- Associated Press - Friday, June 12, 2015

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Greece set to present fresh proposals to break impasse

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Greece said Friday it will present its creditors with new proposals over the weekend in an attempt to breathe life into stalled bailout discussions that have stoked fears of the country’s bankruptcy.

Confirmation that talks would proceed over the weekend came after European markets had closed. Fears that the two sides were as far apart as ever on such issues as pensions and the budget saw the main stock index in Athens close 5.9 percent lower and the Stoxx 50 index of leading European shares end down 1 percent.

A Greek government official indicated a deal with creditors may be nearer than thought after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had conferred with senior ministers.

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Cheating website reveals hints of societal change in SKorea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - A wealthy man sneaks away for a tryst that he suggests will “reduce friction” with his wife. A woman in Seoul looks for a “side relationship” to a marriage that has lost its spark.

Both are using the Ashley Madison cheating website, which is making a lucrative, controversial splash in South Korea in the wake of a landmark ruling earlier this year that decriminalizes adultery. So great is the interest here that company executives expect it to be a top-three market globally for them in five years, after the United States and Canada.

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Safety regulators link Takata air bags to another death

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. regulators have confirmed that an air bag made by Takata Corp. was involved in the April death of a woman in Louisiana , connecting the defective air bags to a seventh fatality.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it examined the car that Kylan Langlinais drove, read police and medical reports, and looked at other evidence. Takata said it had no comment. Honda, the maker of the car, confirmed that the air bag inflator ruptured during the crash.

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Hops growers rush to meet rising demand from craft brewers

MOXEE, Wash. (AP) - These are good times for growers like Ben St. Mary. He stood at his family’s farm in Washington state recently and watched as employees built trellises where a new field of hops, the key ingredient in the flavoring of beer, will grow.

Hops are in short supply because of the dramatic increase in the popularity of craft breweries. That has growers in the Yakima Valley, which produces 75 percent of the nation’s hops, rushing to expand their production.

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Officials: Second hack exposed military and intel data

WASHINGTON (AP) - Hackers linked to China appear to have gained access to the sensitive background information submitted by intelligence and military personnel for security clearances, several U.S. officials said Friday, describing a second cyberbreach of federal records that could dramatically compound the potential damage.

The forms authorities believed to have been accessed, known as Standard Form 86, require applicants to fill out deeply personal information about mental illnesses, drug and alcohol use, past arrests and bankruptcies. They also require the listing of contacts and relatives, potentially exposing any foreign relatives of U.S. intelligence employees to coercion. Both the applicant’s Social Security number and that of his or her cohabitant is required.

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US wholesale prices jump in May, led by eggs, gasoline

WASHINGTON (AP) - Prices at the wholesale level rose at the fastest pace in nearly three years in May, pushed higher by a sharp jump in the cost of gasoline and a record increase in the price eggs related to an outbreak of avian influenza. But outside of increases in volatile food and energy costs, core inflation remained moderate.

The producer price index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach consumers, spiked 0.5 percent in May, the Labor Department reported Friday. It was the biggest one-month increase since September 2012. The increase followed a 0.4 percent drop in wholesale prices in April. The May increase reflected a 17 percent rise in gasoline prices, the biggest hike since August 2009, and a record 56.4 percent surge in egg prices.

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Wingstop soars after market debut

Shares of Wingstop Inc. soared Friday after the chicken wings chain said it raised more than $110 million in its initial public offering, the latest debut for a fast casual restaurant.

The stock climbed $11.59, or 61 percent, to close at $30.59 on Friday, far above its IPO price of $19 a share.

Chains that call themselves “fast casual” tout a more relaxed atmosphere and fast service than traditional restaurants, while promoting their meals as healthier and fresher than fast food. The style has grown in popularity in recent years, and older fast food chains are trying to refashion themselves to catch the trend.

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Obama urges House to pass worker aid, seeks to revive trade

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is calling on lawmakers to pass a worker assistance package whose defeat has placed his trade agenda in deep jeopardy.

Obama on Friday issued a statement saying that the measure known as Trade Adjustment Assistance is to expire soon and inaction will hurt workers.

Obama says new trade agreements should go hand in hand with support to American workers who’ve been harmed by trade in the past.

The House voted against the trade assistance 302-126 on Friday after Democrats who typically support such aid decided it was the best way to undermine Obama’s efforts to gain trade negotiating powers.

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California orders large water cuts for farmers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Drought-stricken California on Friday ordered the largest cuts on record to farmers holding some of the state’s strongest water rights.

State water officials told more than a hundred senior rights holders in California’s Sacramento, San Joaquin and delta watersheds to stop pumping from those waterways.

The move by the State Water Resources Control Board marked the first time that the state has forced large numbers of holders of senior-water rights to curtail use. Those rights holders include water districts that serve thousands of farmers and others.

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Jeni’s halts production after listeria again found in plant

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has found listeria in its plant again and has halted production and closed retail shops for the second time since April, the company said Friday.

Listeria was discovered during routine swabbing that is part of the monitoring process, and the Columbus-based company is taking steps to figure out how it got into the plant, CEO John Lowe said in a statement on the company’s website.

He said safety protocols worked as intended, and no ice cream was contaminated.

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Economy hit as MERS keeps Koreans indoors, deters tourists

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - For a South Korean tour agency, the outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome feels like a bigger threat to business than a North Korean attack or nuclear reactor meltdown.

Kim Chun Choo’s company, which has provided tour services for the last quarter century, is going through its worst year ever.

Following the outbreak last month, most tourists from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, who account for about half of Kim Travel’s clients, cancelled tours to Seoul. Almost all international conferences, which were set to bring in participants who would use his company’s tour services, were cancelled or postponed.

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French privacy agency orders Google to remove global links

PARIS (AP) - France’s data privacy agency ordered Google to remove search results worldwide upon request, giving the company two weeks to apply the “right to be forgotten” globally.

The order Friday from CNIL comes more than a year after Europe’s highest court ruled that people have the right to control what appears when their name is searched online.

So far, Google says it has received more than 268,000 requests to remove URLs after the May 2014 decision. French citizens lead the European Union in requests, with more than 55,000.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 140.53 points, or 0.8 percent, to 17,898.84. The S&P; 500 slipped 14.75 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 2,094.11. The Nasdaq composite lost 31.41 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,051.10.

U.S. oil dropped 81 cents to $59.96 a barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil prices, dropped $1.24 to $63.87 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline fell 1.7 cents to $2.121 a gallon. Heating oil declined 3.18 cents to $1.889 a gallon. Natural gas dropped 7.5 cents to $2.75 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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