- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015


Cheating website subscribers included White House, Congress workers

WASHINGTON (AP) - Hundreds of U.S. government employees - including some with sensitive jobs in the White House, Congress and law enforcement agencies - used Internet connections in their federal offices to access and pay membership fees to the cheating website Ashley Madison, The Associated Press has learned.

The AP traced many of the accounts exposed by hackers back to federal workers. They included at least two assistant U.S. attorneys; an information technology administrator in the Executive Office of the President; a division chief, an investigator and a trial attorney in the Justice Department; a government hacker at the Homeland Security Department and another DHS employee who indicated he worked on a U.S. counterterrorism response team.


Flamboyant Trump evolved into cautious businessman

NEW YORK (AP) - Donald Trump sells himself as a bold empire builder, the kind of businessman who could force through big changes in Washington as president.

Yet for all his bravado, a review of the billionaire’s financial filings and recent deals suggests he’s no swashbuckler.

Trump is reluctant to take on debt after it nearly ruined him in the 1990s. He holds few stocks for someone of his wealth and has grown increasingly dependent on making money by lending out his name to others rather than developing real estate himself.


Popular foods taking on new hues without artificial dyes

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (AP) - Mozzarella cheese at Panera restaurants won’t be as glaringly white. Banana peppers in Subway sandwiches won’t be the same exact shade of yellow. Trix cereal will have two fewer colors.

Food makers are purging their products of artificial dyes as people increasingly eschew anything in their food they don’t feel is natural.

But replicating the vivid colors Americans expect with ingredients like beets and carrots isn’t always easy.


Boomerang home buyers poised to return to market with a roar

TRINITY, Fla. (AP) - Seven years after the real estate bust, many who lost their homes have rebuilt their credit and are back in the market. Experts say these boomerang buyers will be an important segment of the real estate market in the coming years.

About 700,000 of the 7.3 million homeowners who went through foreclosure or short sales during the bust have the potential to get a mortgage again this year, said Daren Blomquist, vice president of Realty Trac.

That compares to the 3 million people overall who got a mortgage between October 2013 and September 2014.


Drug industry links run deep in field of sexual medicine

WASHINGTON (AP) - How do you measure sexual desire?

If you’re a drugmaker trying to win approval for a medication to boost female libido, it might come down to two questions on a medical questionnaire. Those questions made the difference for Sprout Pharmaceuticals, which received federal approval Tuesday for Addyi, the first pill for women who suffer from a loss of sexual appetite.

But the history and development of that questionnaire - funded by drugmakers - underscores how closely the field of sexual medicine is intertwined with the pharmaceutical industry. And lends weight to arguments that low libido is just the latest commonplace sexual problem - like impotence or low testosterone - to be transformed into a medical condition by drugmakers.


Applications for US jobless aid tick up to still-low 277K

WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose slightly last week, yet remained at a low level consistent with a solid job market.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly unemployment applications climbed 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 277,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 5,500 to 271,500.

Applications, which are a proxy for layoffs, are near the lowest levels in 15 years. Two weeks ago, the four-week average dropped to its lowest point since April 2000. That is a sign that employers are confident enough in the economy’s future growth to hold onto their staffs.


Diabetes drug shows 1st protection from heart complications

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - For the first time, there’s evidence that a diabetes medication, Jardiance, reduces risk of the complications that are the top killer of diabetics: heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular damage.

Preventing those is a long-elusive goal for the millions of diabetes patients and their doctors, and one analyst who’s also a trained physician even called Thursday’s news of a possible groundbreaking advance a “holy grail.”

Analysts are predicting a windfall for the makers of Jardiance, anticipating a big shift in which diabetes drugs doctors prescribe most.


Sears sales soften in 2nd quarter

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) - Sears’ sales declined in the second quarter as it shifted away from low-margin goods like electronics and it focused on increasing the number of loyal customers through reward programs.

The retailer did post its first quarterly profit in three years, bolstered by selling and leasing back some of its buildings to a new real estate investment trust.


BP settlement money flows to governments in far-flung places

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Clusters of landlocked municipalities more than 100 miles from the Gulf Coast have secured millions of dollars in BP money through settlements designed to compensate local governments for lost tourism dollars and other economic damage from the company’s 2010 oil spill, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.

This week, BP finished making approximately $687.4 million in settlement payments to 383 local government entities in the five Gulf states.

Nearly $8 million of that money went to 32 government entities that are more than 100 miles from the coast, in places like the Mississippi Delta and suburbs of central Alabama, the records show.


Coke to disclose details on its health efforts

NEW YORK (AP) - Coca-Cola says it will start publishing information about its health and nutrition efforts after it was criticized for funding a group that many felt touted the company’s message.

On Wednesday evening, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent said in an editorial published in The Wall Street Journal that he was disappointed that the company’s actions have created “more confusion and mistrust.”

Moving forward, he said the company will publish “a list of health and well-being partnerships and research activities” the company has funded in the past five years.


Greek prime minister calls elections after party rebellion

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned Thursday and called early elections, hoping for a new, stronger mandate to implement a three-year bailout program that sparked a rebellion within his radical left party.

In a televised address to the nation, Tsipras said his government had got the best deal possible for the country when it agreed to an 86 billion euro ($95 billion) bailout from other eurozone countries.

The rescue was all that kept Greece from a disastrous exit from the euro but came with strict terms to cut spending and raise taxes - the very measures Tsipras had pledged to fight when he won elections in January.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 358.04 points, or 2.1 percent, to 16,990.69. The S&P; 500 fell 43.88 points, or 2.1 percent, to 2,035.73 and the Nasdaq composite lost 141.56 points, or 2.8 percent, to 4,877.49.

U.S. crude rose 34 cents to close at $41.14 in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 54 cents to close at $46.62 in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 2.5 cents to close at $1.535 a gallon. Heating oil fell 2.2 cents to close at $1.496 a gallon. Natural gas rose 3.9 cents to close at $2.755 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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