Money in a Minute: Headlines for Feb. 22, 2011

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In today's roundup: College costs, coffee prices, and oil are all going up – and so are sales of Cuban cigars.

EDUCATION: College students socked by budget cuts

The cost of higher education is going to get higher as state budgets get lower. “Since 2008, at least 43 states have cut budgets for public higher education,” CNN reports. “State higher education spending nationwide dropped $3.5 billion in fiscal 2010 from the year earlier.”

FOOD: Coffee prices perk up towards 14-year highs

Coffee prices haven’t been this high since 1997, mostly because the desirable arabica bean – used in espresso – has suffered several bad crops. “Colombia has suffered a string of bad crops, in part due to heavy rains,” The Financial Times reports. “Output plunged last year to a 33-year low.”

GAS: Crude oil jumps 6 percent as Libya protests spreads

When Egypt’s protest were in full force, oil prices spiked – and Egypt doesn’t produce nearly the oil that Libya does. “Libya alone exports at least 1 million barrels of crude a day,” USA Today reports.

TECH: Motorola Xoom tablet priced at $800 at Best Buy

The Xoom, the first major competitor to the iPad, goes on sale Thursday for $800 – higher than the $500 for the entry-level iPad. “The iPad is widely tapped to continue leading the tablet market in 2011,” reports eweek.com.

SMOKING: Cuba reports cigar sales up 2 percent last year

Sales of Cuban cigars are rebounding slightly, although Americans still can’t partake because of the U.S. embargo. “Spain continued to be the top buyer in 2010,” MSNC reports, “followed by France and China, which replaced Germany as the third-biggest importer.”

Stacy Johnson

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