Economy

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

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

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

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

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

‘Devastating for our industry’: Pig virus affects farmers, market prices

The threat of a growing pig disease has local farmers embracing biosecurity measures to protect their farms and livelihoods. Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDv, is pushing up pork prices and prompting action on the national level. | 06/16/14 07:16:10 By - Chip Minemyer

Missouri company recalls 4,000 pounds of beef over mad cow concerns

A Missouri slaughterhouse is recalling thousands of pounds of beef products distributed to a grocery store chain and two restaurants because the processor failed to follow federal regulations aimed at preventing mad cow disease. | 06/12/14 16:25:01 By - By Lindsay Wise

Is inflation lurking out there?

All but absent in recent years, inflation is ticking up. That’s to the delight of those who think it signals a return to economic health, to the worry of others who fear it will disrupt financial markets. | 06/12/14 09:58:21 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Inaction feeds crisis over Mississippi River, environmentalists say

Decades of shortsighted decisions by industry and government have put the Mississippi River’s future at risk, and degradation at its southern Louisiana delta is contributing to “the greatest land loss on the planet,” a five-state environmental coalition warned Wednesday. | 06/11/14 18:04:57 By - By Greg Gordon

Report: All states but Alaska grew last year

Every state except Alaska posted economic growth in 2013, with the fastest-growing states tending to have more manufacturing of soft goods and a real-estate uptick, the Commerce Department said in a report released Wednesday. | 06/11/14 16:27:19 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Fight could be looming over secrecy of oil shipments by rail

A requirement from the U.S. Department of Transportation last month to limit the release of information about Bakken crude oil shipments by rail has set up a conflict between railroads, states and the federal government that could wind up in court. | 06/10/14 19:29:08 By - By Curtis Tate

Hundreds more fatalities if Keystone XL isn’t built? Not exactly

On Friday, the State Department revised its January report on the environmental impacts of building or not building the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, including the number of potential injuries and fatalities if Canadian oil would move by rail instead. | 06/07/14 16:48:55 By - By Curtis Tate

Psst, the economy isn’t as bad as many think

Another strong month of hiring should put to rest fears that the U.S. economy is downshifting _ and it suggests that there might finally be a head of steam building. | 06/06/14 17:26:48 By - By Kevin G. Hall

SEC chief is open to curbs on high-speed traders

The head of the Securities and Exchange Commission called Thursday for new rules governing the structure of financial markets, acknowledging that high-speed trading and the largely unregulated trading areas called dark pools may be working against ordinary investors. | 06/05/14 18:08:24 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Senate confirms Burwell as new HHS secretary

The Senate confirmed Sylvia Mathews Burwell on Thursday as the new secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services by a bipartisan vote of 78-17. | 06/05/14 17:32:53 By - By Tony Pugh

Peanut growers worry about unintended impact of farm bill

In the heart of the nation’s peanut zone, farmers are putting substantially more runners into the ground than they did last year. And in the eyes of some industry experts, that boom might spell doom. | 06/05/14 16:16:34 By - By Chris Adams

Senate panel approves spending bill with funds to improve oil train safety

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved on Thursday a transportation spending bill that includes funding to address gaps in safety and training revealed by recent derailments of trains carrying crude oil. | 06/05/14 18:20:55 By - By Curtis Tate

Europe flirts with negative interest rates

Faced with the prospects of debilitating deflation, the European Central Bank on Thursday unveiled a host of unusual measures designed to spark lending at all costs in a bid to boost businesses and consumers and keep the region’s economy moving forward. | 06/05/14 16:22:18 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Brazil finds bumpy path on way to becoming world oil power

Brazil’s efforts to become one of the world’s major oil producers have attracted businesses such as U.S. drilling giants Halliburton and Baker Hughes, gained it partnerships with oil companies from India and China, lured immigrants from idyllic Norway and drawn investment dollars from American pension funds in Florida, South Carolina and California. | 06/05/14 15:12:31 By - By Vinod Sreeharsha

HHS works to correct 2 million data discrepancies in marketplace applications

The Obama administration is contacting millions of Americans who signed up for marketplace health insurance about apparent discrepancies in the personal information they provided in their coverage applications. | 06/04/14 21:11:27 By - By Tony Pugh

New pollution rule puts onus on states

A major initiative to cut the pollution emitted from the nation’s power plants set off a scramble Monday in Washington – where Republicans instantly pounced on the proposed rules – as well as in states, where much of the work in implementing the rules will be done. | 06/03/14 06:42:37 By - By Chris Adams and Lesley Clark

White House energy report omits Keystone, other controversial issues

A White House report on its energy policy Thursday stressed good news but omitted any discussion of controversial issues such as lifting a ban on oil exports, the long-delayed Keystone pipeline or growing concern about crude oil in railroad tank cars. | 05/29/14 19:23:42 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Energy historian Daniel Yergin: Lift U.S. ban on oil exports

A report Thursday from a respected oil historian argues for lifting a longstanding ban on U.S. oil exports in order to keep down gasoline prices for consumers. It’s a view sure to raise eyebrows and comes amid a broader national debate about exporting America’s new energy bounty. | 05/29/14 01:00:00 By - By Sean Cockerham and Kevin G. Hall

Obama will let states decide how to cut greenhouse gas emissions

President Barack Obama is about to unveil the centerpiece of his agenda to fight climate change, a much anticipated rule to slash the emissions of planet-warming gases from power plants. | 05/27/14 15:15:53 By - By Sean Cockerham

A Maryland inventor’s big energy ideas have promise, and big ifs

While scientists are engaged in an all-out, worldwide scramble to avert the energy and climate change crises, the biggest discoveries could come from a surprising quarter: a modest redwood home on a wooded, five-acre tract in rural Maryland, where a lone inventor toils day and night. | 05/27/14 14:25:03 By - By Greg Gordon

U.S. wins trade dispute with China over duties on cars, SUVs; 2nd win since March

The World Trade Organization ruled Friday that China had violated trade rules when it slapped punitive duties as high as 21 percent on America-made cars and sport utility vehicles. | 05/23/14 16:55:56 By - By John Zarocostas

With ‘Internet of Things,’ your fridge will know when milk is low

Americans are adapting to a world in which virtually everything _ from cellphones and cars to washing machines and refrigerators_ is going to be connected to the Internet or a network. But watch out for the toaster. | 05/23/14 14:46:46 By -

Affordable Care Act, spending cuts slow health care hiring

In the dark hours of the Great Recession, it was one of the few economic bright spots. Week in, week out, the health care sector was adding jobs, when construction, manufacturing and retail hiring were mired in quicksand. Now, health care is a laggard. | 05/22/14 13:46:02 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Coventry, Humana, WellPoint offer most affordable marketplace coverage, study finds

Consumers in 37 states that want affordable marketplace health coverage are more likely to pick a plan from Coventry, Humana or WellPoint, according to new research by Avalere Health. | 05/22/14 06:23:30 By - By Tony Pugh

Community colleges train workers to fill manufacturing vacancies

U.S. manufacturers face a growing challenge of finding skilled workers. Currently, there are about 600,000 manufacturing job vacancies, and 2.7 million manufacturing employees are expected to retire in the next decade, according to industry groups. Northern Virginia Community College is one of a growing number of schools training workers for the manufacturing industry. | 05/22/14 14:36:17 By - Michelle Kim

Fracking boom is a struggle for Kentucky

The fracking revolution is not being kind to Kentucky’s role as an American energy leader, helping to decimate coal while struggling to deliver a natural gas boom for the state on par with nearby peers. | 05/21/14 12:54:24 By - By Sean Cockerham

No irrigation water for marijuana crops, feds rule

Delivering a blow to pot growers in Washington state and Colorado, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Tuesday that it won’t allow any federally controlled water to be used on marijuana crops because Congress has banned the drug. | 05/21/14 00:04:18 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Credit Suisse won’t get tax write-off on DOJ settlement

Buried in the settlement with Credit Suisse, announced formally Monday night after weeks of speculation, is a clause that pleased public interest groups. The language prevented the Swiss bank from taking, directly or indirectly, and tax deduction, credit or any other offset against the huge $2.6 billion settlement it will pay as part of the plea agreement with the DOJ and bank regulators. | 05/20/14 17:59:43 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Retailers are working to attract shoppers with entertainment and efficiencies

Shopping centers and retailers want to give people an experience they can't get with a click of the mouse. Consumers want to do something or feel like they're getting treatment they couldn't get anywhere else. | 05/20/14 18:37:07 By - Charles Schelle

New York Times case draws new attention to pay-equity bill

Charges that The New York Times paid its top female editor less than male peers has breathed new life into legislation that seeks to ensure that women and men earn the same amount for the same work performed. | 05/19/14 17:43:20 By - By Kevin G. Hall

GM fined $35 million for failure to report ignition switch defect

In what it called the single highest civil penalty resulting from an automobile recall, the U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday fined General Motors $35 million for the company’s failure to report a safety defect. | 05/16/14 16:42:12 By - By Curtis Tate

New owner of railroad through Quebec town plans to ship crude oil again

The Wall Street firm that owns the railroad through Lac-Megantic, Quebec, is making plans to ship crude oil again through the lakside town devastated last summer by a fiery train derailment. | 05/16/14 16:27:47 By - By Curtis Tate

Fannie, Freddie legislation advances to uncertain future

A bill to overhaul mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac won approval Thursday from a divided Senate Banking Committee and moved on to an uncertain future. | 05/15/14 18:20:52 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Colleges reach out to Hispanics as enrollment sags

Driving along US-411N, flanked by rolling green hills and slow-moving cows, it seems surprising to hear a DJ on the FM dial breathlessly announcing a merengue show in nearby Knoxville _ in Spanish. | 05/15/14 14:35:48 By - By Timothy Pratt

HHS nominee Burwell gets tough questions from committee that will decide her fate

The road to becoming the next U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary got a little bumpy for Sylvia Mathews Burwell on Wednesday as she was peppered with a series of pointed questions on a wide range of issues during her second Senate nomination hearing. | 05/15/14 12:54:09 By - Tony Pugh

Obama judicial nominee Boggs faces increasing opposition from Democrats

Opposition is growing to President Barack Obama’s nominee to serve as a federal judge in Georgia. | 05/14/14 18:06:42 By - By Lindsay Wise

U.S. alone among Western countries on lack of paid maternity leave, UN finds

The United States is the only Western country _ and one of only three in the world _ that does not provide some kind of monetary payment to new mothers who’ve taken maternity leave from their jobs, a new U.N. study reports. | 05/13/14 15:53:16 By - By John Zarocostas

'Woodwork effect' fuels Medicaid growth and cost increases for non-expansion states

Seventeen states that chose not to expand eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act ended up with more program beneficiaries - partly because of all the hoopla surrounding the health law, according to a new analysis by Avalere Health. | 05/13/14 15:40:49 By - By Tony Pugh

Obama draws criticism over Walmart visit

President Barack Obama came under fire on Friday for his visit to a Walmart in California. | 05/09/14 17:55:13 By - By Lindsay Wise

Treasury’s Lew to press China on currency

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew travels to China Sunday to press senior Chinese officials on currency reform, market access and a number of other trade irritants. | 05/09/14 16:23:33 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Fed appears open to loosening bank rules

An influential member of the Federal Reserve’s board of governors on Thursday raised the possibility of letting about 80 banks off the hook from the toughest provisions of a law requiring greater scrutiny of financial institutions. | 05/08/14 13:39:59 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Now more than ever, cash is king in real estate

One in three buyers of U.S. homes is paying cash, a record high number, according to data made available to McClatchy. | 05/08/14 06:00:00 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Yellen sees faster growth ahead for economy

Economic growth took a pause in the first three months of the year because of the harsh winter weather but is expected to pick up swiftly for the remainder of the year, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told lawmakers Wednesday. | 05/07/14 11:31:07 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Regulators take voluntary route on tank car rules

DOT stops short of requiring phase-out of older tank cars in crude oil shipments. | 05/07/14 21:27:32 By - By Curtis Tate

Is Justice Department On Verge of Criminally Prosecuting Big Banks?

“While I will not specify any particular targets, I will say this: I am personally monitoring the status of these ongoing investigations,” Holder said in a video posted by the Justice Department. | 05/06/14 13:27:13 By - By Greg Gordon

Lynchburg, Va., oil train derailment illustrates threat to rivers

As Pat Calvert steers a small motorboat over the James River, it’s impossible to not notice the smell of motor oil, and it’s not coming from the boat. | 05/04/14 08:43:21 By - By Curtis Tate

Employers add 288,000 jobs in April, more than expected

With a punishing winter behind them, employers added a sizzling 288,000 jobs in April, the government said Friday in a report that also saw a confusingly sharp drop in the unemployment rate to 6.3 percent. | 05/02/14 16:49:19 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Oil train derailment spares but shakes up Lynchburg, Va.

Today, it’s mostly business as usual in the latest town to experience a brush with disaster from a train carrying crude oil. | 05/01/14 17:55:33 By - By Curtis Tate

Report: large employers could shift nearly all workers’ health coverage to marketplace by 2020

A new investor report predicts that Standard & Poor's 500 companies could shift 90 percent of their workforce from job-based health coverage to individual insurance sold on the nation's marketplaces by 2020. | 05/01/14 00:03:36 By - By Tony Pugh

Fed looks past weak growth, cuts back bond buying

Shrugging off dismal economic growth numbers for the first quarter of 2014, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday it would taper back its controversial monthly bond-buying program by another $10 billion in May amid an improving outlook. | 04/30/14 17:13:32 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Feds plan to let states toll interstate highways to pay for reconstruction

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday asked Congress to end the prohibition on tolling existing interstate highways as a way of paying for their reconstruction, marking a major shift away from how the system has been funded for decades. | 04/29/14 18:09:21 By - By Curtis Tate

With no federal water, pot growers could be high and dry

Newly licensed marijuana growers in Washington state may find themselves without a key source of water just as spring planting gets under way. | 04/27/14 07:01:11 By - By Rob Hotakainen

The reasons _ and risks _ behind shipping crude oil by rail

Along with prosperity, oil shipments have brought worry to communities along the rail lines. Since last summer, deadly and destructive derailments have created anxiety among community leaders from coast to coast. | 04/25/14 13:16:50 By - By Curtis Tate

Trade deal eludes Obama in Japan; more talks planned

While failing to seal a deal on his ambitious plan to expand trade in the Pacific Rim, President Barack Obama on Thursday said a long-stalled trade pact still can be finalized if Japan opens its markets and accepts more U.S. exports of everything from cars to farm goods. | 04/24/14 22:02:04 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Housing goes from hopeful to underwhelming as 2014 moves along

A spate of new economic reports shows that a speedier recovery of the housing market does not appear in the cards this year. Housing experts are dialing back rosier projections in favor of another ho-hum year, where home sales are flat and prices climb to make ownership less affordable. | 04/24/14 17:48:47 By - By Kevin G. Hall

New FCC proposal could be the end of net neutrality, opponents say

The Federal Communications Commission plans to propose new rules today that would let Internet service providers charge companies to move their content through a speedier lane, a “pay for play” model that opponents say will kill net neutrality. | 04/24/14 15:17:57 By - By Vera Bergengruen

Canada moves ahead of U.S. in phasing out older tank cars for shipping crude oil

In response to a deadly train derailment last summer, the Canadian government Wednesday ordered the country’s railroads to phase out tens of thousands of older, puncture-prone tank cars from crude oil transportation within three years. | 04/24/14 06:58:22 By - By Curtis Tate

In Miami, there’s no shortage of Medicare fraud to keep prosecutors busy

If there ever was any question that Miami is the champ when it comes to health care fraud, a peek inside Medicare’s list of banned providers should settle it. | 04/23/14 14:16:14 By - By Chris Adams

Policy group dives into retirement savings

Concerned about the future finances of Social Security and ample evidence that Americans are failing to save enough for retirement, the Bipartisan Policy Center on Wednesday launched a new Personal Savings Initiative. | 04/23/14 12:59:20 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Tank car fleet inadequate for crude oil, rail industry says

None of the tank cars currently in service carrying Bakken crude oil is adequate for carrying that product, a rail industry representative testified Tuesday, but until new federal regulations are completed, the use of inadequate cars will continue. | 04/23/14 00:28:58 By - By Curtis Tate

In South Carolina, leaders reconsider drilling along the coastline

The push to start drilling in the Atlantic Ocean is gaining momentum and dividing people along the grand coast of South Carolina, where some local leaders fear what it could mean for tourism. | 04/22/14 16:09:59 By - By Sean Cockerham

Consumer protection agency warns about automatic defaults on private student loans

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Tuesday released a report about the problem of “automatic defaults” on private student loans. | 04/22/14 04:21:08 By - By Renee Schoof

Cowboy and Indian Alliance protest Keystone pipeline

The Cowboy and Indian Alliance met Tuesday morning in front of the Capital to kick off a five-day protest against the proposed expansion of the Keystone XL Pipeline. | 04/22/14 17:18:17 By - Anna Bisaro

Keystone pipeline decision delayed, likely till after elections

The Obama administration is indefinitely delaying a decision on approving the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, likely putting off any action until after the November midterm elections. | 04/18/14 18:35:50 By - By Sean Cockerham

Feds don’t require median barriers shown to curb traffic deaths

Hundreds of interstate highway fatalities have been prevented in multiple states by relatively inexpensive safety devices that were not in place at the site of a fiery bus-truck collision last week in California that killed 10 people. | 04/18/14 18:17:16 By - By Curtis Tate

Old-school coal is making a comeback

Coal, the former king of American energy, is making a comeback after being left for dead in favor of cleaner-burning natural gas. | 04/17/14 14:35:14 By - By Sean Cockerham

Far off? Russia-Ukraine clash echoes through U.S. farm belt

America’s diplomats and generals aren’t alone in watching the unfolding conflict between Russia and neighboring Ukraine. The U.S. agriculture sector is following the faraway events closely for reasons of both opportunity and risk. | 04/16/14 18:10:29 By - By Kevin G. Hall

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