Friday, July 22, 2011

Choose the news for the 7/23 edition of the Oakland Press

Here are some of the stories we are considering for the Saturday 7/23 edition of the Oakland Press.

Add your thoughts below on what stories you think should be in print, and which should not.

Stories in bold are strong contenders

Michigan at noon.

MARSHALL — A year after one of the largest oil spills in the history of the Midwest, cleanup crews still toil along the Kalamazoo River in southern Michigan — and it won’t surprise some regulators and residents if they remain working in a more limited capacity next summer and beyond. Less than 10 percent of the more than 800,000 gallons that Enbridge Inc. confirmed was leaking from one of its pipelines on July 26, 2010 — although 911 calls from residents complained of gas smells the night before — remains uncollected. AP Photos.

US SENATE-2012-MICHIGAN — Charter school executive Clark Durant says he’s still considering joining other Republicans running to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2012 even though former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra just got into the race. Durant said Friday during the taping of public television’s “Off the Record” program that he plans to announce a decision between mid-August and Labor Day.
DETROIT POLICE-GROPING — A frustrated federal judge in Port Huron backs off and gives the Detroit City Council two extra days to approve a $50,000 settlement in a lawsuit that claims male officers groped two men. Judge Lawrence Zatkoff had ordered the entire council to travel 60 miles to court next week to explain why it’s taken months to approve the deal.
BUS-SEMI CRASH — A bus carrying 52 passengers across central New York early Friday was pulling back onto a highway when it was struck in the rear by a tractor-trailer, touching off a fiery crash that demolished both vehicles, killed the truck driver and injured about 30 people, state police said. State Police Trooper Mark O’Donnell said many of the injuries were minor, though two people were taken to the hospital by helicopter with serious injuries. Truck driver Timothy Hume, 59, of Dryden, Mich., was killed.
AP Photos NYDD101-107.
NEW YORK — Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Borders Group begins liquidation sales at all of its 399 stores as the 40-year-old chain winds down operations. A liquidation company that is part of the process said late Thursday that the sales will be held starting Friday at all 259 Borders superstores, 114 Borders Express and Waldenbooks, and 26 Borders airport stores.

LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder is positive the business tax cuts taking effect in 2012 will give a huge boost to Michigan’s economy. But the Republican governor also pushed through changes that will put a significantly larger tax burden on retirees and other individual taxpayers, which could hurt consumer spending and offset the economic boost, according to a report by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council. By Kathy Barks Hoffman.
Eds: This week’s Capital Focus and a Michigan AP Centerpiece. Moving Friday.

NORWAY-EXPLOSION — Peaceful, prosperous Norway comes under attack for the first time since World War II, with one or more bombs striking government headquarters, killing at least seven people and wounding 15. The explosion is quickly followed by gunfire — and reports of injuries — at an island youth camp outside the capital, and anti-terror police are sent in. AP photos, video, graphics, interactive.
WASHINGTON — What if they yield, even a little? A major hurdle to breaking the debt-ceiling impasse is the fear by House Republicans that they will face primary election challenges from the right if they go along with Democrats on anything. The concern even has a name — being “primaried.” Tea party leaders say those lawmakers have every reason to be worried. AP photos.
DEBT SHOWDOWN — Just 11 days before a threatened government default, House Speaker John Boehner says he and President Barack Obama are “frankly not close to an agreement” to raise the nation’s debt limit. Underscoring the gridlock, the Senate kills House-passed legislation to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for deep spending cuts and congressional approval of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. AP photos, interactive.
HEAT WAVE — The 100-degree heat and steam bath humidity that have been oppressing the Midwest for weeks settle squarely over the urban Northeast, inflicting misery on the millions of people living in some of the nation’s oldest, most densely populated expanses of heat-trapping asphalt and concrete. Finding a place to cool off is even harder in New York City, where people are warned not to go in the water at some beaches because of a major sewage spill. AP photos, video, interactive.
— HEAT WAVE-GLOBAL VOICES — In the hot corners of the world, where temperatures like those that have bedeviled America are so commonplace that they go unnoticed, AP correspondents ask how people in the U.S. should deal with the heat.
— HEAT WAVE-CIVIL WAR — Blue and gray and red hot all over; re-enactors in woolen uniforms prepare to battle heat on Civil War battlefield in Virginia. AP photos.
EAST AFRICA-FAMINE — Al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia vow to keep up their ban on most international aid workers despite a worsening famine. Officials fear tens of thousands already have died, and the announcement by al-Shabab will further complicate relief efforts in an anarchic nation mired by two decades of war and misery. AP photos
BOOMING PROFITS-SCANT HIRING — Strong second-quarter earnings from McDonalds and Caterpillar are just the latest example of a boom in corporate profits. But job growth is stagnant and unemployment is rising. The reason? American companies are benefiting from higher sales, especially overseas, as the economy recovers. Yet rather than hire, they’re squeezing more productivity out of staffs that were greatly diminished by the Great Recession.
WASHINGTON — Fulfilling an oft-deferred campaign promise, President Barack Obama is expected to formally end the military’s ban on gays serving openly in uniform following assurance from the Pentagon that doing so will not harm fighting power during a time of two wars. A 60-day waiting period follows Obama’s signature before gay Americans can openly join up. By Lolita C. Baldor and Erica Werner.
AP photos.
BALI, Indonesia — Top nuclear envoys from rivals North and South Korea agree to work toward a resumption of stalled nuclear disarmament talks, a significant breakthrough after more than a year of confrontation and escalating threats that have put the region on edge. By Matthew Lee and Foster Klug.
AP photos by Firdia Lisnawati, Dita Alangkara and Saul Loeb.
LONDON — Media scion James Murdoch, his father’s heir apparent, is under fire over claims by newspaper executives that he misled lawmakers about what he knew, and when, about Britain’s phone-hacking scandal. The allegation raises questions not only about his succession, but what he may have relayed to Rupert Murdoch, the CEO and controlling shareholder. News Corp.’s independent board members have hired an outside law firm to guide it on the potentially explosive problem. By Raphael G. Satter and Cassandra Vinograd.
AP photos by Matt Dunham and Louis Lanzano.
— BRITAIN-PHONE HACKING-REPORTER — Ever since he scored a once-in-a-lifetime scoop by uncovering the depths of the phone hacking scandal, people keep telling British journalist Nick Davies that they have even more secrets to tell. AP photo.
SOUTH AFRICA-SAVING RHINOS — They once relied on snares, poison and shotguns to kill rhinos for their horns. Now crime syndicates are arming poachers with night-vision goggles and AK-47 assault rifles. And the government of South Africa — home to 90 percent of the rhinos left on the continent — is fighting back by deploying the military to its flagship game park.
AP photos
SYRIA — Tens of thousands of Syrians defy an increasingly violent government crackdown, insisting they will not be terrified into submission through bullets and mass arrests. Although the protests are growing stronger, the divided opposition has failed to provide a real alternative to the Assad regime. AP photos.
— IRAQ — Iraq’s government will delay taking custody of a top Hezbollah commander from the U.S. military after American senators seek to block the transfer.
CROATIA-MASSACRE REMEMBERED — Back in the warehouse dubbed the “room of death,” Vijoleta Antonic gasped as she remembered the screams, the corpses and how close she came to being executed. “I saw it with my own eyes, people cut into pieces.” Some 200 Croat prisoners of war were slain at the warehouse and nearby sites during a campaign orchestrated by Serb military leaders. AP photos, video.
BRAZIL-POLICE KILLINGS — The last time Juan Moraes’ mother saw him alive, the 11-year-old left home with his older brother on an errand. On their way back, the siblings were hit by police gunfire. Even in a city where police shootings are routine, Juan’s death touched a nerve. Rio has one of the deadliest police forces in the world — killing on average 3 1/2 people a day, according to an Associated Press analysis. AP photos. AP graphic.
BROKEN BUDGETS-WILDFIRE FEES — States are finding a new way to deal with the spiraling costs of fighting wildfires: They are charging annual fees to homeowners who live in fire-prone areas. California is the latest Western state to enact the charge, including a provision in this year’s budget that imposes a $150 annual firefighting fee on rural homeowners as a way to ease the burden of worsening fire seasons. Idaho, Montana, Washington and Oregon impose fees as well. AP photos, interactive.
ANTI-ABORTION LAWS — Inspired by a contentious Nebraska law, abortion opponents in five other states have won passage of measures banning virtually all abortions after five months of pregnancy. The late-term bans — based on the premise that fetuses at that stage can feel pain, a view that has been disputed — are among a record wave of abortion restrictions approved so far this year in state legislatures. AP photos.
GIANTS FAN ATTACKED — The investigation into the near-fatal beating of a San Francisco Giants fan on opening day at Dodger Stadium takes a new turn with the arrest of two suspects and the embarrassing realization that the police bungled the initial case by nabbing the wrong guy. Police have provided few details about the latest arrests, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that the gang member locked up for two months in connection with the beating had nothing to do with the attack. AP photos.
E. COLI VICTIM — In early May, John Meyer stayed at a lakeside hotel in Hamburg, Germany. He attended a business conference. He went sailing. And he became one of the few U.S. victims in one of the worst food poisoning outbreaks in recent world history. In an exclusive interview, the Massachusetts man talked about his terrible illness, what his wife called “30 days of hell.”
NFL LABOR — The NFL remains in labor limbo. The NFL Players Association is studying what it calls the “most recent written proposal” from owners. A day earlier, owners voted for a tentative deal, provided players approve it and re-establish their union. AP photos, video, interactive
— BUS-SEMI CRASH — A tractor-trailer rear-ends a bus in central New York state, touching off a fiery crash, killing the truck driver and springing passing motorists, including a soldier, into action to save the occupants of the bus. AP photos, video.
— AVIATION SHUTDOWN — Portions of the Federal Aviation Administration will shut down at midnight — putting nearly 4,000 people temporarily out of work and allowing airline passengers to buy tickets without paying taxes — unless Congress can resolve a partisan deadlock.
— VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ ON TWITTER —Twitter has become an essential tool for President Hugo Chavez as he gets cancer treatment in Cuba.
— CLEVELAND-BODIES FOUND — Jury reaches verdict in trial of man charged with killing 11 women. AP photos.
— NYC TERROR — Father of admitted terrorist Najibullah Zazi is convicted of trying to cover up his son’s failed plot to attack the New York City subways. AP photos.
— ROLLER COASTER DEATH — State cites NY amusement park with violations following veteran’s death by falling off roller coaster. AP Photos.

Business budget for 7.23 Saturday

UAW contracts - szczesny
The United Auto Workers is to open contract talks next week with General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC in an uncertain economy and sharply limited prospects for gains.

syntel earnings - szczesny
Troy-based Syntel posts solid gains.


7.23 Oakland Squishies West Bloomfield
7.23 Macomb Marshalls Roseville

local briefs

on the web
Paper and pens are just the beginning. With state and local governments cutting back, more school districts are charging kids to compete in sports or play in the band. That means these fees can’t be overlooked when families write up a back-to-school budget. By Personal Finance Writer Eileen AJ Connelly
Eds: Available exclusively on AP Exchange/ AP Web Feeds
A spotlight on key consumer product recalls helping to protect you and your family.
Eds: Available exclusively on AP Exchange/ AP Web Feeds

BOOMING PROFITS-SCANT HIRING — Strong second-quarter earnings from McDonalds and Caterpillar are just the latest example of a boom in corporate profits. But job growth is stagnant and unemployment is rising. The reason? American companies are benefiting from higher sales, especially overseas, as the economy recovers. Yet rather than hire, they’re squeezing more productivity out of staffs that were greatly diminished by the Great Recession.
AP Photo.
CORPORATE EARNINGS-STRONG START McDonald’s shares hit an all-time high as the company reported better than expected earnings. The restaurant chain was just one of a parade of corporations posting strong results in the first week of earnings season for the second quarter.
RESTAURANT SUPER FANS — Call it insanity or plain old dedication, but one Iowa woman has traveled cross-country to 119 Chipotle restaurants, while a North Carolinian man loves Chick-fil-A so much that the chain’s mascot cow will be a best man in his wedding. These are the customers every chain dreams of — restaurant groupies. No numbers track this enthusiastic group, but it’s increasingly valuable to struggling restaurants at a time when a Twitter post can change the opinions of thousands. By AP Business Writer Christina Rexrode. AP Photos.
DEBT SHOWDOWN — The Senate blocks a House Republican bill to require Congress to slash spending and pass a balanced-budget amendment before raising the nation’s borrowing powers. The vote leaves unresolved, with just days to go, the urgent issue of how to lift the debt limit to avoid a U.S. government default.
STATE UNEMPLOYMENT — Unemployment rates rose in more than half of U.S. states in June, evidence that slower hiring is affecting many parts of the country. The Labor Department says the unemployment rates in 28 states and Washington, D.C., increased.
— BANK CLOSINGS — After 5 p.m., the FDIC reports on bank closings. By Alex Veiga.
WALL STREET — A big earnings miss from Caterpillar halts a stock rally that brought the Dow Jones industrial average close to its highest level of the year. Caterpillar and a continuing deadlock over raising the U.S. borrowing limit leaves the U.S. out of a broad rally in overseas markets. By Daniel Wagner.
— OIL PRICES — The chances for late-summer discounts at the gas pump are looking pretty slim. Americans are paying about 15 cents more for a gallon of gas now than they did over the July Fourth weekend and nearly $1 more than a year ago.
— SEC SHAREHOLDER NOMINATIONS — A federal appeals court strikes down a rule adopted last year by the Securities and Exchange Commission that gave shareholders more power to nominate board directors.
EARNS-GENERAL ELECTRIC — General Electric Co. said earnings grew 21 percent in the second quarter as its GE Capital lending arm continued to recover from the recession. By Chris Kahn.
EARNS-MCDONALD’S McDonald’s net income rose 15 percent in the second quarter as it continued to bring in more customers, especially in Europe.
EARNS-CATERPILLAR Caterpillar’s second-quarter profit grew 44 percent and with strong demand for its heavy equipment, the company bumped up its outlook for the entire year. But profits fell just shy of Wall Street estimates and shares tumbled. By Josh Funk.
— EARNS-REYNOLDS AMERICAN — Cigarette maker Reynolds American Inc. said its second-quarter profit fell almost 11 percent, chiefly on charges related to a legal case.
— EARNS-SCHLUMBERGER — Schlumberger Ltd. says second-quarter profits jumped 64 percent on a surge in North American oil drilling.
CAPTAIN AMERICA-MARKETING CAMPAIGN — The makers of “Captain America: The First Avenger” are spending $60 million on a patriotic-themed ad campaign to battle against movie superhero fatigue. Captain America adds to the unusually long list of action hero movies hitting theaters this summer. Most of the flicks have been successful, but at a time when movie ticket sales are at their lowest in years, Hollywood has no guarantees people will want to see yet another movie in that genre. By Business Writer Mae Anderson.
— HEART DRUG-FDA WARNING — Federal health regulators warn doctors that heart drug Multaq from Sanofi was associated with fatal heart problems in a recently halted company study.
EARNS-VERIZON — Verizon Communications Inc. is seeing a big boost from the iPhone, adding more new subscribers on contracts in the second quarter than it has in two and half years. Verizon also said Chief Operating Officer Lowell McAdam will take over from long-time CEO Ivan Seidenberg, 64, on Aug. 1.
BRITAIN-PHONE HACKING — James Murdoch was under pressure over claims he misled lawmakers about Britain’s phone hacking scandal, as a lawmaker called for a police investigation and Prime Minister David Cameron insisted the media scion had “questions to answer” about what he knew and when he knew it.
— AUSTRALIA-MURDOCH’S MONOPOLY— Australia’s competition watchdog expressed concern at a bid by Rupert Murdoch’s cable television operation to buy out a rival, saying it would create “a near monopoly” of pay TV service in the country.
— YOUTUBE-MUSIC FESTIVALS — YouTube will live stream Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, two of the summer’s largest music festivals, in the video site’s continuing push to bring the festivals to digital screens.
— NETHERLANDS-EARNS-TOMTOM — TomTom NV, Europe’s largest maker of navigation devices, reported a $705 million loss in the second quarter as demand for its consumer products worsened.
EUROPE-CRISIS REPRIEVE — Faced with spreading financial turmoil, European leaders finally compromise on a far-reaching deal that fundamentally alters the region’s approach to fighting the crisis. Analysts called it a decisive step foward that increases the region’s financial integration, but warned it doesn’t end the debt crisis. The eurozone faces years of struggle with paying down threatening levels of government debt, shaking up hidebound and underperforming economies, and answering hard questions about how much member countries should have to pay for each others’ mistakes.
EUROPE-FINANCIAL CRISIS— Greece will be ruled in default on its debt as a result of a new eurozone plan asking investors to take losses on the country’s bonds, Fitch ratings agency said. However, the move is unlikely to trigger payment of bond insurance, easing a key concern for Greek and European leaders seeking to contain the continent’s debt crisis. By David McHugh.
— GERMANY-FINANCIAL CRISIS — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it is Berlin’s duty to support the euro currency as she praised the new eurozone agreement on a second bailout for Greece.
CHINA-BRIBERY — A former deputy chairman of state-owned China Mobile Ltd., the world’s biggest phone company by subscribers, was convicted of taking bribes and sentenced to prison.
— GERMANY-ECONOMY — German business confidence declined more than expected this month amid jitters over Europe’s debt crisis, a survey showed. But the overall picture remains positive.
— POLAND-EURO — Poland’s finance minister says he doubts his country will adopt the euro in the next few years. Polish leaders have repeatedly delayed a switch to the euro.
— EARNS-VOLVO — Swedish truck maker Volvo AB’s second-quarter profit surged 63 percent as sales returned to levels last seen before the financial crisis.
— AUSTRALIA-WINE TRAGEDY — An unsteady forklift dropped a container full of fine Australian wine worth more than $1 million, smashing most of the bottles. The winemaker says he’s “gut-wrenched, shocked and numb” after the loss of his flagship shiraz.


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