BC-Business News Preview


Among the stories for Wednesday from The Associated Press:



WASHINGTON â¿¿ It's the scenario that's been spooking employers and investors and slowing the U.S. economy: Congress and the White House fail to strike a budget deal by New Year's Day. Their stalemate triggers sharp tax increases and spending cuts. Those measures shrink consumer spending, stifle job growth, topple stock prices and push the economy off a "fiscal cliff" and into recession. The reality may be a lot less bleak. Even if New Year's passed with no deal, few businesses or consumers would likely panic as long as an agreement seemed likely soon. By Christopher S. Rugaber.

AP photo


â¿¿ FISCAL CLIFF-ECONOMY-Q&A â¿¿ How much will my taxes go up? Questions and answers about the US 'fiscal cliff'

â¿¿ FISCAL CLIFF â¿¿ Fiscal cliff talks intensify, but with little apparent progress as end-of-year deadline looms.


WASHINGTON â¿¿ The Federal Reserve is wrapping up 2012 the way it began the year, searching for ways to help a U.S. economy that is still struggling with high unemployment and sub-par growth. Markets expect the Fed to announce a revamped bond-buying plan to try to keep long-term borrowing costs low and maintain its support for the U.S. economy. By Marty Crutsinger.

AP photo

Eds: Statement due at 12:30 p.m. Fed forecasts at 2 p.m. Bernanke's press conference expected at 2:15 p.m.


FRANKFURT, Germany â¿¿ Deutsche Bank says its co-CEO Juergen Fitschen and chief finance officer Stefan Krause are under investigation as part of a tax evasion probe linked to the bank's emissions trading business.


GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN, France â¿¿ Life in this Burgundy village revolves around wine. Everyone seems to have an opinion about the recent sale of a local vineyard to a Macau casino magnate. "It's a piece of French heritage that's heading abroad," says mechanic Bertrand Babouhot. On the other side of the globe, farmer Margaret Peacock expresses similar outrage over the sale of 13 dairy farms in New Zealand to a wealthy property developer from Shanghai. Such sentiments have long been directed at Americans and Japanese. Now it's China's turn. By Sarah DiLorenzo and Nick Perry.

Eds: This story is part of "China's Reach," a project tracking China's influence on its trading partners over three decades and exploring how that is changing business, politics and daily life.

AP photos, interactive


TOKYO â¿¿ It's the $6 trillion question: How to jolt Japan out of its 20-year economic slump. The dozen or so parties vying in a Dec. 16 parliamentary election all agree the world's third-largest economy needs a jump-start, now that it has slid back into recession for the fifth time in 15 years. They are at odds, however, over how to achieve enduring growth. By Elaine Kurtenbach.

AP photos


NEW YORK â¿¿ Airlines have found a way to take the edge off the stress of flying and make a few extra bucks along the way: Fancy new cocktails, craft beers and elegant wines. By Airlines Writer Scott Mayerowitz.

AP photos, video


LOS ANGELES â¿¿ The world's attention wavered between the tragic and the silly in 2012. The year's top searches, according to Google, are Whitney Houston, who died in February; Korean rapper PSY's "Gangnam Style" music video; and Superstorm Sandy. By Ryan Nakashima.

AP photos



LANSING, Mich. â¿¿ In a dizzyingly short time span, Republicans have converted Michigan from a seemingly impregnable fortress of organized labor into a right-to-work state, leaving outgunned Democrats and union activists with little recourse but to shake their fists and seek retribution at the ballot box. By John Flesher and Jeff Karoub.

AP photos, audio, video


WASHINGTON â¿¿ The Treasury reports on the budget deficit for November. The government started the 2013 budget year with a $120 billion deficit in October, a sign that the nation is headed for its fifth straight $1 trillion-plus annual deficit. By Christopher S. Rugaber.

Eds: Report due at 2 p.m.

â¿¿ GLOBAL CORPORATE DEALS â¿¿ Ernst & Young forecasts that the value of global M&A deals in 2012 was half that of five years ago, when the financial crisis first bared its teeth.


NEW YORK â¿¿ Stocks are mixedon Wall Street as investors await news on whether the Federal Reserve will announce more bond purchases to stimulate the U.S. economy.

â¿¿ SMALLBIZ-SALES â¿¿ Report: Small business sales up 5.2 percent in November as holiday shopping offsets Sandy impact.



VIENNA â¿¿ With oil prices relatively high, OPEC is sticking to present output targets of 30 million barrels a day. But the group fails to pick a new head because of rivalries between Saudi Arabia and Iran. By George Jahn.

AP photos


â¿¿ OIL PRICES â¿¿ The price of oil rises to above $86 a barrel.

â¿¿ ELECTRIC VEHICLES-INDIANAPOLIS â¿¿ Indianapolis plans to replace its entire fleet with electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2025, the first major U.S. city to take such a step.

â¿¿ MINING-GOVERNMENT ROYALTIES â¿¿ Lawmakers seek to rekindle mining reform efforts; want gold, uranium and other metals miners to pay royalties on public land.

â¿¿ RUSSIA-TNK-BP â¿¿ Rosneft will buy 50 percent in Russia's third-largest oil producer TNK-BP for $28 billion, having earlier acquired the other half from BP.

â¿¿ CHINA-AUSTRALIA-BHP-PETROCHINA â¿¿ BHP Billiton will sell its stake in a proposed Australian gas project to Chinese state-owned energy producer PetroChina for $1.6 billion.



NEW YORK â¿¿ Avon plans to cut about 1,500 jobs and exit South Korea and Vietnam, as the struggling beauty products seller starts on a broad restructuring plan in an effort to turn around results.

By Mae Anderson and Bree Fowler.


DETROIT â¿¿ Honda is recalling more than 870,000 minivans and SUVs worldwide because they can roll away even though drivers have removed keys from the ignition. The recall affects older models sold mainly in the U.S. â¿¿ big sellers with families because of their ample space and reputation for quality. Owners have reported 16 crashes due to the problem. By Auto Writer Tom Krisher.

â¿¿ BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY-BUYBACK â¿¿ Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway pays $1.2 billion to buy back 9,200 shares from the estate of a longtime shareholder.

â¿¿ ELI LILLY-ALZHEIMER'S TREATMENT â¿¿ Lilly will launch another study of its possible Alzheimer's treatment, delaying a regulatory decision on a drug that flashed potential for mild cases of the disease.

â¿¿ GERMANY-DEUTSCHE BANK â¿¿ German prosecutors search Deutsche Bank offices as part of a tax evasion probe linked to its emissions trading business; 25 employees are suspected of serious tax evasion, money laundering and attempted obstruction of justice.

â¿¿ BRITAIN-BARCLAYS â¿¿ Barclays has appointed the former chief of Britain's financial regulator to the new role of head of compliance at the scandal-hit U.K. bank.

â¿¿ SPAIN-EARNS-INDITEX â¿¿ Spain's Inditex, which owns the Zara clothing store chain, says profit rose 27 percent in the first nine months of the year due to expansion in Asia and North America.



VATICAN CITY â¿¿ Pope Benedict XVI hits the 1 million Twitter follower mark as he sends his first tweet from his new account blessing his online fans. By Nicole Winfield.

AP photos

â¿¿ REDBOX INSTANT-VERIZON â¿¿ DVD kiosk operator Redbox takes on Netflix with an $8 unlimited streaming-video plan that has four nights of DVD rentals, Epix and Warner Bros. movies.

â¿¿ YE--TOP 10 VIDEO GAMES â¿¿ Video games blossom creatively in 2012, with top hits "Dishonored," ''Mass Effect 3" and "Walking Dead."



BRUSSELS â¿¿ European Union officials are calling for a breakthrough in talks on the creation of a single supervisor for banks across the 27-country bloc. A banking supervisor is the first step in a broader plan to have a banking union, which aims to improve the EU's response to new financial crises. By Raf Casert.


LONDON â¿¿ Industrial production across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro unexpectedly slumps in October, another sign that the region's recession is getting worse and weighing on big economies like Germany. By Pan Pylas

AP photos


â¿¿ GREECE-FINANCIAL CRISIS â¿¿ Greece will buy back $41.5 billion of its bonds, easing its debt load and meeting a key condition for receiving rescue loans.

â¿¿ SPAIN-FINANCIAL CRISIS â¿¿ $51.3 billion in aid approved by European authorities Spain's troubled banks has arrived.

â¿¿ ITALY-FINANCIAL CRISIS â¿¿ Italy's borrowing costs drop despite political uncertainty; home sales dive in stuck economy.

â¿¿ BRITAIN-UNEMPLOYMENT â¿¿ U.K. unemployment drops to 7.8 percent in the three months through October, as the number of jobless falls by the largest amount since 2001.

â¿¿ GERMANY-PROPERTY SALE â¿¿ In the country's largest privatization in five years, Germany sells 780 state-owned offices, malls and hotels to Texas private equity firm Lone Star for $1.43 billion.

â¿¿ INDIA-INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION â¿¿ India industrial output rises 8.2 percent in October, but experts are cautious about an economic revival.

â¿¿ SERBIA-TYCOON DETAINED â¿¿ Serbia's billionaire retail tycoon Miroslav Miskovic, one of the Balkan country's most influential figures, is detained along with his son and eight others in what the government says is an anti-corruption sweep.

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