The Common Core State Standards may help prepare disadvantaged students for college-level classes, according to some early data. Progress is shown among low-income and minority students in several states, such as Kentucky, Massachusetts and New York. "Research shows that students who are exposed to rigorous curricula and the practices that the Common Core embodies are more likely to succeed in college or a career," writes Tiffany Miller, director for education policy at the Center for American Progress.
Wages and benefits paid by U.S. employers this spring rose at the slowest pace since the second quarter of 1982, the Labor Department said. The employment cost index, which tracks salaries, wages and benefits, climbed 0.2% in Q2, compared with a 0.7% gain in Q1.
Elly Kirk, a North Carolina eighth-grader, has launched a campaign urging the staff at her middle school to include vegetarian lunch options. Kirk said she wants items such as beans, veggie burgers and baked potatoes added to the menu for students who prefer meatless meals. Her online petition has attracted international attention, with more than 28,000 signatures and praise from the school principal for activism.
Mortgage rates fell this week as global economic news pushed bond yields lower. The 30-year fixed-rate average dropped to 3.98% -- the first time it dipped below 4% in eight weeks, according to Freddie Mac.
Groupon is launching its Groupon to Go food delivery and takeout service in Chicago, with plans to expand to metro regions across the country, including Boston and Austin, Texas, this fall. Groupon purports to save customers up to 10% on every order, keeping the new service in line with the brand's image as a deal-finder.
The FDA released for public comment a proposed nutrition facts label that includes a new line showing the "percent daily value" of added sugar in foods. The FDA also reopened the comment period for the overall updated nutrition facts panel that emphasizes calories and more realistic serving sizes.
Nokia's HERE mapping service will be sold for $3.1 billion to BMW, Audi and Daimler AG as the group of German automakers eyes the technology for driverless vehicles. "High-precision digital maps are a crucial component of the mobility of the future," said Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler.
Sears Home Appliances and Services unit is taking aim at the do-it-yourself approach favored by its competitors and encouraging shoppers to take advantage of the retailer's home services in a new campaign. Sears' services, which include kitchen remodels, window installations and roofing, have previously been advertised through local and direct marketing, but Sears sees "a lot of room in the marketplace for do-it-for-me," said Chip Smith, Sears marketing chief for home appliances and services.
A previously secret National Security Agency map tracking Chinese hackers' computer intrusions shows a concentration of attacks in Silicon Valley. California was the most frequently targeted state during a five-year period that ended early last year, the map shows.
Bayer Healthcare's Finacea, or topical azelaic acid 15% foam, has obtained FDA approval for use in treating inflammatory papules and pustules in patients with mild to moderate rosacea. The decision was based on two clinical trials that showed the drug effectively decreased inflammatory lesion count after a 12-week treatment period, compared with a vehicle control.
AT&T is promoting a $200 monthly cellphone and TV Everywhere bundle that it plans to offer throughout the U.S. -- marking the first fruits of its merger with DIRECTV. Starting Aug. 10, the carrier will provide four phone lines with unlimited voice and texting, along with 10 gigabytes of sharable data. On the video side, AT&T will hook up four TVs with HD and DVR features and the ability to watch on any mobile device.
The St. Croix River bridge, the Tappan Zee Bridge and other major bridge projects under construction across the U.S. are turning into major tourist draws. Contractors and transportation officials have been surprised by the number of people who board boats or take guided tours to view the projects. "The larger the project is, the more the interest is," said construction firm spokeswoman Karen Lenehan, who expects to take 400 people on tours this year of the George V. Voinovich Bridge project over the Cuyahoga River in Ohio.
TransCanada will continue to seek approval for building the Keystone XL pipeline in spite of speculations that President Barack Obama will reject the project, said President and CEO Russ Girling. Demand for the pipeline "remains high as consumers continue to use more and more gasoline refined from barrels of crude oil," he said. However, the company has not made any decision on whether it will use a North American Free Trade Agreement provision to press for a federal decision, Girling said.
Transportation Security Administration officers have found 92 guns at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport so far this year. A total of 109 guns were found at the airport last year.
InterContinental Hotel Group reported stronger revenue this week but declined to comment on rumors of a merger with Starwood. Chief Executive Richard Solomons expects strong performance to continue for the rest of the year. "Our preferred brands demonstrated their continued momentum as we signed the highest number of Holiday Inn rooms ever in the first half, including the two largest properties for the brand, and strengthened our leadership position in the fast-growing boutique segment," he said.