Business

Natural gas shortage ends, auto plants to resume production

DETROIT (AP) — Dozens of Michigan auto plants and large commercial buildings that were forced to close or cut operations Thursday due to a natural gas shortage can resume production at midnight. Consumers Energy had asked the plants and other big gas users to curtail work for fear of ...

Experts predict another challenging year for dairy farmers

ESSEX, Vt. (AP) — The country’s dairy farmers are in for another challenging year with milk farm prices only expected to improve slightly, following four straight years of low prices, experts said Thursday. One plus is that the new farm bill includes an improved insurance program that ...

Memos: Facebook allowed ‘friendly fraud’ to profit from kids

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook allowed children to rack up huge bills on digital games while the company rejected recommendations for addressing what it dubbed “friendly fraud,” according to newly released court documents. The internal Facebook memos and other records were unsealed late ...

Football great looking to score with marijuana

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hall-of-Fame quarterback Joe Montana, looking to hit pay dirt in the legal marijuana industry, is part of a $75 million investment in a pot operator, it was announced Thursday. San Jose, California-based Caliva said it will use the investment to grow a company that ...

Starbucks Corp. posts better-than-expected profit

SEATTLE (AP) — Improved U.S. holiday sales helped Starbucks Corp. achieve better-than-expected results in its fiscal first quarter. After a disappointing holiday in 2017, Starbucks made some changes. This past year, holiday drinks went on sale earlier and the company removed some ...

5 Hyundai, Kia models have high fire insurance claim rates

DETROIT (AP) — Owners of five Hyundai and Kia cars and SUVs file fire insurance claims at a rate far higher than the average for comparable vehicles, according to an insurance industry study. The Highway Loss Data Institute, which analyzes data from insurers representing about 85 percent of ...

Starbucks rolls out delivery service

(AP) — Starbucks is expanding its delivery service and aims to offer it at nearly one-fourth of its U.S. company-operated coffee shops. The company said it is launching the service Tuesday in San Francisco and will expand to some stores in New York, Boston, Washington, Chicago and Los ...

Trump administration to roll out new missile defense plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration will roll out a new strategy Thursday for a more aggressive space-based missile defense system to protect against existing threats from North Korea and Iran and counter advanced weapon systems being developed by Russia and China. Details about the ...

In states, Democrats start delivering on health care pledges

SEATTLE (AP) — Riding the momentum from November’s elections, Democratic leaders in the states are wasting no time delivering on their biggest campaign promise — to expand access to health care and make it more affordable. The first full week of state legislative sessions and ...

Judge: Women would lose birth control coverage under rules

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A “substantial number” of women would lose free birth control coverage under new rules by the Trump administration that allow more employers to opt out of providing the benefit, a U.S. judge said at a hearing on Friday. Judge Haywood Gilliam appeared inclined to ...

Idaho company steals from South Dakota tribe, Alaska Natives

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho company that sells posters to raise money for schools has admitted to defrauding a South Dakota tribe and at least two organizations tied to Alaska Natives. All Around Sports, in Boise, and its owner, Chris Hoshaw, have “reached an agreement with the ...

Avalanches and accidents bring Europe’s winter death toll to 21

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Heavy snow paralyzed much of Europe for yet another day, cutting off mountain villages, sparking avalanches like one that crashed into a Swiss hotel and killing at least four more people Friday. Workers at the Hotel Saentis in eastern Switzerland spent Friday ...

Food giants undermined China’s obesity fight

NEW YORK (AP) — China’s efforts to keep obesity in check have been undermined from the inside by the food industry, according to newly published research. A scholar of Chinese society at Harvard University traced how a group funded by Coca-Cola and other food companies enjoyed close ties ...

Strong economy does little to lift department store sales

NEW YORK (AP) — Many investors had expected department stores to enjoy robust sales over the holidays in light of a U.S. economy buoyed by low unemployment, higher wages, strong consumer confidence and cheap gas. So when Macy’s and Kohl’s reported lackluster numbers on Thursday, they ...

Seattle highway shutdown spawns hashtags, dread

SEATTLE (AP) — A major thoroughfare for commuters along downtown Seattle’s waterfront is set to shut down for good Friday, ushering in what officials say will be one of the most painful traffic periods in the history of the booming Pacific Northwest city. The aging, double-decker, ...

CES 2019: Google brings a Disney-like ride to tech show

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The CES 2019 gadget show opened its doors Tuesday, with tech companies from giants to tiny startups showing off their latest products and services. In recent years, CES’s influence has declined as Apple, Google and other major companies throw their own events to launch ...

Washington governor, NY mayor push expanded health coverage

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington’s governor and New York City’s mayor unveiled major initiatives to expand health insurance coverage Tuesday, the latest moves by key Democratic leaders to address Trump administration health policies they say are keeping people from getting the care they ...

Investors, farmers guessing as shutdown delays crop reports

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday that it must delay the release of key crop reports due to the partial government shutdown, leaving investors and farmers without vital information during an already tumultuous time for agricultural markets. The USDA ...

National parks struggle to stay open, safe during shutdown

Nonprofits, businesses and state governments nationwide are putting up money and volunteer hours in a battle to keep national parks safe and clean for visitors as the partial U.S. government shutdown lingers. But such makeshift arrangements haven’t prevented some parks from closing and ...

Tech’s big gadget show edges closer to equity

NEW YORK (AP) — The world’s largest tech conference has apparently learned a big lesson about gender equity. CES, the huge annual consumer-electronics show in Las Vegas, caught major flak from activists in late 2017 when it unveiled an all-male lineup of keynote speakers for the second ...