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NEW THIS DIGEST:

Adds: STARBUCKS-TEAVANA, TEXAS INSTRUMENTS-JOB CUTS

Updates: FISCAL CLIFF, MENINGITIS OUTBREAK-CONGRESS, WALL STREET, CALIFORNIA-GREENHOUSE GASES, HIRING-COLLEGE GRADS, HFR

TOP STORIES

FISCAL CLIFF

WASHINGTON â¿¿ President Barack Obama challenges congressional Republicans to let taxes rise on the wealthiest Americans on both economic and political grounds, noting he campaigned successfully for re-election on the point and contending it would instantly ease the threat of the "fiscal cliff" plunging the nation back into recession. By Special Correspondent David Espo.

AP Photos. AP Video.

With:

â¿¿ FISCAL CLIFF-HEALTH CARE â¿¿ Hoping to head off wider health care cuts in upcoming budget talks, a think tank close to the White House is unveiling a plan for how to save $385 billion, mostly from Medicare.

â¿¿ SMALLBIZ-FISCAL CLIFF â¿¿ Small business owners worried about the fiscal cliff aren't just concerned about their own finances. They're also uneasy about higher taxes on consumers. According to a new survey by a lobbying group, small company owners are most worried about losing tax breaks â¿¿ and that an increase in payroll taxes will force people to put away their wallets.

ECONOMY

WASHINGTON â¿¿ Superstorm Sandy combined with cautious consumers to lower retail sales in October and raise concerns about weaker economic growth and a tepid holiday shopping season. Consumers may also be holding back because of anxiety over big tax increases and spending cuts â¿¿ known as the "fiscal cliff" â¿¿ that will take effect in January unless Congress and the White House reach a budget deal by then. By Business Writers Christopher S. Rugaber and Anne D'Innocenzio. Incorporates BC-US-Retail Sales, BC-US--Wholesale Prices, BC-US--Business Inventories.

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