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    Many farmers in the Midwest and South whose planting this year was interrupted by wet weather are getting a reprieve, though a few Northern states have seen harvest prospects go from bad to worse. Minnesota and the Dakotas have seen snow and rain in recent weeks that have hampered an already difficult harvest. But much of the Corn Belt has somewhat recovered from heavy rains and flooding in the spring and summer, with experts predicting good yields from what did get planted, though it's still a far from stellar year for most farmers. In its Oct. 10 crop production report, U.S. Department of Agriculture bumped up corn yields for Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota, and left the forecast for Kansas and Nebraska unchanged. North Dakota's predicted corn yield was increased by 1 bushel per acre, but that estimate was made before the state was hammered by as much as 30 inches (76 centimeters) of snow. Many crops in North Dakota remain under snow and are now being trampled by snowmobilers and hunters. 'Barring any changes, corn farmers are generally saying it's a pretty decent crop, although nowhere near the records in the last couple of years,' said Chris Hawthorn of the USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Service. 'The acreage is down, but what's planted is looking good.' But some farmers aren't so hopeful. 'Farmers are all in the same boat and I want to get off of it,' said Randy Richards, who farms near Hope, in eastern North Dakota. 'It looks like the Titanic.' Steve Nicholson, a grains and oilseeds analyst with Rabobank in St. Louis, believes the reality is probably somewhere between the doom-and-gloom predictions of struggling farmers and the USDA's estimates. He said everyone who planted row crops — corn, potatoes, soybeans, wheat, cotton and peanuts, to name a few — has had problems this year and 'not one of those commodities has been a stellar performer.' But he also thinks the markets would be a lot more unsettled if a total disaster was looming. Corn futures, for instance, would have been down, he said. 'I think it's probably a little bit overblown,' Nicholson said. 'If this is such a big deal than the markets would have reacted a lot more than they have.' Either way, the average consumer probably won't see what's happening in the fields reflected in prices at the grocery store. 'In terms of the cost of your box of cereal and other stuff you find on the grocery store shelves' it's unlikely to see much change, said Andy Jung, economist for The Mosaic Company in the Twin Cities. He noted that harvest fortunes depend on 'location, location, location' and called the Dakotas and Minnesota 'the poster child' for poor progress. The USDA report lists the corn harvest in North Dakota at 1% complete, compared with 12% on average at this time of year. Overall numbers in the USDA report showed the soybean harvest about 25% finished, when it would normally be half done. The corn harvest is 22% done, with normal being close to 33%. Most of the wheat is out of the field, except for some areas in North Dakota. Longtime farmer Bob Metz, in South Dakota, has a hard time remembering when conditions have been this challenging. 'When you get 1.2 inches of rain and snow and you feel lucky, that tells you where you're at,' Metz said. Richards said that for farmers in North Dakota to get back into the field to harvest their crops, they would need a warmup that melted the snow, followed by a hard freeze that would allow them to use combines without getting stuck. He said he has two neighbors who still have wheat in their fields — unheard of at this time of year. 'I've been doing this for 47 years and I'm at a loss for words at what Mother Nature has done to us,' Richards said.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is plowing ahead with her bill allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices despite a breakdown in relations with her chief bargaining partner on the issue — President Donald Trump. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated the legislation would save Medicare $345 billion over seven years, partly because some seniors would no longer have to skimp on costly medicines, and they'd stay healthier. A separate estimate from nonpartisan analysts at the Department of Health and Human Services found that households would save $158 billion over 10 years. But the budget office also cautioned that squeezing drugmakers could mean that some new medications — 3% to 5% — won't make it to market. Such trade-offs were front and center Thursday as House committees considered the legislation. The Education and Labor committee voted along party lines to advance the bill, and the Energy and Commerce panel was deliberating. Ways and Means also held a hearing. Democrats and Republicans say Pelosi is moving quickly to get the bill ready for a floor vote. 'These are jaw-dropping savings,' said Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., who chairs the health subcommittee of Energy and Commerce. 'This is legislation that is going to make a true, tangible difference in the lives of the American people.' Eshoo said the money could be used to provide dental, vision and hearing benefits for Medicare recipients or could be reinvested in drug research at the National Institutes of Health. But at another hearing before Ways and Means, Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, caustically dubbed the Pelosi bill the 'Fewer Cures for Patients Act.' Brady said the budget office finding that one consequence could be fewer drug approvals should be a stop sign for lawmakers. Although supporters of the legislation note that the CBO said only a small share of new drugs would be affected, Brady said, 'One cure lost is one cure too many.' The legislation from Pelosi, D-Calif., would authorize Medicare to negotiate prices for the costliest drugs — including insulin — using lower prices paid in other economically advanced countries as the reference point. The budget office says that could result in price cuts of 40% to 55% for pharmacy drugs. The bill would allow private insurance plans to also get Medicare's price. As a hammer to force companies to negotiate, Pelosi would impose steep sales taxes on the medications at issue. Overall, budget analysts estimated the legislation would cut industry revenues by $500 billion to $1 trillion over 10 years. The CBO says those numbers are preliminary. Congressional Republicans are broadly opposed to allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, so the legislation has no chance in the Senate unless Trump gets behind it. As a candidate, Trump called for Medicare negotiations, and Pelosi's office has been in communication with top White House officials for months. Congressional Republicans say negotiations are best left to insurers that administer Medicare's prescription drug benefit. If Trump's anger over the Pelosi-initiated impeachment probe sinks the effort, lawmakers of both parties would face voters next year with nothing to show on a top consumer issue. The White House had no comment on the budget estimates. A poll this week found broad public support for Medicare drug negotiations, as well as for Pelosi's idea of taxing companies that won't come to the table. But the survey from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation also showed that support can shift to opposition if people are told there could be limits on research or access to new medications. A leading policy expert on drug costs said Pelosi has framed a crucial question: What's the right balance between fostering innovation and keeping drugs affordable? 'The savings are so large that you can't pretend for a second we don't have to look at this,' said Peter Bach, director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. CBO hasn't said what kinds of new drugs could be kept off the market — whether they would be copycat medications or if life-changing medications would be affected, too. 'We reduce average prices by 55%, and we will lose some new drugs — between 2.5% and 5% — that's the estimate,' said Bach. 'Some people will say we want everything.' Economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, head of the center-right American Action Forum public policy group, said he's not so sure that only drugs of marginal value will be sacrificed. He said he's not worried about major drug companies but rather about smaller research-oriented outfits that have to raise considerable sums from private investors to keep going. Will their money dry up? 'The guys sitting out there in the venture capital world are going to say, 'We're not going to do drugs anymore,'' said Holtz-Eakin. 'And you can't get that money back.
  • Johnson & Johnson has agreed to a $117 million multistate settlement over allegations it deceptively marketed its pelvic mesh products, which support women's sagging pelvic organs. Ohio's attorney general said Thursday an investigation found that J&J, the world's biggest health products maker, violated state consumer protection laws by not fully disclosing the devices' risks. Numerous women who had the once-popular, hammock-like devices implanted claim they caused severe pain, bleeding, infections and other complications. Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon surgical products unit reached the settlement with 41 states and the District of Columbia. 'These companies didn't paint a clear picture of the device's medical risks, preventing patients from making well-informed decisions,' Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement. The products, also called transvaginal mesh, are a synthetic material surgically implanted through the vagina of women whose pelvic organs have sagged or who suffer from stress urinary incontinence — bladder leakage when they cough, sneeze or lift heavy objects. Such incontinence is estimated to affect 3% to 17% of women and sometimes becomes severe after age 70. Some of the products are still on the U.S. market, and hundreds of thousands of women have had the devices surgically implanted, according to Yost's office. An Ethicon spokeswoman noted the settlement doesn't include admission of any misconduct, and said the devices 'are considered by many to be the gold standard for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence.' 'Ethicon has acted appropriately and responsibly in the research, development and marketing of our transvaginal mesh products,' which were launched around the world in 1998, she added. About 25,000 U.S. women with complications have sued Johnson & Johnson, the company said. Those lawsuits aren't affected by the settlement. It comes as J&J is swamped with thousands of lawsuits claiming patients were harmed by products including baby powder, opioid painkillers and prescription drugs such as its schizophrenia drug Risperdal. Headlines about the litigation and big jury verdicts against J&J, including an $8 billion punitive award to a young man who grew breasts while taking Risperdal, have depressed J&J's stock price for nearly a year. Most of the verdicts against J&J have been overturned or are being appealed. The pelvic mesh deal requires the company to cease its claims that surgical technique can eliminate any risks, as well as to disclose a list of risks, including loss of sexual function, mesh eroding into the vagina and the possible need for corrective surgery. The settlement covers the District of Columbia and these states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. Ethicon said it settled separately with Washington state and has cases pending in California, Kentucky, Mississippi and West Virginia. J&J shares closed Thursday up $1.00 to $136.17, still well below their 52-week high of $148.99 late last fall. ___ Follow Linda A. Johnson at https://twitter.com/LindaJ_onPharma
  • The International Monetary Fund's new leader said Thursday that a trade truce between the United States and China could trim expected losses to the world economy but won't be enough to produce strong global growth. Before last week's tentative trade agreement, the IMF had estimated that higher trade tariffs would mean eight-tenths of a percentage point of lost economic input by the end of next year. The IMF's managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, said a new estimate that factors in the U.S.-China deal slightly reduces that lost input, to a still-significant 0.6%. She said more must be done by the world's two biggest economies to resolve their disputes, and all countries must try to overhaul trade rules. 'Our hope is to move from a trade truce to a trade peace,' she told reporters. The IMF released an updated economic outlook Tuesday that projected global growth for this year at 3%. That would be the weakest showing since a negative 0.1% in 2009, in the wake of the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. The IMF has estimated that the punitive tariffs imposed in disputes including the U.S.-China trade war could cost the global economy as much as $700 billion in lost output by the end of next year, an amount equivalent to the annual output of Switzerland. Georgieva, a Bulgarian economist who had held the No. 2 job at the World Bank, was tapped last month to take over at the IMF, succeeding Christine Lagarde. Georgieva spoke to reporters before three days of discussions among finance officials as part of the fall meetings of the 189-nation IMF and its sister lending institution, the World Bank. She said she hoped the discussions would focus on ways to ease trade tensions and begin the groundwork to update the rules of world trade. The Trump administration has repeatedly attacked the Geneva-based World Trade Organization, saying it is biased against the United States. 'We have been reaching agreements on trade based primarily on the past,' she said. She noted that global commerce has been transformed in recent years by advances in technology, and those advances need to be acknowledged in new trade rules. David Malpass, head of the World Bank, said his focus for the meetings would be efforts to ensure that everything possible is done to restart global growth, given that the 700 million people living in extreme poverty — one in 12 people on the planet — will be the most harmed by a prolonged slowdown. 'There is an urgency to what we're doing because of the challenges facing development,' Malpass said. 'Global growth is slowing, investment is sluggish, manufacturing activity is soft and trade is weakening.' In addition to the IMF and World Bank discussions, finance ministers and the heads of central banks from the Group of 20, the world's biggest economies, will meet Friday. Trade is likely to be a top agenda item. Last week, the United States and China reached a temporary cease fire in their trade fight when President Donald Trump announced he was suspending a tariff increase on $250 billion of Chinese products that was to take effect this week. Briefing reporters Thursday night, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said U.S. and Chinese negotiators were working to hammer out details on this 'phase one' agreement. He said he and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would speak by phone with Chinese Vice Premier Liu next week and planned to meet with him in Santiago, Chile, before the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders' summit on Nov. 16-17. It is expected that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet at that summit to sign the initial phase of the deal, if it is finalized by that time. Mnuchin said the administration has made no decision yet on whether it will postpone 15% tariffs on $160 billion in Chinese goods still due to take effect on Dec. 15.
  • Juul Labs stopped selling fruit and dessert flavors Thursday, acknowledging the public's 'lack of trust' in the vaping industry. The voluntary step is the company's latest attempt to weather a growing political backlash blaming its flavored-nicotine products for hooking a generation of teenagers on electronic cigarettes. Juul, the best-selling e-cigarette brand in the U.S., has been besieged by scrutiny, including multiple investigations by Congress, the Food and Drug Administration and several state attorneys general. The company is also being sued by adults and underage Juul users who claim they were addicted to nicotine by the company's products. And the Trump administration has proposed banning nearly all vaping flavors. Still, the company's latest step is unlikely to satisfy its critics. The flavors affected by Thursday's announcement — mango, crème, fruit and cucumber — account for less than 10 percent of Juul's sales. The flavors had only been available through Juul's website, after the company pulled them from stores last November. Juul will continue selling its most popular flavors, mint and menthol, for now. A spokesman said the company is reviewing its products and practices and has not made 'any final decisions.' Mint and menthol account for most of Juul's retail sales, according to analysts, and are the most popular flavors among teens. The San Francisco-based company will also continue to sell its tobacco-flavored vaping pods. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' Matthew Myers said that Juul's decision to keep selling mint and menthol shows 'it isn't serious about preventing youth use.' 'Juul knows that 64% of high school e-cigarette users now use mint or menthol flavors and this number is growing all the time,' Myers said in a statement. His group and others are urging the Trump administration to follow through on its proposal to ban all vaping flavors except tobacco. The sales concession comes less than a month after a major shake-up at the privately held firm, in which it pledged to stop advertising and agreed to not lobby against the administration's proposed flavor ban. 'We must reset the vapor category by earning the trust of society and working cooperatively with regulators, policymakers and stakeholders,' the company's new CEO, K.C. Crosthwaite, said in a statement. Crosthwaite was named CEO last month. He previously worked as an executive for Marlboro-maker Altria, which is also Juul's biggest investor. This week's move marks a remarkable shift for Juul, which had argued for years that its flavors help adult smokers quit cigarettes. But the announcement doesn't necessarily mean the permanent end of Juul's flavors. Instead, Crosthwaite said the company would defer to the decision of the Food and Drug Administration, which has set a deadline of next May for manufacturers to submit their vaping products for federal review. Under the agency's standards, only vaping products that represent a net benefit to public health are supposed to remain on the market. If the company can show that its products are less harmful than cigarettes and can help adults switch, they could presumably return. Many experts, however, doubt the company will be able to win the FDA endorsement, given the popularity of Juul among underage users Underage vaping has reached epidemic levels, according to health officials. In the latest government survey, more than 1 in 4 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the previous month despite federal law banning sales to those under 18. While Juul agreed to stop lobbying against a flavor ban, other industry players haven't. The Vapor Technology Association is launching a national marketing campaign aimed at stopping the White House plan by using the slogan, 'I vape, I vote.' A poll released Thursday shows that Americans narrowly favor banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, although younger adults are more likely to oppose the idea. Banning flavors is supported by 52% of adults of all ages and opposed by 44%, according to the poll by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. But 63% of adults ages 18 to 29 oppose banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. The poll involved random calls to the cellphones and landlines of 1,205 adults and was conducted Oct. 3-8. The margin of sampling error for all respondents was plus or minus 3 percentage points. In a separate public health crisis, the federal government is investigating more than 1,300 cases of lung damage linked to vaping, some of them fatal. Many patients said they vaped THC, marijuana's intoxicating chemical, with bootleg devices, but officials have not yet implicated any common product or ingredient. ___ AP medical writer Carla K. Johnson contributed to this story from Seattle. ___ Follow Matthew Perrone on Twitter: @AP_FDAwriter . ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
  • A tentative four-year contract with striking General Motors gives workers a mix of pay raises, lump sum payments and an $11,000 signing bonus. In return, the contract allows GM to proceed with factory closures in Lordstown, Ohio; Warren, Michigan; and near Baltimore. Details were posted Thursday on the United Auto Workers website as factory level union officials met to decide if they'll approve the deal. Workers went on strike Sept. 16, crippling the company's U.S. production and costing it an estimated $2 billion. The Detroit Hamtramck plant, which GM wanted to close, will stay open and a new electric pickup truck will be built there. Meanwhile, the Lordstown area will get a new battery factory that is expected to employ 1,000 workers. In addition, a company called Lordstown Motors could also set up a factory that would initially employ 400 workers. But neither of those would come close to the shuttered Lordstown assembly plant, which two years ago employed 4,500 people making the Chevrolet Cruze compact car. The deal shortens the eight years it takes for new hires to reach full wages and gives temporary workers a full-time job after three years of continuous work. Workers hired after 2007 who are paid a lower wage rate will hit the top wage of $32.32 per hour in four years or less. The deal also provides a $60,000 early retirement incentive for up to 2,000 eligible workers. The tentative agreement between GM and the UAW now will be used as a template for talks with GM's crosstown rivals, Ford and Fiat Chrysler. Normally the major provisions carry over to the other two companies and cover about 140,000 auto workers nationwide. It wasn't clear which company the union would bargain with next, or whether there would be another strike. The strike at GM immediately brought the company's U.S. factories to a halt, and within a week, started to hamper production in Mexico and Canada. Analysts at KeyBanc investment services estimated the stoppage cut GM vehicle production by 250,000 to 300,000 vehicles. That's too much for the company to make up with overtime or increased assembly line speeds. GM and the union have been negotiating at a time of troubling uncertainty for the U.S. auto industry. Driven up by the longest economic expansion in American history, auto sales appear to have peaked and are now heading in the other direction. GM and other carmakers are also struggling to make the transition to electric and autonomous vehicles. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump's trade war with China and his tariffs on imported steel and aluminum have raised costs for auto companies. A revamped North American free trade deal is stalled in Congress, raising doubts about the future of America's trade in autos and auto parts with Canada and Mexico, which last year came to $257 billion. Amid that uncertainty, GM workers wanted to lock in as much as they can before things get ugly. They argue that they had given up pay raises and made other concessions to keep GM afloat during its 2009 trip through bankruptcy protection. Now that GM has been nursed back to health — earning $2.42 billion in its latest quarter — they wanted a bigger share. The union's bargainers have voted to recommend the deal to the UAW International Executive Board, which will vote on the agreement. Union leaders from factories nationwide will travel to Detroit for a vote on Thursday. The earliest workers could return would be after that.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has lost every important vote in Parliament since taking office, faces a titanic struggle Saturday when he puts his Brexit deal with the European Union before suspicious legislators. Johnson is gambling his political fortunes on being able to win a majority in favor of the Brexit deal reached Thursday between the British government and the other 27 European Union nations. Should lawmakers back the deal, then Britain will be on course to leave the EU on the scheduled Brexit date of Oct. 31. But that's no easy task for Johnson. With 288 members in the House of Commons, his Conservative Party does not have a majority in the 650-seat chamber. As a result, Johnson will be reliant on the support of those from other parties and independent lawmakers to get over the line. That's even more difficult now that Johnson's allies in Parliament, the 10 members of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, have rejected his deal as bad for the region. Arguably Johnson has a better chance of securing a majority than his predecessor, Theresa May, did, as many pro-Brexit Conservative Party members appear ready to back him. One of the main reasons why May saw her own withdrawal agreement with the EU voted down by legislators on three separate occasions earlier this year — by 58 votes the last time — was because members of the so-called European Research Group within the Conservative Party voted against. All but a handful of those ERG members are thought to be ready to give their support to Johnson's deal. Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the EU's executive Commission, piled more pressure on British lawmakers by suggesting that no further extension needs to be granted now that there is a deal. Though that power lies in the hands of the 27 EU leaders, his comments appeared designed to cast Saturday's vote as a stark choice for UK legislators — between Johnson's proposal or a risky 'no-deal' departure on Oct. 31. Scrapping Brexit altogether is another — albeit unlikely — option favored by the pro-European Liberal Democrats. Asked what he would do if Parliament votes the plan down and Britain seeks an extension, European Council President Donald Tusk said he would consult the other 27 EU nations in order to reach a decision — leaving open the prospect of an extension. Juncker and Johnson seem to be gambling that widespread concerns about a 'no-deal' split, which the British government concedes would cause a marked economic slowdown and possible food and medicine shortages, may soften opposition to the new plan. Kallum Pickering, senior economist at Berenberg, said Juncker's comments 'on balance probably raises the chances for Boris Johnson to get a deal through' by convincing some opposition legislators that backing the plan is the only way to avoid a dangerous 'no-deal' split. 'Johnson has a chance but it is going to be tight,' Pickering said. Unless Northern Ireland's DUP has a change of heart, the deal's fate could largely rest on members from the main opposition Labour Party, which has 244 members. Around 20 of them, mainly representing pro-Brexit parts of the country, have previously indicated a desire to back a deal in order to honor the June 2016 Brexit referendum result. Most Labour members will vote against after the party's leader Jeremy Corbyn expressed his disapproval. The Scottish National Party's 36 members and the 19 Liberal Democrats will vote against too. London School of Economics analyst Tony Travers said Johnson will also need the support of some of the Conservative Party members who had been punished for voting against the government in earlier Brexit votes. 'It is going to be much, much tighter than any of Theresa May's votes,' he predicted of Saturday's faceoff. 'It's going to be three, four, five (votes) either way.' One lawyer who opposes Brexit launched legal action to prevent Saturday's vote, arguing that the proposed changes to customs formalities in Northern Ireland breach British law. Jo Maugham said in a tweet that his case seeking to prevent the government from presenting the deal to Parliament would be heard Friday at the Outer House of the Court of Session in Scotland. Another potential complication in Saturday's vote may arise if opposition lawmakers try to amend the proposal so that approval only comes if the public support the deal in a referendum. The EU has previously indicated that it would grant an extension for a so-called 'democratic event.' David Lammy, a lawmaker with the opposition Labour Party, played down the significance of Juncker's comments. 'It is not within Jean-Claude Juncker's powers to rule out an extension if we vote down Boris Johnson's deal on Saturday,' Lammy tweeted. ___ Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit and British politics at https://www.apnews.com/Brexit
  • When booking a flight to a city with more than one airport, how do you know which one to choose? If you're like a majority of Americans, you're guided in part by your wallet. More than 7 in 10 U.S. airline passengers (72 say ticket price is a key deciding factor when choosing an airport to fly into or from, according to a 2019 survey commissioned by NerdWallet and conducted online by The Harris Poll among more than 1,800 U.S. adults who have ever flown on an airplane. But travel experts suggest you shouldn't decide based on ticket price alone. Before locking in a reservation, here are other factors to consider. AVAILABILITY OF DIRECT ROUTES Compare a direct flight against one with a layover. The latter might save you money, but cost you in comfort and convenience as you squeeze into a puddle-jumper and have to gate-check your carry-on. 'Living on the west coast of Michigan, we have a lot of choices of airports,' says Heather Houtman, a travel adviser and owner of Winsome Travel Design in Holland, Michigan, via email. Airports in Houtman's region include Gerald R. Ford International in Grand Rapids, Capital Region International in Lansing, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County, and Chicago's O'Hare International and Midway International. 'What we consider is availability of direct flights, times of departures and arrivals, and least of all is price.' ON-TIME RECORD When you have choices among airports, one may be cheaper or more convenient to fly into — but what will it cost you in time? Some airports are notorious for late departures, 'ground stops' that delay all arrivals, or both. The Bureau of Transportation lets you search on-time statistics by flight number. For example, the 9:15 p.m. JetBlue flight from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, might be more convenient to your hotel than flights from LaGuardia to, say, Palm Beach International. But per Bureau of Transportation statistics, among flights with delayed arrivals of more than 30 minutes, that LaGuardia-to-Fort-Lauderdale route was the most consistently delayed flight in the U.S. in June 2019. SECURITY CHECKPOINT WAIT TIMES If you're on a tight schedule, the amount of time you'll spend standing in security lines counts. Fortunately, there are tools that can help. Say you're flying out of Chicago and have a choice between O'Hare and Midway. You can download the Transportation Security Administration's MyTSA app and see which one tends to have the shorter security line wait time for your travel window. Keep in mind, too, that having Global Entry or TSA Precheck can help expedite the airport security process. GETTING TO AND FROM THE AIRPORT Even if you're saving upfront on your ticket, factor in the expense and ease of getting from the airport to where you need to be. An airport a bit farther from the city center might cost less to fly to, but you may end up spending more time and money to get to your final destination. When traveling to Washington, D.C., 'I will always fly into Reagan over Dulles,' says Melissa Terrio, who travels several months of the year for her job as director of graduate recruiting and admission at the Foisie Business School in Worcester, Massachusetts. 'By the time you get from Dulles into D.C., it's more expensive in the end because there's limited public transportation ... and a taxi can be cost-prohibitive.' THE STRESS FACTOR When you have a choice between arriving at a bustling hub or a smaller regional airport, the latter option can be less stressful, says Melita Siemak, a travel adviser and owner of Pacific Heights Travel in Manhattan Beach, Calif ornia, via email. Large airports can be overwhelming. Gates can be farther apart, lines can be longer, crowds can be bigger and louder. 'Sometimes smaller makes it easier to get through the airport,' Siemak says. SECOND CHANCES What if your flight gets canceled or overbooked? It can be less of a problem if your departure airport has multiple options to get you to your destination in time for a business meeting or a bedtime story. Someone trying to get to Cleveland after missing their flight from New York's Kennedy Airport might be out of luck, as there may be only a handful of direct flights a day between JFK and Cleveland Hopkins International. But if you miss your flight from New York's LaGuardia, there often are more nonstop options to that Cleveland airport, increasing your chances of catching a later plane. _________________________________________ This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Robin Saks Frankel is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: rfrankel@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @robinsaks. RELATED LINKS: NerdWallet: TSA Precheck vs. Global Entry: Which is right for you? http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-tsa-global-entry Bureau of Transportation statistics https://www.transtats.bts.gov/ONTIME/FlightNumber.aspx Transportation Security Administration: MyTSA app https://www.tsa.gov/mobile
  • Stocks moved broadly higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street Thursday after several large companies delivered surprisingly good results. The gains had the market on track to claw back modest losses from a day earlier. A breakthrough in negotiations over Britain's exit from the European Union also injected confidence into markets and prompted investors to move money into riskier holdings. Health care stocks led accounted for a big slice of the market's gains. Communication services and industrial companies also rose. Technology stocks were the only laggard. Netflix rose after handily beating Wall Street's third-quarter profit forecasts. Solid earnings from conglomerate Honeywell and railroad CSX lifted industrial stocks. Traders also bid up shares in Morgan Stanley after the bank reported reporting solid third-quarter results. Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.76% from 1.74% late Wednesday. Investors have shifted their focus this week to the latest round of corporate earnings after weeks of turbulence on Wall Street as the market reacted to developments in the trade war between the U.S. and China. Several companies have turned in surprisingly good results and outlooks, which has so far managed to ease some investors' concerns over the economy. But the trade war red flags remain. 'About 76% of those that have reported have beat on earnings,' said Adam Taback, deputy chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank. The forecasts from companies haven't been as negative as many expected, Taback said, but many have raised concerns about 'slowing global growth and risk of trade wars.' Coca-Cola, American Express and Schlumberger report their results Friday. KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index was up 0.4% as of 3:36 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 54 points, or 0.2% to 27,056. The Nasdaq gained 0.4%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks did much better than other indexes, climbing 1.1%. STREAMING PROFIT: Netflix rose 2.9%. The profit beat came even as revenue and subscriber growth fell short of forecasts, though some investors had been bracing for an even bigger letdown. The company is facing major threats to its video streaming service from Apple and Disney, among others. That, and investors' concerns about subscriber growth, have been weighing on the stock recently, pulling it down 22% from a recent peak in early July. FEELING HEALTHY: October has been good for health care stocks, and this week is now exception. The sector is up 2.3% for the month so far and 2.6% this week. By comparison, the S&P 500 index is up about 1% for the week and 0.8% for the month. Even with the recent gains, health care stocks are well behind most other sectors, with only a 6.6% gain for the year. Most other sectors are up by double digit percentages. RIGHT TRACK: CSX rose 1.5% after the railroad beat Wall Street's third-quarter profit forecasts. The company compensated for a 5% decline in shipping volume by cutting costs. OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe closed mostly lower after Britain and the European Union reached a tentative deal over their pending separation. Britain is set to leave the trading bloc on Oct. 31 and both sides want a deal to regulate trade and other issues. The deal must still be approved by the bloc and ratified by the European and U.K. Parliaments. It faces a potentially tough road to approval in Britain's Parliament. ___ AP Business Writer Damian J. Troise contributed.
  • European producers of specialty agricultural products like French wine, Italian Parmesan and Spanish olives are facing a U.S. tariff hike due Friday with a mix of trepidation and indignation at being dragged into a trade war they feel they have little to do with. The tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of European goods were approved by the World Trade Organization as compensation for illegal EU subsidies to plane maker Airbus. The U.S. has some leeway in deciding what goods it puts tariffs on. So while it is taxing European aircraft 10% more, it is walloping agricultural products an extra 25%. 'It's a nightmare,' says Aurélie Bertin, who runs the 700-year-old winery Chateau Sainte-Roseline in southern France. 'We don't know what will be the result.' Her rosé wine business has boomed in recent years thanks to American demand for the beverage. She fears her U.S. sales could drop by a third under the new tariffs. The punitive taxes take particular aim at European agricultural products that have a 'protected name status.' Those are goods that can be sold under a name - like Scotch whisky or Manchego cheese - only if they are from a particular region and follow specific production methods. The result is they fetch premium prices, protect cultural heritage - and are shielded from competitors. U.S.-made Parmesan cheese, for example, is not allowed access to the European market as a copycat of the traditional Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano - a barrier that the U.S. milk producers lobby are pressuring to bring down. Italian President Sergio Mattarella sought to impress on U.S. President Donald Trump during a White House Visit on Wednesday that the taxes may result in a 'mere race between tariffs' after the WTO decides Europe's case later this year over U.S. subsidies to Boeing. Trump was undeterred. European producers feel they are collateral damage from a political squabble entirely unrelated to their business. 'We consider that we are hostages of politics. We are very, very far from aeronautics, even if our wines are served on planes every day,' said Burgundy wine producer Francois Labet. The president of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese consortium, Nicola Bertinelli, said that its members 'are embittered because one of the strongest sectors of our economy is being unjustly hit.' He noted that Italy doesn't even participate in the Airbus consortium of countries that prompted the penalties. The four stakeholders in Airbus - Spain, France, Germany and Britain - were targeted with more tariffs than other EU countries. Spanish olives, for example, have been singled out, while those from Italy and Greece have been left alone. That has created additional anxieties, with Spanish olive producers worried that U.S. buyers will turn to buying from Italian companies instead. The U.S. tariffs appeared to be selectively chosen to hit premium items that well-heeled U.S. consumers could continue to afford even at higher prices - and not sectors that would more directly correlate to the unfair subsidies for Airbus, which could put a damper on the U.S. economy, said Gianmarco Ottaviano, an economics professor at Milan's Bocconi University. 'We don't see a lot of tariffs on things that Italy is exporting a lot, like machinery. The reason is that this is probably more useful than Parmesan cheese to the U.S. economy,' he said. 'You want to punish, but at the same time, you don't want to shoot yourself in the foot.' A tariff is essentially a tax on importers and for small U.S. retailers , they come at a bad time ahead of the holiday season. WTO-authorized sanctions are supposed to prod the trade combatants into resolving their differences. But Trump, who has labeled himself 'Tariff Man,' has enthusiastically slapped import taxes on foreign steel and aluminum and on thousands of Chinese products in separate disputes and has bragged that the levies raise revenue for the U.S. government. 'There should be negotiations,' said Rufus Yerxa, president of the National Foreign Trade Council in Washington and a former U.S. trade official. 'Unfortunately, it seems like we've got a president who's tariff happy. That makes it harder to get those kinds of negotiations and remedies in place.' U.S. wine retailers, distributors and importers already expect some customers to seek alternatives from countries whose products aren't being taxed. And any signs that customers are balking at higher prices will force retailers to absorb their increased costs. The vice president of Italy's main industrial lobby, Lisa Ferrarini, said that European producers could in the longer-term shift exports away from the U.S. market. But director of the Spanish food and beverage industry director disputes that logic, saying, 'there is no alternative to the American market.' European producers and diplomats were still pressing for a last-minute change of heart using all available channels, from social media to diplomacy. Italy's agriculture minister, Teresa Bellanova, tweeted a photo to Trump promoting grapes and Italian Parmesan as a healthy snack, and the president of the Emilia Romagna region, where much of the cheese is produced, has launched a social media campaign in support of the product. Trump, meanwhile, rebuffed Mattarella's in-person overtures, arguing that Europe 'has taken tremendous advantage of the United States.' France's finance and economy minister, Bruno Le Maire, will make another attempt to soften the tariff blow when he meets with U.S. trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer in Washington on Thursday. Le Maire told Europe 1 radio he will warn Lighthizer that Europeans would strike back if the tariffs take effect on Friday. 'We, Europeans, will take similar sanctions in a few months, maybe even harsher ones - within the framework of the WTO - to retaliate to these US sanctions,' he said. ____ Parker reported from Paris. Daniel Cole in Marseille, France, and Joyce M. Rosenberg in New York and Paul Wiseman in Washington contributed to this report.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • An administration official said that U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has formally notified President Donald Trump that he intends to resign. >> Read more trending news  Bloomberg News reported in April that Perry was reportedly planning to leave the Trump administration. Perry became Energy secretary in 2017.Please check back for updates.
  • The U.S. and Turkey agreed Thursday to a five-day ceasefire in Syria, Vice President Mike Pence announced at a news conference in Turkey. >> Read more trending news  Pence said military operations will be paused for 120 hours on the border between Turkey and Syria to give U.S.-allied Syrian Kurds time to withdraw from the area. 'The Turkish side will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow for the withdrawal of YPG forces from the safe zone for 120 hours,' Pence said. 'All military operations under Operation Peace Spring will be paused, and Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely on completion of the withdrawal.' The announcement came after a high-level delegation, including Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. Trump praised the announcement Thursday while speaking with reporters in Forth Worth, Texas. He credited his threat of sanctions on Turkey as 'tough love' that led to the ceasefire. 'This is an incredible outcome,' Trump said. 'It's a great day for the United States. It's a great day for Turkey.' Erdogan announced Turkey launched a military operation in northern Syria last week, days after Trump pulled U.S. troops out of the region. Trump disavowed the decision in statement, saying he 'made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea.' The Associated Press reported the agreement, 'essentially gives the Turks what they had sought to achieve with their military operation in the first place.' Kurdish forces were not party to the agreement, and it was not immediately clear whether they would comply. Ankara has long argued the Kurdish fighters are nothing more than an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has waged a guerrilla campaign inside Turkey since the 1980s and which Turkey, as well as the U.S. and European Union, designate as a terrorist organization. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The next Group of Seven summit will be held in June at Trump National Doral Miami, one of President Donald Trump's golf resorts in Florida, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney announced Thursday. >> Read more trending news  Mulvaney said officials considered about a dozen different locations for the meeting, which will be held June 10-12. 'Doral was far and away the best physical facility for this meeting,' Mulvaney said, adding that a site selection official told him, 'It's almost like they built this facility to host this type of event.' The site was chosen despite ongoing investigations into whether Trump has used his office for personal gain. Mulvaney said Thursday that he was unconcerned by the appearance of a conflict of interest. He told reporters Doral was chosen partially because the site was dramatically cheaper than others officials considered. 'There's no issue here on him profiting from this in any way, shape or form,' Mulvaney said. Trump has touted his resort, saying it's close to the airport, has plenty of hotel rooms and offers separate buildings for every delegation. When the United States has hosted the summit before, it has been held in Puerto Rico; Williamsburg, Virginia; Houston; Denver; Sea Island, Georgia; and Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Tropical storm warnings are in place along the Florida Panhandle for a tropical system that doesn’t even have a name yet. Potential Tropical Cyclone 16 is currently off the coast of Mexico in the southwest Gulf of Mexico.  In recent days, meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center have increased the storm’s chances of tropical development to 90-percent as of the NHC’s latest advisory. The storm is not expected to reach hurricane strength, but it is forecast to make landfall this weekend over the Panhandle as Tropical Storm Nestor. News 96.5 WDBO spoke to the National Weather Service office in Melbourne about what impacts Central Florida could see from the storm.  Meteorologist Scott Kelly says it could impact your weekend plans. “It looks like it will mainly be a rain producer for us with some embedded strong thunderstorms.  We’re not expecting a lot of strong winds with it, although there could be some strong winds with the thunderstorms that come through early on this weekend,” said Kelly. 

Washington Insider

  • Brushing aside questions about the ethics of hosting the G-7 summit at one of President Donald Trump's own  golf properties, the White House announced Thursday that the 2020 meeting of the G-7 will take place at the President's Doral resort in Miami, Florida. “Doral was by far and away - far and away - the best physical facility for this meeting,” said Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Pressed repeatedly by reporters in a rare Q&A in the White House Briefing Room, Mulvaney gave the back of the hand to any ethical concerns. Democrats in Congress said the decision just screamed self-dealing by the President. “This is corruption in the open,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA). “Corruption in plain sight is still corruption,” said Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA). “Unbelievably brazen. Taxpayer and foreign money funneled right to his own club as a result of a decision he is making as President,” tweeted Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY). “This is just open corruption,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ). “Congress should block any taxpayer money from going to G7 while it's at Trump's resort,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH). “This is a textbook case of unconstitutional conduct,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD). “By holding G7 summit at his own resort, the President is using his office to enrich himself,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL). “This is corruption, plain and simple,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who is running for President. Outside ethics watchdog groups chimed in immediately. “By treating the G7 summit like a commercial for his businesses, inviting foreign governments to line his pockets and hold their next meeting at his Doral, FL golf course next year, he mocks the Constitution he swore to uphold,” said Constitutional Accountability Center President Elizabeth Wydra.