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  • Slow public alert after ND fire raises concerns

    WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Officials need to improve communication with residents of North Dakota's booming oil patch during potentially dangerous situations, an emergency manager and residents said, after an oil field service supply facility storing toxic chemicals exploded this week and authorities failed to alert the public for more than six...

  • Texas governor's startup fund is not all it seems

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry has distributed $205 million in taxpayer money to scores of technology startups using a pet program designed to bring high-paying jobs and innovation to the nation's second most-populous state. But a closer look at the Texas Emerging Technology Fund reveals that some of the businesses that received...

  • JFK returns to old look in new collectors' coins

    WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — President John F. Kennedy is getting his old look back on new collectors' coins. The slain president's profile debuted on the half dollar 50 years ago, and the image was subtly tweaked in the 1990s. Now the U.S. Mint is producing collectors' coins that restore the original 1964 design, which incorporated suggestions...

  • Farm bank donates $10 billion for rural projects

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A bank that serves farmers and agribusiness is donating $10 billion to spur private investment in rural America. The White House is announcing the money Thursday as part of a rural conference it is holding this week. Colorado-based CoBank is part of a network of banks that provides financing to agribusiness and rural areas....

  • Social Security spent $300M on 'IT boondoggle'

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Six years ago the Social Security Administration embarked on an aggressive plan to replace outdated computer systems overwhelmed by a growing flood of disability claims. Nearly $300 million later, the new system is nowhere near ready and agency officials are struggling to salvage a project racked by delays and mismanagement,...

  • Cruise passengers recount horror stories to Senate

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Laurie Dishman told senators through tears Wednesday that she was choked and raped on a Royal Caribbean cruise by one of the line's employees, using her experience to shed light on the dangers that passengers might face on cruises. "Cruise consumers have virtually no rights or protections," Dishman, a resident of...

  • Meat supplier in China scandal has global reach

    NEW YORK (AP) — It isn't a household name, but the company at the center of a food scandal in China helps make some of the world's most popular foods, including the Big Macs and Quarter Pounders served at McDonald's locations. OSI Group, a privately held company based in Aurora, Illinois, was thrust into the spotlight this weekend when a...

  • SEC considering action against S&P over ratings

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Standard & Poor's said Wednesday that regulators have told the rating agency they are considering taking civil enforcement action against it over ratings it gave to six deals in 2011 involving securities tied to commercial mortgages. S&P's parent McGraw Hill Financial Inc. disclosed in a regulatory filing that it has...

  • US wildlife officials propose limiting snake trade

    HONOLULU (AP) — Federal wildlife officials recently proposed strict nationwide limits on importing and shipping boa constrictors and four other snake species in an effort to prevent them from being introduced into the wild. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would prohibit bringing the snakes into the country and shipping them between states...

  • Sanders pleads for VA reform bill as talks stall

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee said Wednesday there is still time for Congress to approve a landmark bill to improve health care services for veterans, despite deep disagreement over how much the changes will cost and how they should be paid for. "It really would be a disgrace if we adjourn (for the...

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