BC-US--Business Features Digest, US

The business news enterprise package planned through May 6. For comments or questions, call Joseph Pisani at 212-621-1975. For questions about photos, call ext. 1900. For questions about graphics, call ext. 7636. Repeats of stories are available from http://apexchange.com or the Service Desk, 1-800-838-4616.

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HOUSING REBOUND

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. â¿¿ Many Americans, having seen home prices rebound, are finally ready to buy. Yet they're running into an obstacle that's keeping the national housing recovery in check: There aren't enough homes for sale. The housing shortage in Grand Rapids, Mich., is fairly typical of the country. Like many other places, Grand Rapids never experienced the oversupply or the price collapse that marked the recent boom and bust. Yet it, too, was affected. Prices fell. Homeowners lost equity. And now, many remain unable or unwilling to sell just as ordinary Americans want to buy again. By Business Writer Scott Mayerowitz.

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AP photos.

ETHICAL CLOTHING

NEW YORKâ¿¿ You can recycle plastic, grow your own food and drive a fuel-efficient car, but being socially responsible isn't so easy when it comes to the clothes on your back. Last week's deadly building collapse in Bangladesh that killed at least 383 clothing factory workers not only shone a spotlight on the fact that people in poor countries often risk their lives working in unsafe factories to make the cheap tees that Westerners covet. The disaster also highlights something just as troubling to socially-conscious shoppers: There's very little you can do to ensure that your clothes come from factories with safe working conditions. By Retail Writer Anne D'Innocenzio.

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AP photos.

BANGLADESH-DESTRUCTION AND SURVIVAL

SAVAR, Bangladesh â¿¿ Merina was tired. It had been three days since the garment factory collapsed around her, three days since she'd moved more than a few inches. In that time she had had nothing to eat and just a few sips of water. The cries for help, so loud in those first few hours, had long since subsided. Describing her ordeal from a hospital bed, Merina's tale was as much a look at the dreams that bring Bangladeshis to work in garment factories as at the terror when one building tumbled down. By Gillian Wong, Chris Blake and Tim Sullivan.

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AP photos.

ENERGY TECHNOLOGY RACE

NEW YORK â¿¿ Technology has sparked an energy revolution â¿¿ just not the one we expected. By now, cars were supposed to be running on fuel made from algae; electricity would be generated with solar panels; and fossil fuels would be scarce. Instead, the sunny forecast for renewable energy sources has turned overcast, while worries about running out of oil and gas have melted away. New imaging technologies let drillers find oil and gas trapped miles underground and undersea. Oil rigs "walk" from one drill site to the next. And engineers use remote-controlled equipment to drill for gas thousands of miles away. This is the story of how technological advances drove a revolution no one in the energy industry expected. 2,700 words, moved April 30 for print release Friday, May 3 and thereafter. Abridged version available. By Energy Writer Jonathan Fahey.

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AP photos, graphic.

With:

ENERGY TECHNOLOGY RACE-INVESTORS

NEW YORK â¿¿ "Clean technology" investment funds are no longer trying to replace the fossil fuel industry. They're trying to help it â¿¿ by financing companies that can make mining and drilling less dirty.

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â¿¿ ENERGY TECHNOLOGY RACE-GLANCE â¿¿ A mobile-friendly look at key energy terms and technologies. A photo gallery will accompany the glance. Eds: Sent Tuesday for use Friday at 12:01 A.M. EDT and thereafter.

DISINFECTING ROBOTS

NEW YORK â¿¿ They sweep. They swab. They sterilize. What more can hospitals do to kill dangerous superbugs? They are turning to machines that look like "Star Wars" robots giving off ultraviolet light. Or they try germ-resistant copper bed rails. Or antimicrobial linens, curtains and wall paint. In U.S. hospitals, about 1 in 20 patients pick up infections they didn't have when they arrived. Now increased pressure from the government and insurers is driving aggressive action. By Medical Writer Mike Stobbe.

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AP photos, video.

FOOD-CELEBRITY WINE

Fancy having Brangelina, Drew Barrymore and Dan Aykroyd over for dinner? No problem, they'll even bring the wine. OK, maybe the stars themselves won't show up, but their wines will appear with just a wave of a credit card. You might start with an aperitif of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's new Miraval rose, move on to a light pasta dish served with Barrymore Wine's pinot grigio, then perhaps finish up with a glass of Aykroyd's cabernet franc ice wine for dessert. By Michelle Locke.

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AP photos.

CUBA-REAL ESTATE

HAVANA â¿¿ A baffling, sometimes bizarre real estate market has emerged since President Raul Castro legalized private home sales on this Communist-run island for the first time in five decades. While trade in homes is now legal, the people who bring buyers together with sellers are not. It's a story typical of Castro's economic reforms, which often have left little space for the sort of middlemen and other services that help markets work. By Peter Orsi.

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AP photos.

COLUMNS:

SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK

NEW YORK â¿¿ Small business owners are experiencing sticker shock now that insurers in a few states have begun filing their premium rate requests for 2014. Plans in Maryland and Rhode Island are asking for double-digit increases for the first year that the health care law will be fully effective. But owners need to take a breath and remember that these requests aren't in stone, analysts and state officials say. State insurance departments have to approve the requests, and as health insurance exchanges are set up, insurers may feel pressured to rethink their rates. The smallest companies may find that they have more options than they thought because some states will be subsidizing employees' premiums. By Business Writer Joyce M. Rosenberg.

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DIGITAL LIFE-TECH TEST-GOOGLE NOW

NEW YORK â¿¿Don't accuse Google Now of being a cold-blooded Siri-killer. Now that it's available on iPhones and iPads, it will work best as a supplement to Siri, rather than a replacement. Although it's often compared with the Siri voice assistant, Google Now's power lies in giving you information you need to know before you have to ask. The Apple version of Google Now is similar to the feature that's been on Android devices since last summer in terms of the information it presents. But it's not as seamless to use on the iPhone or the iPad, mostly because Google doesn't have as central a presence there. By Technology Writer Anick Jesdanun.

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AP photo.

ON THE MONEY-SUMMER TRAVEL SAVINGS

Summer is just around the corner and it's time to start thinking about booking a vacation. A little advance planning â¿¿ and some insider tips â¿¿ can save you and your family a lot of money. Before you start mapping out your trip, here are six questions to think about. By Scott Mayerowitz.

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