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Airlines warn of delays due to snow in Northeast

With more snow forecast for the Northeast this weekend, major U.S. airlines hit hard by a December blizzard are warning of delays and cancellations and waiving the usual fees to change flights.

American, United and Continental all say there could be travel disruptions at large airports such as Newark, LaGuardia and JFK in the New York City area.

AMR Corp.'s American said Thursday that customers scheduled to fly to, from or through 14 airports in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts on Saturday or Sunday can change their itinerary without paying the usual $150 rebooking fee if they begin their rescheduled trip no later than Monday.

Delta Air Lines Inc. made the same offer for weekend travel to those states plus Rhode Island if the rescheduled trip starts on or before next Friday. Customers could get hit with a higher fare.

United and Continental, owned by United Continental Holdings Inc., waived their $150 change fee for travel at 14 airports in the Northeast between today and Monday. They said they would also waive any difference in fare if the rescheduled trip starts by Jan. 23.

JetBlue, AirTran and Frontier also said they would waive change fees.


Fixed mortgage rates dip

NEW YORK (AP) -- Rates on fixed mortgages dipped this week after rising steadily over the last two months.

Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on the 30-year mortgage dropped to 4.77 percent from 4.86 percent the previous week. It hit a 40-year low of 4.17 percent in November.

The average rate on the 15-year loan slipped to 4.13 percent from 4.20 percent. It reached 3.57 percent in November, the lowest level on records starting in 1991.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage slipped to 3.75 percent from 3.77 percent. The five-year hit 3.25 percent last month, the lowest rate on records dating back to January 2005.


AT&T sets iPhone deal

DALLAS (AP) -- AT&T Inc. will start selling the previous-generation iPhone -- the iPhone 3GS -- for $49 starting Friday to customers who buy the smart phone with a two-year service contract and data plan.

The wireless company, which is the exclusive U.S. carrier for the iPhone, made the announcement Thursday. AT&T said it will include iPhone 3GS devices sold through AT&T and Apple.

The iPhone 3GS was released by Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple Inc. in 2009 and had been sold for $99 by AT&T and Apple since the release of the iPhone 4 last June. It can use the same iOS4 software as the iPhone 4.

AT&T, which is based in Dallas, is currently selling refurbished iPhone 3GS' on its website for as low as $49.


Talisman Energy fined

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) -- The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has fined natural gas driller Talisman Energy USA Inc. for spilling diesel fuel at a well pad in Bradford County.

The DEP said Thursday that the Horseheads, N.Y.-based company was fined $24,608 for the spill in Armenia Township last March.

Regulators say diesel went into a neighboring farm field. The cleanup required the excavation of 3,800 tons of contaminated soil and the collection of 132,000 gallons of contaminated water. About 450 gallons of diesel fuel was recovered.

The company said Thursday it "deeply regrets" the spill and has taken steps to improve safety and environmental safeguards.

Herb firm recalls produce

ALBANY (AP) -- A Canadian herb distribution company has recalled several batches of products sold in New York and Pennsylvania because of possible salmonella contamination.

Boncheff Greenhouses Inc. of Toronto says the cilantro, curly parsley and Italian parsley were distributed from Dec. 14 to 28 through Wegmans markets in New York and Erie, Pa. Packages of Italian parsley were also sold at Budwey markets in Buffalo and North Tonawanda, Wades Market in Farmington, Cuba Giant Food Market in Wellsville and Hegedorn's Inc. in Webster.