Tag: news at noon

News at Noon

From Reuters

Court rules against Obama’s stem cell policy

By Jeremy Pelofsky and Maggie Fox

August 24, 2010

(Reuters) – A district court issued a preliminary injunction on Monday stopping federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research, in a slap to the Obama administration’s new guidelines on the sensitive issue.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth granted the injunction because he found that the doctors who challenged the policy would likely succeed because U.S. law blocked federal funding of embryonic stem cell research if the embryos were destroyed.

“(Embryonic stem cell) research is clearly research in which an embryo is destroyed,” Lamberth wrote in a 15-page ruling. The Obama administration could appeal his decision or try to rewrite the guidelines to comply with U.S. law.

News at Noon

From Reuters

Compensation czar takes charge of $20 billion BP fund

By Matthew Bigg

August 23, 2010

(Reuters) – A $20 billion compensation fund for economic victims of the BP Gulf oil spill opens for business on Monday amid accusations that the rules established by its administrator are unfair.

Kenneth Feinberg who will run the fund said those who sustained financial loss because of the spill could claim for damages and he promised claimants more generous treatment than they would get if they sued the energy giant for damages.

“The goal here is to try and explain to eligible claimants: ‘It is not in your interest to tie up yourself and the courts in years of uncertain protracted litigation when … there is a more efficient quick alternative'” Feinberg told a news conference on Sunday.

News at Noon

From Reuters

Iran to fire up its first nuclear power plant

By Robin Pomeroy

August 20, 2010

(Reuters) – Iran’s first nuclear power station will be loaded with fuel on Saturday, a showcase for Tehran’s claim that its atomic ambitions are purely peaceful.

Experts say firing up the $1-billion Bushehr plant will not take Iran any closer to building a nuclear bomb as Russia will supply the enriched uranium for the reactor and take away spent fuel rods which could be used to make weapons-grade plutonium.

Iran insists it does not want nuclear weapons anyway.

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News at Noon

From Reuters

Jobless claims at 9-month high

By Lucia Mutikani

August 19, 2010

(Reuters) – New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed to a nine-month high last week, yet another setback to the frail economic recovery.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 500,000 in the week ended August 14, the highest since mid-November, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast claims slipping to 476,000 from the previously reported 484,000 the prior week, which was revised up to 488,000 in Thursday’s report.

News at Noon

From Reuters

Dozens missing after landslide in southwest China

By Huang Yan and Chris Buckley

August 18, 2010

(Reuters) – At least 67 people were missing after mudslides hit a remote southwest Chinese town near Myanmar, state media reported on Wednesday, adding to the thousands killed or missing in floods and landslides this year.

Mudslides triggered by torrential rains hit a township in Gongshan County, located in a mountainous corner of Yunnan province, early on Wednesday morning, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

“The number of casualties is unknown at the moment,” the report said.

News at Noon

From Reuters

Special report: Flipping, flopping and booming mortgage fraud

By Nick Carey

August 17, 2010

(Reuters) – The house on the 53rd block of South Wood Street in Chicago’s Back of the Yards doesn’t look like a $355,000 home. There is no front door and most of the windows are boarded up.

Public records show it sold in foreclosure for $25,500 in January 2009, then resold for $355,000 in October. In between, a $110,000 mortgage was taken out on the home, supposedly for renovations. This June, the property went back into foreclosure.

To Emilio Carrasquillo, head of the local office of non-profit lender Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS), the numbers don’t add up. He believes this is a case of mortgage fraud.

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News at Noon

From Reuters

China tops Japan as second biggest economy in Q2

By Tetsushi Kajimoto and Stanley White

August 16, 2010

(Reuters) – Japan’s economic growth slowed to a crawl in the second quarter and analysts see more weakness ahead, adding to policymakers’ headaches as they grapple with deflation and a rise in the yen that threatens an export-reliant recovery.

Slowing growth in main export destinations such as the United States and China clouds the outlook, while policymakers are trying hard to talk down the yen after it surged to a 15-year high against the dollar last week.

Japan’s quarterly gross domestic product growth of 0.1 percent translates to annualized expansion of 0.4 percent, well below the median market forecast of 2.3 percent and the United States’ 2.4 percent annualized growth in the same quarter.

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News at Noon

From Reuters

Heavy rain and mudslides bring more misery to China

By Ben Blanchard and Huang Yan

August 13, 2010

(Reuters) – Heavy rain across western China has caused more mudslides and flooding, killing at least 29 people and trapping more than 10,500 in the latest natural disasters to hit the country, state media said on Friday.

In Longnan, in poor and remote Gansu province, 20 died and more than 10,000 were trapped following torrential rains and landslides, state television said. Another four died in Gansu’s Tianshui city and dozens are missing province-wide.

More than 1,000 people died in the nearby town of Zhouqu when an avalanche of mud roared down the slopes of a mountain last weekend after unusually strong downpours.

News at Noon

From Reuters

GM posts largest quarterly profit since 2004

By David Bailey and Kevin Krolicki

August 12, 2010

(Reuters) – General Motors Co posted its biggest quarterly profit in six years on Thursday, a day ahead of an expected IPO filing that will clear the way for the U.S. government to relinquish its majority stake in the top U.S. automaker.

GM reported second-quarter net earnings of $1.3 billion, compared with $865 million in the first quarter.

The second-quarter profit was the largest since 2004, when the U.S. auto market was still booming with annual sales of near 17 million vehicles and GM’s brands accounted for more than one in four purchases of new cars and trucks.

News at Noon

From Reuters

Colorado Democrat Bennet escapes anti-incumbent mood

By John Whitesides

August 11, 2010

Reuters) – Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado bucked a national anti-incumbent mood to beat an insurgent challenger on Tuesday, and a Tea Party-backed conservative narrowly defeated an establishment favorite in the state’s Republican Senate primary.

In Connecticut, wealthy former wrestling executive Linda McMahon easily won the Republican Senate nomination over a former congressman in the latest in a string of Republican primary victories by anti-establishment outsiders.

The Colorado and Connecticut Senate races were the highlight of primary voting in four U.S. states. Voters in Georgia and Minnesota also chose candidates to square off in November’s midterm elections.

News at Noon

From Reuters

Fed ponders more easing as economy stumbles

By Pedro Nicolaci da Costa

August 10, 2010

(Reuters) – The Federal Reserve meets on Tuesday to consider, and perhaps even adopt, additional measures to prop up a softening U.S. economic recovery.

Data since the U.S. central bank’s last policy-setting meeting in late June has been decidedly weak. Consumer spending is petering out and manufacturing, which had led the recovery, is losing steam. The unemployment rate is stuck at 9.5 percent, with firms showing a distinct reluctance to hire.

With U.S. interest rates already effectively at zero, the central bank is out of easy policy options. Top Fed officials argue, however, they can do more to fight renewed economic weakness, including reinvesting proceeds from maturing mortgage bonds back into that market.

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News at Noon

From Reuters

Fiorina, Hurd: no practitioners of “The HP Way”?

By Alex Dobuzinskis

August 9, 2010

(Reuters) – Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard would not be amused.

The founders of Hewlett-Packard — some say Silicon Valley itself — built their empire on a people-centric management model they christened “The HP Way.” But author and veteran tech journalist Michael S. Malone says that mantra has come under siege in past years, culminating in the exit on Friday of CEO Mark Hurd following a sexual harassment inquiry.

Stanford alumni Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard in the 1950s outlined the tenets of a corporation that embraced performance bonuses, employee shares, ground-level decision-making, even tuition aid and allowing workers to leave early to get to Little League games. Business 101 today, novel at the time.

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