A key U.S. lawmaker said on Thursday he is optimistic Congress will pass legislation key to a Pacific trade pact and said he is open to considering stronger rules against currency manipulation in a separate bill. The Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, Paul Ryan, said he thought Republicans were in a "very good place" on a bill granting the White House authority to seal trade deals and submit them to Congress for a yes-or-no vote, without amendments. Support from Democrats would be needed to pass the bill, but he did not think lawmakers would allow a proposal put forward by a Democratic president to fail. "I believe we will get there, but trade is always difficult." The bill is seen as key to encouraging trading partners negotiating the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership to make final offers, with certainty that the deal will not be picked apart in Congress later.
Starbucks Corp on Thursday opened the first of five express stores planned for 2015 in New York City as it and other restaurant chains work to give service times a double shot of speed. The 538-square-foot (50-square-meter) shop, located across from the New York Stock Exchange, is roughly a quarter of the size of a typical Starbucks store and offers a limited food and beverage menu. The opening comes as companies like Starbucks, McDonald's Corp, Panera Bread Co and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc experiment with ways to boost sales, speed up service and connect with younger, tech-savvy consumers. Seattle-based Starbucks is expanding its U.S. mobile order and pay service after a successful test launch.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — One man ran naked through a Florida neighborhood, tried to have sex with a tree and told police he was the mythical god Thor. Another ran nude down a busy city street in broad daylight, convinced a pack of German shepherds was pursuing him.