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  • 2014: A year of battle lines drawn over dinner

    Have you picked a side yet? If not, you’d better think fast, because the battle lines are being drawn and they cut right down the dinner table. For if there was any theme to the food world in 2014, it was the prevalence of polarizing issues. Whether we were tussling over genetically modified organisms, or…

  • Average US 30-year loan rate falls to 3.80 percent

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week, with the benchmark 30-year loan rate reaching a new low for the year. The rates’ historically low levels could be a boon to potential homebuyers. Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage dropped to 3.80 percent this week from…

  • Ford expands drivers air bag recall nationwide

    DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. has agreed to government demands to expand a driver’s side air bag inflator recall to the entire U.S. The move announced Thursday adds 447,000 Ford vehicles to the list of those recalled due to driver’s inflators made by Japan’s Takata Corp. The inflators can explode with too much force,…

  • Kraft Foods CEO to retire; Cahill named successor

    NORTHFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Kraft Foods Group Inc. says that CEO Tony Vernon plans to retire later this month. The company named Chairman John Cahill as his successor. Vernon has served as CEO since the consumer packaged food and beverage company’s spinoff from Mondelez International Inc. in October 2012. Before that, he was the company’s…

  • France fines 13 firms $1.2 bln for price-fixing

    PARIS (AP) — Penalizing a dirty business involving cleaning products, French regulators fined 13 consumer-products makers about 950 million euros ($1.2 billion) for price fixing on goods like shampoos, detergents and toothpaste. France’s competition authority said Thursday that the companies sought to maintain “artificially high” prices in negotiations with supermarkets which filtered down to consumers…

  • Circus disputes citation for hair-hanging accident

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has contested a citation it received from federal regulators for an accident that sent eight hair-hanging acrobats plummeting to the ground during a live performance, severely injuring most of them. Stephen Payne, a spokesman for circus parent company Feld Entertainment, said this week that…

  • Vegas hotelier faces gambling commission scrutiny

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — The man who started a hospitality empire with a Los Angeles nightclub and turned the Sahara Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip into a hipper, sleeker destination is facing questions from gambling regulators for the second time this month about his cocaine use and questionable business dealings. Sam Nazarian…

  • ‘Interview’ ordeal at Sony just its latest crisis

    TOKYO (AP) — How do you say “damage control” in Japanese? Sony Corp. is sealed within a hermetic cone of silence as executives try to prevent the slow motion train wreck at Sony Pictures from damaging the rest of the sprawling business empire. Sony’s miseries with its television and smartphone businesses were bad enough. Now…

  • ‘Free Shipping Day’ exceeds $1 billion in sales

    WASHINGTON — The most wonderful time of year just got even better. Thousands of online retailers are promising free shipping on Thursday with on-time Christmas delivery. “Free Shipping Day” is a shopping day that has grown exponentially,  exceeding $1 billion in sales over the past two years. It’s enticing for many who don’t mind buying a gift, but…

  • Gift Guide: Home products come with connectivity

    NEW YORK (AP) — Do you really need an app to tell you to brush and floss? It seems every household appliance is getting some smarts these days, meaning some connection to a phone app and the broader Internet. But then what? To give you a feel for what that connectivity brings, here’s a closer…

  • Sony emails show a studio ripe for hacking

    WASHINGTON (AP) — In the weeks before hackers broke into Sony Pictures Entertainment, the studio suffered significant technology outages it blamed on software flaws and incompetent technical staffers who weren’t paying attention, even as hackers targeted executives to trick them into revealing their online credentials. Its chief executive was regularly reminded in unsecure emails of…

  • Nightlife king faces queries from gaming regulator

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Los Angeles nightlife entrepreneur who revamped Las Vegas’ Sahara Hotel and Casino into a hipper, sleeker destination is getting ready to defend his past again so he can obtain a Nevada gambling license after admitting recent cocaine use and explaining his curious business dealings with felons. Nevada has long been…

  • Nevada regulator testifies in Vegas gambling ruse

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Nevada casino regulator told a federal judge that investigators spent hours briefing a federal prosecutor before employing a ruse to gain entry to high-roller suites at Caesars Palace and break up what prosecutors say was an illegal Internet sports gambling operation. But like other witnesses before him, Nevada Gaming Control…

  • Stolen emails reveal lapses in Sony security practices

    WASHINGTON (AP) — In the weeks before hackers broke into Sony Pictures Entertainment, the studio suffered significant technology outages it blamed on software flaws and incompetent technical staffers who weren’t paying attention, even as hackers targeted executives to trick them into revealing their online credentials. Its chief executive was regularly reminded in unsecure emails of…

  • Sanford giving $25M for South Dakota scholarships

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Philanthropist T. Denny Sanford is donating $25 million to South Dakota for a scholarship program for the state’s technical schools, the governor’s office announced Wednesday. The state is matching Sanford’s gift by pledging $25 million of its own to create the Build Dakota Scholarship Program, which officials say will help…