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POSTED January 23, 2013 7:19 p.m.

FIREBALL ACROSS SKIES IN WEST WAS FLAMING COMET: MOUNTAIN VIEW  (AP) — A California researcher says a fireball seen streaking across Western skies last week was a flaming comet.

The brilliant streak of light was spotted across a wide swath of the West from Reno to San Francisco before dawn on Jan. 17. The New York-based American Meteor Society received reports from about 50 people in California and Nevada who saw the bright light.

Seti Institute scientist Peter Jenniskens tells the San Francisco Chronicle  the flash of light was a small comet that flamed out when it hit the Earth's atmosphere.

The Mountain View researcher says the comet instantly turned to dust and gas, resulting in the flash of light. One witness described it as resembling a giant orange crayon.

No pieces fell to earth.


TRADER JOE'S RAISES PRICE OF 'TWO-BUCK CHUCK': SANTA ROSA  (AP) — The popular wine known as "Two-Buck Chuck" will need a new name after the bargain beverage's price was raised.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that over the past decade shoppers at Trader Joe's California stores paid $1.99 for a bottle of Charles Shaw shiraz or cabernet sauvignon.

The new $2.49 price tag had shoppers searching for new names. Some customers joked that the brand should now be called "Inflation Chuck" or "Upchuck."

Trader Joe's sold about 5 million cases of the wine last year.

The maker, Bronco Wine Co., said it was able to keep the price so low because it owns 45,000 acres of vineyard, which insulated it from large fluctuations in grape prices.

But bad crops in 2011 and 2012 impacted the price.

NETFLIX'S 4Q RESTORES COMPANY'S INVESTMENT LUSTER: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix has re-emerged as a stock-market star after a fourth-quarter performance that demonstrated its success in broadening the appeal of its Internet video service amid stiffer competition.

The results announced Wednesday served as a resounding endorsement of Netflix Inc. CEO Reed Hastings, who has been spending heavily to license more compelling movies and TV shows in hopes of warding off intensifying competitive threats. Companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Coinstar Inc.'s Redbox have expanded into streaming video to Internet-connected devices to compete with Netflix.

Netflix's strategy has been met with widespread skepticism, but it paid off during the final three months of last year.

Netflix gained 2 million video-streaming subscribers in the U.S. during the quarter, propelling the company to a profit during a period that was supposed to produce a loss.

 

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