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A selection of top photos can be found at http://bit.ly/APTopPhotosNEW THIS DIGEST: â¿¿ Adds: MONSTER BEVERAGE-LABELING, CELLPHONE SALES, FORECLOSURE RATES, HFR â¿¿ Updates: WALL STREET, EARNS-MONDELEZ, EARNS-CISCO, EUROPE-HORSEMEAT TOP STORIES: MINIMUM WAGE WASHINGTON â¿¿ President Barack Obama's call to raise the minimum wage and keep boosting it annually to keep pace with the cost of living is not so novel. Ten states already have similar measures, including Washington, where workers earn at least $9.19 an hour, the highest minimum in the country. Advocates say the increase would pump more money into the economy â¿¿ helping create new jobs â¿¿ while business groups complain it would unfairly burden employers and curb demand for new workers. By Sam Hananel. AP photos. With: SMALLBIZ-STATE OF THE UNION NEW YORK â¿¿ President Obama outlined a number of initiatives to drive economic growth in his State of the Union address. Some were focused on small business and some would have a direct impact on smaller companies. Here's a look at some of the proposals and the pros and cons of putting them into effect. By Joyce M. Rosenberg. Also: BUDGET FIGHT WASHINGTON â¿¿ Republicans spurn many of President Barack Obama's State of the Union proposals, including his plan to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour, and try to blame him for looming automatic spending cuts. But the GOP, still smarting from 2012 election losses, seems more willing to endure the political fallout from the sequester than Obama and his Democratic allies. By Andrew Taylor and Julie Pace.
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