14:03:29 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Fed ends bond-buying, promises hold on interest rates for now

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday formally ended its controversial purchases of government and mortgage bonds, and in doing so cleared the decks for eventual increases in interest rates, last seen in 2008. | 10/29/14 17:07:14 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Rail industry support follows Rep. Denham’s ascent in House

In two years, Rep. Jeff Denham of California has gone from a Republican backbencher to a key subcommittee chairman and in a league with higher-ranking and senior members of Congress when it comes to financial support from the railroad industry. | 10/26/14 03:00:00 By - By Curtis Tate and Daniel Salazar

Facing lawsuit, California oil train terminal to shut down

A legal victory in California this week over crude oil operations could have a spillover effect, emboldening critics of crude-by-rail shipments to press their concerns in other jurisdictions. | 10/23/14 15:08:54 By - By Curtis Tate and Tony Bizjak

Ways and Means to Treasury: Cough up witness

The head of a powerful congressional committee demanded in a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on Wednesday that the agency produce for interview before November elections a department lawyer who allegedly has knowledge about elements of the ongoing Internal Revenue Service scandal. | 10/22/14 15:38:33 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Awash in oil, does America need a large reserve?

America’s newly abundant onshore energy supplies are rekindling debate over whether there is too much crude oil, or the right kind, held in the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. | 10/21/14 17:45:10 By - By Kevin G. Hall and Sean Cockerham

Boing: Home sales bounce back in September

Sales of existing homes increased 2.4 percent to an annual rate of 5.17 million in September, their highest annual pace this year the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. | 10/21/14 14:46:38 By - By Kevin G. Hall

California looks to curb methane emissions

Pressure is growing on regulators in California and Washington, D.C., to crack down on methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide and is accelerating the warming of the planet. | 10/20/14 17:39:56 By - By Sean Cockerham

U.S. Chamber election spending at odds with immigration push

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce publicly identifies immigration as one of its top issues, and has pledged to support candidates who favor an overhaul that includes an earned path to citizenship for those here illegally. | 10/19/14 18:48:56 By - By Curtis Tate

Expiration of Wright Amendment means big airline changes for Southwest cities

The game has changed for Southwest Airlines and several major airports. | 10/18/14 16:12:56 By - By Daniel Salazar

Obama moves to improve credit card security

Looking to better secure American’s credit cards, President Barack Obama on Friday ordered that U.S. government-issued cards contain chip and PIN technologies and directed government agencies to obtain new credit card readers. | 10/17/14 15:25:03 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Crude oil train disclosures raise risk of attack, regulators told

Information about rail shipments of crude oil should be kept secret because of potential threats from foreign terrorists and environmental extremists, two rail industry trade groups argued to federal regulators in an August document that was made public this week. | 10/16/14 20:08:23 By - By Curtis Tate

Flash This: Fraud charges for high-frequency trader

A small high-frequency trading firm settled fraud charges and paid a $1 million penalty for fraudulently manipulating stock prices in the final minutes of trading, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Thursday. | 10/16/14 14:36:35 By - By Kevin G. Hall

What’s behind Wall Street’s roller-coaster ride?

Financial volatility returned with a vengeance Wednesday as U.S. stock prices plunged precipitously before recouping some of the loss in a late rally. Absent most of the year, jitters returned across the financial spectrum and virtually no class of financial assets was spared. | 10/15/14 18:07:41 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Federal deficit down, debt still rising

The federal deficit fell sharply in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 – but the federal debt continues to rise. | 10/15/14 14:27:16 By - By Kevin G. Hall

White House offers help for long-term jobless

The Obama administration unveiled Wednesday the expansion of its efforts to aid the long-term unemployed with grants to help get the jobless back into the workplace. | 10/15/14 19:10:13 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Farms angry at Labor Department crackdown on suspected worker abuses

An attempted crackdown on minimum wage and child labor violations at berry farms in the Pacific Northwest has sparked a backlash that threatens one of the U.S. Labor Department’s most potent tools for enforcing protections for farm workers. | 10/14/14 16:53:42 By - By Bridget Huber

Game of chicken ends: WTO rules in favor of U.S. poultry

U.S. poultry producers on Tuesday hailed what they called a favorable ruling from the World Trade Organization that they hope will force India to open its large market to American exports. | 10/14/14 14:21:36 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Dropping oil prices could threaten U.S. fracking boom

Oil prices continued to collapse Monday and are getting closer to levels that could dampen the U.S. energy boom. | 10/13/14 18:47:31 By - By Sean Cockerham

Fracking drives growth in sand mining, raises new health-risk questions

Demand is exploding for the massive amounts of sand used in fracking, creating a windfall for mines from Texas to Wisconsin but leading to worries about the health impacts of breathing silica dust. | 10/13/14 15:52:23 By - By Sean Cockerham

Report: Georgia mismanaged, overpaid in federal WIC food program

The state of Georgia did not properly manage its vendors in a key federal food program, resulting in estimated over-payments to vendors of about $115 million, according to a new federal audit. | 10/10/14 15:27:39 By - By Chris Adams

Bankers to Obama: Inversion action band-aid on wrong wound

NEW YORK Congress and the president regularly decry companies moving headquarters abroad for tax benefits but two top Wall Street bankers said Friday that lower taxes do not drive the deals. | 10/10/14 14:32:15 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Can’t make ends meet on $7.25, single mom says on ‘Minimum Wage Day’

Janet Rowland, a single mom in Raleigh, N.C., told reporters on Friday a bit of what it’s like to earn $7.25 an hour working full-time at a fast-food restaurant and support three children. | 10/10/14 14:24:24 By - By Renee Schoof

‘Bad rule!’ Dog breeders tell USDA about new standards

Chihuahua breeders are snapping at new federal rules that regulate Internet pet dealers. And they’re part of a larger pack. | 10/09/14 19:03:27 By - By Michael Doyle

Amtrak woes may point to bigger rail service problems

Last year’s freight congestion that was snarling Amtrak service in the upper Midwest has shifted east, and it’s gotten so bad that Amtrak has resorted to putting passengers on buses. | 10/09/14 17:24:38 By - By Curtis Tate

Consumer agency votes to move ahead on window blind safety rule

Federal regulators on Wednesday voted to begin the process of creating a national safety standard that would require window blind cords to be made inaccessible to children. | 10/09/14 07:01:01 By - By Lindsay Wise

Pennsylvania releases crude oil train reports

As many as 60 trains a week carry large volumes of Bakken crude oil cross Pennsylvania, according to documents released Wedensday by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. | 10/08/14 20:31:04 By - By Curtis Tate

EPA’s controversial water rule gets more time for comments

The federal government extended the comment period for its “Waters of the United States” rule, an attempt to clarify what is and isn’t covered by the Clean Water Act that has riled agricultural and other industries. | 10/07/14 14:26:23 By - By Chris Adams

Rail industry pushes feds to drop crude-oil reporting rule

Two railroad industry trade groups have quietly asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to drop its requirement that rail carriers transporting large volumes of Bakken crude oil notify state emergency officials. | 10/06/14 19:15:12 By - By Curtis Tate

More efficient fracking means more oil and natural gas

The U.S. fracking boom is getting even bigger with advances in drilling techniques that are making oil and natural gas wells more productive. | 10/06/14 17:25:47 By - By Sean Cockerham

Law finds for laborer, but payments don’t follow

When Bernardino Pina tuned in to a Hispanic radio station in 2010 and heard an ad seeking construction framers, he jumped at the chance for a steady paycheck. | 10/06/14 00:00:00 By - By Mandy Locke and Franco Ordonez

Labor-law court cases rise, but only some workers benefit

Workers fighting to have their bosses treat them as employees rather than independent contractors are squaring off in the courts more and more in recent years. | 10/05/14 00:00:00 By - By Franco Ordonez and Mandy Locke

When one man’s bootstraps leave his workers dangling

Robert Miller describes his story as one of bootstraps and determination. | 10/05/14 00:00:00 By - By Mandy Locke and Franco Ordonez

Pennsylvania must release crude oil train data, open records office rules

Pennsylvania must publicly release information about Bakken crude oil shipments, the state’s Office of Open Records ruled Friday, reports two rail companies had pushed to keep confidential. | 10/03/14 19:50:52 By - By Curtis Tate

September jobless rate under 6 percent, but wages flat

A stronger-than-expected jobs report Friday that featured an unemployment rate below 6 percent for the first time in more than six years eased concerns about a softening economy but highlighted moribund wage growth. | 10/03/14 17:05:17 By - By Kevin G. Hall

High-frequency trader indicted under new rule

A New Jersey-based high-frequency trader is the first person to be prosecuted under a new law that cracks down on abusive commodities trading, the Department of Justice said Thursday. | 10/02/14 13:02:56 By - By Kevin G. Hall

With Hong Kong protests, economic slowdown, should we worry about China?

China’s economy is growing slower than government projections, its central bank president is reportedly being pushed out and protesters are jamming the streets of Hong Kong in the tens of thousands. Should we worry? | 10/01/14 18:37:39 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Ethanol industry pushes back on rail safety improvements

Ethanol producers are pushing back hard against new rail safety rules after a federal study found that ethanol poses hazards equal to or greater than crude oil in rail transportation. | 10/01/14 22:00:56 By - By Curtis Tate

Children’s deaths prompt agency to propose safety standard for window blinds

For the first time, federal regulators on Wednesday recommended creating a new national safety standard that would make window blind cords inaccessible to children. | 10/01/14 17:35:02 By - By Lindsay Wise

California senators ask DOT to expand crude by rail notifications

The U.S. Department of Transportation should expand its requirement for railroads to notify first responders of large shipments of Bakken crude oil to include other hazardous materials, California’s U.S. senators wrote Monday. | 09/30/14 19:23:40 By - By Curtis Tate

Companies settle charges over bogus weight-loss claims for caffeine-infused underwear

Two companies that sell women’s underwear infused with caffeine have agreed to refund $1.5 million to consumers to settle charges that they falsely advertised their products would reduce cellulite and zap fat, the Federal Trade Commission announced on Monday. | 09/29/14 16:12:48 By - By Lindsay Wise

End of the line for railroad conductors? Not so fast, unions say

How many people does it take to safely operate a freight train? | 09/26/14 16:34:36 By - By Curtis Tate

Crude oil train safety regulator steps down

The head of the federal agency tasked with improving the safety of crude oil transportation by rail is stepping down. | 09/24/14 18:57:49 By - By Curtis Tate

Kansas City is crossroads for crude by rail, documents show

Missouri’s largest city has become a crossroads for trains carrying a type of crude oil that has ignited in multiple derailments, according to state documents that the railroads carrying the cargo didn’t want made public. | 09/24/14 19:26:49 By - By Curtis Tate and Mike Hendricks

Labor activists look for wage-hike support from red states

President Barack Obama isn’t expected to get the federal minimum-wage hike he’s wanted anytime soon, but advocates hope that public support for the issue gets a boost from an unusual set of states this Election Day. | 09/24/14 16:23:35 By - By Daniel Salazar

Everyone is for corporate tax overhaul; why doesn’t it happen?

President Barack Obama’s announced crackdown on what he calls an unpatriotic move by U.S. corporations to shift their headquarters and tax bills to low-tax countries is raising the question of why the U.S. simply doesn’t cut its corporate tax rates to better compete with the likes of Ireland and other tax havens. | 09/23/14 18:10:44 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Kentucky is hit hard as its coal suffers a slow burn

Although the national rate of shuttered coal mines slowed this year, struggles in Central Appalachia continued, with Kentucky leading the nation in the number of coal mines being taken off-line. | 09/22/14 17:21:50 By - By Sean Cockerham

Home sales dip in August

Housing dragged against broader economic growth this summer, with the latest sales numbers Monday from the National Association of Realtors showing the first dip in sales of existing homes after four months of gains. | 09/22/14 12:38:13 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Tomato growers’ lawsuit against feds fails to bear fruit

A federal court has rejected the potentially far-reaching claims of Florida tomato growers who say they lost business because of Food and Drug Administration warnings. | 09/19/14 21:14:41 By - By Michael Doyle

As federal war on citrus greening heats up, growers see some signs of hope

The federal government is ramping up its spending to combat citrus greening, a growing scourge in farm regions in Florida and elsewhere, even as growers see some signs for optimism. | 09/19/14 16:16:38 By - By Chris Adams

BNSF official: Keystone pipeline won’t dent crude by rail

One of the top executives at the nation’s leading hauler of crude oil in trains said Friday that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline wouldn’t take away any of his company’s business. | 09/19/14 15:54:33 By - By Curtis Tate

Atlantic City casinos: Storied past, grim future

Sakia Hall lost her $9-an-hour overnight housekeeping job at the Revel hotel and casino weeks ago, but she still cries about it. The single mother of a 12-year-old who also cares for a grown cousin is one of about 8,000 workers laid off here this year. | 09/18/14 18:41:09 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Boom! Oil-exploring seismic blasts could soon disrupt whale territory

As early as next spring, the boom of seismic cannons will sound under the Atlantic Ocean as the first oil and gas exploration allowed off the East Coast in three decades gets underway. | 09/18/14 17:10:06 By - By Sean Cockerham

Fed offers clarity, sort of, as bond buying ends

The Federal Reserve Wednesday announced it would trim its bond buying by another $10 billion, leaving it on course to end next month the controversial program designed to support the sluggish U. S. economic recovery. | 09/17/14 15:54:17 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Europeans have little appetite for U.S. apples

With the harvest underway, Jon Alegria figures he’ll pack more than 400 million apples from this year’s crop by mid-November, relying on a widely used chemical to keep them looking fresh for months. | 09/17/14 15:25:24 By - By Rob Hotakainen

For Boise man, retirement brought a new passion: Saving the sage grouse

Ken Miracle can’t remember exactly when he became fascinated with the plump greater sage grouse that strut about on the once-endless sagebrush expanses of southern Idaho. | 09/17/14 07:31:33 By - By Daniel Salazar

Would a GOP Senate foretell change for consumer agency?

At 3 years old, the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has survived opponents’ attempts to dismantle it and is busy rolling out new regulations and doling out punishment to companies accused of bilking consumers. | 09/17/14 07:21:04 By - By Lindsay Wise

For city managers nationwide, marijuana is high on the agenda

In Port Townsend, Wash., City Manager David Timmons said he’s trying to figure out how to handle city employees who want to use medical marijuana at work. | 09/16/14 17:32:57 By - By Rob Hotakainen

U.S. poverty declines in 2013, median income stagnant, Census Bureau finds

An improved economy with more full-time workers drove a decline in the national poverty rate in 2013 _ the first in seven years _ and the first decline in the nation’s child poverty rate in 13 years, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Tuesday. | 09/16/14 16:59:14 By - By Tony Pugh

Scientists: Bad fracking wells taint water

Faulty fracking wells are to blame for drinking water contamination in Texas and Pennsylvania, according to new findings from researchers at five universities. | 09/15/14 21:26:14 By - Sean Cockerham

Labor Department announces grants to fight tax cheats

The U.S. Department of Labor on Monday awarded $10.2 million to nearly two dozen states to beef up enforcement of a labor scheme that companies employ to evade their tax obligations. | 09/15/14 18:39:58 By - By Franco Ordonez and Mandy Locke

Rail union members reject crew downsizing plan

A tentative agreement to reduce crew size on one of the nation’s largest rail carriers has failed, according to the labor union whose members voted on it this week. | 09/11/14 14:54:40 By - By Curtis Tate

Credit cards are back, but in a more sensible way

America’s torrid love affair with the credit card appears over. In its place is a less passionate, more stable relationship. | 09/11/14 16:51:03 By - By Kevin G. Hall

New York, Illinois find success in tackling labor violations

On an overcast July afternoon, with the clock ticking on their lunch break, men in blue jeans and hard hats filed out of the four-story Fairfield Inn & Suites under construction near Interstate 270. | 09/11/14 06:50:21 By - By Mike Fitzgerald and Ryann Grochowski Jones

Student debt: Not just a young person’s problem anymore

Student loan debt is not just a problem for young people. | 09/11/14 06:48:10 By - By Samantha Ehlinger

Job-based health premiums increasing slowly, deductibles faster

Average premiums for job-based family health coverage are up just 3 percent this year, while the cost of single coverage rose only 2 percent, continuing a sustained trend of moderate growth in insurance costs, according to a nationwide survey of more than 2,000 businesses. | 09/11/14 06:47:57 By - By Tony Pugh

Poor rail service threatens economy, shippers tell lawmakers

Rail service backups from Chicago to the Pacific Northwest have the potential to slow the entire economy, several train-reliant industries told lawmakers Wednesday. | 09/10/14 20:01:48 By - By Curtis Tate

Dancers to drivers, disputes abound over who’s an employee

The construction trade is far from the only industry caught up in the debate over who’s really an employee and who isn’t. The problem has entangled exotic dancers, FedEx drivers, college interns and newspapers. | 09/10/14 07:32:26 By - By Franco Ordonez and Mandy Locke

Companies win federal contracts while flouting labor law

Robert Malick has weathered plenty of uncertainty in the 22 years he’s run a multimillion-dollar heating and air conditioning firm. | 09/10/14 07:19:08 By - By Mandy Locke and Franco Ordonez

California communities still thirsting for drought help from Congress

Seventeen California cities and counties urged Congress on Tuesday to complete drought legislation that’s currently hung up in closed-door negotiations. | 09/09/14 18:08:11 By - By Michael Doyle

A carrot in debate over anti-inversion bill?

N The head of the Senate’s tax-writing panel issued a statement Tuesday offering Republicans a carrot to join Democrats in blocking the ability of some U.S. corporations to shift headquarters overseas to enjoy huge tax breaks called inversions. | 09/09/14 13:20:11 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Lawmakers propose stronger oversight of rail service

The nation’s freight railroads, which have experienced service difficulties since late last year, could be getting more scrutiny from federal regulators under a Senate proposal. | 09/05/14 19:31:04 By - By Curtis Tate

Alaska Guard commander resigns over handling of sexual misconduct

The head of the Alaska National Guard has resigned in the wake of an investigation that confirmed the command’s mishandling of reported rapes and other offenses. | 09/05/14 12:55:46 By - By Sean Cockerham

Summertime blues: August hiring disappoints

Weak August hiring reported by the government Friday was an important reminder that recent economic improvement notwithstanding, the U.S. economy continues to face numerous growth challenges. | 09/05/14 15:13:26 By - By Kevin G. Hall

BP ‘reckless,’ ‘profit-driven’ in 2010 Gulf oil spill, judge rules

A federal judge ruled Thursday that oil giant BP was grossly negligent in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout, which killed 11 workers and resulted in the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history. | 09/05/14 07:22:32 By - By Sean Cockerham

Smartphone kill switch mandate raises privacy, civil liberty concerns

Megan Boken was chatting with her mom on her new iPhone on August 18, 2012, when a thief shot her dead on the street in St. Louis, Mo. He wanted the 23-year-old’s smartphone. | 08/29/14 13:08:03 By - By Lindsay Wise

Auto sales surge, but buyers may have loans longer than the cars

U.S. automobile sales are sizzling in part because Americans increasingly are taking out longer and longer loans to purchase used and new vehicles. | 08/27/14 16:51:43 By - By Kevin G. Hall

SEC hits conflict of interest at ratings agencies

Moving to address one of the principal causes of the 2008 financial crisis, the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday in a split decision passed new rules designed to limit conflicts of interest in credit-rating agencies. | 08/27/14 14:33:12 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Burger King’s merger with Tim Hortons could prompt tax fight in Congress

Burger King’s purchase of the Canadian doughnut chain Tim Hortons is raising new questions of whether Congress will respond by changing corporate tax laws. | 08/27/14 12:32:06 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Consumer confidence heads north, durable orders take flight

A closely followed measure of U.S. consumer confidence in August reached its highest level since October 2007, the Conference Board announced Tuesday. | 08/26/14 13:52:01 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Washington state lauded for cautious approach to pot sales

After voters in Washington state and Colorado made history by legalizing marijuana in November 2012, Colorado hit the finish line first, opening its pot stores to big fanfare on Jan. 1 of this year. | 08/25/14 17:13:38 By - By Rob Hotakainen

July new home sales disappoint

WASHINGTON New homes sales dipped in July, the government said Monday in a disappointing monthly report that highlights ongoing problems in the housing sector. | 08/25/14 13:15:57 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Administration moves toward new rule on contraceptives

The Obama administration on Friday moved to enact new rules that help ensure contraception coverage for employees of certain companies that have religious objections to birth control. | 08/22/14 19:18:40 By - By Tony Pugh

Bank of America settles mortgage fraud case for $16.65 billion

The Justice Department on Thursday announced a $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America, a record-setting deal that helps homeowners and ends myriad state and federal investigations triggered by the nation’s mortgage meltdown. | 08/21/14 13:03:15 By - By Michael Doyle

Colleges find teachers need teaching, too - on how to teach

Michele DiPietro had his listeners in stitches with his impressions of dumb things college students say in class. | 08/20/14 18:29:14 By - By Timothy Pratt

Inside Fed, what to tell markets a nagging question

The Federal Reserve is still months away from ending its controversial purchase of bonds to stimulate the economy, but minutes released Wednesday for the July monetary-policy meeting show growing concern about how to communicate Fed goals with financial markets. | 08/20/14 16:04:48 By - By Kevin G. Hall

The American consumer is back, with an asterisk

Written off in the aftermath of the Great Recession, the U.S. consumer is back. Not quite with a vengeance, but definitely back. | 08/19/14 16:27:59 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Inflation tame, housing starts jump

Falling gasoline prices helped keep inflation in check during July, the government reported Tuesday. | 08/19/14 16:00:43 By - By Kevin G. Hall

‘Weak safety culture’ faulted in fatal Quebec train derailment, fire

Canadian safety investigators on Tuesday blamed a “weak safety culture” and inadequate government oversight for a crude oil train derailment last year in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, that killed 47 people. | 08/19/14 13:52:38 By - By Curtis Tate

Crude oil crosses paths with two Philadelphia commuter train lines

Philadelphia’s commuter railroad runs alongside at least three crude oil trains every day on two of its lines, and is looking to separate the freight operations in those places to avoid delaying its passenger trains. | 08/19/14 00:14:39 By - By Curtis Tate

Summit with a view: How to help Lake Tahoe

Capitol Hill and courthouse shadows will cloud the Lake Tahoe Summit that convenes Tuesday. | 08/15/14 14:53:17 By - By Michael Doyle

Sea change: Americans revising opinions on gays, poll finds

Americans are changing their minds about gays at a startling pace, driven by young people coming of age in a new era and by people of all ages increasingly familiar with gays and lesbians in their families and their lives, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll. | 08/14/14 18:58:39 By - By Anita Kumar

U.S. trade deal might loosen Europe’s chemical safety rules

It’s been difficult for American chemical companies to crack the European market because the safety standards there are tougher than they are in the U.S. But that might be changing. | 08/13/14 15:49:38 By - By John Moritz

U.S. job openings at their highest level in over a decade

Job openings in June reached the highest number in 13 years, while hiring showed levels not seen since early 2008, according to a Bureau of Labor Statics report released Tuesday. | 08/12/14 18:29:43 By - By Alejandro Davila Fragoso

Pennsylvania crude oil train data still not going to right officials

At least four Pennsylvania counties along the path of frequent crude oil train movements have had difficulty obtaining information about the shipments, in spite of a federal order that was supposed to help local emergency responders. | 08/12/14 22:33:57 By - By Curtis Tate

Internationalism prompts boom in language business

It’s a high-stakes, multibillion-dollar industry with tight deadlines, demanding clients and lives at risk. Any miscommunication could cause a deep financial loss or death. Some in the industry work in war zones while others have cozy home offices. | 08/12/14 11:56:05 By - By Patrick Gillespie

Digital currencies such as bitcoin carry ‘significant risks,’ feds warn

Government regulators issued a consumer advisory Monday on the risks of bitcoin and other digital currencies, warning that the virtual funds expose users to volatile exchange rates, hacking, scams and theft. | 08/11/14 17:31:31 By - By Lindsay Wise

Banks, businesses get ready for switch in credit cards

A big change is in the offing for credit and debit cards. By October 2015, the country’s two largest card payment networks, Visa and MasterCard, want a system in place that replaces the magnetic stripe on the backs of credit and debit cards with a chip. | 08/11/14 13:37:50 By - Jerry Siebenmark

Silicon Valley is becoming bigger player in Washington

California’s technology sector has booted up a bigger presence in politics in recent years, a shift for an industry that began on the outside, but is fast becoming an inside player. | 08/11/14 12:19:13 By - By Curtis Tate

How Kentucky tobacco grew a possible miracle drug for Ebola problem

When two American aid workers came down with the deadly Ebola virus recently, an experimental treatment materialized seemingly out of nowhere. How did a possible miracle drug for one of the deadliest diseases in Africa come to be grown half a world away in a small town in Kentucky? | 08/10/14 09:11:02 By - Janet Patton

Some Pennsylvania counties not receiving data on crude oil trains

Two counties in Pennsylvania that hug rail lines used to transport large volumes of crude oil have not been notified about the cargo, in spite of a May requirement from the U.S. Department of Transportation that states share that information with local first responders. | 08/08/14 18:06:44 By - By Curtis Tate

Impact of Russia’s ban on U.S. poultry small, unless it’s your chickens

Russian retaliatory sanctions announced this week against U.S. and European agricultural products are minuscule in the grand scheme of global trade but are hardly paltry for poultry producers in the Carolinas and across the South to Texas. | 08/07/14 17:51:28 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Russia bans import of U.S. farm goods, but impact may be small

U.S. exporters of farm products said Wednesday that they would search for new foreign markets after Russia announced a one-year retaliatory agricultural trade ban as punishment for financial sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe. | 08/06/14 18:03:10 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Part-time workers find full-time jobs elusive

Monica Alexander needs a full-time job. | 08/06/14 17:51:15 By - By Patrick Gillespie

Canada to release Lac-Megantic derailment report on Aug. 19

Canadian investigators will release their long-awaited report on a deadly Quebec train derailment in two weeks, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada announced Tuesday. | 08/05/14 16:25:38 By - By Curtis Tate

Cars.com sale shows success, struggle for news companies

The Gannett Co.’s announcement Tuesday that it was buying out its four media partners in Cars.com to the tune of $1.8 billion is both a success story for the struggling newspaper sector and a sign of the challenges ahead. | 08/05/14 19:15:07 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Feds face backlash trying to regulate wetlands that often aren’t wet

When is a ditch just a ditch? And when is a plot of woodland without a stitch of visible water actually a “water of the U.S.”? | 08/05/14 07:44:01 By - By Chris Adams

McClatchy, media partners confirm deal to sell Cars.com

The five media companies that own Cars.com confirmed an agreement today to sell the highly successful auto shopping website to one of those owners, Gannett, in a deal that values the service at $2.5 billion. | 08/05/14 06:35:11 By - Kevin G. Hall and staff reports

Amtrak provides crude oil train details states had withheld

Two loaded and two empty crude oil trains operate daily over Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor in Maryland and Delaware, according a document submitted by the passenger railroad in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. | 08/04/14 18:46:44 By - By Curtis Tate

Economy, hiring up in July, but flat wage growth dampens cheer

July marked a sixth straight month with 200,000-plus jobs growth, the government said Friday, cementing the view of a firming U.S. economic recovery. Deeper within the numbers, however, was an explanation for why many Americans still don’t feel much better. | 08/01/14 17:11:00 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Congress approves highway funding fix at last minute, but the problem isn’t solved

Hours before the federal government was set to reduce payments to states for road and bridge projects, Congress approved a temporary fix Thursday that would maintain funding through the middle of next year. | 07/31/14 21:28:58 By - By Curtis Tate

USDA announces 1st update to poultry inspection rules since 1957

The new rules require plants to conduct their own testing and sampling of birds for the first time for food-borne pathogens such as campylobacter and salmonella, at least twice during the production process. | 07/31/14 18:01:41 By - By Lindsay Wise

Lawmakers: U.S. restrictions on Venezuelan officials too little

The U.S. State Department rolled out travel and visa restrictions on Venezuelan officials accused of human rights violations. But South Florida lawmakers say the sanctions don’t go far enough.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/30/4262612/us-imposes-travel-sanctions-on.html#storylink=cpy | 07/31/14 09:45:56 By - Jim Wyss and Chris Adams

New GAO testimony faults HHS management of federal marketplace project

- The Department of Health and Human Services failed to properly plan and oversee development of the federal health insurance marketplace despite tight deadlines, ever-changing requirements and the complex nature of the project, according to new congressional testimony released on Wednesday. | 07/31/14 08:39:09 By - By Tony Pugh

Argentina is declared in selective debt default after talks fail

Standard & Poor’s declared Argentina in selective default Wednesday afternoon after it failed to reach an agreement with American holdout creditors in the final hours of negotiations. It marked Argentina’s second default in 13 years. | 07/31/14 08:06:54 By - By Patrick Gillespie

Scorching 4 percent growth in Q2, optimism returns

The much stronger than expected 4 percent rate of annual growth from April through June reported Wednesday by the Commerce Department put to rest fears than the U.S. economy was slipping into low gear. | 07/30/14 15:16:18 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Argentine default: Billions on the line

Argentina and a group of American hedge funds that own Argentine bonds were negotiating Tuesday seeking an agreement on repayment of Argentina’s debt. If no agreement is reached and Argentina doesn’t repay the bondholders by Wednesday, it will default on its debt for the second time in 13 years. | 07/29/14 19:35:00 By - By Patrick Gillespie

Victims of pricey lending targeting military win settlement

At first glance, the loans advertised by Rome Finance looked like a good deal for service members who wanted to buy new video game consoles, laptops or flat-screen TVs but didn’t have the cash. | 07/29/14 18:48:16 By - By Lindsay Wise

FCC’s dull plans for Internet get viral, angry response

This summer the dull-sounding technology term “network neutrality” prompted street protests and viral web campaigns, crashing the Federal Communications Commission’s website with a record-breaking flood of over a million comments from the public. | 07/29/14 15:33:33 By - By Vera Bergengruen

Past-due debt prevalent across U.S., with South the highest

Roughly one in three adult Americans have a past-due debt that’s been turned over to a collection agency, according to a novel new study. | 07/29/14 00:00:00 By - By Kevin G. Hall

New York to push Congress on response to oil train fires

New York state fire officials are pressing Congress for $100 million in emergency funding to pay for a nationwide training program for firefighters to address the new scale of risk presented by trains carrying millions of gallons of flammable crude oil. | 07/28/14 19:39:05 By - By Curtis Tate

Trustees: Disability Insurance nears funding crisis

The disability-insurance program administered by the Social Security Administration faces a depletion of reserves in 2016, absent changes to funding, and incoming revenues will fund only 80 percent of promised benefits, a new government report said Monday. | 07/28/14 16:12:21 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Short supply of beef and pork sends prices soaring

The price of beef and veal shot up more than 10 percent from June 2013 to June 2014, according to the most recent Consumer Price Index. Pork prices rose by 12 percent. | 07/25/14 13:22:07 By - By Patrick Gillespie

U.S. is urged to prepare better for catastrophic nuclear accidents

America’s nuclear power industry needs to do a better job of planning for rare but catastrophic events such as the Fukushima disaster in Japan, according to a panel of scientists whom Congress asked to make recommendations for nuclear safety. | 07/24/14 18:20:34 By - By Sean Cockerham

Norfolk Southern sues to block disclosure of crude oil shipments

A major hauler of crude oil by rail has sued the state of Maryland to stop the public release of information about the shipments, according to court documents. | 07/24/14 18:15:47 By - By Curtis Tate

DOT proposal to lower speed of oil trains would exclude smaller cities

The U.S. Department of Transporation’s plan to slow crude oil trains with older tank cars in urban areas would not apply to some of the cities where derailments have occurred or where officials and residents are worried they might. | 07/23/14 20:07:15 By - By Curtis Tate

Could plan to offer financial services save Postal Service?

Lawmakers and government officials looking for a way to save the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service are considering a proposal that would make check cashing, small loans, prepaid cards and other financial services available at your local post office. | 07/23/14 16:27:50 By - By Lindsay Wise

Retailers scale back sales expectations for this year

A projected strong second half of 2014 won’t be enough to offset the hit retailers took from harsh winter weather, the National Retail Federation said Wednesday, lowering its earlier sales forecasts for the year. | 07/23/14 15:54:53 By - By Kevin G. Hall

DOT wants to eliminate older, unsafe rail cars carrying crude oil

The U.S. Department of Transportation proposed on Wednesday a two-year phase-out of older railroad tank cars used to transport crude oil, which have been involved in several serious derailments over the past year. | 07/23/14 17:10:01 By - By Curtis Tate

Homes sales improve but stress remains

Sales of existing homes improved for the third consecutive month in June, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday in one of several new data points that suggest a steadily better economy. | 07/22/14 13:31:23 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Senate panel: Banks helped hedge funds skirt taxes

Two giant global banks helped at least a dozen hedge funds skirt full tax payment on more than $100 billion worth of stock trades, according to a new congressional investigation made public Monday. | 07/21/14 17:23:50 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Producers of pigs picking fight amid European trade deal

R.C. Hunt, who’s raised pigs for 50 years in North Carolina, offers no apologies for a common practice in the U.S. pork industry: mixing feed with a controversial drug that makes the animals grow leaner in the final weeks of their lives. | 07/21/14 17:39:40 By - By Rob Hotakainen

EPA rules would likely block Pebble Mine in Alaska

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday announced severe restrictions on the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska, a move that is likely to block a project the EPA said could devastate the best run of wild salmon left on the planet. | 07/18/14 13:11:00 By - By Sean Cockerham

BNSF, labor union reach tentative deal to allow train operations with 1 employee

One of the largest U.S. railroads and one of the largest labor organizations representing railroad workers have reached a tentative agreement to allow one person to operate a train on routes protected by a new collision-avoidance system required by Congress in 2008. | 07/18/14 00:17:07 By - By Curtis Tate

Did federal shutdown really cause July baby boom in D.C.?

For years, the weather has been a scapegoat for allegedly causing cabin-fever induced spikes in births, and now some in the Washington area are pointing to Congress to explain packed maternity wards at several local hospitals. | 07/17/14 15:21:54 By - By John Moritz

Controversial Alaska mine project wins one in Congress

Supporters of the embattled Pebble Mine project in Alaska are making a desperate effort in Congress and the courts to keep it alive in the face of warnings from the Environmental Protection Agency that it could devastate the finest run of wild salmon left on the globe. | 07/17/14 13:24:48 By - By Sean Cockerham

What you need to know about ‘grandparent scams’

When Linda and Ron Spence got a desperate phone call from someone who identified himself as their grandson, Michael, they didn’t think twice. He was in trouble. Of course they would help him. | 07/16/14 18:44:24 By - By Lindsay Wise

Ex-Im Bank creates political divisions in the Carolinas

Few people use the Export-Import Bank or even know what it is, but suddenly a government agency which helps promotes American businesses that want to sell products overseas has landed in the center of an unusual political tussle. | 07/16/14 17:12:46 By - By Renee Schoof and Kevin G. Hall

NTSB faults Washington state, trucking firm in bridge collapse

A series of safeguards failed to prevent an oversize truck from hitting a low-clearance bridge on Interstate 5 in Washington state last year, leading to the collapse of one of its spans, federal safety investigators concluded Tuesday. | 07/15/14 18:10:20 By - By Curtis Tate

California drought wreaks economic pain

California’s dogged drought will cost the state’s economy $2.2 billion and an estimated 17,100 jobs, but consumers will largely be spared higher prices, according to a major study released Tuesday. | 07/15/14 15:12:29 By - By Michael Doyle

Europe wants the energy, but not the fracking

Fracking for oil and natural gas remains slow to take hold in Europe in spite of deepening fears over the continent’s energy dependence on Russia. | 07/15/14 13:47:30 By - By Sean Cockerham

Millions in federal emergency communications funding lost, diverted

Four years ago, Commerce Department officials were touting their pilot grant program as a way to vault police, firefighters and other emergency responders into the age of high-speed broadband. | 07/14/14 17:45:01 By - By Greg Gordon

IRS drops screening requirements for many charities, Time reports

The Internal Revenue Service won’t carefully screen four of every five organizations seeking tax-exempt charitable status every year--a change that could mean less scrutiny of questionable use of the tax code by political groups, according to a new report in Time Magazine. | 07/14/14 09:00:23 By - By David Lightman

Marijuana ads signal new strategy in push to legalize

In the topsy-turvy world of marijuana politics, conservative Republican Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington state is the unlikely hero of the moment, lauded for trying to protect medical pot users from federal arrest. | 07/14/14 06:44:19 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Charlotte’s Food Babe has lots of fans – and some critics

Vani Hari’s followers hail her as a savior of food activism who reaches hundreds of thousands of readers eager for straight talk on the American processed-food machine. But in interviews with food-policy advocates and academics, she is criticized for sensationalized and overblown claims. Other activists say she takes more credit than she deserves. And in some cases, the Observer found evidence of errors and inconsistencies. | 07/13/14 10:45:04 By - Kathleen Purvis

Federal deficit is falling this year, White House says

The federal deficit is projected to come in this fiscal year $66 billion below earlier forecasts and $100 billion below the last fiscal year, the White House said Friday. | 07/11/14 17:02:27 By - By Kevin G. Hall and Anita Kumar

Amid abundant propane supply, calls come for strategic reserve

America is awash in propane, a byproduct of booming oil and natural gas production. Yet getting it to markets at home and abroad is proving challenging and controversial. | 07/10/14 12:20:18 By - By Kevin G. Hall

EPA sets out to explain water rule that’s riled U.S. farm interests

A proposal that federal officials said was intended to simplify federal water laws has instead been interpreted to do the opposite – and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is scrambling to defend itself to agriculture and other industries. | 07/10/14 07:27:34 By - By Chris Adams

Treasury hits firms tied to Syrian regime

Ratcheting up pressure on the Syrian government, the U.S. Treasury Department Wednesday announced sanctions against two Syrian firms and one in the United Arab Emirates that are allegedly linked to the regime’s weapons programs. | 07/10/14 06:01:16 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Media, transparency groups to Obama: Keep your word

Dozens of journalism and open-government organizations sent a letter to President Barack Obama Tuesday calling on the administration to order federal agencies to cooperate in releasing information to the public. | 07/08/14 17:45:34 By - By Kevin G. Hall

SEC and California school district settle dispute

The sprawling Kings Canyon Unified School District on Tuesday settled federal charges that it had misled investors during a 2010 bond offering. | 07/08/14 17:13:08 By - By Michael Doyle

Natural gas boom’s future may be in China

China is expected to double its demand for natural gas in the next five years, representing an irresistible market for Western companies attempting to export America’s energy bonanza as well as to exploit China’s own vast reserves. | 07/08/14 17:11:41 By - By Sean Cockerham

IRS in ‘bunker mentality’ as interest groups, media join Congress in seeking information

Congress isn’t alone in trying to wrest answers out of the embattled Internal Revenue Service. The courts, public-interest groups and the media are all struggling with uneven transparency and cooperation from the agency. | 07/08/14 15:21:05 By - By Kevin G. Hall

First retail marijuana store in Bellingham, Wash. opens

Hundreds of customers were on hand - along with TV stations and a food truck - as Top Shelf Cannabis opened Tuesday, July 8, the first store in Bellingham to legally sell recreational marijuana. | 07/08/14 13:48:21 By -

Rockefeller asks Obama to speed up crude oil tank car upgrades

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., asked President Barack Obama on Monday to use his executive power to make immediate improvements to the safety of tank cars carrying crude oil. | 07/07/14 19:28:27 By - By Curtis Tate

Scientists struggle to figure out why ground is shaking in heartland

Months after the prairie began to shake, scientists still struggle to explain a surge in Kansas earthquakes that appears connected to increased fracking. | 07/03/14 16:03:23 By - By Sean Cockerham

Happy days here again? Jobs surge, stocks hit record high

Job growth surged in June, capping the best first half since 1999, driving blue chip stocks to a record high and leading analysts to say the economy is shifting to higher gear. | 07/03/14 15:40:53 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Argentina faces more drama over debt, with grace period starting

On Monday, Argentina missed a crucial $539 million bond payment to U.S. creditors, putting the country in technical default and starting the clock on a 30-day grace period during which the government in Buenos Aires must make multiple debt payments, renegotiate some of its credit or face its second default since 2001. | 07/02/14 23:10:20 By - By Patrick Gillespie

As federal highway fund nears empty, DOT warns states to expect less

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Tuesday that it would start limiting payments to states for road and transit projects next month in an attempt to conserve the federal Highway Trust Fund’s rapidly diminishing cash balance. | 07/01/14 17:40:33 By - By Curtis Tate

GM opens gates for victim claims, recalls 8.4 million more cars

Beleaguered General Motors unveiled a compensation plan with no caps Monday for those harmed by crashes stemming from faulty ignition switches in its Chevy Cobalts and multiple other models, even while announcing the costly recall of another 8.4 million cars, the vast majority with similar defects. | 06/30/14 20:01:49 By - By Greg Gordon

New York ruling on fracking bans might send tremors across U.S.

New York state’s highest court ruled Monday that cities and towns have the power to ban fracking, a decision that comes as local governments across the nation are increasingly trying to use zoning laws to stop the contentious spread of drilling. | 06/30/14 19:05:55 By - By Sean Cockerham

Sleek buses seek passenger rail’s cargo on routes to the South

About an hour before the crowds began to arrive in Washington’s Union Station for the morning rush hour, about 50 people stood in line in a muggy third-floor garage, waiting for a Megabus to take them to Charlotte, N.C. | 06/30/14 13:20:00 By - By John Moritz

‘Prize-linked’ accounts offer cash prizes as incentive to save

A new type of savings account taps into the Powerball fantasies of Americans by giving customers the opportunity to win cash prizes every time they make a deposit. | 06/26/14 17:43:43 By - By Lindsay Wise

You’re paying more for gasoline, and here’s why

Think you’re paying more than you should be for gasoline right now? You are. | 06/26/14 16:07:47 By - By Kevin G. Hall and Sean Cockerham

As imports rise, the FDA is losing its fight against foul food

In April 2012, inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigated a seafood company in southern India that had been exporting tons of frozen yellowfin tuna to the United States. What they found wasn’t appetizing: water tanks rife with microbiological contamination, rusty carving knives, paint peeling above the work area, unsanitary bathrooms and an outdoor ice machine covered with insects and “apparent bird feces,” according to the report. | 06/26/14 14:58:06 By - By Rick Schmitt

Energy boom fuels economic growth in Midwest states

While the national business outlook remains tepid, the energy sector is driving fast economic growth in some states. | 06/25/14 15:34:25 By - By Patrick Gillespie

College Match: Helping low-income students achieve more than they might imagine

In spite of being among the top students in his school, Joseph Nelzy was quick to give up on being admitted to one of the nation’s best colleges after he got a rejection letter from Brandeis University, near Boston. | 06/25/14 07:20:22 By - By Jamaal Abdul-Alim

Railroads give up attempts to keep crude oil shipment data secret

The nation’s largest haulers of crude oil by rail on Tuesday appeared to abandon their insistence that information about such shipments could not be shared publicly for security reasons. | 06/24/14 17:42:13 By - By Curtis Tate

Parents, nurses fear school nurse cutbacks can be dangerous to children’s health

Parents in Charlotte, N.C., celebrated last week when their county commissioners approved a budget that includes $1.8 million to make sure every public school has a full-time nurse. | 06/20/14 13:57:49 By - By Renee Schoof

Coal state lawmakers concerned about new carbon rules

Republican lawmakers from states reliant on coal production and coal-powered energy challenged a top administration official Thursday, questioning the legality and effects of new standards to reduce carbon pollution through the nation’s power plants. | 06/19/14 18:37:00 By - By John Moritz

Public input missing from White House meetings on rail safety rules

As the White House reviews a package of proposed rail safety regulations, the rail, petroleum and chemical industries in recent weeks have held nearly a dozen meetings with Obama administration officials. | 06/19/14 18:08:01 By - By Curtis Tate

New survey finds 57 percent with marketplace coverage were previously uninsured

- An estimated 57 percent of Americans who bought marketplace health insurance were previously uninsured - most of them for two years or more - according to a comprehensive new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation that measures how people are faring in the individual insurance market after it was restructured under the Affordable Care Act. | 06/19/14 17:10:05 By - By Tony Pugh

Faster FAFSA: New bill would speed up financial aid application

Legislation being introduced in the Senate today would make it much faster to fill out a FAFSA. | 06/19/14 16:40:10 By - By Patrick Gillespie

What happens in Iraq doesn’t matter to U.S. economy

More than a decade after the U.S.-led invasion, Iraq’s economy remains in shambles and two-way trade outside the oil sector remains minimal. | 06/18/14 17:31:47 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Oil train fires require SWAT teams, veteran firefighters tell states

_ A pair of Texans with decades of firefighting experience is encouraging state and local government leaders to consider establishing SWAT-like response teams for crude oil train fires. | 06/17/14 06:00:00 By - By Curtis Tate

Government numbers on crude-oil train safety don’t add up

The State Department projects 28 more fatalities and 189 more injuries a year if crude oil moves by rail instead of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Sounds bad, but is it true? | 06/16/14 15:36:53 By - By Curtis Tate

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