• Report: Oversight lacking in NYC payroll project

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — Investigators say poor oversight allowed a New York City payroll-technology project to spiral into a $700 million tangle of contractor fraud, budget overruns and delays. A Department of Investigation report released Friday says the city lacked proper management safeguards to detect and prevent the problems with the CityTime project. Its costs ballooned from about $70 million to $700 million. Authorities later concluded a key contractor hired and overpaid consultants through companies his associates owned. Eight people have been convicted or pleaded guilty. The prime company on the project repaid the city more than $500 million.

  • Amazon worker piloted drone around Space Needle

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    SEATTLE (AP) — Police say an Amazon.com employee from out of town was the operator of a drone that buzzed the Seattle Space Needle this week. Witnesses told police they saw the craft fly back into a fifth-floor room of a nearby hotel. Police contacted the man and he admitted operating the drone equipped with a camera Tuesday. He told authorities he wanted to try out the craft he recently purchased. Police had received reports the drone had crashed into the landmark of Seattle's 1962 World's Fair, but they saw no evidence of that. The man agreed not to fly his drone in public while in town.

  • IPO Roundup: El Pollo Loco soars in debut

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street is still hungry for fast-casual restaurant chains. El Pollo Loco, which serves up Mexican-style dishes, is the latest restaurant chain to soar in its stock market debut. Others, including Zoe's Kitchen Inc., Potbelly Corp. and Noodles & Co., also climbed in their initial public offerings. Shares of El Pollo Loco rose 60 percent Friday. At least three other IPOs were released Friday, including two drug companies and a water drainage system maker. Here's how they all fared: EL POLLO LOCO HOLDINGS INC. The chain, whose headquarters is in Costa Mesa, California, grills chicken in front of customers to make its Mexican-style dishes at its 400 restaurants in Arizona, California

  • Visa and Amazon are big market movers

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Friday on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market: NYSE Visa Inc., down $7.97 to $214.77 The payments processor reported better-than-expected quarterly results but offered a cautious financial outlook for the year. Pandora Media Inc., down $2.97 to $25.75 The music streaming company's quarterly results beat expectations, but its guidance fell short and listener hours fell in June. WellCare Health Plans Inc., down $15.24 to $61.61 The managed-care services company reported a second-quarter loss and deeply cut is financial outlook, citing medical expenses. Swift Transportation Co., down $4.61 to $21.

  • Disappointing results at Visa, Amazon hurt stocks

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market is ending lower after Visa and Amazon posted disappointing results. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 123 points, 0.7 percent, to close at 16,960 Friday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell nine points, or 0.5 percent, to end at 1,978. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite dropped 22 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,449. Amazon's stock slumped $34.60, or 9.6 percent, to $324.01 after the online retail giant posted a wider loss than analysts had forecast. The stock slid the most in the S&P 500 index. The Dow was dragged down by Visa, which fell $7.97, or 3.6 percent, to $214.77. The credit card processing giant reported an 11 percent rise in quarterly profit but cut its full-year forecast

  • Gold prices rise amid turmoil in Ukraine

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    Gold prices settled higher Friday as unrest in Ukraine and the Middle East draws traders into their hiding spots. Gold for August delivery rose $12.50, or 1 percent, to settle at $1,303.30 an ounce. Silver for September added 22 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $20.64 an ounce. The U.S. Defense Department said Friday that Russia was about to move heavy artillery into the hands of separatists in Ukraine. The day before, the Obama administration accused Russia of firing artillery at Ukraine's military. Traders often shift money into gold in turbulent times. In March, gold prices reached a high point for the year as the territorial dispute between Russia and Ukraine grew tense. Industrial metals were mixed in Friday trading

  • House, Senate chairs resume talks on VA

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A day after offering competing plans to improve veterans' health care, the chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees are attempting again to find a compromise. Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Republican Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida chair their chamber's panels on veterans' affairs. The two men had a public spat Thursday that appeared to put in jeopardy efforts by Congress to fix a veterans' health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. Sanders' proposal would cost about $25 billion over three years to lease new clinics, hire more doctors and nurses and make it easier for veterans who can't get prompt appointments with VA doctors to get outside

  • House votes to boost child tax credit for some

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — More families with higher incomes could claim the popular child tax credit under a bill that won approval Friday in the House. But in a dispute that divides Republicans and Democrats, millions of the poorest low-income families would still lose the credit in 2018, when enhancements championed by President Barack Obama are set to expire. The bill would gradually boost the amount of the $1,000-per-child tax credit by tying it to inflation, so it would go up as consumer prices rise. It also aims to make a dent in illegal immigration by prohibiting people without Social Security numbers from claiming a portion of the credit reserved for low-income families.

  • Iowa governor repeats support for renewable fuel

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad is renewing a call to maintain the amount of ethanol in the nation's fuel supply, after a report that the Environmental Protection Agency may scale back proposed cuts to renewable fuel production. Branstad issued his statement Friday. An EPA proposal for renewable fuel standards would reduce by almost 3 billion gallons the amounts of ethanol and other biofuels blended into gasoline in 2014 than the law requires. The governor's comments came after Minnesota Sen. Al Franken said a discussion with a White House official led him to believe the EPA will reduce the cuts. He still expects an overall drop in renewable fuel quotas.

  • Recalls this week: high chairs, cribs, bar stools

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    High chairs that can potentially entrap a child and poses a strangulation hazard are among this week's recalled consumer products. Others include cribs and bar stools that can partially fall apart. Here's a more detailed look: HIGH CHAIRS DETAILS: Dream On Me Dinah high chairs made with steel, powder coated tubing and an open-framed base with white plastic foot grips and black with white trim or red with white trim fabric seats. The chair has a white plastic tray, plastic footrest and a white fabric five point adjustable safety strap. "Dream On Me" is printed on a label attached to the front of the tray. There is a color-coordinated black and white or red and white fabric storage bin attached to the bottom of the chair

  • Child tax credit: Who gets it?

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    The House passed a bill Friday that would gradually increase the child tax credit and make it available to higher income parents. However, the bill lets expire a provision that makes the credit available to millions of low-income families. ___ The basics: —The child tax credit provides up to $1,000-per-child to parents with children younger than 17. —The credit is gradually reduced for individuals making more than $75,000 a year and married couples making more than $110,000 a year. —The credit is reduced to zero for single filers making more than $95,000 in modified adjusted gross income. Married couples cannot get the credit if they make more than $130,000.

  • US rig count up 12 to 1,883

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose 12 this week to 1,883. The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,562 rigs were exploring for oil and 318 for gas. Three were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs. Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Louisiana gained six, California, New Mexico and Oklahoma were each up four, and West Virginia increased by one. Alaska lost three rigs, Pennsylvania and Texas were down two apiece and Ohio was off one. Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming were unchanged. The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottom

  • Alternative funds are drawing dollars, questions

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — They're hot, yet many investors have no idea what they do. These mutual funds go by a few names, and it doesn't help that some are inscrutable like "liquid alts," but they generally fall under an umbrella known as alternative mutual funds. Managers of alternative funds pitch that they can offer smoother returns than traditional stock and bond funds because they have access to more trading tools and markets. And their popularity is surging, though they come with their own risks and generally higher fees. Investors plugged a net $35 billion into alternative mutual funds over the last 12 months, according to Morningstar. That's more than went into bond mutual funds and nearly as much as into diversified U.S. st

  • Comic-Con gets first look at 'Mockingjay' trailer

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — The trailer for the next film in the popular "Hunger Games" series is making its premiere at Comic-Con. Fans were invited to the Capitol Gallery in downtown San Diego on Friday, where hologram versions of Katniss and Peta offered visitors a silent welcome before the minute-long teaser trailer was shown. The trailer opens with a hovership landing, and a meeting between leaders of the rebellion, where Phillip Seymour Hoffman and a gray-haired Julianne Moore discuss Katniss' role. Meanwhile, President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland, declares the Mockingjay symbol illegal. Jennifer Lawrence, as Katniss, is shown entering the underground bunker where refugees of Panem are hiding, and she agrees to take

  • New Mexico to continue using federal exchange

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico decided Friday to stick with a federal online system for another year to enroll individuals in health insurance plans. The state's health insurance exchange governing board voted 11-1 to continue using the federal computer system for determining eligibility and to enroll individuals starting in November when the next open enrollment begins. A majority of board members worried that New Mexico wasn't ready to switch to a state-run online system for individuals. Any technical failures could delay enrollment and discourage consumers from trying to obtain health coverage, they said.

  • AP names new enterprise editor for western US

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    PHOENIX (AP) — Raghu Vadarevu, an editor on The Associated Press' West Desk, has been promoted to West assistant editor for enterprise. The appointment was announced Friday by West Region Editor Traci Carl, who oversees news for 13 states. In his new role, Vadarevu will oversee investigative and long-term enterprise across the West. "Raghu has been helping the AP improve and innovate in the West since the desk began five years ago," Carl said. "He brings to his new role a passion for investigative journalism and creative storytelling." Vadarevu, an 8-year AP veteran, joined the West Desk at its inception in June 2009, and has served as both a Top Stories editor and interim enterprise editor.

  • Record year for only nuclear plant in Northwest

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — The operators of the only nuclear power plant in the Northwest say it generated a record amount of electricity in the fiscal year that ended in June. Energy Northwest says the Columbia Generating Station at Richland generated 9.7 million megawatt hours, breaking the old record of 9.5 million megawatt hours generated in fiscal 2006. The electricity is sold at cost to the Bonneville Power Administration which supplies utilities in the Northwest.

  • Feds probe Dodge Charger alternator complaints

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government's road safety agency is investigating complaints about engine stalling and alternator failures in Dodge Charger sedans. The probe covers about 123,000 Chargers from the 2011 and 2012 model years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has 14 complaints of alternator failure and stalling. All the cases happened while the cars were going 40 or more miles per hour. In one case a car stopped in traffic with smoke coming from the alternator, which generates electricity to recharge the battery and run other devices. No injuries have been reported to the agency. Chrysler says it's cooperating in the probe. Investigations can lead to recalls but there haven't been a

  • Lyft says it's starting New York City service

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The on-demand ride-sharing app Lyft says it is starting limited service in New York City after reaching agreement with state and city officials to resolve regulatory issues. New York's attorney general and Department of Financial Services say the company agreed to operate "in full compliance" with existing laws and regulations, and that it will start its city service Friday night with commercial drivers only. Lyft also says it will suspend operations in Buffalo and Rochester on Aug. 1 while resolving issues there with state authorities. San Francisco-based Lyft's plan to enter the New York City market two weeks ago was halted after the state officials sued.

  • New York suggests summer shutdown for nuke plant

    Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y. (AP) — A state agency is suggesting summer shutdowns at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in the New York suburbs. The idea is to protect migrating and spawning fish who might otherwise get sucked into the plant. Indian Point takes 2.5 billion gallons a day from the Hudson River to make steam and cool its two reactors. The plant's owner, Entergy Nuclear, and supporters say a summer shutdown would threaten the reliability of the electrical grid. An environmental group says there's plenty of power available elsewhere. The state is insisting on new protections for aquatic life if Indian Point wants to operate for another 20 years. Its preferred technology is cooling towers, which recycle the rive