Local & State
Ag leaders wants S.C. on top
State Department of Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers said Thursday that it’s important to put more emphasis on supporting both large and small farms and to make South Carolina the first choice for companies to relocate here. Weathers spoke at the S.C. AgriBiz & Farm Expo. On the large-farm end of the scale, Weathers said, he will make a trip west to talk to California growers about relocating to South Carolina as they face water regulations there.
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Nation & World
U.S. Postal Service seeks rate hikes
The U.S. Postal Service on Thursday proposed slight increases for mailing postcards and international letters – but wants to leave first-class “Forever” stamps at their present 49 cents. Under a filing with the Postal Regulatory Commission, letters to international destinations would rise from $1.15 to $1.20. Postcards would rise from 34 cents to 35 cents. If approved, the increases would go into effect April 26.
Bank, activists reach agreement
An activist investor group said Thursday it has backed off of a request that Bank of America give shareholders a vote on whether the chairman and CEO roles should be combined. In exchange for withdrawing the proposed resolution on the issue, the Charlotte-based bank has agreed to produce a report on its business standards, said the Rev. Seamus Finn, chairman of the New York-based Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.
Google shelves Glass
Google will stop selling its Internet-connected eyewear to consumers until the company can develop a more polished and affordable version that’s less likely to be viewed as a freakish device. The sales moratorium on the nearly 2-year-old “Explorer” edition of Google Glass goes into effect Jan. 19. Google will still sell a version of Glass to companies that have found uses for the device in their offices, stores and factories.
Obama pushes paid leave
President Barack Obama launched a fresh push Thursday to bring paid sick and family leave to working parents and other private-sector employees as the White House unveiled proposals that could benefit tens of millions of people. Most require action by the Republican-controlled Congress.
Mortgage rates trend down
Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell for the third straight week, with the benchmark 30-year rate at 3.66 percent again marking its lowest level since May 2013.
Florence Morning News, The Associated Press and The Charlotte Observer contributed.