Canadian town has best tasting tap water PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Sunday, 23 February 2014 06:50

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) — This year's Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting competition produced some familiar winners.

All but one of the six best tasting municipal waters had won at Berkeley Springs before, event organizers said late Saturday in a written statement.

Once again, Canadian tap water from Clearbrook, British Columbia, was deemed the best in the world. The top tap water in the U.S. came from Santa Ana, Calif.

Greenwood, British Columbia, came in third. Tied in fourth place were Dickinson, N.D., and Montpelier, Ohio. The 2013 winner, Emporia, Kansas, came in fifth.

Mexico to trump Japan as No. 2 car exporter to U.S. PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON, Associated Press   
Saturday, 22 February 2014 08:42

CELAYA, Mexico (AP) — Mexico is on track to become the United States' No. 1 source of imported cars by the end of next year, overtaking Japan and Canada in a manufacturing boom that's turning the auto industry into a bigger source of dollars than money sent home by migrants.

The boom is raising hopes that Mexico can create enough new jobs to pull millions out of poverty as northbound migration slows sharply, but critics caution that most of the new car jobs are low-skill and pay too little. Mexico's low and stagnant wages have kept the poverty rate between 40 and 50 percent since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement two decades ago.

An $800 million Honda plant that opened Friday in the central state of Guanajuato will produce more than 200,000 Fit hatchbacks and compact sport-utility vehicles a year, helping push total Mexican car exports to the U.S. to 1.7 million in 2014, roughly 200,000 more than Japan, consulting firm IHS Automotive says. And with another big plant starting next week, Mexico is expected to surpass Canada for the top spot by the end of 2015.

Medicare Advantage plans may face cuts PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press   
Saturday, 22 February 2014 08:44

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cuts are on the table next year for Medicare Advantage plans, the Obama administration says. The politically dicey move affecting a private insurance alternative highly popular with seniors immediately touched off an election-year fight.

The announcement gave new ammunition to Republican critics of President Barack Obama's health care law, while disappointing some Democratic senators who had called on the administration to hold rates steady. Insurers are still hoping to whittle back the cuts or dodge them altogether.

Late Friday after financial markets closed, Medicare issued a 148-page assessment of cost factors for the private plans next year. It included multiple variables, some moving in different directions, but analyst Matthew Eyles of Avalere Health estimated it would translate to a cut of 1.9 percent for 2015, a figure also cited by congressional staffers briefed on the proposal.

Bill would ban Confederate flag sale on California property PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Saturday, 22 February 2014 08:40

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A bill introduced by a Democratic lawmaker would prohibit the sale of Confederate flags on California state property.

Assemblyman Isadore Hall of Compton introduced the bill Friday. He says Confederate flag memorabilia is being sold at the Capitol gift shop and was on sale during last summer's state fair on the Cal Expo Fairgrounds.

The issue came to his attention after his mother spotted replica Confederate money on sale in the Capitol gift shop. Hall, who is black, calls the Confederate flag a symbol of racism, exclusion and violence.

The ban would apply to property owned or operated by the state.

Hall says his bill has bipartisan support and will send a message that California does not promote racism and hate.

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