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TMCNet:  AP Business NewsBrief at 5:47 a.m. EST

[February 25, 2013]

AP Business NewsBrief at 5:47 a.m. EST

(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Trial set to open for Gulf oil spill litigationNEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Nearly three years after a deadly rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico triggered the nation's worst offshore oil spill, a federal judge in New Orleans is set to preside over a high-stakes trial for the raft of litigation spawned by the disaster. Barring an 11th-hour settlement, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier will hear several hours of opening statements Monday by lawyers for the companies involved in the 2010 spill and the plaintiffs who sued them. And the judge, not a jury, ultimately could decide how much more money BP PLC and its partners on the ill-fated drilling project owe for their roles in the environmental catastrophe.



KFC launches China campaign to rebuild brandBEIJING (AP) _ KFC launched a campaign Monday to rebuild its battered brand in China, promising tighter quality control after a scandal over misuse of drugs by its poultry suppliers. The company, a unit of Yum Brands Inc., promised to test meat for banned drugs, strengthen oversight of farmers and encourage them to improve their technology. It said more than 1,000 small producers used by its 25 poultry suppliers have been eliminated from its network.

Italian turnout drops in key national electionROME (AP) _ Italians began voting for a second day Monday in a national election that will determine if they are prepared to stay the course of painful economic reform or send a message of discontinuity to the political class that led the country to the brink of disaster by rallying around a protest party. Polls close at 3 p.m. (1400 GMT), ending two days of voting in an election being closely watched by Italy's eurozone partners as well as international investors trying to decide if they consider the eurozone's third-largest economy a good bet. The Italian treasury will sell up to (EURO)3 billion in 12-month bonds, providing a glimpse of market sentiment in the last hours of voting, although no information on the election outcome will be available yet.

Belgian killed in Mexico resort was businessmanMEXICO CITY (AP) _ A Belgian citizen shot to death in the Pacific resort of Acapulco near the site of the Mexican Open tennis tournament was a resident businessman working for a transnational firm, local prosecutors in Mexico said Sunday. Saturday's killing was the second violent attack involving foreigners in Acapulco in less than three weeks. On Feb. 4, a band of masked gunmen invaded a beachfront home and raped six visiting Spanish women Nokia launches cheaper Windows smartphoneBARCELONA, Spain (AP) _ Nokia unveiled a cheaper model in its Lumia smartphone range, powered by Microsoft's Windows phone software, as it tries to regain dominance in emerging markets like China. The Finnish cellphone maker, which until recently was the world's largest maker of phones, said Monday the new Lumia 520 will start at (EURO)139, or about $183, before phone-company subsidies.

Telecom CEOs: US regulators better than EuropeBARCELONA, Spain (AP) _ The CEOs of AT&T, Vodafone and Telefonica _ three of the world's largest cellphone companies _ say U.S. regulators are doing better than their European counterparts in promoting faster wireless data networks. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told an audience at Mobile World Congress, the world's largest cellphone trade show, that the U.S. practice of selling phone companies large swathes of space of the airwaves for perpetual use was helping encourage U.S. companies, including AT&T, to build out large networks using the latest "LTE" technology.

NYC seaport a 'ghost town' months after SandyNEW YORK (AP) _ The historic cobblestone streets and 19th-century mercantile buildings near the water's edge in lower Manhattan are eerily deserted, a neighborhood silenced by Superstorm Sandy. Just blocks from the tall-masted ships that rise above South Street Seaport, the windows of narrow brick apartment buildings are still crisscrossed with masking tape left by their owners before the storm. Store interiors are stripped down to plywood and wiring. Restaurants are chained shut, frozen in time, saddled with electrical systems that were ruined by several feet of salt water that raced up from the East River and through their front doors.

Japan stocks jump on BOJ candidate speculationHONG KONG (AP) _ Japanese stocks led most Asian markets higher Monday, roaring ahead on a report that the prime minister's pick for central bank governor will be a strong advocate of loose monetary policy aimed at reviving the moribund economy. The benchmark Nikkei 225 surged 2.4 percent to end at 11,662.52 while the yen dropped against the dollar after local news outlets reported that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was preparing to nominate Haruhiko Kuroda as the next governor of the Bank of Japan.

Sterling struggles after UK debt downgradeLONDON (AP) _ The British pound is recovering after dropping against the world's leading currencies as markets reacted to a downgrade of the U.K.'s cherished triple-A credit rating. During early trading Monday, sterling dropped to $1.5069 against the dollar _ its lowest level since July 2010 _ before bouncing back to $1.5144. Against the euro, the pound hovered around 18-month lows with one euro worth 0.8745 pound.

White House details budget fallout amid blame gameWASHINGTON (AP) _ The White House has detailed the potential fallout in each state from budget cuts set to take effect at week's end, while congressional Republicans and Democrats keep up the sniping over who's to blame. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said on "Fox News Sunday" that there was little hope to dodge the cuts "unless the Republicans are willing to compromise and do a balanced approach." (c) 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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