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Tribe banks on syrup for sweet relief from poverty PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by DAVID SHARP, Associated Press   
Monday, 14 April 2014 06:29

PRENTISS TOWNSHIP, Maine (AP) — The members of the Passamaquoddy tribe have looked under their feet for a bottled water plant and have turned to the sky for a wind farm. But it's the forest that will be the first to deliver as the impoverished tribe seeks to become one of the biggest maple syrup operations in Maine.

The tribe, which owns 60,000 acres of land near the Canadian border in western Maine, has big plans for the syrup operation deep in the woods. Operating this season with nearly 3,000 taps, the tribe plans to expand over the next three years to 60,000.

The goal isn't to create a maple syrup empire, but rather to bring hope and stability to a tribe with soaring joblessness and poverty, said Indian Township Chief Joseph Socobasin.

"It creates an opportunity that we've never had," Socobasin said of the operation, one of several economic development projects underway for a tribe with unemployment topping 60 percent.

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With $41.4M, 'Captain America' holds off 'Rio 2' PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JAKE COYLE, AP Film Writer   
Monday, 14 April 2014 06:16

NEW YORK (AP) — "Captain America" continued to flex its Marvel muscle at the global box office, as "The Winter Soldier" took in $41.4 million domestically and $60.6 million overseas.

The strong second-week performance for the Walt Disney release in North America was enough to narrowly edge 20th Century Fox's "Rio 2" in a springtime battle of sequels. The animated Amazon jungle tale "Rio 2" debuted with $39 million, according to studio estimates Sunday, almost exactly the opening weekend total of the 2011 Oscar-nominated original.

But "Captain America" has grown considerably in stature since its 2011 original, "The First Avenger." With a global cumulative total of nearly $477 million, "The Winter Soldier" has (in two weeks domestically, three weeks internationally) easily surpassed the $370 million total of "The First Avenger."

For a superhero whose costume is draped with the U.S. flag, Captain America (played by Chris Evans) has proven particularly popular abroad. The international appeal of such a traditionally patriot figure was once doubted.

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Chances of getting audited by IRS lowest in years PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press   
Monday, 14 April 2014 06:28

WASHINGTON (AP) — As millions of Americans race to meet Tuesday's tax deadline, their chances of getting audited are lower than they have been in years.

Budget cuts and new responsibilities are straining the Internal Revenue Service's ability to police tax returns. This year, the IRS will have fewer agents auditing returns than at any time since at least the 1980s.

Taxpayer services are suffering, too, with millions of phone calls to the IRS going unanswered.

"We keep going after the people who look like the worst of the bad guys," IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in an interview. "But there are going to be some people that we should catch, either in terms of collecting the revenue from them or prosecuting them, that we're not going to catch."

Better technology is helping to offset some budget cuts.

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Uber meets local lookalikes in Asia taxi-app wars PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by KAY JOHNSON, AP Business Writer   
Monday, 14 April 2014 06:08

MUMBAI, India (AP) — Riding on its startup success and flush with fresh capital, taxi-hailing smartphone app Uber is making a big push into Asia. There's a twist, though: Instead of being the game-changing phenomena it was in the U.S., Uber faces a slew of competitors using similar technology.

The concept Uber helped pioneer just four years ago has transformed some markets before it even had a chance to enter them. Homegrown taxi apps are already slogging it out for dominance in numerous Asian countries.

China has a taxi-hailing app called Kuadi that says it logs more than 6 million transactions per day. Malaysia-based GrabTaxi operates in five Southeast Asian countries and recently announced more than $10 million in new investment. India has two competing taxi-app companies, Meru Cabs and Ola Cabs.

The proliferation of taxi apps means that Uber, which raised $258 million in venture capital last year, much of it from Google Ventures, must distinguish itself from local companies as well as international challengers including Easy Taxi and Lyft. This month, Lyft got a $250 million cash infusion from investors including Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

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