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Retailers see slight back-to-school gains

Fri., Sept. 6, 2013, midnight

NEW YORK – Many retailers are reporting modest gains for August as shoppers spent cautiously on clothing. The results cap a disappointing back-to-school selling season that raises questions about whether Americans will spend during the winter holidays, the biggest shopping period of the year.

Revenue at stores opened at least a year – an industry measure of a retailer’s health – rose 3.7 percent in August, a small uptick from the 3.5 percent gain from July, according to a preliminary tally of eight retailers by the International Council of Shopping Centers. The figure excludes drug store chains.

Virgin Galactic craft reaches Mach 1.43

LOS ANGELES – British billionaire Richard Branson’s commercial space venture Virgin Galactic took one step closer to carrying tourists into space with its latest supersonic test flight.

On Thursday, the company’s rocket plane went Mach 1.43 in the skies above the Mojave Desert. It is the second time the aircraft, named SpaceShipTwo, has broken the sound barrier.

The test flight is a key milestone in Virgin Galactic’s effort to be the world’s first commercial space liner, which would make several trips a day carrying scores of paying customers into space for a brief journey.

After a short free fall, pilot Mark Stucky and co-pilot Clint Nichols engaged the hybrid rocket motor – powered by nitrous oxide and a rubber compound – for 20 seconds.

SpaceShipTwo blasted to Mach 1.43, reaching about 56,000 feet in altitude.

Chobani recalling Greek yogurt

NEW YORK – Chobani says it’s recalling some of its Greek yogurt cups that were affected by mold, a move prompted by reports of illnesses by some customers.

The recall comes about a week after the company first started asking retailers to pull the products from shelves, saying some cups were “swelling and bloating.” Chobani had previously said it wasn’t issuing a formal recall.

But the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that it was in talks with the company about the matter.

Chobani said most of the affected products have already been pulled from shelves. The company, based in New Berlin, N.Y., said the affected products came from its Idaho facility and represents less than 5 percent of its total production.

The containers are marked with the code 16-012 and expiration dates Sept. 11 to Oct. 7.

Greece likely to need more financial aid

BRUSSELS – The head of the Eurogroup, the eurozone finance ministers’ meetings, says there’s no doubt Greece will need more financial aid beyond its current rescue loan programs ending next year.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem told lawmakers at the European Parliament on Thursday that “Greece’s trouble will not have been completely resolved by 2014.”

Greece has been kept out of bankruptcy since 2010 with rescue loans worth $316 billion from its eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund. The possible need for further aid has proven a politically toxic issue in creditor countries like Germany.

Dijsselbloem said “it’s realistic to assume that additional assistance will be needed beyond the program” provided Greece will comply with conditions set out by the Eurogroup. He said a decision won’t be made before next year.


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