Latest airline perk: Safe distance from the masses
NEW YORK (AP) — Some of the most cherished new international first-class perks have nothing to do with meals, drinks or seats. Global airlines are increasingly rewarding wealthy fliers with physical distance between them and everyone else.
Passengers willing to pay thousands more can check-in at secluded facilities, pass swiftly through security and be driven in luxury cars directly to planes.
The front of the plane has always been plusher than the back. But in recent years airlines have put a greater focus on catering to the most affluent fliers. At big carriers like American Airlines, about 70 percent of revenue comes from the top 20 percent of its customers.
Smartphone cameras step closer to high-end power
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Expect sharper, clearer selfies this year.
Samsung Electronics Co. has beefed up the camera in its Galaxy S5 smartphone due for April release and added smarter camera software, following Sony and Nokia in their upgrades of handset cameras. The tweaks, highlighted at the global wireless show in Barcelona that wraps up Thursday, mean smartphone photos will be closer in quality to images captured by digital single-lens reflex cameras.
Instead of touting their smartphones as thinner, lighter or bigger screened, many companies were boasting how their latest mobile gadgets can record ultra-high definition videos, take big-pixel pictures without a second of delay and capture clearer images even at a low-light settings and when a subject is moving.
New food labels aim to make healthy shopping easy
WASHINGTON (AP) — Ice cream lovers beware: The government knows you're unlikely to stop after half a cup.
New nutrition labels proposed Thursday for many popular foods, including ice cream, aim to more accurately reflect what people actually eat. And the proposal would make calorie counts on labels more prominent, too, reflecting that nutritionists now focus more on calories than fat. For the first time, labels also would be required to list any sugars that are added by manufacturers.
The idea behind the change, the first overhaul of the labels in two decades, is that people should understand how many calories are in what they already are eating.
Noting tech needs, mining companies seek graphite
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Tear apart an electric car's rechargeable battery and you'll find a mineral normally associated with No. 2 pencils — graphite.
Experts say the promise of expanded uses for "pencil lead" in lithium-ion batteries — used in cars, cellphones and tablet computers — as well as a decrease in supply from China has helped touch off the largest wave of mining projects in decades.
The mineral's products comprise a $13 billion industry.
The U.S. imports all of its natural graphite, but mining companies are searching locations from Alaska to Alabama, optimistic about future demand. China, meanwhile, appears to have eased its grip on world production, creating an opening that hasn't existed since the mid-'90s, mining companies say.
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