No more exception for 'downer' cattle
Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced Tuesday a total ban on the slaughter at meat plants of cows too sick or weak to stand. The planned change comes in the wake of the nation's largest beef recall. It would shut down an exception -- which critics call a loophole -- that allows a small number of so-called "downer" cattle into the food supply if they pass veterinary inspection. Downer cows pose an increased risk for mad cow disease, E. coli and other infections. Schafer announced the planned rule after a 60-day review of conditions at the nation's slaughterhouses. The department hopes to finalize the rule within several months. The review was prompted by a 143 million-pound beef recall in February.
FTC cracks down on telemarketer scams
Federal and state officials announced a widespread crackdown Tuesday against telemarketing scams that have bilked thousands of consumers, many of them seniors, out of tens of millions of dollars. The sweep, dubbed Operation Tele-PHONEY, was coordinated by the Federal Trade Commission and has yielded more than 180 enforcement actions in the United States and Canada. That makes it the largest such operation the FTC has coordinated, the agency said. William Kovacic, chairman of the FTC, said the 180 cases include new civil charges filed by the FTC against 13 telemarketers that defrauded more than 500,000 consumers out of $100 million.
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Wholesale inflation eases up in April
Wholesale inflation slowed in April after a big jump in March, but the improvement is likely to be temporary as consumers are battered in coming months by rising prices for gas, food and a host of other items. For April, wholesale inflation was up 0.2 percent, the Labor Department reported Tuesday, after a 1.1 percent jump in March.
Setting It Straight
The Orchard Supply Hardware store in Turlock has a recycling program for fluorescent tubes, but not household compact fluorescent lights. Incorrect information appeared in a story Tuesday on Page D-1.
A 14-year-old created a successful business centered around a card game called Elementeo, which challenges players to employ the principles of chemistry to vanquish their opponents.