Financial
Growing demand for U.S. apartments pushing up rents PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by ALEX VEIGA, AP Real Estate Writer   
Thursday, 03 April 2014 13:42

These are good times for U.S. landlords. For many tenants, not so much.

With demand for apartments surging, rents are projected to rise for a fifth straight year. Even a pickup in apartment construction is unlikely to provide much relief anytime soon.

That bodes well for building owners and their investors. Yet the landlord-friendly trends will likely further strain the finances of many renters. That's especially true for the 50 percent of them who already spend more than one-third of their pay on rent.

A 6 percent rise in apartment rents between 2000 and 2012 has been exacerbated by a 13 percent drop in income among renters nationally over the same period, according to a report from search portal Apartment List, which used inflation-adjusted figures.

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Mall staple Brookstone seeks bankruptcy cover PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 03 April 2014 10:26

MERRIMACK, N.H. (AP) — Brookstone, a staple in malls and airports nationwide, is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as part of its $147 million sale to Spencer Spirit Holdings.

The purveyor personal massagers, iPad keyboards and other quirky gadgets, said Thursday that its 240 stores will remain open and business will continue as usual.

The Merrimack, N.H., company announced last week that it would be acquired by Spencer after it had filed for bankruptcy protection.

Brookstone, which was punished by a more pragmatic consumer during the recession and then by growing online completion, has watched sales decline sharply. In its most recent quarter, sales declined by more than 7 percent.

Spencer Spirit, based in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., owns Spencer stores and sells Halloween costumes at its Spirit pop-up stores.


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FireChat ignites new way to communicate on phones PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Technology Writer   
Thursday, 03 April 2014 13:00

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A new mobile messaging application called FireChat is empowering nearby smartphone users to stay in touch even when there's no cellular service or Internet connection.

In just two weeks since its release on the iPhone, FireChat already has provided a flicker of hope for people pining for more effective, secure and affordable ways to communicate. That's because the free messaging app harnesses a technology called wireless mesh networking, which might someday allow a myriad of devices to connect like links in a chain.

The technique might someday be used to tie together thousands of devices with built-in radios and make it possible to be online without having to pay for the access. It could also enable online communications in remote areas or disaster zones without Wi-Fi or cellular signals. Furthermore, the conversations in these so-called "off-the-grid" networks can't be easily hacked into by spies and mischief makers or shut down by governments trying to stifle free speech.

"We trying to create networks built by the people for the people," said Micha Benoliel, CEO of Open Garden, maker of the FireChat app.

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Report: 2014 Bakken oil output 1.1M barrels a day PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JOSH WOOD, Associated Press   
Thursday, 03 April 2014 06:36

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Oil production in North Dakota and Montana's Bakken and Three Forks formations will average 1.1 million barrels per day this year, according to estimates announced Wednesday by a research firm.

Wood Mackenzie anticipates that oil production in the North Dakota and Montana sections of the Bakken and Three Forks formations will grow to 1.7 million barrels per day in 2020.

"We're very confident on the future of the Bakken," said Jonathan Garrett, an analyst at Wood Mackenzie. He added that the expected lifetime of a Bakken well is 25 years to 30 years.

Wood Mackenzie projects that $15 billion will be spent on drilling and completion of wells by Bakken participants in 2014.

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