Harrison Daily Times
Thursday, August 1, 2013 www.harrisondaily.com
l NATION & LOCAL 5A
AROUND THE WORLD
Unemployment rates rise in 90% of cities
Obama challenges GOP to accept tax deal
Unemployment rates rose in nearly all large U.S. cities in June as college graduates and many of those still in school began searching for jobs. The Labor Department said Tuesday that unemployment rates rose in 347 large metro areas in June compared with the previous month. They fell in 12 and were unchanged in 13. In May, rates fell in 109 cities and rose in 243. Unlike the national figures, the metro unemployment data are not adjusted for such seasonal changes. Many of the cities with significant rate increases have large universities where students graduated in June and began looking for work. And many university workers are temporarily unemployed in the summer when the academic year ends. Nationally, the unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in June, down from 8.2 percent a year ago. Employers added 195,000 jobs last month. Thatâ€™s close to average monthly gain in the first half of this year of 202,000. Hiring averaged only 180,000 a month in the previous six months.
Seeking to ease Washington gridlock, President Barack Obama on Tuesday challenged Republicans to accept a new fiscal deal to cut corporate tax rates in exchange for more government spending on jobs programs. The offer was immediately panned by GOP lawmakers, who accused the president of repacking proposals he already supports and making no concessions to the opposing party. Administration officials cast the corporate tax proposal as the first new economic idea the president plans to offer in the coming months. With budget deadlines looming this fall, the White House is seeking to refocus Obamaâ€™s agenda on the economy in order to rally public support for his ideas and increase his leverage over the GOP. Obama and Republicans have both long supported changes to the corporate tax code. But they differ over key details, including the exact rate and what should be done with any revenue generated by the changes.
Consumer confidence dips from 5-year high Americansâ€™ confidence in the economy fell only slightly in July but stayed close to a 5 1/2 year high, a sign that consumers should continue to help drive growth in the coming months. The Conference Board, a New York-based private research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index dipped to 80.3 in July. Thatâ€™s down from a reading of 82.1 in June, which was revised slightly higher and the best reading since January 2008. Despite the slight drop in July, confidence remains well above year-ago levels. And consumers are more optimistic about the current job market. WASHINGTON, D.C.
Delay of penalties will cost government $10B
Pfizer to pay $491M to resolve drug case Pfizer and the Justice Department say the drugmaker will pay almost $491 million to resolve an investigation into illegal marketing of the companyâ€™s organ transplant drug Rapamune. Rapamune was approved in 1999 for use in kidney transplant patients, and the Justice Department says sales representatives were trained to market the drug for use in other patients. The U.S. Department of Justice says Pfizer Inc. will pay $257.4 million in civil settlements with federal and state governments and a $157.6 million criminal fine. It will also forfeit $76 million in assets. Rapamune was originally made by Wyeth. Pfizer bought Wyeth in 2009. The parties announced a proposed $491 million settlement in October. WASHINGTON, D.C.
The Obama administrationâ€™s surprise decision to delay a key requirement of the health care law for employers will cost the government $10 billion, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday. While thatâ€™s a big number, the report from the official budget scorekeeper for Congress also put the administrationâ€™s recent move within a wider perspective. Overall, the delay for employers and other changes will raise the cost of the expanding coverage for the uninsured by less than 1 percent over 10 years from the budget agencyâ€™s previous estimate in May, CBO said. The White House announced earlier this month that it would delay a requirement for employers with 50 or more workers to offer affordable coverage, or face fines. Instead of going into effect next year, the provision was put off to 2015. A major concession to business groups, the delay took administration allies and adversaries by surprise.
Economy grows at 1.7 percent pace
A Philadelphia museum dedicated to the cityâ€™s most famous Founding Father is reopening after nearly two years of renovations. The new Benjamin Franklin Museum will welcome its first visitors on Aug. 24. The 7,000-square-foot underground facility had opened in 1976 at the downtown site where Franklinâ€™s house once stood. By 2011, many displays and exhibits were broken or dated. The facility closed that fall to undergo a $15 million refurbishment funded by a public-private partnership. The new museum features artifacts, computer animation and interactive displays. The location also includes a ghost structure outlining the size of Franklinâ€™s three-story brick house. The National Park Service said the museumâ€™s official grand opening celebration is scheduled for Sept. 19.
JPMorgan owes $410M for manipulation JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed on Tuesday to pay $410 million to settle accusations by U.S. energy regulators that it manipulated electricity prices. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said the bank used improper bidding strategies from 2010 through 2012 to squeeze excessive payments from the agencies that run the power grids in California and the Midwest. JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank, is paying a civil penalty of $285 million and returning $125 million in allegedly improper profits. FERC said its investigation had found improper trading practices were used at Houston-based JPMorgan Ventures Energy Corp.
U.S. economic growth accelerated in the April-June quarter to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.7 percent, as businesses spent more and the federal government cut less. The Commerce Department says growth improved from a sluggish 1.1 percent rate in the January-March quarter, which was revised from an initial 1.8 percent rate. The pickup in growth was surprising as most economists predicted a far weaker second quarter. Consumers increased their spending more slowly in the second quarter. And a surge in imports reduced growth by the most in three years. But the federal government cut spending only 1.5 percent. And state and local governments increased spending for the first time in a year. PHILADELPHIA
Renovated Franklin Museum reopening
LEE H. DUNLAP/STAFF
LANDFILL COSTS John Verkamp, Fort Smith lawyer representing the Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District, told board members Monday that they need calculations to estimate how much it will cost to close NABORS landfill in Baxter County.
Opponents push for end to program KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) â€” Pressure is mounting among Missouri lawmakers and landowners to end a federal program that recognizes conservation and recreation efforts along waterways. Pushback to the National Blueway program began after the 700-mile-plus White River, which flows through southern Missouri and northern Arkansas, was made part of the program in January. But even after the Interior Department dropped the White River from the program earlier this month and put the program on hold, opponents remain unsatisfied. Many of the hundreds who attended a House Natural Resources subcommittee field hearing Monday in southern
Missouri want the government to do away with the program entirely. â€œWe would like the Blueway program to be rescinded nationally, but itâ€™s about much more than that,â€? said Justin Gibbs, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, who requested the field hearing along with fellow Missouri Republican, U.S. Rep. Billy Long. â€œItâ€™s about the protection of private property rights and about making sure local stakeholders have a say in the use of their land.â€? The Blueway program is part of President Barack Obamaâ€™s Americaâ€™s Great Outdoors Initiative. The designation is intended to promote outdoor recreation and doesnâ€™t include new regulations or automatically bring in new
money. Backers of the program had hoped it would position the White River to be first in line for federal grants. But opponents including the conservative group Secure Arkansas complained that there was a lack of public input on the designation and feared it could lead to land seizure and tougher enforcement of existing laws. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced a pause two weeks ago in new designations while the department reviews the process it uses to approve new ones. The designation includes the entire river and its watershed, amounting to 17.9 million acres for the White River. â€œWhat we want to know is: How in the world did they stand up
this new program in the dark of night without bringing any stakeholders into the process?â€? Long asked. â€œIt looked like a land grab to our people.â€? Gibbs said the National Park Service is expected to release its general management plan in the next few months. He said there are indications that it will close some horse trails, restrict boats in certain parts of the river and designate new wilderness areas. â€œWe all want clean water. We all want clean air. We all want our lands not to be polluted,â€? Gibbs said. â€œBut I feel itâ€™s time that the Department of the Interior realizes that the best conservationists are local stakeholders who have been using these lands and waters for generations.â€?
China stopping imports of fowl LITTLE ROCK (AP) â€” Federal agriculture officials told members of Arkansasâ€™ congressional delegation Tuesday that China has stopped importing the stateâ€™s poultry products. Sen. Mark Pryor decried the decision, saying an â€œisolated incidentâ€? led to the ban. Pryor didnâ€™t say what the incident was, but birds on a Scott County farm tested positive for a lowpathogenic strain of avian flu in June. Pryor spokesman Michael Teague said the U.S. Department of Agriculture had sent to members of Arkansasâ€™ congressional delegation a notice from its Food Safety and Inspection Service that Arkansas poultry was being blocked, effective July 22. Wisconsin poultry was blocked that day, as well. Arkansas is the nationâ€™s second-largest poultry producer, behind Georgia. China had also blocked imports previously over avian flu concerns.
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