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  • Firm recalls caramel apples amid listeria fears Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 10:51 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— A Missouri firm is recalling its Happy Apple brand caramel apples because of the potential that they could be contaminated with listeria. Happy Apple Co. of Washington, Missouri, said in a statement Wednesday that one of the apple suppliers to its California facility reported that there may be a connection between the listeria outbreak and the...

  • *Initial jobless claims fall for fourth straight week. *Biotech shares rebound after sharp two-day decline; energy falls. NEW YORK, Dec 24- U.S. stocks closed flat in a short session on Wednesday as investors found few reasons to push major indexes to their sixth straight day of gains despite strength in biotechs and bullish labor market data.

  • *Initial jobless claims fall for fourth straight week. *Equity markets close at 1 p.m. in holiday-shortened session. NEW YORK, Dec 24- U.S. stocks edged higher on Wednesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 at records and on track for a sixth straight daily advance as biotech stocks rallied and data pointed to improving economic conditions.

  • Faithful flock to Bethlehem for Christmas Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 9:19 AM ET

    BETHLEHEM, West Bank— Several thousand Christian pilgrims on Wednesday flocked to the biblical town of Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations at the traditional birthplace of Jesus, lifting spirits after a year of conflict and failed peace efforts. A Palestinian host welcomed members of Gaza's tiny Christian community, who were permitted to cross...

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 24- The proposed merger of Sysco Corp and US Foods Inc hinges on the top two U.S. food companies helping to turn a far smaller rival into a national player to ease antitrust concerns, but the gap may be too big, analysts said. Sysco and US Foods, the only two companies with national distribution to hospitals, restaurants and schools, have been discussing...

  • Denver shelters cite legal pot in homeless upswing Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 1:55 AM ET

    So he moved to Denver, where legal pot dispensaries are plentiful and accessible. "The older ones are coming for medical, the younger ones are coming just because it's legal," said Brett Van Sickle, director of Denver's Salvation Army Crossroads Shelter, which has more than doubled its staff to accommodate the increase. Colorado's homeless population and its...

  • Minnesota town offers free land with no takers Tuesday, 23 Dec 2014 | 11:50 AM ET

    CLAREMONT, Minn.— A small southeastern Minnesota community is trying but failing to give away land for free. Claremont, which has about 500 residents, has had no takers in the three years it has been offering free lots to anyone with a qualifying income who is willing to build a house, Minnesota Public Radio News reported. Claremont issued $450,000 in bonds, but the...

  • Trashing electronics becomes illegal in New York Tuesday, 23 Dec 2014 | 9:30 AM ET

    Starting Jan. 1, the final phase of New York's 2010 electronics recycling law takes effect, making it illegal for consumers to throw so-called "e-waste" in the garbage. "Now you have to recycle it," said John Shegerian, CEO of Fresno, Calif.- based Electronic Recyclers International, which provides e-waste recycling services for New York City, Los Angeles and 150 other...

  • Dec 20- More than 1,500 protesters against police violence shut down part of the Mall of America in Minnesota on Saturday, resulting in about 25 arrests during the final weekend before Christmas as shoppers scrambled to buy gifts at one of the nation's largest shopping centers, officials said. The protest and a smaller action at the King of Prussia Mall in...

  • The protest was the latest in a series of demonstrations across the United States in recent weeks over grand jury decisions not to charge white police officers in the killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City. Police made some arrests in the demonstration on private property at the Mall of America in the Minneapolis suburb of...

  • US regulators close small Minnesota bank Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 7:38 PM ET

    The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Friday that it has taken over Northern Star Bank, based in Mankato, Minnesota. BankVista, based in Sartell, Minnesota, agreed to assume all of Northern Star Bank's deposits and to purchase essentially all of the failed bank's assets. Northern Star Bank's failure is expected to cost the federal deposit insurance fund $5.9...

  • Kocherlakota warns Fed of 'unacceptable' risk Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 6:23 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— One of three Fed officials who dissented in the Fed's policy decision this week is warning that the central bank is taking an "unacceptable" risk by not paying more attention to the dangers posed by low inflation. Narayana Kocherlakota, the president of the Fed's regional bank in Minneapolis, said Friday that the Fed's failure to respond to weak...

  • US farmers produce bountiful crop of dry beans Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 10:14 AM ET

    The increase was even more pronounced in North Dakota and Minnesota, which together produced about 40 percent of the nation's crop. The big increase in acres— 24 percent in Minnesota and 43 percent in North Dakota compared to planted acres in 2013— more than softened the blow of a drop in average yield of 12-13 percent due to a wet spring and fall.

  • Consumers can sue Target Corp over data breach -judge Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 10:10 AM ET

    Dec 19- A U.S. judge has cleared the way for consumers to sue Target Corp over the retailer's late 2013 data breach that they say compromised their personal financial information. District Judge Paul Magnuson in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Thursday dismissed claims by plaintiffs in certain states but largely denied Target's request to toss the proposed class action...

  • US agriculture has big appetite for Cuba trade Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 1:40 AM ET

    MINNEAPOLIS— U.S. agriculture has a big appetite for freer trade with Cuba. Major U.S. farm groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union, as well as leading agribusinesses such as Cargill Inc., have long advocated normalized trade relations with Cuba, a market of 11 million consumers just 90 miles off U.S. shores.

  • Plea hearing set for ex-manager in halal food case Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 4:01 PM ET

    IOWA CITY, Iowa— A former manager at an Iowa- based halal food supplier is expected to plead guilty as part of a federal criminal investigation into the company's exporting and marketing practices, according to court documents filed Thursday. Conspiracy charges filed against Philip G. Payne are the latest involving the Midamar Corp., which is accused of...

  • Correction: Meningitis Outbreak story Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 2:46 PM ET

    BOSTON— In a story Dec. 17 about arrests in a deadly meningitis outbreak, The Associated Press erroneously reported Stuart Delery's title. BOSTON— Mold and bacteria were in the air and on workers' gloved fingertips. Federal prosecutors leveled those allegations in bringing charges Wednesday against 14 former owners or employees of a Massachusetts pharmacy in...

  • Wisconsin ranks 32nd in private-sector job growth Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 10:01 AM ET

    MADISON, Wis.— Wisconsin ranks 32nd in private-sector job growth and lags behind the national average for the 12- month period that ended in June, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The numbers are consistent with where Wisconsin has ranked in recent years. Wisconsin ranked 32nd nationally in...

  • A fresh setback for efforts to cure HIV infection Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 7:53 AM ET

    So far, Timothy Ray Brown, a U.S. man treated in Germany, remains the only person thought to have been cured of infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Gero Huetter of the University of Berlin. In a research letter in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine, Huetter tells of six other patients with HIV and various blood cancers who received similar...

  • Feds: Uganda-based man counterfeited $2M in cash Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 7:47 AM ET

    PITTSBURGH— Federal authorities have charged a man with leading an international counterfeit money operation based in the African nation of Uganda, and shipping bogus bills to the Pittsburgh area and other locations in the United States. Gustafson was arrested Dec. 11 in Uganda and investigators seized sophisticated printers and other equipment...