Oil trains raise concerns in small towns, cities PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JOSH FUNK, Associated Press MATTHEW BROWN, Associated Press   
Thursday, 19 December 2013 06:57

WOLF POINT, Mont. (AP) — It's tough to miss the trains hauling crude oil out of the Northern Plains. They are growing more frequent by the day, mile-long processions of black tank cars that rumble through wheat fields and towns, along rivers and national parks.

As common as they have become across the U.S. and Canada, officials in dozens of towns and cities where the oil trains travel say they are concerned with the possibility of a major derailment, spill or explosion, while their level of preparation varies widely.

Stoking those fears was the July crash of a crude train from the Bakken oil patch in Lac Megantic, Quebec — not far from the Maine border — that killed 47 people. A Nov. 8 train derailment in rural Alabama where several oil cars exploded reinforced them.

USA Harvest founder competent to stand trial PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by BRETT BARROUQUERE, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 14:49

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the founder of USA Harvest is competent to stand trial on charges of tax evasion mail fraud and money laundering, accused of using funds from the volunteer organization for personal expenses.

U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley concluded that the case prosecutors are bringing against 63-year-old Hugh "Stan" Curtis is primarily based on documents such as tax returns and other recorded evidence and can easily be reconstructed without relying on Curtis' memory or assistance. McKinley also noted that "all indications are that government's case is strong."

"Even complete amnesia is not a bar to prosecution if the defendant is otherwise competent," McKinley wrote in a two-page ruling.

USA Harvest uses volunteers to pick up surplus food from restaurants, hotels, hospitals and various other food suppliers. The food is delivered to missions, soup kitchens, shelters and people in need.

Curtis is charged with taking $183,354 from the charity and charging another $370,000 in personal travel expenses. He has been in poor health since being charged in September 2012.

Bernanke's new formula for pleasing investors PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JOSH BOAK, AP Economics Writer   
Thursday, 19 December 2013 06:51

WASHINGTON (AP) — In his final performance, Ben Bernanke rewrote the script.

Investors had been on edge for months about when the Federal Reserve might slow its economic stimulus. A pullback in the Fed's bond purchases, they feared, could jack up interest rates and whack stocks. Bernanke's mere mention of the possibility in June had sent stocks tumbling.

So on Wednesday, Bernanke showed something he'd learned from leading the Fed and addressing the public for eight years: Tough news goes down best when it's mixed with a little sweetener.

At his last news conference as chairman, he explained that the Fed would trim its monthly bond purchases by $10 billion to $75 billion — a prospect that had worried the markets.

Whole Foods will no longer sell Chobani PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by The Associated Press   
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 14:47

Whole Foods has lost its taste for Chobani.

The natural and organic grocery chain said Wednesday that it will be phasing Chobani Greek Yogurt out of its stores in early 2014 to make room for other products.

Part of the decision might be fueled by Whole Foods' push to phase out foods that use genetically modified ingredients. But it's also about offering more exclusive and organic products. Chobani is now available in most supermarkets.

Whole Foods Market Inc. said Wednesday in a statement that it is committed to offering shoppers the widest variety of high-quality products possible, including items shoppers can't find anywhere else. And as the national demand for Greek yogurt has grown, the company says the number of conventional Greek yogurt options has multiplied.

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