The Associated Press
Grocers allege potato group pumped up spud prices
BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- A U.S. wholesale grocer says America's potato farmers have run an illegal price-fixing cartel for a decade, driving up spud prices while spying on farmers with satellites and aircraft fly-overs to enforce strict limits on how many tubers they can grow.
Kansas-based Associated Wholesale Grocers' lawsuit against United Potato Growers of America and two dozen other defendants was shifted this week to U.S. District Court in Idaho, America's top potato-producing state, which provides 30 percent of the nation's supply.
The grocery group, a cooperative which supplies more than 2,000 stores including IGA, Thriftway and Price Chopper in 24 states, contends that the potato growers banded together in 2004 to illegally inflate prices in a scheme akin to the petroleum-producing OPEC cartel, reducing planting acreages and destroying potatoes, all to restrict what was available for sale.
Court says isolated human genes cannot be patented
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously threw out attempts to patent human genes, siding with advocates who say the multibillion-dollar biotechnology industry should not have exclusive control over genetic information found inside the human body.
But the high court also approved for the first time the patenting of synthetic DNA, handing a victory to researchers and companies looking to come up with ways to fight -- and profit -- from medical breakthroughs that could reverse life-threatening diseases such as breast or ovarian cancer.
The high court's judgment, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, reverses three decades of patent awards by government officials and throws out patents held by Salt Lake City-based Myriad Genetics Inc. involving a breast cancer test brought into the public eye recently by actress Angelina Jolie's revelation that she had a double mastectomy.
Privacy -- the online generation wants it
CHICAGO (AP) -- The generation that's grown up posting their lives online wants a little privacy. That's not what we might expect as we debate just how much access the government should have to our mobile and online lives.
But as it turns out, young people are much more complex than some may think when determining what personal information they want to share.
Sure, they're as likely as ever to post photos of themselves online, as well as their location and even phone numbers -- and assume that at least some of their information is shared among website providers -- say those who track their high-tech habits. But as they approach adulthood, they're also getting more adept at hiding and pruning their online lives.
Despite their propensity for sharing, many young adults also are surprisingly big advocates for privacy -- in some cases, more than their elders.
Rupert Murdoch files for divorce from Wendi Deng
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch has filed for divorce from Wendi Deng Murdoch, his wife since 1999, citing a breakdown in the relationship. The matter doesn't alter the succession plan for the media company, which the 82-year-old founder controls through a family trust.
Murdoch filed a one-page document Thursday indicating that he was opening a divorce case in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
A News Corp. spokesperson confirmed the filing.
US retail sales jump 0.6 percent in May on autos
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans stepped up purchases at retail businesses in May, spending more on cars, home improvements and sporting goods. The gain shows consumers remain resilient despite higher taxes and could drive faster growth later this year.
The Commerce Department said Thursday that retail sales increased 0.6 percent in May from April. That's up from a 0.1 percent gain the previous month and the fastest pace since February.
The April gain was led by a 1.8 percent jump in auto sales, the biggest increase in six months. Excluding volatile autos, gas and building supplies, core retail sales rose 0.3 percent. That's slightly higher than the 0.2 percent April increase.
US unemployment benefit applications fall to 334,000
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped 12,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 334,000, a decline that suggests steady job gains will endure.
The less volatile four-week average decreased 7,250 to 345,250, the Labor Department said Thursday. Both figures are roughly 7,000 higher than month-ago levels, which were the lowest in five years.
Applications are a proxy for layoffs. Since January, they have fallen by 6.5 percent, suggesting employers are cutting fewer jobs.
US business increased stockpiles 0.3 pct. in April