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Briefcase: Lawsuit delays Lyft debut in New York City

ALBANY, N.Y. – The on-demand ride-sharing app Lyft postponed its scheduled Friday launch in New York City while a state judge will wait until next week to consider whether its planned operations violate state and local laws.

The state attorney general’s office and the Department of Financial Services sued only hours before San Francisco-based Lyft planned to enter the market. Their joint lawsuit says the company actually operates as a traditional for-hire livery service using mobile technology, not a peer-to-peer transportation platform as claimed.

The company operates “in open defiance” of state and local licensing and insurance laws, according to the suit filed in Manhattan.

Meanwhile, its rival Uber agreed with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office to limit prices during emergencies, natural disasters or other unusual market disruptions consistent with New York’s law against price gouging. Uber later said it was adopting that policy in its other markets nationally. Its rates rise and fall with demand. On Monday, Uber said it was temporarily cutting New York City prices to compete with taxis.

Corn crop seen lower; soybean output to rise

DES MOINES, Iowa – Rain that has washed out portions of fields in several corn-growing states prompted the government to lower its estimate of this year’s corn crop size, but soybean fields may actually produce more than earlier expected, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday.

June was uncommonly wet in portions of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Tennessee, with areas of those states reporting more than 12 inches of precipitation for the month.

The USDA said the national average per acre yield of corn is expected to remain at a record 165.3 bushels per acre but the number of acres harvested will be about a half million less than expected last month at 83.8 million acres.

Soybean production estimates were boosted to a record 3.8 billion bushels, which is 165 million bushels higher than last month’s estimate. That was raised because farmers are now expected to harvest 3.6 million additional acres than expected earlier this year.

The government lowered its estimate of prices for both corn and soybeans.

Corn is now expected to bring $3.65 to $4.35 a bushel, down 20 cents on both ends of the range from June’s estimate. Soybeans were lowered 25 cents to a range of $9.50 to $11.50 a bushel.

Oil, natural gas rigs edge up by one in U.S.

HOUSTON – Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by one this week to 1,875.

The Houston firm said in its weekly report Thursday that 1,563 rigs were exploring for oil and 311 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,759 active rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Alaska, Kansas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Texas gained two rigs each. North Dakota, Ohio and Wyoming each gained a rig.

Oklahoma lost 11 rigs, while California and West Virginia lost one each. Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah had unchanged rig counts.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.


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