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Bakers, farmers struggle to make any dough on poor wheat crop

Bakers, farmers struggle to make any dough on poor wheat cropGonnella Baking Co - which supplies the buns to Major League Baseball's Wrigley Field - faced an unusual problem in October when flour from this year's U.S. wheat harvest arrived at their factories containing low levels of protein. By the time the alchemy was done, Gonnella had thrown away more than $20,000 worth of substandard bread and buns, said president Ron Lucchesi. "That really was a headache," Lucchesi said.


Weary firefighters brace for second week battling California wildfire

Weary firefighters brace for second week battling California wildfireBy Phoenix Tso SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (Reuters) - Crews battling a massive wind-driven California wildfire that has torched nearly 800 buildings and charred 230,000 acres are bracing on Monday to protect communities menaced by flames along the state's scenic coastline. The Thomas Fire ignited last week and is burning in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles. "Fire will continue to threaten the communities of Carpenteria, Summerland, Montecito and surrounding areas," the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire)said in a Sunday night update.


HSBC announces end to suspended sentence for Mexican cartel case

HSBC announces end to suspended sentence for Mexican cartel caseHSBC on Monday said its deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice has expired, marking an end to the threat of further punishment for lapses in its anti-money laundering controls. HSBC said it has lived up to its commitments under the five-year deal signed in December 2012, under which it pledged to strengthen its sanctions and anti-money laundering controls. Europe's biggest bank entered into the five-year agreement and paid a $1.9 billion fine for failing to prevent Mexican cartels from laundering hundreds of millions of dollars through the bank.


Monsanto offers cash to U.S. farmers who use controversial chemical

Monsanto offers cash to U.S. farmers who use controversial chemicalMonsanto Co will give cash back to U.S. farmers who buy a weed killer that has been linked to widespread crop damage, offering an incentive to apply its product even as regulators in several U.S. states weigh restrictions on its use. The incentive to use XtendiMax with VaporGrip, a herbicide based on a chemical known as dicamba, could refund farmers over half the sticker price of the product in 2018 if they spray it on soybeans Monsanto engineered to resist the weed killer, according to company data. The United States faced an agricultural crisis this year caused by new formulations of dicamba-based herbicides, which farmers and weed experts say harmed crops because they evaporated and drifted away from where they were sprayed.


California wildfire rages toward scenic coastal communities

California wildfire rages toward scenic coastal communitiesBy Phoenix Tso SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (Reuters) - A massive California wildfire that has already destroyed nearly 800 structures scorched another 56,000 acres on Sunday, making it the fifth largest such blaze in recorded state history, as it ran toward picturesque coastal cities.But fire officials said as darkness fell that with the hot, dry Santa Ana winds not as fierce as expected, crews had been successful in building some fire lines between the flames and the towns of Montecito and Carpinteria. "This is a menacing fire, certainly, but we have a lot of people working very diligently to bring it under control," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told an evening press conference.


California wildfire rages toward scenic coastal communities

California wildfire rages toward scenic coastal communitiesBy Phoenix Tso SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (Reuters) - A raging wildfire pushed toward a string of California coastal cities on Sunday, prompting new evacuations as crews fought to save homes in the face of gusty winds that have fueled blazes across the state for nearly a week. Authorities ordered residents in parts of Carpinteria and Montecito to leave early on Sunday as the Thomas Fire edged closer to Santa Barbara, about 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Los Angeles on the scenic central California coast. The blaze, the worst of six major fires in Southern California in the last week and already the 10th largest on record in the state since 1932, has blackened 173,000 acres (62,726 hectares), destroyed hundreds of structures and left nearly 90,000 homes and businesses without power.


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