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  • Glendale city court

    GLENDALE, Ariz. –The City Court system is now allowing the public to sign up for automatic payments of fees or fines.City officials said Thursday the program is intended to improve the process, ensure more timely payments and take away defendants' worries over late fees in case of a missed payment.The automatic payment is set up for customers to provide a credit or debit card so the court can automatically charge when the next payment is due. Defendants will no longer have to come down to the court, call in or go online every month to make payments.To set up the auto-pay option, patrons must fill out an Automatic Reoccurring Billing Authorization form (ARB). The form can be obtained at the City Court or online at http://www.glendaleaz.com/court/Forms.cfm.The form must be filled out with a signature and submitted to the court for authorization. Once activated, patrons will be notified each time a payment is posted. If patrons decide to cancel this option, it can be done over the phone or in person at the court.For more information about this new process or other City Court issues, call 623-930-2400 or visit http://www.glendaleaz.com/court.  

  • Surprise police to host presentation on distracted driving dangers

    SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Police Department is inviting the public to hear and see some of the results of drivers distracted behind the wheel.The department will host a presentation on the dangers of Distracted Driving 6 p.m.-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, at the Public Safety Auditorium - 14250 W. Statler Plaza, Surprise. A demonstration by the Surprise Police Department K-9 Unit will follow the presentation.Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger and bystanders, stated Sgt. Mike Donovan, a department spokesman. These types of distractions include:* Texting* Using a cell phone or smartphone* Eating & drinking

  • Things are lookin’ up in Glendale

    A night under the stars is on the horizon.The 37th Saguaro Astronomy Club Annual Fall Public Star Party will be from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at Thunderbird Conservation Park, 67th Avenue and Patrick Lane in Glendale. Sunset will take place at approximately 6:09 p.m.Weather permitting, this free, family-friendly event will be sponsored by the Glendale Parks and Recreation Department and hosted by the Saguaro Astronomy Club. Large and small telescopes will be set up and available for public viewing of the moon, planets, stars, galaxies and other deep sky wonders.For more information, visit the Saguaro Astronomy Club website at http://saguaroastro.org.For more information on Thunderbird Conservation Park, visit www.glendaleaz.com/parksandrecreation.

  • Sun City Fire gets helping hand from Guys in Blue

    The Valley Honda Dealers are “helping the helpful” throughout September by sending the Helpful Guys in Blue to various fire stations throughout Arizona to deliver a Random Act of Helpfulness by bringing complimentary lunches to our hardworking firefighters.The Guys in Blue visited Sun City Fire Station No. 133 at 13013 N. 111th Ave., Sun City, Station No. 132, 11401 N. 99th Ave., Sun City, and Station No. 131, 17017 N. 99th Ave., Sun City on Sept. 5 to show their thanks on behalf of the Valley Honda Dealers.

  • Teen dodgeball tournament this Saturday in Surprise

    Surprise is hosting a dodgeball tournament for teens 13-17 years old on Saturday 20 from 5-9 p.m. at Countryside Recreation Center, 15038 N. Parkview Place.Teams of six to eight players can play for the chance to be named “Dodgeball Champions” and win prizes. If you don’t have a team, don’t worry – you can be placed on a “free agent” team the day of the tournament. Each team will play a minimum of three games. Players must be on site at 5 p.m. to register. Admission is $5 per person, which includes pizza and a drink.For information, visit www.surpriseaz.gov/theteenspot or call 623-222-2251.

  • Lord of Life honors charter members

    The celebration was in full swing on Aug. 24 when Lord of Life Lutheran Church honored charter members of the Sun City West church, which was founded in 1981.Thirteen charter members remain from the initial 161 and it was time to gather and listen to their stories about those long ago days.The church had a reception and catered meal for the charter members following Sunday worship.Pastor Stephen Beyer put together a DVD highlighting the stories of the 13 special guests.Interviews with these first members were recorded and included in the presentation to make sure their stories would be saved for all time.Photos of them with shovels in hand turning over those first bits of soil and traipsing through the sanctuary while it was under construction were part of the show as well.  

  • Home Depot breach affected 56M debit, credit cards

    NEW YORK (AP) — Home Depot said Thursday that a data breach that lasted for months at its stores in the U.S. and Canada affected 56 million debit and credit cards, far more than a pre-Christmas 2013 attack on Target customers. The size of the theft at Home Depot trails only that of TJX Companies' heist of 90 million records disclosed in 2007. Target's breach compromised 40 million credit and debit cards. Home Depot, the nation's largest home-improvement retailer, said that the malware used in the data breach that took place between April and September has been eliminated. It said there was no evidence that debit PIN numbers were compromised or that the breach affected stores in Mexico or customers who shopped online at Homedepot.com. It said it has also completed a "major" payment security project that provides enhanced encryption of customers' payment data in the company's U.S. stores. But unlike Target's breach, which sent the retailer's sales and profits falling as wary shoppers went elsewhere, customers seem to have stuck with Atlanta-based Home Depot. Still, the breach's ultimate cost to the company remains unknown. Greg Melich, an analyst at International Strategy & Investment Group LLC, estimates the costs will run in the several hundred million dollars, similar to Target's breach. "This is a massive breach, and a lot of people are affected," said John Kindervag, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. But he added, "Home Depot is very lucky that Target happened because there is this numbness factor." Customers appear to be growing used to breaches, following a string of them this past year, including at Michaels, SuperValu and Neiman Marcus. Home Depot might have also benefited from the disclosure of the breach coming in September, months after the spring season, which is the busiest time of year for home improvement. And unlike Target, which has a myriad of competitors, analysts note that home-improvement shoppers don't have many options. Moreover, Home Depot's customer base is different from Target's. Nearly 40 percent of Home Depot's sales come from professional and contractor services. Those buyers tend to be fiercely loyal and shop a couple of times a week for supplies. Home Depot Thursday confirmed its sales-growth estimates for the fiscal year and said it expects to earn $4.54 per share in fiscal 2014, up 2 cents from its prior guidance. The company's fiscal 2014 outlook includes estimates for the cost to investigate the data breach, providing credit monitoring services to its customers, increasing call center staffing and paying legal and professional services. However, the profit guidance doesn't include potential yet-to-be determined losses related to the breach. The company said it has not yet estimated costs beyond those included in the guidance issued Thursday. Those costs could include liabilities related to payment card networks for reimbursements of credit card fraud and card reissuance costs. It could also include future civil litigation and governmental investigations and enforcement proceedings. "We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and anxiety this has caused, and want to reassure them that they will not be liable for fraudulent charges," Home Depot's chairman and CEO, Frank Blake, said in a statement. "From the time this investigation began, our guiding principal has been to put our customers first, and we will continue to do so." The breach at Home Depot was first reported on Sept. 2 by Brian Krebs of Krebs on Security, a website that focuses on cybersecurity. Target's high-profile breach pushed banks, retailers and card companies to increase security by speeding the adoption of microchips in U.S. credit and debit cards. Supporters say chip cards are safer, because unlike magnetic strip cards that transfer a credit card number when they are swiped at a point-of-sale terminal, chip cards use a one-time code that moves between the chip and the retailer's register. The result is a transfer of data that is useless to anyone except the parties involved. Chip cards are also nearly impossible to copy, experts say. Target has been overhauling its security department and systems and is accelerating its $100 million plan to roll out chip-based credit card technology in all of its nearly 1,800 stores. Home Depot said it will be activating chip-enabled checkout terminals at all of its U.S. stores by the end of the year.

  • Sheriff: Fla. man kills 6 grandchildren, daughter

    BELL, Fla. (AP) — A once-convicted felon killed six of his grandchildren, including an infant, his adult daughter and himself in a shooting at the man's home in a small North Florida town Thursday, a sheriff said. Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert Schultz at a news conference identified the man as 51-year-old Don Spirit. He would not say if the woman killed was the mother of any of the two boys and four girls, some of whom spent a lot of time at the home. Schultz said a deputy who arrived on a report of a shooting in the afternoon made contact with Spirit who then committed suicide. Authorities then found the other seven bodies. At a later news conference, Schultz released the names of the victims. They were Sarah Lorraine Spirit, 28; Kaleb Kuhlmann, 11; Kylie Kuhlmann, 9; Johnathon Kuhlmann, 8; Destiny Stewart, 5; Brandon Stewart, 4; and Alanna Stewart, who was born in June. Schultz said Spirit was the only suspect and that some people were left alive at the home. Schultz also said Spirit had a criminal history. According to the Florida Department of Corrections website, Spirit was released from prison in February 2006 for a gun charge. Schultz wouldn't say if a weapon was recovered or what sort was used. He didn't have a motive but said deputies had been to the home in the past for various reasons. "There's still a lot of unanswered questions. There's going to be questions that we're never going to get answered," he said. He wouldn't release more details about Don Spirit or when he first made contact with the deputies. He also wouldn't divulge where exactly the victims were found, though he said, "They were certainly all over on the property." Police had cordoned off the length of a dirt road leading to the home near Bell, a town of just 350 people about 30 miles west of Gainesville. "Keep this community in your prayers," Schultz said. "Tomorrow's going to be a hard day in Gilchrest County." Bell resident Daniel Barry was trying to absorb the loss in the rural community west of I-75. "It's tragic, the kids. Even if there were family problems, why involve the kids?" he said outside a convenience store. "It's enough that he took his daughter's life, but his grandkids, too? It's surreal."

  • After record profits, airlines keep adding jobs

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of jobs at U.S. airlines keeps growing — although slowly — as some of them post record profits. The U.S. Department of Transportation said Thursday that the nation's passenger airlines employed the equivalent of 386,243 full-time workers in July, up 1.3 percent from the same month last year. It was the eighth straight monthly gain over year-earlier numbers. The largest employer, United Airlines, cut its work force 3.3 percent, while Delta, American, Southwest and US Airways added jobs. Two small, low-cost carriers, Spirit and Allegiant, had double-digit gains. Some regional airlines that operate shorter flights for major carriers cut jobs, including Envoy (American) and Endeavor (Delta), while others grew. The government counts two part-time employees as one full-time worker. Government bulletin: http://bit.ly/1qO0qsK

  • Police chase suspects' vehicle to Phoenix airport

    PHOENIX (AP) — Flights now are grounded, and the busiest terminal at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport remains on lockdown as authorities search for a suspect in a shooting at a Tempe gasoline station. Authorities have detained two suspects and are searching for a third who may be in Terminal 4's parking garage. Phoenix police say it's unclear if the remaining suspect is armed. Hundreds of officers are searching the garage and terminal. Tempe police chased the suspects' vehicle into Phoenix on Thursday afternoon. The suspects bailed out of the car at Sky Harbor following a high-speed chase and two were apprehended. Police say a man was shot at a Shell station about 2:45 p.m. There's no immediate word on the victim's condition. Police didn't immediately provide a possible motive for the shooting.

  • Rimrock man fined for cutting 207-year-old tree

    FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A Rimrock man will have to pay the U.S. Forest Service $3,000 for cutting down a 207-year-old alligator juniper tree. Joshua Favrow pleaded guilty in federal Magistrate Court earlier this month to felling the tree without a permit. He told authorities he cut it down a year ago and returned in June to harvest it so it would appear he was doing so legally. Favrow says he planned to use the large slabs of wood to make furniture and sell it online. Favrow also was issued a $500 fine and banned from the Coconino, Kaibab and Prescott national forests while he serves two years of unsupervised probation. The Forest Service says the tree south of Munds Park dates back to 1807 and could have lived centuries longer.

  • Good news on economy pushes stocks to record highs

    NEW YORK (AP) — More encouraging economic news and friendly signals from the Federal Reserve cheered investors Thursday, as the stock market climbed to another record high. The gains came a day after the Fed made clear that it's in no hurry to raise a key bank lending rate, easing a major concern for the stock market. Eight of 10 industry groups in the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose, led by financial stocks. "The question isn't 'Why are we up today?'" said Dan Veru, chief investment officer at Palisade Capital Partners in New York. "It's 'Why aren't we up a lot more?' What you're seeing is the U.S. economy growing at a modest pace, not too hot and not too cold." Veru said it's an environment that allows the Fed to stick to a policy that coaxes businesses to borrow and spend and could fuel further gains for stocks. Two of three major U.S. indexes finished at all-time highs: The S&P 500 index gained 9.79 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,011.36, while the Dow surged 109.14 points, or 0.6 percent, to 17,265.99. It was the second straight day the blue-chip index has closed at a record. The Nasdaq composite, meanwhile climbed 31.24 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,593.43, well below its dot-com era peak. The S&P Financials sector rose 1.1 percent. Bank profits could rise if short-term rates stay low while the rates they charge on longer-term loans creep higher. The day began with good news about the economy. Fewer Americans filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, according to the Labor Department. Weekly applications fell to 280,000, well below economists' forecasts. The four-week average, a less-volatile measure, also dropped. Major markets in Europe headed higher as voters in Scotland decided whether to break from the United Kingdom. Germany's DAX advanced 1.4 percent, and France's CAC 40 gained 0.8 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.6 percent. Scotland opened polling stations on Thursday for a referendum on whether the country should leave the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to become an independent state. Opinion polls have suggested the "Yes" campaign favoring independence is neck and neck with the "No" campaign that wants Scotland to stay in the U.K. "A 'yes' vote is likely to weigh heavily on the sterling and equities," said IG strategist Stan Shamu in a commentary. "A 'no' vote should result in a relief rally and is likely to be positive for the sterling and equities." The pound was trading at a two-year high against the euro at €1.27, and holding steady against the dollar at $1.64. On Wednesday in the U.S., the Fed maintained its stance of keeping short-term interest rates near zero for a "considerable time." Investors had speculated that the Fed might hint at an earlier start for rate hikes. Among companies making big moves on Thursday, Rite Aid plunged 19 percent after it cut its profit forecasts for the full year, laying part of the blame on higher costs for generic drugs. The drugstore chain still expects sales of $26 billion this year. Rite Aid's stock fell $1.23 to $5.41. ConAgra said its quarterly profits nearly tripled, sending its stock up $1.47, or 5 percent, to $33.48. Sales for the company behind Chef Boyardee canned pasta and Hebrew National hot dogs were flat, but other costs fell. Alibaba Group is expected to wrap up its mammoth initial public offering later Thursday, then make its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday under the symbol "BABA." The Chinese e-commerce company could raise as much as $21.8 billion from institutional investors, making it the largest IPO on record in the U.S. Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng finished 0.9 percent lower and Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 1 percent as the yen traded at a six-year low against the dollar. Markets in mainland China, India and Southeast Asia also rose. In commodity trading, prices for precious and industrial metals fell broadly. Gold dropped $9 to settle at $1,226.90 an ounce, and silver sank 22 cents to $18.52. Copper dropped 5 cents to $3.09. The price of oil fell on expectations of a quick return of Libyan production and continuing signals of lower global demand. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.35 to close at $93.07 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell $1.27 to close at $97.70 in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline fell 0.8 cent to close at $2.561 a gallon. Heating oil fell 3.3 cents to $2.712 a gallon. Natural gas fell 10.3 cents to $3.910 per 1,000 cubic feet

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More From Sports

  • Surprise hosts free movie

    The City of Surprise and Coulter Nissan of Surprise present Movie Night at Surprise Stadium at 7 p.m. Sept. 27.“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” is rated PG.Participants should bring blankets and pillows, stretch out on the stadium grass and enjoy the free movie. Gates will open at 6 p.m.Surprise Stadium is located at 15850 N. Bullard Ave.For information, call 623-222-2000.

  • Harkins celebrates anniversary with freebies

    Harkins Theatres celebrates its 81st anniversary with gifts for moviegoers.“We are incredibly proud and honored to celebrate 81 years of entertaining Arizona,” said Dan Harkins, CEO and owner of Harkins Theatres. “The best way to commemorate the occasion is to give back to those that have made it all possible – our loyal moviegoers.”Through Sept. 25, Harkins Theatres is offering free drink upgrades on any size, regularly priced fountain drink to the next largest size, including one free refill for large and extra-large drinks.For the entire month of September, shoppers purchasing specially marked 24-packs of Coca-Cola products at select Albertsons, Bashas’, Fry’s and Safeway stores will receive a voucher for a free small drink with purchase of a Harkins Theatres movie ticket.For information and theaters near you, visit www.harkinstheatres.com.

  • Surprise seeks talented residents

    The City of Surprise is looking for its most talented residents. If you can act, play an instrument or perform a talent, be sure to audition for the Surprise Talent Show.Audition applications will be accepted until Oct. 3, and auditions will be held in mid-October. Applications can be downloaded at www.surpriseaz.gov/recreation or picked up at the Community and Recreation Services offices, which are at 15960 N. Bullard Ave.There is no fee to audition or participate in the talent show.The show will be at Valley Vista High School’s Performing Arts Center at 6 p.m. Nov. 7. There will be youth, teen and adult categories, and prizes will be awarded.For information, contact Michelle Holm at 623-222-2000 or michelle.holm@supriseaz.gov.

  • Home Depot breach affected 56M debit, credit cards

    NEW YORK (AP) — Home Depot said Thursday that a data breach that lasted for months at its stores in the U.S. and Canada affected 56 million debit and credit cards, far more than a pre-Christmas 2013 attack on Target customers. The size of the theft at Home Depot trails only that of TJX Companies' heist of 90 million records disclosed in 2007. Target's breach compromised 40 million credit and debit cards. Home Depot, the nation's largest home-improvement retailer, said that the malware used in the data breach that took place between April and September has been eliminated. It said there was no evidence that debit PIN numbers were compromised or that the breach affected stores in Mexico or customers who shopped online at Homedepot.com. It said it has also completed a "major" payment security project that provides enhanced encryption of customers' payment data in the company's U.S. stores. But unlike Target's breach, which sent the retailer's sales and profits falling as wary shoppers went elsewhere, customers seem to have stuck with Atlanta-based Home Depot. Still, the breach's ultimate cost to the company remains unknown. Greg Melich, an analyst at International Strategy & Investment Group LLC, estimates the costs will run in the several hundred million dollars, similar to Target's breach. "This is a massive breach, and a lot of people are affected," said John Kindervag, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. But he added, "Home Depot is very lucky that Target happened because there is this numbness factor." Customers appear to be growing used to breaches, following a string of them this past year, including at Michaels, SuperValu and Neiman Marcus. Home Depot might have also benefited from the disclosure of the breach coming in September, months after the spring season, which is the busiest time of year for home improvement. And unlike Target, which has a myriad of competitors, analysts note that home-improvement shoppers don't have many options. Moreover, Home Depot's customer base is different from Target's. Nearly 40 percent of Home Depot's sales come from professional and contractor services. Those buyers tend to be fiercely loyal and shop a couple of times a week for supplies. Home Depot Thursday confirmed its sales-growth estimates for the fiscal year and said it expects to earn $4.54 per share in fiscal 2014, up 2 cents from its prior guidance. The company's fiscal 2014 outlook includes estimates for the cost to investigate the data breach, providing credit monitoring services to its customers, increasing call center staffing and paying legal and professional services. However, the profit guidance doesn't include potential yet-to-be determined losses related to the breach. The company said it has not yet estimated costs beyond those included in the guidance issued Thursday. Those costs could include liabilities related to payment card networks for reimbursements of credit card fraud and card reissuance costs. It could also include future civil litigation and governmental investigations and enforcement proceedings. "We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and anxiety this has caused, and want to reassure them that they will not be liable for fraudulent charges," Home Depot's chairman and CEO, Frank Blake, said in a statement. "From the time this investigation began, our guiding principal has been to put our customers first, and we will continue to do so." The breach at Home Depot was first reported on Sept. 2 by Brian Krebs of Krebs on Security, a website that focuses on cybersecurity. Target's high-profile breach pushed banks, retailers and card companies to increase security by speeding the adoption of microchips in U.S. credit and debit cards. Supporters say chip cards are safer, because unlike magnetic strip cards that transfer a credit card number when they are swiped at a point-of-sale terminal, chip cards use a one-time code that moves between the chip and the retailer's register. The result is a transfer of data that is useless to anyone except the parties involved. Chip cards are also nearly impossible to copy, experts say. Target has been overhauling its security department and systems and is accelerating its $100 million plan to roll out chip-based credit card technology in all of its nearly 1,800 stores. Home Depot said it will be activating chip-enabled checkout terminals at all of its U.S. stores by the end of the year.

  • After record profits, airlines keep adding jobs

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of jobs at U.S. airlines keeps growing — although slowly — as some of them post record profits. The U.S. Department of Transportation said Thursday that the nation's passenger airlines employed the equivalent of 386,243 full-time workers in July, up 1.3 percent from the same month last year. It was the eighth straight monthly gain over year-earlier numbers. The largest employer, United Airlines, cut its work force 3.3 percent, while Delta, American, Southwest and US Airways added jobs. Two small, low-cost carriers, Spirit and Allegiant, had double-digit gains. Some regional airlines that operate shorter flights for major carriers cut jobs, including Envoy (American) and Endeavor (Delta), while others grew. The government counts two part-time employees as one full-time worker. Government bulletin: http://bit.ly/1qO0qsK

  • Good news on economy pushes stocks to record highs

    NEW YORK (AP) — More encouraging economic news and friendly signals from the Federal Reserve cheered investors Thursday, as the stock market climbed to another record high. The gains came a day after the Fed made clear that it's in no hurry to raise a key bank lending rate, easing a major concern for the stock market. Eight of 10 industry groups in the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose, led by financial stocks. "The question isn't 'Why are we up today?'" said Dan Veru, chief investment officer at Palisade Capital Partners in New York. "It's 'Why aren't we up a lot more?' What you're seeing is the U.S. economy growing at a modest pace, not too hot and not too cold." Veru said it's an environment that allows the Fed to stick to a policy that coaxes businesses to borrow and spend and could fuel further gains for stocks. Two of three major U.S. indexes finished at all-time highs: The S&P 500 index gained 9.79 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,011.36, while the Dow surged 109.14 points, or 0.6 percent, to 17,265.99. It was the second straight day the blue-chip index has closed at a record. The Nasdaq composite, meanwhile climbed 31.24 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,593.43, well below its dot-com era peak. The S&P Financials sector rose 1.1 percent. Bank profits could rise if short-term rates stay low while the rates they charge on longer-term loans creep higher. The day began with good news about the economy. Fewer Americans filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, according to the Labor Department. Weekly applications fell to 280,000, well below economists' forecasts. The four-week average, a less-volatile measure, also dropped. Major markets in Europe headed higher as voters in Scotland decided whether to break from the United Kingdom. Germany's DAX advanced 1.4 percent, and France's CAC 40 gained 0.8 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.6 percent. Scotland opened polling stations on Thursday for a referendum on whether the country should leave the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to become an independent state. Opinion polls have suggested the "Yes" campaign favoring independence is neck and neck with the "No" campaign that wants Scotland to stay in the U.K. "A 'yes' vote is likely to weigh heavily on the sterling and equities," said IG strategist Stan Shamu in a commentary. "A 'no' vote should result in a relief rally and is likely to be positive for the sterling and equities." The pound was trading at a two-year high against the euro at €1.27, and holding steady against the dollar at $1.64. On Wednesday in the U.S., the Fed maintained its stance of keeping short-term interest rates near zero for a "considerable time." Investors had speculated that the Fed might hint at an earlier start for rate hikes. Among companies making big moves on Thursday, Rite Aid plunged 19 percent after it cut its profit forecasts for the full year, laying part of the blame on higher costs for generic drugs. The drugstore chain still expects sales of $26 billion this year. Rite Aid's stock fell $1.23 to $5.41. ConAgra said its quarterly profits nearly tripled, sending its stock up $1.47, or 5 percent, to $33.48. Sales for the company behind Chef Boyardee canned pasta and Hebrew National hot dogs were flat, but other costs fell. Alibaba Group is expected to wrap up its mammoth initial public offering later Thursday, then make its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday under the symbol "BABA." The Chinese e-commerce company could raise as much as $21.8 billion from institutional investors, making it the largest IPO on record in the U.S. Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng finished 0.9 percent lower and Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 1 percent as the yen traded at a six-year low against the dollar. Markets in mainland China, India and Southeast Asia also rose. In commodity trading, prices for precious and industrial metals fell broadly. Gold dropped $9 to settle at $1,226.90 an ounce, and silver sank 22 cents to $18.52. Copper dropped 5 cents to $3.09. The price of oil fell on expectations of a quick return of Libyan production and continuing signals of lower global demand. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.35 to close at $93.07 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell $1.27 to close at $97.70 in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline fell 0.8 cent to close at $2.561 a gallon. Heating oil fell 3.3 cents to $2.712 a gallon. Natural gas fell 10.3 cents to $3.910 per 1,000 cubic feet

Featured columns

  • OPINION: Woman’s journey alters history

    Times have changed. In the early 1800s, a 9-year-old girl and a flock of sheep were sold together for a hundred dollars. In April 2009, her portrait bust was unveiled in Emancipation Hall, the first sculpture to honor an African American woman in the U.S. Capitol.The journey of that woman, Sojourner Truth, from slave to abolitionist and women’s rights advocate is a remarkable tale.Sojourner Truth was born into slavery in Ulster County, N.Y. Her birth name was Isabella Baumfree. Her family was owned by Dutch speaking Colonel Hardenberg and his family. By the time Isabella was 30, she had been bought and sold by three different owners. As did many slaves at that time, she suffered physical abuse at their hands.She was totally unschooled and was unable to read and write. Yet, the year before she would have been freed by New York State law, she escaped to freedom.Isabella said she had found God in the solitary woods on her master’s estate. Her strength and endurance, she said, came from God. She renamed herself Sojourner — to reflect her mission to travel the countryside and teach about the evils of oppression. She took Truth as her last name, reflecting the purpose of her calling: to speak God’s truth. While her first language was Dutch, she learned English from a family for whom she worked, and then began a ministry to teach godliness and freedom for all.  True to her name, Sojourner lived and traveled widely. She lived in a Utopian community in Northampton, Mass., called the Northampton Association of Education and Industry. There she met abolitionists including Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison and gave her first abolitionist speech in 1844.

  • OPINION: Democrats will embrace filibuster

    During Harry Reid’s tenure as majority leader, there has been no dirtier word in the Senate than “filibuster.” On perhaps a million occasions, Reid and his Democratic colleagues have accused Republicans of using the 60-vote requirement to obstruct the Senate and prevent lawmakers from doing the country’s business.In November 2013, in a virtual frenzy of anti-filibuster agitation, Reid and most of the Senate’s Democrats exercised the so-called “nuclear option,” an unprecedented procedural maneuver that allowed a bare majority of Democratic senators to kill the filibuster as it was used against the president’s judicial and executive branch nominations. Reid left in place the filibuster as applied to legislation, but threatened to kill that, too, if Republicans continued their recalcitrant ways.That was then. Now, there is a very real possibility the GOP might win control of the Senate in November. For the first time in eight years, Democrats would find themselves in the minority. And you’ll never guess what some strategists close to Reid are talking about: Yes, Democrats are threatening to use the once-hated filibuster to stop Republican initiatives.Jim Manley, a former longtime aide to Reid who now works for the lobbying and communications powerhouse QGA Public Affairs, wrote a brief piece in The Wall Street Journal recently commenting on reports that Republicans are crafting a conservative agenda to enact should they win the Senate. Republicans can plan all they want, Manley suggested, but they can forget about actually passing their bills.“What everyone needs to realize is that there is no way that Senate Republicans are going to pick up enough seats to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold,” Manley wrote. “Yes, if they play their cards right, they will be able to pick up a handful of Democratic votes on some issues, but would still likely fall short of 60 votes.”That’s as clear a threat as one could find of Democratic filibusters to come.

  • Check drug labels for acetaminophen

    Acetaminophen (Tylenol and generic) is renowned for its safety, but it is a dangerous medication, according to Consumer Reports. Almost 80,000 people per year are treated in emergency rooms because they have taken too much of it, and the drug is now the most common cause of liver failure in this country.Though some of those tragedies stem from abuse, many are accidental.It’s not just that people are careless.Advice to “take only as directed” doesn’t cut it when the directions are confusing and conflicting.And with acetaminophen, they are exactly that.For example, the Food and Drug Administration has lowered the maximum per-pill dose of prescription acetaminophen, but it hasn’t taken the same step for over-the-counter products.

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4-year-old celebrates last chemo with princess surprise party

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Sun City West ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Sun City West, AZ performs ALS Ice Bucket ChallengeRELATED: Desert Trails Women's Golf ALS Ice Bu...

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