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Around the business world

Daily Staff Report

Wall Street weak after bad news hits: NEW YORK – Wall Street slumped after disappointing earnings from Alcoa Inc. and a sales warning at Lucent Technologies Inc. cast doubt on the strength of second-quarter profits.Federal deficit smaller than expected, but still growing: WASHINGTON – President Bush credited tax cuts for new deficit estimates that are far lower than earlier White House forecasts, but the red ink starts rising again next year and the longer-term outlook is even more bleak.Tenet’s wounds are self-inflicted, analysts say: FRISCO, Texas – Tenet Healthcare Corp. has lost nearly $5 billion in the past three years; admissions and outpatient visits have slumped; bad debt – unpaid bills from uninsured patients – has risen. Company executives say all hospital companies are struggling to keep beds full, but analysts say many of Tenet’s wounds are self-inflicted.Plaintiff caused her own health problems, Vioxx says: ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Severely clogged arteries, obesity and other factors caused a 68-year-old grandmother’s heart attack – not her use of Vioxx, lawyers for the drug’s maker tells jurors during closing arguments in New Jersey’s latest case over the withdrawn painkiller.Ben & Jerry’s going back to its activist roots: MONTPELIER, Vt. – Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. is returning to its social activist roots, attracting its aging hippie founders back to the company for the first time in years, as it lobbies to shift federal spending from nuclear missiles to children’s programs.Commercial ratings under the microscope: NEW YORK – Advertisers have long bought TV spots based on how many people on average watch a program, not how many watch the ads. But that is sure to change once Nielsen Media Research starts providing ratings data not just for programs, but for the commercials themselves.Drug imports from Canada get the OK: WASHINGTON – The Senate opened the way to let Americans import prescription drugs into the United States from Canada, seeking to ease a regulatory ban on cheaper medicine crossing the border.Lotto winners have reasons to celebrate: ANDERSON, Ind. – Nine auto parts workers whose factory is slated to close at the end of the year have something to celebrate: a $9 million Hoosier Lotto jackpot. They had been playing the lottery for 16 years every week.New Windows set too hit the market: REDMOND, Wash. – Chief Executive Steve Ballmer vows that Microsoft Corp.’s customers will never again face as long a wait between new versions of Windows software as they’re enduring now, while founder Bill Gates said Microsoft’s next-generation Vista operating system is 80 percent likely to reach the market by January.Private space shuttle not just a dream, tycoon says: LOS ANGELES – A hotel tycoon’s dream of building a commercial space station is taking a step toward reality – or a reality check – with the launch of a satellite that will test the feasibility of an orbital outpost made up of balloon-like modules strung together like sausage links.Blair wants Britain to go green: LONDON – Tony Blair says Britain can go green by embracing wind, water – and the atom. The prime minister makes atomic power a centerpiece of his energy plan for the next 50 years.Chinese economy’s sizzle starts to cool: BEIJING – China’s bank lending fell 22 percent last month, suggesting official efforts to cool off the sizzling economy are taking effect, state media reports.Trial begins over fake trade reports: HOUSTON – Lawyers for two former energy traders on trial for reporting fake transactions to private industry publications told jurors Tuesday that they reported bogus data but didn’t know it could be a crime.Ex-Dynegy Inc. trader Michelle Valencia and former El Paso Corp. trader Greg Singleton are the first of several former traders to go to trial after a lengthy federal investigation into errant trading practices in the aftermath of Enron Corp.’s December 2001 bankruptcy filing. Enron’s failure sparked increased scrutiny throughout the energy trading industry.Vail, Colorado


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