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  • WICHITA, Kan.— Farmers and ranchers across Kansas are wrapping up the 2014 growing season, marked by rapidly changing fortunes that were buffeted by weather and markets. On the crop side, we certainly had lower prices, "said Dan O'Brien, a Kansas State University extension specialist. The Kansas winter wheat crop bore the brunt of drought conditions that decimated...

  • Food hubs link consumers with locally farmed food Saturday, 27 Dec 2014 | 10:22 AM ET

    BURLINGTON, Vt.— Move over farmers' markets. And food hubs kind of fill that space, "said Doug O'Brien, deputy undersecretary for rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agency spent about $25 million from 2009-2013 supporting food hubs.

  • Insurers dogged by claims of slanted Sandy reports Saturday, 27 Dec 2014 | 9:50 AM ET

    NEW YORK— When Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast, flood insurance companies working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency dispatched an army of structural engineers to do some detective work. But the issue got the attention of a federal judge in New York after a Long Island family uncovered evidence that an engineer who examined their property had...

  • US mission in Havana to become embassy amid thaw Saturday, 27 Dec 2014 | 9:11 AM ET

    HAVANA— A half-century after Washington severed relations with Cuba, the United States' seven-story mission looms over Havana's seaside Malecon boulevard as the largest diplomatic outpost in the country. Interests Section suddenly is poised to become an even more important presence in Cuba as the two countries negotiate the first phase of their historic...

  • Unions seek legislative wins in Malloy's 2nd term Saturday, 27 Dec 2014 | 8:45 AM ET

    HARTFORD, Conn.— Organized labor in Connecticut is taking credit for helping Democratic Gov. The Connecticut AFL-CIO and unions representing public employees, teachers and other workers say Malloy's election in 2010, ending 16 years of Republican control of the executive branch, was a good start. "Our policy program was the difference in the governor winning...

  • GfK Poll: 5 things to know about the economy Saturday, 27 Dec 2014 | 8:38 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— Few issues in a presidential campaign come close to being as meaningful as the economy. The latest Associated Press-GfK poll offers a look at how the public feels about this issue, which touches nearly every aspect of American life. The economy, writ large, has been America's top policy priority for the entirety of Barack Obama's presidency, despite...

  • Clinton economic approach under scrutiny Saturday, 27 Dec 2014 | 8:28 AM ET

    More than two decades after Bill Clinton won the presidency, Hillary Rodham Clinton is considering another White House bid— and for her, too, it's still "the economy, stupid." Democrats are watching closely, including members of the party's liberal wing who are wary of her ties to Wall Street and six-figure speaking fees. Clinton is widely expected to announce a...

  • Times Square poll: Most feeling good about 2015 Saturday, 27 Dec 2014 | 3:21 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— Americans are closing out 2014 on an optimistic note, according to a new Associated Press-Times Square Alliance poll. Slightly fewer feel their year was a step down from the previous one than said so in 2013, when an AP-Times Square poll found 20 percent thought 2013 was worse than 2012.. Americans are divided on the most important news event of 2014,...

  • Policies of GOP governors could find national play Saturday, 27 Dec 2014 | 3:20 AM ET

    MADISON, Wis.— One group of potential candidates for president probably won't be shuffling off to Iowa, New Hampshire or other early campaign spots in the new year. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Mike Pence of Indiana, Rick Snyder of Michigan and John Kasich of Ohio were all elected after Republicans began taking political control of the middle of the country back in...

  • N. Korea compares Obama to monkey in hacking row Saturday, 27 Dec 2014 | 2:09 AM ET

    SEOUL, South Korea— North Korea on Saturday blamed the U.S. for shutting down its Internet amid the hacking row over the movie "The Interview" and compared President Barack Obama to a monkey. The North has denied involvement in a crippling cyberattack on Sony Pictures, but has expressed fury over the comedy, which depicts the assassination of North Korean leader...

  • Doubts deepen over Chinese-backed Nicaragua canal Friday, 26 Dec 2014 | 10:45 PM ET
    Thousands of demonstrators march against the 173-mile Interoceanic Grand Canal that they say will negatively impact the environment, communities and Nicaraguan sovereignty, in Managua, Nicaragua December 10, 2014.

    Skepticism is growing over a $50 billion project to build a canal across Nicaragua, a project spearheaded by a little-known Chinese businessman.

  • N. Korea calls Obama 'monkey' in hacking row Friday, 26 Dec 2014 | 10:42 PM ET

    SEOUL, South Korea— North Korea called President Barack Obama "a monkey" and blamed the U.S. on Saturday for shutting down its Internet amid the hacking row over the comedy "The Interview." North Korea has denied involvement in a crippling cyberattack on Sony Pictures but has expressed fury over the comedy depicting an assassination of its leader Kim Jong Un.

  • Study: Marijuana use has increased in Colorado Friday, 26 Dec 2014 | 10:21 PM ET

    DENVER— Colorado emerged as the state with the second-highest percentage of regular marijuana users as it began legalizing the drug, according to a new national study. The Denver Post reports the study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found about 1 out of 8 Colorado residents older than 12 had used marijuana in the past month. Only Rhode Island topped...

  • LOS ANGELES, Dec 26- "The Interview" took in more than $1 million in a limited Christmas Day release, a solid showing that could be quickly eclipsed by the money Sony Pictures makes with its groundbreaking online debut of the raunchy comedy. After large movie theater chains refused to screen the comedy following threats of violence from hackers who opposed the...

  • -Lipper@ NEW YORK, Dec 26- Investors in U.S.-based funds poured $36.5 billion into stock funds in the latest weekly period, marking the biggest inflows on record as U.S. stocks surged to record highs, data from Thomson Reuters' Lipper service showed on Friday. The massive cash commitments for the week ended Dec. 24 were the biggest since Lipper's records began in...

  • Dec 26- U.S. retail sales rose 5.5 percent from the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve as solid demand for women's apparel, jewelry and casual dining offset surprisingly sluggish sales of electronics, MasterCard said in its holiday spending report. The report, which tracks spending by combining sales activity in MasterCard's payments network with...

  • Aereo auctioning off its TV streaming tech assets Friday, 26 Dec 2014 | 5:39 PM ET
    Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia leaves the U.S. Supreme Court after oral arguments April 22, 2014 in Washington, DC.

    A bankruptcy court has allowed defunct video streaming company Aereo Inc to auction its TV streaming technology assets, court papers show.

  • Founder of huge defense contractor SAIC dies Friday, 26 Dec 2014 | 5:28 PM ET

    SAN DIEGO, Calif.— J. Robert Beyster, a scientist-turned-entrepreneur who founded a small technology firm called Science Applications International Corp. and built it into one of the largest, most influential defense contractors in the country, has died at age 90.. Beyster died Monday of natural causes at his San Diego home, according to a statement from his...

  • Dec 26- A bankruptcy court has allowed defunct video streaming company Aereo Inc to auction its TV streaming technology assets, according to court papers published on Friday. These broadcasters include CBS Corp, Comcast Corp's NBC, Walt Disney Co's ABC and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's Fox. The case is In re: Aereo Inc, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of...

  • SAN FRANCISCO— Sony's PlayStation network remained offline Friday on the second day of an outage that began roiling the online world just as eager video game players were unwrapping new consoles on Christmas morning. Microsoft's Xbox Live service, which also went down Thursday, was back online Friday although the company reported reported problems with...