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Monday
Jan172011

Starbucks to Offer New Supersized Trenta Cup

Photo Courtesy - Starbucks Coffee Company(SEATTLE) -- Coffee addicts have a new reason to celebrate -- Starbucks announced Sunday it will begin offering a new menu item: the 31-ounce Trenta cup.

The new size is seven ounces larger than the current Venti and will be used exclusively for iced coffee, iced tea and lemonade beverages, the company said in a press release.

For a lucky few, Tuesday is the day to supersize your favorite coffee treat. That's when Arizona, Texas, Florida and 14 other states will roll out the new size, followed by California on Feb. 1. The rest of the country will have to wait until May 3, when all of the coffee shops in the U.S. will begin serving the Trenta.

The Trenta will be an average of 50 cents more than the Venti, the next largest size.

Starbucks Corp has unveiled a variety of changes over the past several months as they step up to fend off their latest competition, McDonald's McCafe. In 2009, the world's largest fast-food chain took a new approach to their menu and offered a variety of coffee-house-style beverages, including frappes, fruit smoothies, and lattes at much cheaper prices than Starbucks' equivalents.

But Starbucks continues to stay ahead of the curve. The company is going over plans to begin serving regional wine and beer and artisan cheeses, and redesign the locations for a cozier and greener vibe, according to a new prototype by Starbucks executives.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan172011

Wikipedia Marks 10 Years, Opens First Office in India

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- In 2001, Jimmy Wales wrote "hello world," in his first of many edits to an online encyclopedia site. And 10 years later, the world has said a big hello back. This weekend, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia marked its 10th birthday and on Monday the San Francisco-based site opened its first overseas office in India.

Wikipedia is the fifth most-visited website, claiming over 400 million unique visits per month. More than 13.5 million registered users have contributed a staggering 438,660,528 edits in the last decade. The site's 3.5 million articles are primarily maintained by 15,000 reliable editors who contribute at least 100 times per month.

Editors are unpaid volunteers; the site takes no advertising and is operated by the non-profit Wikimedia. The site operated on $8 million in 2010 and raised over $16 million in its most recent fundraising campaign.

Over the last decade, the site has not been without financial woes and Wales often writes personal letters for donations on the homepage to the Wikipedia community.

Currently, the free website is available in over 270 languages and the new Bangalore office hopes to add at least 20 additional Indian languages.

In an interview with The Press Trust of India, Sue Gardner, chief of Wikimedia, said India was chosen because its "fruitful environment [including] valuing education, free speech and a culture of intellectual debate."

Gardner added that Wikipedia plans to make a push in Brazil, then to the Middle East and Africa to reach editors from different backgrounds.

The average Wikipedia user in 2011 is an educated, 20-something male, but Gardner expects that profile will look much different in 2021.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan162011

Report: Week Ahead Likely to Spotlight Housing as Drag on Recovery

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Experts are looking ahead to this week's economic reports, as likely to spotlight the housing slump as a continuing drag on economic recovery.  Emphasis shifted during the recession from housing to unemployment as the main culprit in slowing down recovery, but with housing still in the numerical dungeon, analysts are re-focusing there.

On Wednesday, the government will release the Housing Starts data for December.  Marketwatch reports that construction permit applications are at their lowest level since April 2009.  Joel Naroff, of Naroff Economic Advisors, told the website that construction is weak because the foreclosure crisis has hit hardest in regions where construction would naturally be strong. He said that keeps builders from starting new projects.

On Thursday, the National Association of Realtors will release the latest figures on existing home sales.  A slight rise in sales is expected, but at 3.2 percent it's just enough to bring the number to the depressed levels of 2007 and 2008.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan152011

US National Debt Passes $14 Trillion Mark

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The United States government’s debt surpassed the $14 trillion mark on Saturday, inching closer to the $14.3 trillion debt limit.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner earlier this month asked that Congress act quickly to raise the limit.

“Default would effectively impose a significant and long-lasting tax on all Americans and all American businesses and could lead to the loss of millions of American jobs," Geithner wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner. “Even a very short-term or limited default would have catastrophic economic consequences that would last for decades.”

Saying that Congress needs to tread carefully, Boehner issued a response to the Administration's request to raise the limit.

“The American people will not stand for such an increase unless it is accompanied by meaningful action by the President and Congress to cut spending and end the job-killing spending binge in Washington,” Boehner said. “While America cannot default on its debt, we also cannot continue to borrow recklessly, dig ourselves deeper into this hole, and mortgage the future of our children and grandchildren.”

Boehner urged bipartisan cooperation in addressing the budget process.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan152011

BP Teams with Russia-Based Rosneft Energy

Photo Courtesy - JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Oil giant BP has announced a long-term deal with Russia's state-run energy firm to explore and eventually drill in the Arctic.

The deal with Russia-based Rosneft was made to explore vast expanses of untapped land and water in the Arctic in search of oil and natural gas.

“Cross-investment between countries and companies is what brings together cooperation and changes the way everyone operates there,” BP CEO Bob Dudley said.

“This is an opportunity to work with Rosneft in the country that produces the most oil in the world,” said Dudley, “in an area that can bring our exploration expertise to play.”

Dudley said the deal is a great fit for both companies, and that it's impossible to compare this effort to the company’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

“It's a different climate.  This is not deep water,” said Dudley. “This is shallow water. It's very cold. It requires the kind of experience that we have from operating in Alaska.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan152011

Small Town Pair Launches Own Currency

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NORTH FORK, Calif.) -- It may not be legal tender anywhere else, but if you want your lawn mowed in North Fork, California, you can pay for it with scrip bearing hummingbirds or butterflies and negotiable around town for other services too, like car repairs or yoga class.

Josh Freeman, 45, decided to launch the currency, worth about $12 a share, to combat what he sees as the disintegration of the small town lifestyle and economy in North Fork, almost exactly in the center of the state.  Freeman created the currency with another town resident, 45-year-old Dan Rosenberg. 

In the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, they talk about how towns like theirs lose business to big retailers in the cities to which an increasing number of their fellow townsfolk commute every day.  That puts the locals out of business, reduces the tax base and services available and could eventually kill a town.

The two men decided to do something about what they see as an impending threat, so their butterfly and hummingbird scrip was born. 

It may not challenge big banks or major retailers but Freeman and Rosenberg hope it keeps their businesses open and their town viable. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan152011

GM Expands Recall to 27,000 Vehicles

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DETROIT) -- General Motors is expanding a December 2010 recall of some 2011 model year trucks to replace a rear axle cross pin that could fracture, causing the axle to lock while the car is in motion.

Last year’s recall included just 1,262 vehicles in the U.S. The revised recall, issued Saturday, includes nearly 27,000 vehicles.

Recalled models include Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV, Cadillac EXT, Chevrolet Avalanche, Colorado, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe; and GMC Canyon, Sierra, Yukon and Yukon XL.

GM said the company is aware of one incident in connection to the recall. There have been no crashes or injuries as a result.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan142011

JPMorgan Chase Reports Strong Earnings

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- On Friday, JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced earnings of $4.8 billion in its fourth quarter of 2010, a 47 percent increase compared to the $3.3 billion the company reported for the fourth quarter of 2009.

"Solid performance in the quarter and for the year reflected good results across most of our businesses,” said CEO Jamie Dimon in a press release on Friday.

“Credit trends in our credit card and wholesale businesses continued to improve. In our mortgage business, while charge-offs and delinquencies have improved, credit costs still remain at abnormally high levels and continue to be a significant drag on our returns," Dimon said.

Dimon said the company weathered the “worst economic storm in recent history,” noting there are “signs of stability and growth returning to both the global capital markets and the U.S. economy.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan142011

Angry Birds, Dethroned: New Game Takes Top Spot for iPhone

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CUPERTINO, Calif.) -- Move over Angry Birds. There’s a new top game for iPhone.

A free app, a game called Bubble Ball, displaced the oh-so-addicting Angry Birds on Friday as the top free app for iPhone.

Bubble Ball was created by 8th grader Robert Nay, a first-time game developer from Spanish Fork, Utah.

The game has been downloaded over 1.5 million times in just more than two weeks. On Thursday alone, it was downloaded 400,000 times.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan142011

Rank Your Co-Workers, See How They Rank You

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Chances are you've already sized up your co-workers in private, so why not have some fun with it online? At least that's what the new website Cubeduel wants you to do.

The new site, which launched this week, ranks your current and former co-workers by placing them in head-to-head match-ups and then letting you vote for your favorites. If you vote on enough duels, the site also reveals how others have rated you.

To access Cubeduel, you sign into the site with your LinkedIn information. The site then uses your work history to create the duels between current and former colleagues.

As you click on your favorites, the site combines your votes with those from other users to assign rankings to everyone on the site. Once you've voted on 20 pairs, Cubeduel reveals how many duels you've won and shows you the top scorers from each of the companies or organizations listed on your LinkedIn profile.

And if you're worried about getting in trouble with the boss, don't be. The founders say all voting is absolutely anonymous.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio