• 'No Good Deed' defeats 'Guardians' at theaters

    Yesterday

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — It took a murderous Idris Elba and a pair of dolphin buddies to defeat "Guardians of the Galaxy" at movie theaters. The Sony thriller "No Good Deed," which stars Elba as an escaped convict and Taraji P. Henson as the innocent he terrorizes, opened on top of the box office with $24.5 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. And Sony wasn't surprised. "It's a movie that we really loved and felt that it was going to win," said Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer. "You have to give it to the cast in Idris and Taraji. Their chemistry together is fantastic." The film nearly doubled its reported budget in its first week of release, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker R

  • AAA: Gas prices should decline in September

    Yesterday

    BALTIMORE (AP) — AAA says a switch to less expensive winter-blend gasoline should bring some relief to drivers for the second half of September. The auto club says the switch to cheaper fuel is scheduled for Monday. Ahead of the change, the national average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline was $3.41 on Friday. That's down 3 cents from the previous week. AAA says gas prices typically decline in the weeks after Labor Day as the summer driving season ends. Refineries also begin transitioning to a cheaper blend of gasoline that does not need to meet summer emission requirements. In Maryland, the average price for a gallon of unleaded was $3.37 on Friday.

  • In Vermont, a milestone in green-energy efforts

    Yesterday

    BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Vermont's largest city has a new success to add to its list of socially conscious achievements: 100 percent of its electricity now comes from renewable sources such as wind, water and biomass. With little fanfare, the Burlington Electric Department crossed the threshold this month with the purchase of the 7.4-megawatt Winooski 1 hydroelectric project on the Winooski River at the city's edge. When it did, Burlington joined the Washington Electric Co-operative, which has about 11,000 customers across central and northern Vermont, which reached 100 percent earlier this year.

  • Islamic State group's war chest is growing daily

    Yesterday

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Islamic State militants, who once relied on wealthy Persian Gulf donors for money, have become a self-sustaining financial juggernaut, earning more than $3 million a day from oil smuggling, human trafficking, theft and extortion, according to U.S. intelligence officials and private experts. The extremist group's resources exceed that "of any other terrorist group in history," said a U.S. intelligence official who, like others interviewed, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss classified assessments. Such riches are one reason that American officials are so concerned about the group even while acknowledging they have no evidence it is plotting attacks against the United States.

  • Melding health overhaul and taxes gets complicated

    Yesterday

    President Barack Obama's health care law uses the tax system to subsidize coverage for the uninsured. Promoting social policy goals through the tax code is a time-honored strategy for both political parties. For example, the nation's main anti-poverty program, the Earned Income Tax Credit, uses the tax system to supplement the earnings of low-income families. But melding insurance and taxes — two of the most complicated topics for consumers — won't be easy. Some pros and cons: PRO: Could build support for the health overhaul because tax credits have greater political popularity than traditional government spending programs. CON: Complicates tax filing for many lower-to-middle income people, who may

  • Coalition to push for solar energy in Florida

    Yesterday

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Solar proponents say a new coalition that will push for increased use of renewable energy in Florida. The Tampa Bay Times reports (http://bit.ly/YzNtXS) the coalition includes three major renewable and clean energy organizations: the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association and the Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy, as well as the nonprofit Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. The organizations say Florida laws and the state's investor-owned utilities have hampered the growth of solar power in the Sunshine State. Florida's largest utilities want to reduce conservation goals by more than 90 percent and have attacked solar as unreliable and costly.

  • 1 dead in gas accident on offshore La. platform

    Updated: Sat, Sep 13, 2014

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A contractor was killed and two others were injured Saturday during maintenance on a Chevron natural gas pipeline off the Louisiana coast, authorities said. The contractor, whose name was not immediately released, was among four maintenance workers on the platform when the accident occurred about 11:10 a.m. Saturday, said Gareth Johnstone, a spokesman for Chevron Pipe Line Co. He said the two other workers were taken to a hospital for what are expected to be minor injuries. A helicopter brought two people from offshore to meet an ambulance, but both declined to take the ambulance to a hospital after being checked by medics, said Randall Ansley, shift supervisor for Acadian Ambulance.

  • Reno air races draw new kind of aircraft: drones

    Updated: Sat, Sep 13, 2014

    RENO, Nev. (AP) — A new kind of aircraft is competing for the first time at this week's National Championship Air Races in Reno: drones. More than 200,000 people are expected to attend the annual air races, which ends a five-day run Sunday. The three-day drone competition, called the Small UAS Challenge, ends Sunday, as well. It features a variety of small, unmanned aerial systems, and tests different skills. The competition features an obstacle course, a time trial and a dead lift, and will test speed, agility and strength. The drones must be able to take off and land vertically, and can be no bigger than 36 inches in major axis and 10 pounds.

  • Hundreds of workers on strike at Lear Corp. plant

    Updated: Sat, Sep 13, 2014

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Hundreds of workers protesting what some are calling fast-food-like wages walked off the job Saturday at a Lear Corp. plant in northwest Indiana that makes automotive seats, beginning a strike that could affect a major Ford assembly plant in Chicago. The plant, about 28 miles southeast of Chicago in Hammond, employs 760 workers making seats for the Explorer and Taurus models produced at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant. The Ford plant could be vulnerable to any serious supply chain disruption because it operates on a just-in-time basis, meaning it receives parts sometimes just hours before installing them in vehicles rather than warehousing them on site. Saturday's strike shut down the Lear plant, according

  • Nappier: Home Depot data breach affects Conn.

    Updated: Sat, Sep 13, 2014

    HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut State Treasurer Denise Nappier is encouraging residents who may have used some of the state-issued prepaid debit cards at Home Depot to take steps to prevent unauthorized use of their accounts. The home-improvement chain has confirmed a theft that could have gone back as far as April and affected customers who used credit and debit cards at nearly 2,200 of its U.S. and Canadian stores. Nappier on Friday urged action by holders of cards issued by JPMorgan on behalf of the state's Department of Revenue Services, Department of Labor, Department of Social Services as well as the Department of children and Families. The bank has notified Nappier's office that 214 cardholders who used thei

  • NY primary exposes Cuomo's problems with the left

    Updated: Sat, Sep 13, 2014

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Incumbent governors with national aspirations, a long list of accomplishments and flush bank accounts typically don't worry about primary challenges, especially one mounted by a little-known professor who moved to the state five years ago. So it was unusual when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo found himself facing a spirited fight from rebels in his own Democratic party — environmentalists, unhappy public workers, critics of Albany's insider culture and voters disturbed by Cuomo's dismissive treatment of his opponent, Fordham University professor Zephyr Teachout.

  • Hundreds cram last NC fracking hearing in west

    Updated: Sat, Sep 13, 2014

    CULLOWHEE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina officials hear more worries that opening the state to drilling for natural gas will leave water wells polluted by toxic chemicals. Local media report about 600 people attended a lengthy public hearing Friday at Western Carolina University. Most speakers complained regulations on hydraulic fracturing won't protect the public health. It's the last of four hearings by the state Mining and Energy Commission, which could revise fracking regulations it's drawing up. Legislators have the final say on whether the rules are sound and drilling can start. Fracking involves injecting water, sand and chemicals to break apart underground rocks to release oil and gas.

  • Slow Money invests in small food enterprises

    Updated: Sat, Sep 13, 2014

    MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Consumers who want to support local food and farms now have another way in addition to buying locally produced veggies, meats and cheeses. The so-called "Slow Money" network links entrepreneurs with investors who want to support a stronger local food system. Since 2010, Slow Money networks and investment clubs around the country, including in Maine, Massachusetts, California, North Carolina, and in cities like Boston and New York, have made a total of $38 million in investments in 350 small food enterprises. Vermont and its vibrant local foods scene is about to launch its own network on Sept. 16. Many of the Slow Money chapters organize events where food entrepreneurs put on presentations to investors

  • Craft brewers placing greater emphasis on quality

    Updated: Sat, Sep 13, 2014

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Scoff if you must at mass domestic beers, but lessons learned from the makers of Budweiser and Miller Lite are helping to make sure your craft beer tastes the same from pint to pint. Far from the small and scrappy crew of home brewers that started the movement, craft brewers increasingly are turning to employees of much larger shops like Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors to tap their experience in creating beer with a consistent flavor and quality time after time on a large scale. While it's hard to say exactly how many people have left the big boys to join the craft beer movement, it is clear breweries seeking to grow are placing a greater value on quality assurance as the industry gains market share.

  • Will Apple's digital wallet kill the card swipe?

    Updated: Sat, Sep 13, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — Apple wants the plastic credit card to become as rare as the paper check. On Tuesday, the company announced Apple Pay, a digital payment system that lets people pay for retail store purchases using their phones rather than cash or credit cards. The service, which will work both with iPhones and Apple's new Watch, is backed by a host of big retailers, along with most major banks and credit card issuers, including Visa, MasterCard and American Express. So-called contactless payment isn't new. Starbucks, McDonald's, PayPal, Google and Square offer their own services, but only a small portion of customers use them.

  • Alabama's Motus motorcycle: Not another cruiser

    Updated: Sat, Sep 13, 2014

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Alabama entrepreneurs Lee Conn and Brian Case are out to prove that American-made motorcycles shouldn't all have to look like the laid-back cruisers made by Harley-Davidson. The founders of Motus Motorcycles are building a sport-touring machine, designed both for traveling in comfort over long distances and for more spirited riding once you reach prime motorcycling roads. Conn says his aim was to produce a motorcycle more in common with a contemporary Corvette than with a vintage Cadillac. "It is a sportbike at its core, but it has an upright riding position, and a windscreen and luggage big enough for a full-face helmet," he said. "This is a very popular style of bike ... But guess what, Harley-Davi

  • New Jersey gas prices stay stable

    Updated: Sat, Sep 13, 2014

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Motorists are seeing stable prices at the pumps in New Jersey. AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the state on Friday was $3.27, the same price as last week. That's also lower than the price from a year ago, when motorists were paying $3.49. The national average price on Friday was $3.41, down 3 cents from last week. That's also lower than the national average from a year ago, when motorists were paying $3.55. Analysts say gas prices will likely stay stable or decrease in the coming weeks, now that the summer travel season has come to an end and demand has fallen. Refineries have also started making the transition to producing cheaper winter blends of gasoli

  • Georgia Power price plan rattles solar developers

    Updated: Sat, Sep 13, 2014

    ATLANTA (AP) — A plan by Georgia Power to change the way it pays for solar electricity from small- and medium-sized projects is worrying developers just a year after they pushed the monopoly into using more renewable energy. This price dispute illustrates the tension between traditional utility companies and a growing solar industry. For years, the Southern Co. subsidiary has operated on a straightforward monopoly model: Use a small number of big, expensive plants to produce huge amounts of electricity relatively cheaply. In the long run, distributed solar panels could make those big plants less important and weaken the financial clout of traditional utilities.

  • Legislative leaders say coal rhetoric not helping

    Updated: Sat, Sep 13, 2014

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia's top legislative leaders aren't sure clamoring over coal this election season does much good for Appalachia's already-sputtering industry. In the Mountain State, federal campaigns have hammered on the fear of federal regulation further stifling coal. Hopefuls for an open Senate seat and two competitive House races have recited the same conversation: Republicans lump Democrats in with President Obama, an ever-unpopular figure in West Virginia. Democrats zigzag to show they don't support his energy ideas. It's a simplified dialogue that ignores the larger forces determining Appalachian coal's future, said state House Speaker Tim Miley and Senate President Jeff Kessler.

  • Chemical tech center planned at college

    Updated: Sat, Sep 13, 2014

    GEISMAR, La. (AP) — Chemical-maker BASF has donated $100,000 to support construction of an advanced technology center on the new Burnside campus of River Parishes Community College. BASF and college officials say they will work together to design the facility and develop training programs for chemical plant jobs. The company says it also plans to give the college surplus equipment to allow instructors to simulate chemical plant operations and create more realistic training scenarios for students. Chancellor Dale Doty says the center will help Ascension Parish meet a growing demand for skilled workers.