Halliburton asks high court to block trial
WASHINGTON (AP) — Halliburton Co. is asking the Supreme Court to block a Texas woman’s lawsuit alleging she was raped by military contractor co-workers in Iraq.
The company wants the justices to reverse a lower court ruling that Jamie Leigh Jones’ case can go to trial. Jones sued Halliburton and its former subsidiary KBR, saying she was raped while working for KBR at Camp Hope, Baghdad, in 2005.
The trial is set to begin in February 2011.
Wal-Mart cuts about 11,200 Sam’s Club staffers
NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will cut about 11,200 jobs at Sam’s Club warehouses as it turns over the task of in-store product demonstrations to an outside marketing company.
The move is an effort to improve sales at Sam’s Club and comes on top of a decision to close 10 underperforming warehouse locations, which cost 1,500 jobs.
The cuts represent about 10 percent of the warehouse club operator’s 110,000 staffers across its 600 stores. That includes 10,000 workers, mostly part-timers, who offer food samples and showcase products to customers. The company also eliminated 1,200 workers who recruit new members.
Employees were told the news at mandatory meetings on Sunday morning.
Entrepreneur seeks algae-to-fuel conversion key
BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) — And God said, “Let there be light: and there was light,” according to the Book of Genesis, although He might have added, “especially in South Texas.”
The Lower Rio Grande Valley is sunshine-rich, a major factor behind Brad Bartilson’s decision to relocate to Brownsville from New Jersey. Bartilson is not working on his tan. He’s president and CEO of Photon8, a start-up company researching economically feasible methods for turning algae into biodiesel as an alternative to fossil fuel. For algae to produce the oily “lipids” required for biodiesel, it’s got to be bombarded by sunlight — lots of it.
“From a photonic standpoint, New Jersey had 30 percent less photons per square meter falling than here,” Bartilson says.
Report: $997M in highway funds don’t help traffic
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Nearly $1 billion in transportation funds have been used over the past 18 years on Texas projects that had little to do with improving traffic flow, a newspaper reported Sunday.
A Fort Worth Star-Telegram analysis of state and federal records found that $997 million worth of work in Texas has fallen under a federal transportation enhancement program that started in 1991.
The spending includes $42.7 million for the first phase of a 5-acre park being built on top of a freeway in downtown Dallas and $16.1 million to restore the Battleship Texas in the southeast Texas town of La Porte.
The newspaper reported that state legislators often require the Texas Department of Transportation to fund pet projects through last-minute additions to the department’s appropriations.
Stocks slide as Obama calls for tougher bank rules
NEW YORK (AP) — President Barack Obama’s plan to change the way big banks make their money plunged the stock market back into the fear and uncertainty that marked the financial crisis.
Obama said Thursday he would ask Congress for limits on how big banks can become and to end some of the risky trades financial companies use to supercharge their earnings. Investors sent stocks tumbling as they worried the plan would destabilize Wall Street’s 10-month rally.
Big bank stocks skidded, yanking the Dow Jones industrial average down 213 points and erasing its gains for 2010. Over the past two days, the Dow dropped 336 points, or 3.1 percent, its worst slump since June. Wednesday’s drop came on more global concerns, that China’s economy would slow and hurt other countries as well.
Pelosi: House lacks votes to OK Senate health bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she lacks the votes to quickly move the Senate’s sweeping health overhaul bill through the House, a potentially devastating blow to President Barack Obama’s signature issue.
Pelosi, D-Calif., made the comment to reporters after House Democrats held a closed-door meeting at which participants vented frustration with the Senate’s massive version of the legislation.
Obama gets voters’ message: It’s jobs, jobs, jobs
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jobs, jobs, jobs.
If there’s any path out of the mess President Barack Obama found himself in on the first day of his second year in office, more aggressive promotion of the administration’s economy-boosting efforts — coupled with criticism of the Republican approach — is the one he has settled on.
The White House in the new year already had begun focusing greater attention on the nation’s angst and anger over a range of economic issues, including unemployment persisting near 10 percent, government expansion, Wall Street excesses and federal deficits.
Officials said that shift will intensify now, an acknowledgment that Tuesday’s stunning Senate election of Republican Scott Brown in the Democratic stronghold of Massachusetts requires at least some course correction in Obama’s still-young presidency.
Obama urges pared-back health care bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — Chastened by the Democratic Senate loss in Massachusetts, President Barack Obama and congressional allies signaled Wednesday they will try to scale back his sweeping health care overhaul in an effort to at least keep parts of it alive.
A simpler, less ambitious bill emerged as an alternative only hours after the loss of the party’s crucial 60th Senate seat forced the Democrats to slow their all-out drive to pass Obama’s signature legislation despite fierce Republican opposition. The Democrats are now considering all options.
No decisions have been made, lawmakers said, but they laid out a new approach that could still include these provisions: limiting the ability of insurance companies to deny coverage to people with medical problems, allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ policies, helping small businesses and low-income people pay premiums and changing Medicare to encourage payment for quality care instead of sheer volume of services.
New York Times to charge for Web access in 2011
nline revenue without driving away advertisers that want the biggest possible audience.
The potential pitfalls have made most other major newspapers hesitant to take a similar step. But after months of deliberation, the Times said Wednesday that it will use a metered system, allowing free access to a certain number of articles each month and then charging users for additional content.
The Times did not disclose how many articles would be available for free each month or what it would charge to read more. Subscribers to the printed version of the Times would still have free access to the Web site.
Oil below $78 on stronger dollar, demand doubts
Oil prices fell below $78 a barrel Tuesday amid the strengthening dollar and continued doubts about global demand for crude.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for February delivery was down 23 cents to $77.77 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
There was no floor trading on the Nymex on Monday due to the Martin Luther King holiday. The February contract closed at $78 a barrel on Friday.
Victor Shum, an energy analyst with consultancy Purvin & Gertz in Singapore, said oil prices were likely to stay in a range as investors waited for cues from fourth quarter corporate earnings reports in the U.S.
So far, earnings have been mixed, with better-than-expected results from the likes of Intel Corp. offset by disappointments elsewhere, most notably Alcoa Inc.
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- Halliburton asks high court to block trial WASHINGTON (AP) — Halliburton Co. is asking the Supreme Court to block a Texas woman’s lawsuit alleging she was raped by military contractor co-workers in Iraq.