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28 attorneys general want tobacco out of stores PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 06:36

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Attorneys general from 28 states and U.S. territories have written to the chief executives of major U.S. pharmacy chains urging them to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Following the decision by CVS Caremark to stop selling tobacco in its stores, the chains Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Safeway and Kroger are being asked to follow suit.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says pharmacies increasingly market themselves as sources for community health care, sending "a mixed message" by continuing to sell "deadly tobacco products."

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says voluntary decisions by the national retailers will also help keep tobacco away from youths.

According to Schneiderman's office, the attributable health care costs of smoking are at least $289 billion annually.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Can classes yield a billion-dollar bracket? PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by EDDIE PELLS, AP National Writer   
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 06:20

So, about that billion dollars.

Warren Buffett looks at his offer to pay $1 billion to anyone who fills out a perfect NCAA tournament bracket as nothing more than a matter of having the numbers in his favor.

Mathematicians say he's right. That's still not stopping them from building a cottage industry by teaching bracket-fillers how to make the impossible seem possible — or a little less improbable.

Around a half-dozen college professors are offering special classes to teach people the ins and outs of the numbers that will, inevitably, work against them. And there's one website — takebuffettsbillion.com — that says it will send a unique, statistician-crunched bracket to anyone who signs up, with the promise that all those in on the gig will split the money if one of those brackets is the winner. (As of Monday, about 9,000 people had signed up.)

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TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau gets 10-year sentence PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MICHAEL TARM, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 06:24

CHICAGO (AP) — Best-selling author Kevin Trudeau, whose name became synonymous with late-night TV pitches, was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday for bilking consumers through ubiquitous infomercials for his book, "The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You to Know About."

As he imposed the sentence prosecutors had requested, U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman portrayed the 50-year-old Trudeau as a habitual fraudster going back to his early adulthood. So brazen was Trudeau, the judge said, he once even used his own mother's Social Security number in a scheme.

"Since his 20s, he has steadfastly attempted to cheat others for his own gain," Guzman said, adding that Trudeau is "deceitful to the very core."

Trudeau, whose trademark dyed black hair turned partially gray as he awaited sentencing in jail, showed little emotion as the stiff sentence was handed down at the hearing in Chicago.

Addressing the judge earlier in a 10-minute statement, Trudeau apologized and said he's become a changed man. He said he's meditated, prayed and read self-help books while locked up at Chicago's Metropolitan Correctional Center.

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U.S. homebuilder confidence edges higher in March PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by ALEX VEIGA, AP Real Estate Writer   
Monday, 17 March 2014 13:37

U.S. homebuilders' confidence in the housing market edged higher this month, reflecting improved demand for new homes as the traditional spring home-selling season ramps up.

But the outlook for sales of single-family homes over the next six months dimmed slightly as builders continue to grapple with a shortage of skilled workers, ready-to-build land and rising building materials costs.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday rose to 47. That's up from February's reading of 46.

Readings below 50 indicate that more builders view sales conditions as poor rather than good.

The overall index had been above 50 from June through January, reflecting a strengthening housing market. The latest reading, based on responses from 296 builders, comes as the spring home-selling season gets going. The season typically sets the pattern for residential hiring and building construction in the ensuing months.

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