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S&P 500 briefly crosses 1,900 for the first time

 

NEW YORK (AP) — The Standard & Poor's 500 index briefly crossed 1,900 for the first time Tuesday as investors assessed news on retail sales. Keurig Green Mountain jumped on reports that Coca-Cola had raised its stake in the company.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 May 2014

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Senate votes to open debate on renewing tax breaks

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bill to renew a package of more than 50 expired tax breaks cleared its first hurdle in the Senate Tuesday.

Other hurdles remain, however.

The Senate voted 96 to 3 to open debate on the bill, which has strong backing from the business community but would add about $85 billion to the budget deficit.

Almost every year, Congress routinely renews the tax breaks. This year, though, they were allowed to expire at the start of the year. The Senate bill would extend the tax breaks through 2015.

"Our constituents are depending on us to extend these provisions," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. "We will not pull the plug before our nation's recovery is complete. By passing this tax extenders package we will build our nation's economy more quickly."

The tax breaks enjoy broad bipartisan support. But some Republican senators want the opportunity to change the package, and it's not clear whether Reid will allow amendments.

Republican amendments include making some of the tax cuts permanent while adding others, including the repeal of a medical device tax that helps fund President Barack Obama's health law. Republican senators may be forced to choose between blocking a bill that provides popular tax breaks and accepting it unchanged.

"Americans deserve tax certainty, not more short-term measures," said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.

Thune said he wants to offer several amendments, including a permanent ban on state and local Internet access taxes. A temporary moratorium on such taxes is due to expire Nov. 1.

The package pairs broad tax breaks that benefit millions with narrow ones that don't.

Among the biggest breaks for businesses: A tax credit for research and development, an exemption that allows financial companies to shield foreign profits from being taxed by the U.S., and several provisions that allow businesses to write off capital investments more quickly. There is also a generous tax credit for using wind farms and other renewable energy sources to produce electricity.

The biggest tax break for individuals allows people who live in states without an income tax to deduct state and local sales taxes on their federal returns. Another protects struggling homeowners who get their mortgages reduced from paying income taxes on the amount of debt that was forgiven.

Other more narrow provisions include tax breaks for film and theater producers, NASCAR race track owners, manufacturers of electric motorcycles and teachers who spend their own money on classroom supplies.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 May 2014

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GM recall reveals gaps in air bag knowledge

General Motors' recall of 2.6 million small cars has shed light on an unsettling fact: Air bags might not always deploy when drivers — and federal regulators — expect them to.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 May 2014

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Judge: Try marathon suspect's 3 friends separately

BOSTON (AP) — Three college friends of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect will be tried separately, but those trials do not need to be moved out of Massachusetts, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 May 2014

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Pedophile teacher abused scores as clues missed

He was one of the most beloved teachers in the small world of international schools that serve the children of diplomats, well-off American expatriates and local elites. He was often the first to arrive in the morning, and the last to leave each day. He led students on class trips to exotic places, treating them to cookies and milk at bedtime.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 May 2014

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European court: Google must yield on personal info

AMSTERDAM (AP) — People should have some say over the results that pop up when they conduct a search of their own name online, Europe's highest court said Tuesday.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 May 2014

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Energy savings bill fails amid election politics

WASHINGTON (AP) — A widely popular, bipartisan energy savings bill fell victim in the Senate on Monday to election-year politics and the Obama administration's continued indecision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 May 2014

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New Hampshire cop dies in shooting before blaze

BRENTWOOD, N.H. (AP) — A domestic dispute that may have involved a father and a son turned deadly when a police officer was fatally shot by a man who authorities say later died in a roaring house fire in southern New Hampshire.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 May 2014

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