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Yellen: Job market makes Fed hesitant on rate hike

JACKSON HOLE, Wyoming (AP) — If anyone thought Janet Yellen might clarify her view of the U.S. job market in her speech here Friday, the Federal Reserve chair had a message:

The picture is still hazy.

Though the unemployment rate has steadily dropped, Yellen suggested that other gauges of the job market have become harder to assess and may reflect persistent weakness. These include many people jobless for more than six months, millions working part time who want full-time jobs and weak pay growth.

Yellen offered no clarity on the timing of the first interest rate increase, which most economists still expect by mid-2015.

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More schools are mixing beer, football at stadiums

Walk through the tailgate area at a college football stadium, and beer drinking is as common a sight as fans adorned in jerseys of their favourite players.

A growing number of schools are bringing the party inside, opening taps in concourses that traditionally have been alcohol-free zones.

North Texas, SMU and Troy University will begin beer sales to the general public this season. They're among 21 on-campus football stadiums where any fan of legal age can grab a brew. That's more than twice as many as five years ago.

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Ferguson fallout: A call for police 'body cams'

NEW YORK (AP) — What if Michael Brown's last moments had been recorded?

The fatal police shooting of the unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri, is prompting calls for more officers to wear so-called body cameras, simple, lapel-mounted gadgets that capture video footage of law enforcement's interactions with the public. Proponents say the devices add a new level of accountability to police work.

The case supporters make is simple: Cops and criminal suspects alike are less likely to misbehave if they know they're being recorded. And there's some evidence supporting it. In a recent Cambridge University study, the police department in Rialto, California — a city of about 100,000— saw an 89 per cent decline in the number of complaints against officers in a yearlong trial using the cameras.

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Jell-O can't stop slippery sales slide

NEW YORK (AP) — Jell-O has lost its jiggle and nobody knows how to fix it.

The dessert was invented more than a century ago and helped popularize a delicacy reserved for the rich into a quick, affordable treat. Americans of all ages are familiar with the famous "J-E-L-L-O" jingle and TV ads featuring comedian Bill Cosby. Knocking back Jell-O shots made with alcohol is a college memory for many.

Yet despite its enduring place in pop culture, sales have tumbled 19 per cent in the past four years, with alternatives such as Greek yogurt surging in popularity. Executives at Kraft Foods, which owns Jell-O, say they're confident they can revitalize the brand. But their efforts so far have been a disappointment.

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New go-to career for New England's young: Farming

CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) — Farming is hip in New England.

Across the region, young people are choosing crops over cubicles, new farms are popping up and the local food movement is spreading.

Farmers and industry experts agree New England is bucking a trend toward larger, but fewer, farms because many of its residents want to buy their food locally and its entrepreneurs want to produce it. The region's small size makes it easy for farmers and consumers to connect at farm markets and stands.

Many of these new farmers are young people increasingly interested in the origins of their food and farming, who are eager to take over for the nation's aging farmers.

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Democrats reframe debate on health care

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's unpopular health care law is losing some of its political punch as vulnerable Democrats see it as less of an election-year minus and Republicans increasingly talk about fixing it instead of repealing.

Two-term Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, who is locked in one of the most competitive races in the country, says in an ad this week that he voted for a law that prevents insurers from cancelling policies if someone gets sick, as he did 18 years ago when he was diagnosed with cancer.

That prohibition on terminating policies in this fashion is one of the more popular elements of the 4-year-old law that Pryor never mentions by its official name — the Affordable Care Act.

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McDonald's names new US president again

NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald's named a new president for its struggling U.S. division on Friday, marking the second change in the high-profile spot in less than two years.

The world's biggest hamburger chain says it's bringing back a longtime McDonald's executive, Mike Andres, to fill the role effective Oct. 15. Andres replaces Jeff Stratton, who is retiring, and inherits some major challenges.

Stratton, 58, took over in late 2012 and replaced Jan Fields. That shake-up was made shortly after McDonald's Corp. reported its first monthly sales drop in nearly a decade. Sales in the U.S. have remained weak ever since, with the company facing intensifying competition and changing eating habits. In the April-to-June quarter, the company reported a 1.5 per cent sales decline at established U.S. locations. Then for July, it reported a 3.2 per cent drop.

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Vegas' storied Sahara casino reborn, transformed

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Moroccan-themed Sahara casino that once hosted Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the Beatles seemed a lost cause in 2011, when its owners declared the 59-year-old property unprofitable and shut it down with little more than a vague promise to return.

SBE Group CEO Sam Nazarian had purchased the Las Vegas Strip resort in 2007 with dreams of restoring its former glory, but the recession stalled the plans, driving the owners to close two of the three hotel towers and hawk rooms for $1 per night over Twitter.

The decision to cling to the shabby casino will look nothing short of prescient at the stroke of midnight Friday, when the reincarnated Sahara opens as the vibrant SLS Las Vegas amid the glare of fireworks.

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Dynegy to spend $6.25B on power plant acquisitions

Dynegy plans to spend more than $6 billion to buy several coal and gas power generation plants from Duke Energy and Energy Capital Partners.

Shares of the Houston power producer soared Friday before markets opened and after it announced the deals.

The company plans to spend $2.8 billion on Duke's retail business and ownership interest in several plants and $3.45 billion for assets of Energy Capital Partners, or ECP. The deal will add about 12,500 megawatts of coal and gas generation and expand Dynegy's retail business into Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Dynegy said that the deals will boost its presence in the Midwest and New England, including three new markets: Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. The company expects to nearly double its existing portfolio to almost 26,000 megawatts of generating capacity nationally.

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New Obama birth control fixes for religious groups

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to quell a politically charged controversy, the Obama administration announced new measures Friday to allow religious nonprofits and some companies to opt out of paying for birth control for female employees while still ensuring those employees have access to contraception.

Even so, the accommodations may not fully satisfy religious groups who oppose any system that makes them complicit in providing coverage they believe is immoral.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones Industrial average fell 38.27 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 17,001.22. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 3.97 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 1,988.40. The Nasdaq composite added 6.45 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 4,538.55.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 31 cents to $93.65 a barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils imported by U.S. refineries, shed 34 cents to $102.29 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline lost a penny to $2.738 a gallon. Heating oil declined a penny to $2.828 a gallon. Natural gas gave up 5 cents to $3.840 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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