Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Today's News- Tuesday, December 18

WASHINGTON (AP) - A contentious vote is expected by the FederalCommunications Commission today on allowing broadcasters in thenation's 20 largest media markets to also own a newspaper in thesame market. That's been banned for 32 years. The ban was approvedby the FCC in 1975 to serve "the twin goals of diversity ofviewpoints and economic competition."

PITTSBURGH (AP) - PNC Investments has filed suit, sayingWachovia Securities wrongly tried to woo its brokerage employeesand their customer databases. Pittsburgh-based PNC says Wachoviasent letters to more than 250 current and former PNC employees latelast month telling them to jump to Wachovia because PNC was leavingthe retail brokerage business. PNC says it's not true.

YORK, Pa. (AP) - Investigators say an overheated electric cordstarted a fire that killed a York couple and two children. YorkFire Chief John Senft says officials believe the blaze that racedthrough the Hernandez residence early Saturday started when anextension cord in the basement overheated. Funeral services arescheduled Thursday at The Salvation Army-York Temple.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A major operator of daily and weeklynewspapers is closing six of its weekly papers in the LehighValley. Journal Register Co. says last week marked the last editionof its Bethlehem, East Penn, Easton, Parkland, Saucon andWhitehall-Catasauqua weekly newspapers. The papers were launched inMarch 2006 and distributed free through stores.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - State College Borough has narrowlyadopted a budget that limits a property tax increase to 5 percent.That's about $25 more for a typical homeowner with a property withmarket value of $260,000. The vote was 4-3 Monday for the nearly$30 million budget. The borough council cut out about $300,000 toprevent a nearly 15 percent rise in property taxes.

KIRKUK, Iraq (AP) - Kurdish officials say the Turkish army has sent some 300 soldiers more than a mile into northern Iraq early today. A Turkish official says the troops seeking Kurdish rebels were still in Iraq by midmorning. The troops crossed into a deserted mountainous frontier area near the border with Iran, about 75 miles north of the city of Irbil. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is declining comment on reports of the Turkish operation. The Turkish official says they were sent as "reinforcements" to existing Turkish troops stationed deeper inside Iraq. About 1,200 Turkish military monitors have operated in northern Iraq since 1996 with permission from local authorities.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A severe housing slump is showing no signs of a turnaround.
The Commerce Department is reporting that construction of new homes and apartments dropped by 3.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.187 million units.
Construction of single-family homes fell by 5.5 percent to an annual rate of 829,000 units, the lowest level since April of 1991. Meanwhile, multi-family construction was up 4.4 percent to an
annual rate of 332,000 units. The government also reports that applications for building
permits fell for a sixth straight month, dropping by 1.5 percent. That's the slowest pace for building permits since June 1993. The housing slump has raised concerns that the economy could be pushed into a full-blown recession.

NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks open from a position of weakness this morning after a second straight double digit decline by the Dow yesterday. The blue chip index stands at 13,167. Oil prices rose slightly today in Asian trading. Light, sweet crude for January delivery rose 10 cents to $90.73 a barrel in Asian electronic trading in Singapore on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Federal Reserve plan being unveiled today would give people taking out home mortgages new protections against shady lending practices. The Fed is considering limits on penalties lenders can place on subprime borrowers who pay their loans off early. It's also looking at forcing lenders to make sure subprime borrowers set aside money to pay for taxes and insurance. Loans that don't require proof of a borrower's income could be limited or banned. And there could be new standards for how repay ability is gauged. Fed policymakers also will look into improving financial disclosures so people better understand the terms and conditions of their mortgages. It will consider ways to crack down on misleading mortgage advertising.

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (AP) - Two astronauts floated outside the international space station this morning for the 100th spacewalk at the orbiting laboratory. They inspected a mechanism that tilts the solar wings toward the sun. It may have been hit by a piece of space junk but the astronauts found no evidence of that today.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The location of futuristic power plant for research into burning coal without adding to global warming will be announced today. Two sites in Illinois and two in Texas are under consideration for the facility which was first proposed eight years ago. The plant is supposed to be virtually pollution-free and produce both electricity and hydrogen. Its carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas, is to be captured and buried. Lawmakers from the two states have been lobbying intensely. Hundreds of jobs are at stake along with the prestige.
Some lawmakers have questioned the soaring cost of the facility -- nearly double the 950 million dollars originally projected --and its long delays.

DENVER (AP) - Colorado's secretary of state says it's a problem with "national repercussions." He's declaring many of the state's electronic voting machines unreliable. The decision affects six of Colorado's 10 most populous counties. Electronic voting machines used in Denver, Arapahoe,
Pueblo, Mesa and Elbert counties can't be used in the upcoming 2008 primary because of problems with accuracy and security. A number of electronic scanners used to count ballots were also decertified. When new rules for testing the voting machines were adopted in
March, the secretary of state required the four electronic voting systems used in all 64 Colorado counties to apply for recertification. Only one system had all its equipment pass muster.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Two of Hollywood's most glamorous events are now caught up in the writers' strike. The writers' union won't let its members write for the Golden Globes next month or the Academy Awards in February. This is the seventh week of the work stoppage.
The producers of the awards shows had asked the Writers Guild of America to waive a strike rule to allow writers to write for them. The guild has rejected the requests, saying in a letter to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that granting a waiver "would not advance" the union's ongoing battle with studios to negotiate a new contract. It also denied a request to use old movie clips during the Academy Awards show February 24th

GENEVA (AP) - An Iraqi treasure was nearly sold on eBay last week. A 4,000 year-old clay tablet that authorities suspect was smuggled out of Iraq was up for auction online when a sharp-eyed German archaeologist spotted it. EBay stopped the auction "a few minutes" before the end of bidding. And police confiscated the business-card sized tablet from a storage facility in Zurich, Switzerland. The Swiss seller faces criminal charges. The ancient tablet with wedge-shaped cuneiform (kyoo-NEE'-eh-fohrm) script hasn't been deciphered. Cuneiform tablets are included on the International Council of Museums' "red list" of especially endangered Iraqi cultural objects. The Iraqi National Library is believed to have lost numerous
objects when it was burned and looted after the Iraq war started in 2003.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A Fargo, North Dakota, bank is giving its full-time employees $1,000 each and part-time employees $500 each on one condition -- spend the money on people in need. The 500 or so employees of State Bank & Trust were told they may choose an individual cause, pool their money for a larger project or collaborate with donors outside the bank. They are not to use the money for themselves, their families or families of co-workers. They've also been told to document the good deed with a video camera. One bank official says there'll be a "huge" impact on the community.


Post a Comment

<< Home