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Feds shut down meat plant that supplies schools PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 07:33

HANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Federal inspectors shut down a central California slaughterhouse that supplies beef to the National School Lunch Program because of unsanitary conditions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said in a statement Tuesday that it withdrew inspectors and suspended operations at Central Valley Meat Co. in Hanford, about 30 miles south of Fresno, over the conditions.

"The plant's suspension will be lifted once we receive adequate assurances of corrective action," the agency said.

The Times reported that Central Valley Meat didn't respond to a request for comment. Company representatives didn't immediately return a phone message left by The Associated Press on Tuesday evening.

In 2012, Central Valley Meat Co. shut down for a week after Compassion Over Killing, an animal rights group, sent videos to federal officials showing workers torturing cows with electric prods and spraying hot water on the animals, the Los Angeles Times reported (http://lat.ms/1m8qZU8 ).

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Fed toughens rules for large foreign banks PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 07:10

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve will require the largest foreign banks operating in the United States to hold higher levels of capital reserves to protect against potential loan losses.

The stricter regulations the Fed adopted Tuesday are intended to prevent the types of threats that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis. The requirements are similar to those already adopted for big U.S. banks.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen, presiding at her first public meeting of the central bank's board, said the changes will "help address the sources of vulnerability" exposed by the crisis. The rules were adopted by a 5-0 vote.

Foreign banks had objected to the changes. They argued that the stricter rules would raise the cost of doing business in the United States and reduce the loans they could provide.

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As German car sales drop, industry bets on sharing PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by FRANK JORDANS, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 07:31

BERLIN (AP) — Germans, once a nation of ardent automobile enthusiasts, are not buying cars as much as they used to. Instead, they're sharing them.

The country has become the world's biggest user of one-way car sharing plans, where people can find a vehicle using their smartphone, drive it across town and leave it there without having to return it to a central base.

The powerful auto industry first ignored the trend, but is now jumping on board. Some companies are betting big on car sharing, not just for short trips within cities, but also for longer ones between them.

It follows a culture shift in the country that invented the automobile, where cars were once commonly described as the Germans' "favorite child." Excellent public transport, high fuel prices and a strong environmental movement mean that for many Germans the car has become an expendable accessory, or at worst an expensive liability.

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Obama wants more fuel-efficient trucks on U.S. roads PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by STACY A. ANDERSON, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 14:14

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (AP) — Drawing a link between reduced fuel consumption and climate change, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that his administration will issue tougher fuel-efficiency standards for delivery trucks by March 2016.

Obama said helping these vehicles use less fuel would have the triple benefit of making the U.S. less dependent on imported oil, keeping more money in consumer pockets and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

"It's not just a win win. It's a win, win, win," Obama said at a Maryland distribution center for Safeway, where he was flanked by two delivery trucks. "You got three wins."

Heavy-duty trucks make up just 4 percent of the vehicles on the nation's roadways, he said, but are responsible for about 20 percent of the climate-changing gases that are spewed into the atmosphere by the transportation sector.

Obama said ordering the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency to develop new standards for the 2018 vehicle model year, and beyond, is an example of the kind of steps he intends to take on his own to bolster the economy when he thinks Congress isn't doing its job.

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