Starwatch consumer

Driving during the Memorial Day weekend? You’ll have company

Updated: 2013-05-23T02:08:51Z

Vacation time

It’s going to be another busy Memorial Day weekend on the nation’s highways.

From Thursday through Monday, 31.2 million Americans will drive 50 miles or more to a beach, campground or other getaway, according to AAA. That’s a small increase from last year but still well short of the record 37.3 million people who drove during the holiday in 2005.

AAA estimates that 2.3 million travelers will fly, down 8 percent from last year.

Disability complaints

A federal judge in Denver is considering an injunction after ruling that nearly 250 Abercrombie & Fitch and J.M. Hollister clothing stores are unfriendly to the disabled.

Judge Wiley Daniel agreed in March with the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition that the retailers, which cater to a hip, young clientele, limited access for customers in wheelchairs.

Daniel said the only remedy under the Americans With Disabilities Act is an injunction ordering that the problems be fixed. He said people cannot be compensated.

The companies said they complied with all construction standards in effect at the time.

Evian facelift

Evian is unveiling a new bottle for the first time in 14 years as it looks to reinvigorate its image and win back market share in the premium water category.

Instead of the contoured bottle that has long defined the brand, the new look has cleaner lines, reminiscent of the cylinder-like shape of the Smartwater bottle.

Existing home sales

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose in April to the highest level in more than three years as housing continued to gain momentum.

Purchases of existing houses increased 0.6 percent to an annual rate of 4.97 million, the most since November 2009, the National Association of Realtors reported.

Mortgage applications

Mortgage applications dropped last week by the most in almost five months as higher borrowing costs made refinancing a loan more expensive.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index fell 9.8 percent in the period ending May 17 from the prior week.

Flu vaccine

A new type of flu vaccine developed at the National Institutes of Health outperformed existing products in animal tests, possibly paving the way for a new generation of vaccines.

Researchers fused a protein called hemagglutinin, on the surface of the virus, to ferritin, another protein that carries iron in the blood, creating a type of nanoparticle that elicited broader and more potent immunity than products sold by Sanofi and Novartis, according to the study, published in the journal Nature.

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