Mexico on track to be No. 1 source of U.S. imported cars

Mexico is on track to become the United States’ top source of imported cars by the end of next year, overtaking Japan and Canada in a manufacturing boom.

The boom is raising hopes that Mexico can create enough new jobs to pull millions out of poverty as northbound migration slows sharply, but critics caution that most of the new car jobs are low-skill and pay too little.

Mexico’s low and stagnant wages have helped to keep the poverty rate between 40 and 50 percent since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement two decades ago.

Federal regulators to reboot nonprescription drug system

The Food and Drug Administration is looking to revamp its system for regulating hundreds of over-the-counter drugs, saying the decades-old process is not flexible enough to keep pace with modern medical developments. In a federal posting Friday, the agency announced a two-day meeting next month to discuss overhauling the system.

Regulators have acknowledged that the process has proven extremely time-consuming and leaves many common pain relievers, cough medicines and even sunscreen formulas technically under review. The system also is unable to address the need to quickly add warning labels about emerging safety risks.

Weather woes add to record number of scrubbed flights

In a fitting end to a miserable week for travelers, airlines canceled more than 1,200 flights Friday and another 6,000 were running late. The airlines blamed storms along the East Coast and high winds in the country’s interior on Friday.

At New York’s LaGuardia Airport and in Philadelphia, about one-fourth of flights were scrubbed and many more delayed. At O’Hare Airport in Chicago, where there was a high-wind advisory, nearly one-third of takeoffs were late.

Tracking service FlightAware.com says 6,000 flights have been canceled and 35,000 delayed this week. Total cancelations since Dec. 1 have passed 81,000. That’s a record since the government started keeping track in 1987-1988. And there’s still a month of winter left.

Price falls slightly but oil remains above $102 a barrel

The price of oil fell slightly but remained above $102 on Friday, underpinned by U.S. demand for heating oil during a winter that does not seem to want to end.

Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery fell 55 cents to close at $102.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, the contract fell 9 cents to close at $102.75.

Analysts said the recent rising trend in oil prices, which climbed for the sixth week in a row, could be about to reverse, however, because of tempering global demand and ample supplies.

— From news service reports