McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Business Budget for Friday, November 29, 2013

Updated at 8 a.m. EST (1300 UTC)

This budget is now available on MCT Direct at http://www.mctdirect.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.


^Food industry looks beyond trans fats

TRANSFATS-BIZPLUS:HK _ Supreme Oil Co. has been making vegetable oil products in Englewood, N.J., including some that contain trans fats, for more than 30 years.

But demand for its Pro-Fry commercial deep frying oil and its Admiration brand margarine _ both made with trans-fatty partially hydrogenated oil _ has been on the wane and may soon disappear.

Concerns over the linking of trans fats to a greater risk of heart attacks have been mounting for decades, and those concerns moved to the forefront this month as the Food and Drug Administration issued a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils are not "generally recognized as safe," setting in motion a possible national ban of the substances.

While major restaurant chains like McDonald's, Wendy's and Dunkin' Donuts have greatly reduced their reliance on trans-fatty oils in recent years, many small, independent restaurants have not.

1150 (with trims) by Richard Newman. MOVED



^Commentary: Luxury auto brands give eco-friendly a spin


And not just far-off concepts that drivers will need to wait years for, either. BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac each brought production-ready fully electric or plug-in hybrid models.

With this in mind, the Los Angeles Times hopped into the BMW i3, Mercedes-Benz B-Class and Cadillac ELR for brief drives. Each will cruise into dealerships within the next 14 months. Here's what we thought.

1300 by David Undercoffler. MOVED


^An auto writer pushes all-electric Tesla to limits of range

AUTO-TESLAMODELS-1STPERSON:DA _ A couple of weeks ago, I strapped into the seat of a $100,000 green roller coaster streaking for the future.

It was not a bad way to spend a workday.

Actually, videographer Brian Elledge and I had climbed into a Tesla Model S, a low, long, slinky electric sedan striving to forever change the perception of alternative-fuel cars.

We took delivery of the dark metallic green Tesla on a sunny Wednesday morning, marveling at the enormous 17-inch touch screen in the center of the dash that controlled virtually all of the car's functions _ everything from the stereo to the suspension.

We wanted to test the high-tech Tesla's range claims, always a concern with electric cars, and see whether the company's new supercharger stations worked as advertised.

1150 (with trims) by Terry Box. MOVED


^Mini Cooper's retro styling runs only skin-deep

AUTO-MINICOOPER:LA _ When Mini first rolled out the reborn Cooper in 2002, selling a small, fuel-efficient car _ especially a pricey one selling itself on quirky styling _ might not have seemed like the best idea.

Gas was around $1.30 a gallon, and full-size SUVs _ gas-guzzling dinosaurs that have since been largely chased into extinction _ ruled the road.

Yet Mini, which was revived by BMW, saw a unique space with few competitors, and pushed forward with the small two-door hatchback. Its retro style was a modern interpretation of the original Mini from the 1960s.

With an offbeat design and colorful marketing, the Cooper motored on to immense popularity. Since that 2002 launch, nearly 550,000 of the cars, in numerous variants, have been snatched up over two generations of the Cooper.

Now we've met the third.

900 by David Undercoffler. MOVED



^Auto review: Tundra 1794 Edition adds a Texas touch

AUTO-TOYOTATUNDRA-REVIEW:FT _ The newest generation of Toyota's San Antonio-built Tundra full-size pickup truck has arrived for 2014, sporting a new chiseled exterior design, a more-refined interior and plenty of new standard and optional technologies.

Besides being assembled in Texas, the new Tundra has 75 percent North American content, Toyota says.

The star of the new Tundra lineup is the 1794 Edition, a fancy version similar in concept to GMC's Sierra Denali, Chevrolet's Silverado High Country, and Ford's F-series King Ranch models. Toyota says the 1794 Edition _ named after the date of the founding of the ranch upon which the Tundra plant sits _ "reflects a Western lifestyle theme."

1350 by G. Chambers Williams III. MOVED


^Auto review: Aston Martin Vanquish Volante ready to take flight

AUTO-ASTONVOLANTE-REVIEW:OC _ Forget James Bond. Aston Martin's most powerful convertible ever is the automotive embodiment of David Beckham _ an impeccable physical specimen endowed with the rare combination of pretty boy good looks and athletic prowess so exceptional it's difficult to believe.

But such is the 2014 Vanquish Volante.

At least the 565-horsepower grand tourer will be available to more individuals than Victoria Beckham and the couple's four children, though not too many more. Introduced in August and available early next year, the $300,820 Vanquish Volante is one of just five models in an exclusive lineup that sells a mere 3,800 cars annually.

1100 by Susan Carpenter. MOVED




These features regularly move on Friday:


WEEKAHEAD:MI _ A preview of the business world's biggest events in the coming week.

300 by Tom Hudson. MOVED


AUTO-HOOD:MCT _ Automotive questions and answers.

550 by Brad Bergholdt. MOVED


AUTO-PHELAN-COLUMN:DE _ Observations on the auto industry by Detroit-based auto critic.

650 by Mark Phelan.

Moving later


AUTO-PRINTZ-COLUMN:VP _ Commentary on autos and America's car culture.

550 by Larry Printz. (Not moving this week.)


AUTO-MOTORING-QA:MS _ Questions and answers on auto maintenance and troubleshooting.

550 by Paul Brand. MOVED



These features move Friday for Sunday release:


PFP-MARKSJARVIS-COLUMN-ADV:TB _ Not moving this week _ Personal finance strategies in response to the news of the day

800 by Gail MarksJarvis.


PFP-SPENDINGSMART-ADV:TB _ Sunday release _ Methods for managing spending and budgets.

1000 by Gregory Karp. MOVED


MCT is now offering photo galleries for use on your websites and apps available at http://www.mctdirect.com/gallery/. In our stuffed photo gallery files you will find hand-picked groups of 10-20 hi-res jpgs, complete with slideshow-ready captions. For a limited time, these galleries are being offered as part of your MCT Photo subscription or are available for download a la carte. If you have content questions or suggestions, please contact the MCT Photo Desk at 202-383-6099 or mctphotohelp@mctinfoservices.com.


EDITORS: The following are among the best McClatchy-Tribune News Service business stories that moved this week and are still suitable for use this weekend and beyond.

^Modern relationships made, marred, mended by technology

CPT-TECHLIFE-RELATIONSHIPS:SJ _ Lia MacDonald sat down at her laptop and clicked on Facebook. There he was, her old flame, asking for her.

"I remember the good times, too," she tapped on her keyboard.

Since Lia MacDonald and her husband became one of Match.com's first success stories when they met online in 1996, they have become a Silicon Valley social experiment for our times. But 14 years after their match, the technology that brought the MacDonalds together was threatening to tear them apart.

More than ever, people are connecting with partners across the globe, giving new meaning to long-distance relationships and creating bonds that never existed in a pre-digital world. And it's not just about love. People are counting among their friends those who may share a passion for pinot noir or the Pittsburgh Steelers, even though they've never actually met.

Like so many of us, though, the MacDonalds discovered that all this connectivity can come with a cost. Since it's so easy to reach across the globe to make our next best friend _ or rediscover an old one _ we're stumbling at staying focused on the people who are physically closest to us, in the same house, at the same dinner table, in the same bed.

2300 (with trims) by Julia Prodis Sulek. MOVED


^Convenience of technology comes at a cost

CPT-TECHLIFE-CONVENIENCE:SJ _ As he rose to his feet from a knuckle-dragging crouch, primitive cave man wrapped his newly evolved opposable thumbs around the handy tools of his time _ a club or spear _ and instantly his life got easier. Two million years later, we have ascended from the apes to the apps. With a fierce, prehensile hold on the bedrock tool of our time, 21st century man wraps his life around a most modern convenience _ the smartphone _ and begins his day, thumbs flying.

These portals in the palm of our hands are passports to a nearly friction-free online world, where long lines are banished with a few keystrokes, where Bach and the Beatles (and Wiki bios about both) wait to be summoned from our pockets, and where global positioning satellites descend from the cloud with maps that get us where we're going.

That kind of convenience was the inevitable destination of the technological revolution all along. The upheaval has reordered our lives around easier, faster and more impersonal ways of doing almost everything. We've been swept up in a global "service economy" that values bandwidth over balance, and distributes entire industries into new categories of digitally-enabled winners and brick-and-mortar losers: the click and the dead.

2200 (with trims) by Bruce Newman. MOVED


^Mobile shopping transforms holiday retail season

CPT-MOBILESHOPPING:SJ _ If the crowds at the mall seem a bit thinner this holiday season, it may be because more shoppers are at home, buying gifts on an iPad.

This year, more consumers than ever before are expected to rely on their mobile gadgets as holiday shopping companions. There's even a name for it: "couch commerce."

Consumers are turning to smartphones and tablets not only to make purchases, but also for coupons and promotions, to search for gifts and compare prices.

Retailers are responding too, trotting out snazzy new apps and mobile sites to encourage shoppers to buy their brands.

1000 (with trims) by Heather Somerville. MOVED


^Small Business Saturday catching on as enticement to shop local

SMALLBIZ-SATURDAY:SA _ Amid the chirping, twittering and fluttering, The Bird Shop in Sacramento, Calif., has all the sounds of a bustling holiday season. From her perch amid dozens of chattering parrots, parakeets, cockatiels and canaries, third-generation owner Tiffany Latino is counting on strong sales in the weeks ahead.

And there's one day she's particularly zeroed in on: this weekend's Small Business Saturday, a nationwide event to encourage holiday shoppers to spend some dollars at local, independent businesses.

With fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, small businesses say they need the holidays _ and the attention focused on Nov. 30 _ to go out big.

800 by Claudia Buck. MOVED


^Q&A: Active retirement is the new normal, financial executive says

PFP-SRS-ACTIVERETIREMENT-QA:CH _ It's a confusing time to be planning for retirement.

The Dow Jones industrial average last week broke 16,000 for the first time. But uncertainty in the economy continues, and low interest rates still make it difficult to find a decent rate of return.

In the middle of all that, Tim Steffen, Milwaukee-based wealth management firm Baird's director of financial planning, came to Charlotte, N.C., recently to speak to his company's advisers and clients. He sat down with the Charlotte Observer beforehand to discuss the stock market's recent success and how that affects retirement planning.

800 by Andrew Dunn. MOVED

^For many seniors, the work never ends

WRK-OLDERWORKERS:DA _ Arno Zwillenberg is well into the golden years of his life.

Yet at 91, he's looking for a job and taking classes to make himself more attractive to a potential employer.

His monthly Social Security check of about $1,400 just about pays the bills, including an occasional trip to Wendy's for his favorite chicken sandwich. But it doesn't stretch to cover trips to visit family afar or other extras.

"Being the real cheapskate that I am, I can just about make it," said Zwillenberg, who lives with his cat, Pumpkin, in a Dallas townhome.

He is one of a growing number of 60-somethings to 90-somethings who are returning to the labor force or delaying retirement indefinitely for financial and other reasons.

1350 (with trims) by Sheryl Jean. MOVED

^Hospitals looking for cash upfront

HOSPITALS-PAYMENTS:TB _ Before undergoing an MRI, a CT scan or a surgery to clean up that wobbly knee, consumers had better become accustomed to hearing: "How do you intend to pay for that?"

As more Americans move into health insurance plans that require them to foot a larger portion of the bill for their care, hospitals are taking steps to ensure consumers live up to their end of the bargain.

Many health systems and physician groups are adopting new strategies to ensure they'll collect for providing health services, including asking patients for payment before treatment and hiring contractors to enroll patients in payment plans.

It's a delicate balance for hospitals, which have certain legal and ethical obligations to care for people who arrive with critical health conditions regardless of their ability to pay. At the same time, hospitals believe they must become more insistent and methodical about screening patients' ability to pay, particularly people with scheduled procedures or elective surgeries.

1950 (with trims) by Peter Frost. MOVED



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