Dollars & Sense

Brutality spurs bans on company's meat

Hamburger chains Jack in the Box and In-N-Out as well as more than 150 school districts around the nation have banned meat from a Chino slaughterhouse after a video released by the Humane Society showed workers brutalizing sick and crippled cows, officials said Friday. The New York City public school system -- the nation's largest with 1.1 million students -- pulled all hamburgers from its menus. School districts in at least 11 states have stopped using ground beef from Hallmark Meat Packing Co. and its associated Westland Meat Co. until a federal investigation is complete. Inspectors were at the packing plant on Friday, USDA spokeswoman Angela Harless said. No illnesses linked to the beef have been reported.

India, Mideast work to get back online

Bandwidth providers said they expected India's Internet service to be back to about 80 percent of its usual speed by late Friday, a day after Internet service across a swath of Asia and the Middle East was disrupted. In Egypt, meanwhile, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Tarek Kamil said service would be up to about 80 percent of its usual capacity within 48 hours. Two cables that carry Internet traffic deep under the Mediterranean Sea snapped Wednesday just as the workday was ending in India, so the full impact was not felt until Thursday. India took one of the biggest hits, and the damage from its slowdowns and outages struck some U.S. and European companies that rely on its outsourcing industry to handle customer service and other operations. The situation improved Friday as international bandwidth providers shifted traffic to cables under the Pacific Ocean.

OPEC rebuffs pleas

OPEC decided Friday to keep pumping oil at present levels -- a rebuff to Washington and a possible prelude to cutting production as early as next month if the shaky U.S. economy puts a dent in demand. The decision was taken despite U.S. urging -- backed by other major consumers -- for more oil on the market to cool prices and relieve inflationary pressures that have contributed to fears of a global economic downturn.

Coming Sunday

Consumer Reporters put some of the latest exercise devices through a workout to determine if any of them are worth buying.