French ban importing of live pigs from U.S.
French authorities have suspended imports of live pigs and certain pig products from North America and Japan to prevent a deadly virus from contaminating the food chain here. The Agriculture Ministry said Friday no cases of the virus, known as porcine epidemic diarrhea, have been recorded in France since this epidemic broke out. The virus has killed millions of pigs in the U.S. over the past year, driving up pork and bacon prices. It causes severe diarrhea in newborn piglets, which then die from dehydration. The French ministry says the ban will enter into effect Saturday pending a larger Europe-wide decision on pig imports. The ban does not apply to all pork products.
New Mexico targets use of drones in hunting
New Mexico is in line to become the next state to take aim at the use of drones for hunting big game animals. Alaska, Colorado and Montana already have outlawed the use of drones in hunting, but some sportsmen groups and animal advocates are pushing to see that regulations are passed in every state to protect the concept of fair chase. They say the art of hunting should be based on physical senses and traditions that have been honed over generations, not technological advancements such as drones. New Mexico’s Game Commission is set to vote this month on a proposal that would make it illegal to use drones to signal an animal’s location, harass a game animal or hunt a protected species observed from a drone within 48 hours.
Pope backs his economic enforcer
Pope Francis on Friday publicly backed his new economy czar, who is overhauling the Vatican’s administration amid grumblings from some Holy See bureaucrats about a perceived abrasive and secretive style. Francis acknowledged Cardinal George Pell’s “tenacity” in calling the imposing Australian the Vatican’s resident “rugby player.” Francis echoed Pell’s call for a new way of doing business at the Vatican in urging Holy See employees to embrace a “new mentality of evangelical service.” Pell has only been in office for a month but he has already ruffled feathers inside the Italian bureaucracy that has run the Vatican for centuries.
Stocks slip a bit Friday
U.S. stocks ended slightly lower as corporate earnings came in mixed Friday, overcoming enthusiasm about a pickup in hiring last month. Escalating tensions in Ukraine also weighed on the market Friday. LinkedIn slumped 8 percent after reporting its largest quarterly loss since going public. Estee Lauder rose 5 percent after its earnings beat analysts’ estimates. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost two points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,881. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 46 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,512. The Nasdaq composite fell three points, 0.1 percent, to 4,123.
The Associated Press contributed.