The new fast food? Convenience stores add hot, cheap options
NEW YORK (AP) — Saying “convenience store food” may make people think of spinning hot dogs by the counter, but places like 7-Eleven are expanding their hot food offerings in hopes of stealing customers away from fast-food chains. The push by convenience stores into hot, fast, affordable foods is just one of the pressures facing chains like Burger King, Wendy’s and Taco Bell. The traditional fast-food chains are also fighting for customers with smaller restaurant chains, and with supermarkets that offer prepared foods for busy shoppers. Low prices and speed for ready-to-eat foods at convenience stores are big factors. McDonald’s partly blames its declining number of customer visits in the U.S. on its failure to hold onto the deal-seekers at the cheaper end of its menu after eliminating the Dollar Menu.
A new oyster war: Rich homeowners vs. working-class watermen
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Oystermen, pirates and police clashed violently more than a century ago over who could collect the Chesapeake Bay’s tasty and lucrative oysters. As the shellfish makes a comeback, a modern-day oyster war is brewing, this time between wealthy waterfront property owners and working-class fishermen. Over the past five years, oyster production has doubled on the East Coast, driven by new farming methods, cleaner water and Americans’ growing taste for orders on the half shell. The resurgence has led to unprecedented resistance from coastal Virginians who want to maintain picturesque views from their waterfront homes and has fueled a debate over access to public waterways. Homeowners say the growing number of oystermen — dressed in waders and often tending cages of shellfish — spoil their views and invade their privacy.
Fed likely to leave rates alone but signal more hikes coming
WASHINGTON (AP) — With the U.S. economy on solid footing and unemployment at a near-decade low, the Federal Reserve remains in the midst of a campaign to gradually raise interest rates from ultra-lows. But this week, it’s all but sure to take a pause. The Fed is widely expected to keep its key short-term rate unchanged after having raised it in March for the second time in three months. Most analysts foresee the Fed raising its key rate again at least twice more before year’s end, a testament to the durability of the U.S. economic recovery and a more stable global picture. One reason for the Fed to stand pat this week is that even though the job market has shown steady strength, the economy itself is still growing in fits and starts.
US consumer spending flat for second month in March
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers cut back sharply on buying durable goods such as autos in March, leaving overall spending unchanged for a second straight month. A slowdown by consumers was a major reason overall economic growth slowed so sharply over the winter. Consumer spending was unchanged in March after also being flat in February and posting only a modest rise of 0.2 percent in January, the Commerce Department reported Monday. For the January-March quarter, the sharp slowdown in consumer spending was a key reason growth, as measured by the gross domestic product, slowed to an annual rate of just 0.7 percent, the poorest performance in three years.
US construction spending slipped in March
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders trimmed construction spending slightly in March, one month after building activity hit an all-time high. Construction spending slipped 0.2 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted $1.218 trillion, the Commerce Department reported Monday. In February, it rose 1.8 percent to a record high of $1.22 trillion. The result in March reflected drops in nonresidential construction and in the government sector, which offset a strong increase in residential activity. Even with the slight decline, March activity was the second highest on record.
US factories expand at slower pace in April
WASHINGTON (AP) — American factories grew for the eighth straight month in April but at a slower pace than in March. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Monday that its manufacturing index slipped to 54.8 from 57.2 in March and 57.7 in February. The April reading was weaker than economists expected and was the lowest since December’s 54.5. But it was still solid: Anything above 50 signals that manufacturing is growing.
Defiant rallies for worker rights mark May Day around world
ISTANBUL (AP) — Workers and activists marked May Day around the world Monday with defiant rallies and marches for better pay and working conditions. Police detained 70 people in Istanbul as they tried to march. Garment workers in Cambodia defied a government ban to demand higher wages, and businesses in Puerto Rico were boarded up as the U.S. territory braced for a huge strike over austerity measures. In Paris, police fired tear gas and used clubs on rowdy protesters at a march that included calls to defeat far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.
1st US offshore wind farm powering more of Rhode Island
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The nation’s first offshore wind farm is powering more of Rhode Island. The Block Island Power Company says it shut down its diesel generators and transferred the island’s electrical grid Monday, a savings of nearly 1 million gallons of diesel fuel annually. Deepwater Wind’s five turbines began generating power for the mainland grid in December. Block Island had to be connected with a new cable.
Fox News co-president Bill Shine is out
NEW YORK (AP) — The turmoil at Fox News Channel has claimed another victim. The network said Monday that Bill Shine, the network’s co-president and a longtime lieutenant of ousted Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, is out. Shine’s departure follows the firing of top personality Bill O’Reilly and Ailes, both amid charges that they had harassed women. Shine was not accused of harassment, but there were questions about what he knew about the network’s workplace atmosphere for the years problems were going on.
Airbnb, San Francisco reach deal on rental registrations
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco and Airbnb reached a deal Monday that aims to prevent the short-term rental website from listing housing units that are not following city rules that limit the duration of stays and the number of nights units can be rented. The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed by Airbnb over a city law that fines the company for booking rentals not registered with the city. Under the deal, residents looking to list a rental will be able apply for a city registration number through Airbnb’s website and will have to list their registration number to post a listing. The company will provide a monthly list of all San Francisco listings to the city, so officials can verify that units are registered. Airbnb will deactivate listings that the city says are invalid.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 4.13 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,388.33. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 27.05 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,913.46. The Nasdaq composite jumped 44 points, or 0.7 percent, to 6,091.60.
Benchmark U.S. crude fell 49 cents, or 1 percent, to $48.84 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 53 cents, or 1 percent, to $51.52 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline lost 2 cents to $1.53 a gallon. Heating oil fell 2 cents to $1.49 a gallon. Natural gas dropped 6 cents to $3.22 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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