Wednesday, February 28, 2007

National and State News-Wednesday,Feb. 28th

UNDATED (AP) - China's stock market bounced back today, but stock markets in Asia and Europe fell for a second day. Wall Street yesterday had its worst day since the September Eleventh, 2001, terrorist attacks. Investors in China who had been worried about a possible economic slowdown seemed reassured by bullish comments in the state-controlled media today.

CAPITOL HILL (AP) - Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke was upbeat about the economy when he last testified on Capitol Hill two weeks ago. He goes before a House committee today, the day after Wall Street's big meltdown. The decline was preceded by investor worries and recession jitters.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - One of Baghdad's most popular shopping districts was turned into a scene of misery today. At least ten people died when a car bomb went off in the mixed Sunni-Shiite neighborhood during morning rush hour. At least 20 people were hurt, and several of the hundreds of stores and kiosks were

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego is the latest to file for bankruptcy protection to put off going to trial in cases of sexual abuse by priests. San Diego is the fifth diocese to seek bankruptcy protection, and with nearly one (m) million parishioners, the largest.

WASHINGTON (AP) - One meteorologist calls La Nina the "evil twin sister" of El Nino (NEEN'-yoh), but it can be good or bad, depending on where you live. The El Nino weather pattern has ended and La Nina is brewing. La Ninas bring the threat of more Atlantic hurricanes and a worsening drought in west Texas. But the
Southeast should enjoy warmer-than-normal winters.

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's fourth slots parlor, the first in western Pennsylvania, is scheduled to open this morning. Presque Isle Downs has two-thousand slot machines and 650 employees. A horse-racing track is expected to open later this year. The casino was supposed to open earlier this month, but was delayed by a lawsuit that challenged the casino's license. The state Supreme Court threw out the lawsuit.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The labor union representing Philadelphia Police Department officers is endorsing a candidate for mayor today. Robert Eddis, the president of Lodge Five of the Fraternal Order of Police, is to announce the endorsement at noon. Five major candidates are vying for the Democratic Party's nomination for Philadelphia mayor in the May 15th primary. Whoever wins that is heavily favored to win the general election in November, since the Democrats dominate Philadelphia politics. Candidates from the Republican and Green parties are running low-budget campaigns.

BALDWIN, Pa. (AP) - Teachers in the Baldwin-Whitehall School District will return to work Thursday, even though they are no closer to a contract agreement. The teachers went on strike last week. They were required by state law to return to work on Friday to ensure that the district's nearly 42-hundred students can complete 180 days of instruction by June 15th. Union president Rebecca Wolf says teachers are frustrated by a lack of meaningful negotiations from the district. The district's chief negotiator Bruce Campbell says the teachers don't want to go to neutral arbitration. The teachers have been working without a contract since June 30th.

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) - The absentee owner of a South Williampsort motel where a man was trapped in a floor collapse plans to show up there today to arrange for repairs. That's according to a clerk at the Kings Inn, where authorities say a man was trapped for at least three hours Monday. The clerk says the owner lives in New York. Borough codes officer Jon Dangle says the inn has been cited previously for violations including lack of hot water and mold.

VOORHEES, N.J. (AP) - An arrest has law enforcement hopeful of a possible break in a series of Philadelphia-area convenience store robberies. The robberies became known as "splash-and-grab" crimes because
the robber would throw hot coffee or hot cocoa in the clerks' faces. Some needed to go to hospitals.
The Camden County Prosecutor's Office in New Jersey says officers arrested 26-year-old Kareem Hutt of Woodlynne, New Jersey, yesterday. Hutt was handed over to police in Voorhees, where he was wanted on aggravated assault and robbery charges related to a February 12th splash-and-grab robbery at a Wawa store.
Police elswhere in the region are investigating whether Hutt was responsible for similar robberies in their own communities.

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Two of the biggest Eastern U-S supermarket chains -- Pathmark Stores and the parent of A-&-P -- are in talks about a possible combination. The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company says it's negotiating to acquire rival Pathmark Stores of Carteret, New Jersey. Pathmark operates more than 140 supermarkets Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and New York. Both companies said in separate statements that the proposed cash-and-stock deal would pay Pathmark stockholders a possible 12
dollars and 50 cents per share. The purchase price for Pathmark may total more than 652 (m)
million dollars.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U-S Air Force says it hasn't determined whether it will reopen the bidding process for a 15 (b) billion dollar contract to build search and rescue helicopters. The contract was awarded to Boeing, which plans to build the choppers in Ridley Park. But the auditing arm of Congress said Monday that the Air Force was "inconsistent" in its requirements when it awarded the contract. The Government Accountability Office said the Air Force should reopen discussions with all competitors. The Air Force is under no obligation to follow that advice. An Air Force spokeswoman says the G-A-O findings are under review.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The chief executive of Pennsylvania's student-loan agency says he's disappointed that Governor Ed Rendell's state budget doesn't increase funding for the agency's college grant program.
Instead, Rendell is calling for the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency to supplement the state's current appropriation with more than 88 (m) million dollars of proceeds from its student-loan business.
PHEAA (FEE'-ah) president and C-E-O Richard Willey says the agency was planning to use 60 (m) million dollars, with with the expectation that the state would also increase its share. A Rendell spokeswoman says the administration believes PHEAA can afford to spend more of its own money on the grants -- citing the
high pay its executives receive.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A father and his two sons wanted in the death of an 89-year-old Franklin County woman during a home invasion and the beating of her husband are under arrest. Michael Marks and his sons, Sonny and Adam, were arrested Tuesday in Jackson, Mississippi, following an intensive investigation. They're awaiting extradition hearings to return them to Pennsylvania. The three are wanted in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for a series of home invasions, including the one in 2003 that killed Freda Dale.


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