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No photos: Parents opt to keep babies off Facebook

NEW YORK (AP) — Behold the cascade of baby photos, the flood of funny kid anecdotes and the steady stream of school milestones on Facebook.

It all makes Sonia Rao, a stay-at-home mother of a 1-year-old in Mountain View, California, "a little uncomfortable."

At a time when just about everyone and their mother — father, grandmother and aunt — is intent on publicizing the newest generation's early years on social media sites, an increasing number of parents like Rao are bucking the trend by consciously keeping their children's photos, names and entire identities off the Internet.

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US home construction jumps 15.7 per cent in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home construction rebounded in July, rising to an eight-month high and offering hope that housing has regained momentum after two months of declines.

Construction increased 15.7 per cent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million homes, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. That was the fastest pace since November and followed declines of 4 per cent in June and 7.4 per cent in May.

Applications for building permits, considered a good sign of future activity, also showed strength in July, advancing 8.1 per cent to an annual rate of 1.05 million, after declines of 3.1 per cent in June and 5.1 per cent in May.

The July rebound reflected strength in single-family home construction, which rose 8.3 per cent, and in apartment construction, which was up 33 per cent.

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Consumer prices edge up 0.1 per cent in July

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer prices rose in July at the slowest pace in five months, held back by a drop in gasoline prices.

Consumer prices edged up a seasonally adjusted 0.1 per cent last month, after larger gains of 0.3 per cent in June and 0.4 per cent in May, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. It was the smallest increase since a similar 0.1 per cent rise in February.

The July price restraint came from falling gasoline prices, which had surged in June. All energy prices were down 0.3 per cent and this helped offset a 0.4 per cent rise in food costs, which have been pushed up by adverse weather including a drought in California.

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Container shipping rise bodes well for world trade

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The world's largest shipping company says it is sending more containers around world, a sign that global trade — and possibly economic growth — is picking up.

A.P. Moller-Maersk, which investors monitor as a bellwether for world trade, lifted Tuesday its earnings outlook on the back of an increase in freight volumes, a promising development at a time when a major economy like China is slowing and much of Europe remains stagnant.

The Danish group said shipping volumes rose 6.6 per cent in the second quarter, one of several factors that caused its net profit to more than triple to $2.3 billion.

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Home Depot 2Q profit climbs 14 per cent

ATLANTA (AP) — Home Depot's fiscal second-quarter net income surged 14 per cent thanks to a rebound in its spring selling season.

The nation's largest home improvement retailer also raised its annual profit guidance Tuesday.

Spring is the biggest season for home-improvement retailers, as homeowners and others work on their yards and gardens. While the season started off a bit cold and rainy, weather improved and shoppers headed out to stores to pick up supplies. In particular, purchases over $900 like appliances and water heaters, which account for 20 per cent of total U.S. sales, rose 8 per cent.

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AP Exclusive: US changing no-fly list rules

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is promising to change the way travellers can ask to be removed from its no-fly list of suspected terrorists banned from air travel.

The decision comes after a federal judge's ruling that there was no meaningful way to challenge the designation, a situation deemed unconstitutional. In response, the Justice Department said the U.S. will change the process during the next six months. As of late last summer, about 48,000 people were on the no-fly list.

The government's policy is never to confirm or deny that a person actually is on the no-fly list, citing national security concerns. In most instances, travellers assume they are on the list because they are instructed to go through additional screening at airports or because they are told they can't board their flights to, from or within the United States.

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McDonald's to sell packaged coffee nationally

NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald's plans to start selling its packaged coffee at supermarkets nationally by early next year, a move intended to help raise the profile of the coffee sold at its U.S. restaurants.

The world's biggest hamburger chain has made a deal with Kraft Foods to manufacture and distribute the bags of McCafe ground and whole bean coffee, as well as single-cup pods that can be used in at-home coffee machines. Other chains, such as Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts, already sell branded packaged coffee at retailers.

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WhiteWave to remove ingredient from Horizon, Silk

NEW YORK (AP) — WhiteWave Foods says it will remove an ingredient from Horizon milks and Silk beverages in response to customer feedback.

Carrageenan, a seaweed extract that is used as a thickener and emulsifier, will be phased out from Horizon and Silk products over time, said Sara Loveday, a company spokeswoman.

The ingredient has been the subject of criticism in some circles, with natural-food advocates pointing to animal studies that suggest it causes gastrointestinal inflammation and other problems.

Loveday says WhiteWave still thinks carrageenan is safe, but decided to remove it because customer feedback has been so strong.

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Defence grills plant manager in salmonella trial

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) — Defence attorneys for three people charged in a deadly salmonella outbreak sought to deflect blame and poke holes in the government's case Tuesday as they grilled a co-defendant, who is a key prosecution witness.

The co-defendant, Samuel Lightsey, was a former manager of a Georgia peanut processing plant blamed in the 2008-09 outbreak. He was indicted along with his former boss, Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell, and two others. Lightsey pleaded guilty in May after reaching a deal with prosecutors.

The 76-count indictment accuses Parnell and his brother, food broker Michael Parnell, of shipping tainted products to customers and covering up lab tests showing they contained salmonella. It also charges Stewart Parnell and the plant's quality assurance manager, Mary Wilkerson, with obstructing justice.

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Audit: 'Obamacare' tax not meeting revenue target

WASHINGTON (AP) — An "Obamacare" tax on medical devices is falling short of its revenue target because thousands of companies aren't paying it, according to a government audit released Tuesday.

The audit by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration says the IRS needs to do a better job policing the tax. The tax agency, however, doesn't have adequate tools to identify which companies owe it, the audit said.

The report could add fuel to efforts to repeal the tax, which is opposed by Republicans and many Democrats.

While the IRS has taken steps to educate companies about the tax, the agency "faces challenges to definitively identify manufacturers subject to the medical device excise tax reporting and payment requirements," said the inspector general, J. Russell George.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones Industrial average rose 80.85 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 16,919.59. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 9.86 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 1,981.60. The Nasdaq composite climbed 19.20 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4,527.51.

Oil fell $1.93 to close at $94.48 a barrel, and is now down nearly 4 per cent for the month of August as crude supplies remain ample. Brent crude, a benchmark for many international crudes used by U.S. refineries, slipped 4 cents to $101.56 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 3.94 cents to $2.695 a gallon. Heating oil gained 1.11 cents to $2.817 a gallon. Natural gas rose 8.5 cents to $3.877 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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