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Sep 23, 2014

U.S. court halts bitcoin mining operation Butterfly Labs: FTC

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. court has temporarily shut down Butterfly Labs, a Missouri company the Federal Trade Commission alleges deceptively marketed computers designed to produce bitcoins, the “virtual currency” payment system.

The FTC’s complaint against Butterfly and its corporate officers alleges that the company charged consumers thousands of dollars for its bitcoin computers, called BitForce, but then failed to ship the computers until they were almost obsolete, or in many cases did not provide the computers at all.

Sep 17, 2014

Yelp, TinyCo fined by U.S. for improperly collecting kids’ data

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The popular online review site Yelp and the maker of children’s mobile device apps including Tiny Pets and Tiny Monsters have separately agreed to settle charges that they improperly collected kids’ information online, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday.

A U.S. law called the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, requires that companies collecting information online about children under age 13 follow a number of steps to ensure that the children’s information is protected.

Sep 17, 2014

Chinese hacked U.S. military contractors, Senate probe finds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hackers associated with the Chinese government have repeatedly infiltrated the computer systems of U.S. airlines, technology companies and other firms involved in the movement of U.S. troops and military equipment, a U.S. Senate panel has found.

The Senate Armed Services Committee’s year-long probe, details of which were made public on Wednesday, found that the military’s U.S. Transportation Command, or Transcom, was aware of only two out of at least 20 such cyber intrusions within a single year.

Sep 11, 2014

Big crop gets bigger: USDA raises U.S. corn, soybean estimates

WASHINGTON, Sept 11 (Reuters) – U.S. corn and soybean
production in 2014, already pegged at record highs, will be
higher than expected a month ago and somewhat above trade
expectations, the U.S. government said on Thursday, triggering a
swift drop in Chicago grain markets.

Soybean futures fell about 1.5 percent to a new
contract low on the Department of Agriculture report, corn
skidded about 2.5 percent and wheat, already at its lowest
since July 2010, extended its losses to about 1.3 percent on a
larger-than-expected jump in projected world stocks.

Sep 9, 2014

U.S. proposes rules to prevent runaway trains packed with explosive goods

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. authorities on Tuesday proposed measures to prevent unattended freight trains from causing accidents, the latest of several steps meant to improve oil train safety after a string of serious mishaps in the United States and Canada.

Among other things the rules would prevent trains transporting specific hazardous materials from being left unattended on a mainline track or side track outside a railyard, and call for secure locks to be installed on locomotive doors to prevent unauthorized access.

Sep 3, 2014

Slightly fewer U.S. households lacking enough food -USDA

WASHINGTON, Sept 3 (Reuters) – The percentage of Americans
regarded as “food insecure” – lacking access to enough food for
a healthy life – has edged down in the past few years but still
represents over 17 million households, the U.S. Agriculture
Department said on Wednesday.

About 14.3 percent of households were termed food insecure
in 2013, down from 14.9 percent in 2011.

Sep 3, 2014

Fewer U.S. households lacking enough food – USDA

WASHINGTON, Sept 3 (Reuters) – The percentage of Americans
regarded as “food insecure” – lacking access to enough food for
a healthy life – has declined in the past few years but still
represents over 17 million households, the U.S. Agriculture
Department said on Wednesday.

About 14.3 percent of households were termed food insecure
in 2013, down from 14.9 percent in 2011.

Aug 26, 2014

U.S. says non-allergic peanut moves closer to commercial reality

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A new method for removing allergens from peanuts means help could soon be on the way for the roughly 2.8 million Americans with a potentially life-threatening allergy to the popular food, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday.

In a blog post, the agency said researchers at North Carolina A&T State University have found a way to reduce peanut allergens by 98 percent to 100 percent by focusing on certain proteins that can trigger food-related anaphylaxis, a severe, whole-body allergic reaction.

Aug 25, 2014

USDA raises beef, pork prices forecasts on drought, disease

WASHINGTON, Aug 25 (Reuters) – Retail prices for many U.S.
meats, already at record highs, continue to rise on a
combination of drought and disease, but overall food cost
increases remain near long-term averages, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture said on Monday.

The agency now forecasts pork, beef and veal prices to rise
by 6.5 to 7.5 percent in 2014, up from 5.5 to 6.5 percent
forecast a month ago. The overall “meats, poultry and fish”
category will rise by 4 to 5 percent.

Aug 18, 2014

Cost of raising a child in U.S. tops $245,000, USDA says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An average middle-income family in the United States can expect to spend about $245,000 over 18 years to raise a child born in 2013, the U.S. government estimated on Monday.

The Department of Agriculture’s annual “Cost of Raising a Child” report showed child-rearing costs – which reflect food, housing, childcare, education and other expenses – were up about 1.8 percent from 2012.

    • About Ros

      "Ros Krasny is Boston Bureau Chief, leading coverage of the New England scene. She was previously a regional Federal Reserve correspondent based in Chicago, and spent many years writing about agricultural commodity markets with Bridge News and Knight-Ridder Financial news."
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