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Food

Lobster prices rise as season starts slowly

PORTLAND, Maine — Lobster prices are swelling as the summer harvest gets off to a slow start in New England. The summer staple is selling for $6 to $8 per pound to consumers, an average increase of $1 to $2 from last year, Maine lobstermen and dealers say. Prices are high because supply is low — the season picks up after most lobsters shed their shells and reach legal harvesting size. That hasn’t happened yet. This year’s summer lobster fishing season appears likely to feature a mid-July shed, followed by a boom in the catch, said Tim Harkins, president of the Maine Lobster Dealers Association. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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crime

Ex-federal agent will plead guilty in $820k bitcoin theft

SAN FRANCISCO — Federal prosecutors say a former Secret Service agent will plead guilty to charges connected with the theft of electronic currency during the high-profile investigation into the online drug bazaar Silk Road. Shaun Bridges of Laurel, Md., was charged in March with stealing $820,000 worth of bitcoin after getting passwords to the multimillion-dollar marketplace for illegal drugs and other contraband. Bridges was a computer forensics expert who helped arrest a Silk Road worker who controlled the website’s passwords. Prosecutors said in court papers filed Wednesday that Bridges has agreed to a deal to plead guilty later this year to money laundering and obstruction charges. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Technology

YouTube news debuts

SAN FRANCISCO — YouTube has started a video news service to showcase the most interesting clips recorded and posted by eyewitnesses at events unfolding around the world. The service, called YouTube Newswire, is being compiled by Storyful, an Internet service owned by News Corp. that also recently started to package interesting stories posted on the leader in social networking, Facebook. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Media

Martha Stewart Living’s stock soars on talk of a buyout

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc.’s stock surged 26.3 percent after a report that the publisher of lifestyle magazines may reach a deal to be sold to Sequential Brands Group. The shares closed at $6.44 Thursday, up $1.34. Sequential Brands, which licenses and promotes consumer brands, is nearing an agreement to buy the company, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. A deal could be announced in the coming days, though the possibility remains that the talks will break down before an agreement is reached, the Journal reported. A representative of Martha Stewart Living did not immediately respond to a call and e-mail seeking comment. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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Automotive

No injuries in self-driving car crashes, California says

LOS ANGELES — California state officials on Thursday released reports detailing six accidents that involved prototypes of self-driving cars, reversing a policy that had shielded details of how the next-generation technology is performing during testing on public roads. According to the reports, most of the cars were in self-driving mode when the accidents happened, and the driver of the other car caused the accident. None of the crashes were serious enough to injure the person the state requires to sit behind the wheel of a self-driving car, and none of the people in the other cars were treated for injuries. The companies that operated the cars — the technology titan Google (above) and the parts supplier Delphi Automotive — submitted their own accounts of the accidents. Police have confirmed investigating only a Delphi crash. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Real estate

Mortgage rates fall a bit

WASHINGTON — Mortgage rates eased this week after hitting their highest levels so far this year just last week. The mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage declined to 4 percent this week, from 4.04 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed mortgage slipped to 3.23 percent, down from 3.25 percent. Mortgage rates had been rising for weeks amid signs of improvement in the US economy.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS

Economy

Consumer prices up, mostly due to gas

WASHINGTON — Consumer prices increased in May by the largest amount in more than two years, reflecting the biggest one-month jump in gasoline prices in nearly six years. But apart from the energy market, price pressures remained modest. The consumer price index rose 0.4 percent, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The increase was driven by a 10.4 percent rise in the cost of gasoline, which has started climbing after nearly a year of falling energy prices. Even with the increase, gas prices are still 25 percent below where they were a year ago. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Energy

Dedham sues over pipeline plan

The Town of Dedham has sued a federal regulator for authorizing pipeline construction work in the town. Dedham officials filed suit against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Wednesday after the panel cleared the way for builders of a natural gas pipeline to start construction work before an appeal from the town is heard. In March, the FERC approved the Algonquin Incremental Market project, which calls for a pipeline spur, or “lateral,” through Dedham and West Roxbury that would join an existing pipeline. Several groups have argued that the federal commission did not pay enough attention to safety risks and filed appeals, but the regulator said it needed more time to review them. — JACK NEWSHAM

Banking

Man accused of defrauding bank faces probe

The owner of an Agawam business accused of defrauding a Brookline bank is under criminal investigation, according to court documents. Attorneys for Hanibal C. Tayeh of Westfield said in a Tuesday court filing that Tayeh was being investigated by a federal grand jury. The topic was not stated, but Spectrum Analytical Inc., Tayeh’s environmental services company, filed for bankruptcy protection after a subsidiary of Brookline Bank accused him of forging documents to get loans. An attorney for Tayeh has said that he denies trying to defraud Brookline Bancorp. Tayeh has said in court documents that he was defrauded by a Saudi company.
— JACK NEWSHAM

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Telecommunications

FCC advances plan for InterNet-access subsidies for poor

WASHINGTON — Regulators took a step Thursday toward making Internet connections eligible for a $1.6 billion government subsidy that helps the poor afford telephones. The Federal Communications Commission voted 3 to 2 to consider changes proposed by chairman Tom Wheeler (left), a Democrat, to the Lifeline program, which has helped pay for telephone connections since 1985. Republican commissioners had criticized the move, citing what they term abuse of the program. “Waste, fraud, and abuse are still rampant,” said Ajit Pai, who voted no. Spending on the Lifeline program dropped to $1.6 billion in 2014 from a peak of $2.2 billion in 2012. The number of Lifeline users dropped to 14.5 million in 2013 from 17.2 million in the previous year. — ASSOCIATED PRESS