(Martha Irvine/AP Photo)
Wal-Mart launches cut-rate money-transfer program

Wal-Mart introduced a new money transfer service Thursday that it says will cut fees by up to 50 percent compared with similar services elsewhere.  
The calendar shows April 15, and you haven't even started on your federal tax return? Chances are, you don't need to fret. If you're due a refund -- and about three-fourths of filers get refunds -- April 15 isn't much of a deadline at all.  
 
t's the silent enemy in our retirement accounts: High fees. And now a new study finds that the typical 401(k) fees -- adding up to a modest-sounding 1 percent a year -- would erase $70,000 from an average worker's account over a four-decade career compared with lower-cost options. To compensate for the higher fees, someone would have to work an extra three years before retiring.  
 
Investors pumped more than $4.7 billion into Silicon Valley technology companies during the first quarter this year, with the lion’s share going to the software industry, which captured about $2.3 billion — the largest quarterly investment into any industry since 2000.  
 
Michaels Stores said Thursday that about 2.6 million cards, or about 7 percent of all debit and credit cards used at its namesake stores, may have been affected in a security breach.  
 
Old Town Center in Los Gatos is welcoming three new retailers with a festival on May 1.
 
 
 
( Kristopher Skinner )
Free tours of water-wise California-native gardens

As more Californians than ever explore drought-tolerant landscape alternatives, two upcoming garden tours shine a spotlight on low-water native plants. On April 26 and 27, some 60 gardens on the Peninsula and in the Santa Clara Valley will be open to visitors. And on May 4, some 40 East Bay gardens, from Fremont to Martinez, will be open too. 
(Photo by Dan Hallman/Invision/AP Images)
Ryan Seacrest leaving 'American Idol?'

Report says the “Idol” host stepping down after current season.