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Diver killed working on Concordia in Italy PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press   
Sunday, 02 February 2014 07:57

ROME (AP) — A diver died Saturday while working on the shipwrecked Costa Concordia, apparently gashing his leg on an underwater metal sheet while preparing the wreck for removal, officials and news reports said.

Italy's civil protection agency, which is overseeing the removal of the Concordia from Tuscany's coast, said the diver hailed from Spain.

Tuscany's La Nazione newspaper said the diver had been working on preparations to affix huge tanks onto sides of the Concordia to float the ship off its false seabed and tow it to a port for eventual dismantling. It said he apparently gashed his leg on an underwater metal sheet and was then unable to get free, bleeding profusely before a diver colleague was able to bring him to the surface. The report said he was conscious upon surfacing but later died.

The diver, who wasn't identified by authorities, is the first to die in the line of work on salvaging the Concordia ever since it slammed into a reef off Giglio island on Jan. 13, 2012, killing 32 passengers and crew. A diver died last year, but the causes were reportedly unrelated to the work.

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Tax on sweetened drinks floated in San Francisco PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by LISA LEFF, Associated Press   
Sunday, 02 February 2014 07:55

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco officials again are trying to improve residents' health and raise money for government coffers by taxing soda and other sweetened drinks, an effort that's previously failed to gain traction locally and in other U.S. cities.

Four city lawmakers announced Saturday that they are introducing legislation that would impose a 2 cent-per-ounce tax on soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks. If passed by the full 11-member Board of Supervisors, the measure would go before local voters for approval or rejection in November.

The tax would be levied on beverage distributors and retailers who obtain their products directly from manufacturers. Officials estimate it could generate as much as $31 million a year.

Under the proposal set to be introduced Tuesday, the money would have to be used to fund recreation and nutrition programs in schools and at recreation centers, public bottle-filling and drinking fountains, healthy food services and dental health initiatives.

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AT&T reduces rates for high-data plans PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by ANICK JESDANUN, AP Technology Writer   
Sunday, 02 February 2014 07:56

NEW YORK (AP) — AT&T is reducing cellphone rates for family plans with large amounts of data.

The new rates are available starting Sunday and apply to plans with at least 10 gigabytes of data shared by two or more phones on a single account. Savings start at $10 per phone per month. A family of four sharing 10 gigabytes will pay $160 a month combined instead of $200 under the most recent rates.

The changes represent AT&T's latest effort to get customers to pay more overall by upgrading from lower-use plans. In some cases, families will actually pay less if they upgrade. That family of four, for instance, already pays $170 monthly for a 4 gigabyte plan and $180 for 6 gigabytes. If they upgrade, they will pay just $160. But for the most part, more data means more revenue for AT&T Inc.

David Christopher, chief marketing officer for AT&T's wireless business, said the offer is designed to give families a worry-free experience as they consume more data for video and social networking.

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U.S. regulators close small lender in Idaho PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Saturday, 01 February 2014 06:32

WASHINGTON (AP) — Regulators closed a small lender in Idaho on Friday, marking the third U.S. bank failure of 2014 after 24 closures last year.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said it has taken over Syringa Bank, based in Boise, Idaho. The lender, which operated six branches, had $153.4 million in assets and $145.1 million in deposits as of Sept. 30.

Sunwest Bank, based in Irvine, Calif., has agreed to pay the FDIC a premium of 0.75 percent to assume Syringa Bank's deposits. It also agreed to buy essentially all of the failed bank's assets.

Syringa Bank's failure is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $4.5 million.

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