- Associated Press - Friday, September 25, 2015

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EPA to change diesel tests to thwart Volkswagen-like cheating

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Environmental Protection Agency said Friday that it will launch sweeping changes to the way it tests for diesel emissions after getting duped by clandestine software in Volkswagen cars for seven years.

In a letter to car manufacturers, the EPA said it will add on-road testing to its regimen, “using driving cycles and conditions that may reasonably be expected to be encountered in normal operation and use, for the purposes of investigating a potential defeat device” similar to the one used by Volkswagen.

The testing would be in addition to the standard emissions test cycles already in place, the EPA said.



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Economy grew at 3.9 percent rate in April-June quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. economy grew at an even faster clip in the spring than previously estimated. But that growth likely slowed in the summer, held back by global headwinds and turbulent financial markets.

The overall economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.9 percent in the April-June quarter, up from a previous estimate of 3.7 percent, the Commerce Department reported Friday. The new-found strength came from additional gains in consumer spending, business investment and residential construction.

The second quarter expansion in the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, was a marked improvement from an anemic 0.6 percent increase in the first quarter when the economy was battered by a harsh winter.

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Multiple factors cause high prescription drug prices in US

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Sticker-shocked patients increasingly wonder why prices for prescription drugs continue to rise in the U.S.

The issue heated up this week on news that Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of Daraprim, the only approved treatment for a rare, life-threatening parasitic infection, by more than 5,000 percent to $750 a pill.

But the issue goes beyond a single company or drug.

From 2008 through 2014, average prices for the most widely used brand-name drugs jumped 128 percent, according to prescription benefit manager Express Scripts Holding Co. In 2014, it estimated that total U.S. prescription drug spending increased 13 percent. Reasons include increasing research costs, insufficient competition and drug shortages.

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Rare visit by Indian prime minister enthralls Silicon Valley

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - For a change, Silicon Valley is buzzing about something besides a sleek new device, mind-bending breakthrough or precocious billionaire.

A rare visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this weekend has captivated his extensive fan club in the area and commanded the attention of major U.S. technology companies eager to extend their reach into a promising overseas market.

It will also give Modi, a Hindu nationalist elected to office last year, an opportunity use the world’s high-tech capital as a pulpit to promote his plan to transform India into a hub of innovation. He envisions a “Digital India,” where ubiquitous high-speed Internet access will empower entrepreneurs to build software and other technology products that will raise the standard of living in a country where many households are still impoverished.

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Bill Clinton appears in virtual-reality movie on Africa

NEW YORK (AP) - As world leaders descend on the United Nations this weekend, former President Bill Clinton will be taking them to East Africa through virtual reality.

Viewers with special goggles will be able to follow Clinton’s travels in eight minutes. Footage was captured last spring with 360-degree cameras. What you see through the goggles changes as you move your head left, right and even up or down.

Virtual reality is no longer the domain of just science fiction and video games.

You feel as though you’re sitting in the same living room as Clinton chats with an entrepreneur in Karatu, Tanzania, who sells solar-powered products. You appear to share a tent as Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea, fit people in Nairobi, Kenya, with hearing aids. The movie also takes you to a Nairobi classroom that is part of a Clinton-backed initiative to improve education for young women and girls. It starts and ends with Clinton talking to you from his desk in New York.

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Consumer sentiment falls to lowest level in nearly a year

WASHINGTON (AP) - Worries about the global economy pushed American consumers’ spirits to the lowest level in almost a year, the University of Michigan reported Friday.

The university’s consumer sentiment index fell to 87.2 this month from 91.9 in August. The third straight monthly drop left the index with its weakest reading since October 2014.

Richard Curtin, chief economist for the survey, said consumers are disturbed by signs of trouble in the Chinese economy, the world’s second-biggest, and continued economic stress in Europe.

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ConAgra CEO says cost-cutting likely to include layoffs

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - ConAgra employees will learn next week about upcoming changes that the company’s chief executive said Friday likely will include jobs cuts and a shuffling of operations that could boost the company’s presence in Chicago and lower it in Omaha.

CEO Sean Connolly, who was in Omaha for a shareholders’ meeting, said Omaha will continue to play a sizable role for ConAgra. The company has around 3,000 employees at the headquarters campus in Omaha, in Lincoln and across the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

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Volvo breaks ground on $500 million South Carolina plant

RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (AP) - Volvo has broken ground on its first auto manufacturing plant in North America, and says workers at the $500 million plant will build a car still being designed in Sweden.

Volvo North America CEO Lex Kerssemakers said Friday that the plant will build the company’s new S-60 sedan as well as another model to be announced later.

The plant about 30 miles northwest of Charleston will eventually be capable of making 100,000 cars a year. It’s expected to employ about 2,000 workers during the next decade. It will also have a visitors’ center so people can see how Volvos are designed, built and marketed.

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Hyundai recalls 470,000 Sonatas to replace engines

DETROIT (AP) - Hyundai is recalling nearly a half-million midsize cars in the U.S. to replace the engines because a manufacturing problem could cause them to fail.

The recall covers 470,000 Sonata sedans from the 2011 and 2012 model years equipped with 2-liter or 2.4-liter gasoline engines. At the time, the Sonata was Hyundai’s top-selling vehicle in the U.S.

The company also is recalling nearly 100,000 Accent small cars because the brake lights can fail.

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Some millennials digging into news, contrary to stereotype

WASHINGTON (AP) - Don’t believe everything you see tweeted, shared or posted about the millennial generation being uninformed.

A sizable group of these young adults - 4 of every 10 - actively seeks out the news, an analysis of their media habits finds.

Even the out-of-it others say they stumble on news while they’re catching up with friends on Facebook, scanning their Twitter feeds or looking for entertainment online.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 113.35 points, or 0.7 percent, to 16,314.67. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.9 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to finish at 1,931.34. The Nasdaq composite fell 47.98 points, or 1 percent, to 4,686.50.

U.S. crude rose 79 cents to close at $45.70 a barrel in New York, ending a choppy week of trading up 2.3 percent. Brent Crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose 43 cents to close at $48.60 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 3.1 cents to close at $1.396 a gallon. Heating oil fell 0.1 cent to close at $1.523 a gallon. Natural gas fell 2.7 cents to close at $2.564 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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