New quarters will feature U.S. parks, forests

Get ready for another decade of quarter-mania. The U.S. Mint is hoping to repeat the phenomenal success it had with the 50-state quarter program with a new series of designs featuring the country’s national parks and forests. The first five designs were unveiled in a ceremony Wednesday at the Newseum with the first coin scheduled to go into circulation next month. It will feature Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. If the new program attracts the interest of the original state quarters program, which began in 1999, it will be a true blockbuster. That one got 147 million people — nearly half the country — to participate in collecting, according to Mint surveys.

Postal Service seeks to end Saturday mail

The U.S. Postal Service took the first formal step Wednesday toward cutting mail delivery to five days a week. The postal governing board agreed to ask the independent Postal Regulatory Commission for an opinion on dropping Saturday delivery. That request goes to the commission next week. Under the proposal, mail delivery to homes and businesses and mail collection from blue mailboxes would be limited to Monday through Friday. However, post offices that are now open on Saturdays would remain open, and Express Mail delivery service would still be available seven days a week. The Postal Service also needs Congress to approve the change.

Slings recalled after 3 babies suffocate

More than 1 million baby slings made by Infantino were recalled Wednesday after claims linking them to three infant deaths. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said babies could suffocate in the soft fabric slings. The agency urged parents to immediately stop using the slings for babies under 4 months. The recall involves 1 million Infantino SlingRider and Wendy Bellissimo slings in the United States and 15,000 in Canada. Infantino President Jack Vresics said the company has been working closely with the commission on its sling concerns. The Infantino slings being recalled were sold from 2003 through 2010 at several retailers. Consumers can call Infantino at 866-860-1361 to receive a replacement product.

China mounts Google counteroffensive

China issued a blistering public attack against Google on Wednesday and appeared to quietly begin getting businesses to abandon the U.S. Internet giant after it moved its controversial Chinese search engine offshore. The critical remarks in a high-profile Communist Party newspaper coupled with souring business deals underscored Beijing’s determination to settle scores with Google Inc. after a public two-month dispute over stringent Chinese censorship policies. By challenging the often touchy government, Google appears to have violated an unspoken rule of doing business in China, especially in the Internet industry whose control Beijing sees as crucial to maintaining its authoritarian rule.

From Herald news services