BC-APFN-Business News Digest

Business News at 5:30 p.m.

The supervisor is Skip Wollenberg (800-845-8450, ext. 1682). For photos, ext. 1900. For graphics and interactives, ext. 7636. Expanded AP content can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com .

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A selection of top photos can be found at: http://bit.ly/APTopPhotos .

Editors:

U.S. markets are closed all day Thursday for the July Fourth holiday.

â¿¿ These daily fixtures from AP Business News will not run on Thursday because of the July Fourth holiday: BC-US--Board of Trade, Open; BC-US--Board of Trade, Close; BC-US--Business Highlights; BC-US--The Day Ahead; BC-US--Dollar-Gold-Glance; BC-US--Gov Finances; and BC-US--Wall Street Stocks.

â¿¿ BC-US--Of Mutual Interest, the AP's weekly mutual fund column, which is normally sent on Thursday, will be sent on Friday, July 5.

â¿¿ BC-US--Money Funds, BC-US--The Week Ahead, BC-US--Mortgage Rates and BC-US--Jobless Claims, which normally are sent on Thursdays, were sent on Wednesday, July 3.

â¿¿ BC-US--SmallBiz-Small Talk, which usually moves on Wednesdays, has been replaced this week by BC-US--SmallBiz-Beer-Economic Impact, which moved on Wednesday for use Thursday and thereafter and is being sent again. Small Talk will return on Wednesday, July 10.

â¿¿ No Money & Markets modules will be sent on Thursday for Friday. Regular Money & Markets production will resume on Friday. The Money & Markets Extra modules that are usually sent on Thursday will be sent out on Wednesday.

NEW THIS DIGEST:

__ADDS: CLIMATE CHANGE, PAULA DEEN, SMALLBIZ BREWERIES-PHOTO GALLERY

TOP STORIES:

EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK

FRANKFURT, Germany â¿¿ The European Central Bank and the Bank of England underlined their determination to keep interest rates low in an attempt to reassure markets unsettled by the possible end of the U.S. Federal Reserve's bond-buying program. Abandoning a longtime practice of saying it "never precommits" on interest rate decisions, the ECB said it would keep its benchmark interest rate the same or lower "for an extended period of time." By David McHugh.

With AP Photos.

WORLD MARKETS

AMSTERDAM â¿¿ World stocks shrugged off worries over political turmoil in Egypt and rallied strongly on optimism that easy monetary policy from central banks in Europe is set to continue for some time to come. U.S. markets were closed for Independence Day. By Toby Sterling.

ECONOMY:

PORTUGAL-FINANCIAL-CRISIS

LISBON, Portugal â¿¿ The leaders of Portugal's governing coalition parties remained locked in negotiations Thursday as they attempted to repair differences that threatened to pitch the bailed-out country into turmoil and reignite concerns over Europe's debt crisis. By Barry Hatton

PAKISTAN-IMF

ISLAMABAD â¿¿ Pakistan takes a major step toward averting an economic crisis, reaching an initial deal with the International Monetary Fund on a bailout of at least $5.3 billion to help shore up the country's rapidly diminishing foreign reserves. The announcement is expected to help calm fears of financial instability in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people that is also grappling with rampant violence by Islamic militants. By Sebastian Abbot.

BRITAIN-ECONOMY

LONDON â¿¿ The Bank of England has opted to refrain from pumping more money into the U.K. economy in its first meeting since new Governor Mark Carney's arrival. The Monetary Policy Committee kept interest rates at 0.5 percent Thursday and decided against expanding its stimulus program.

AP Photos

INDUSTRY:

SOLAR PLANE

WASHINGTON â¿¿ In noisy, energetic New York City, the pilots of a spindly plane that looks more toy than jet hope to grab attention in a surprising way: By being silent and consuming little energy. This revolutionary solar-powered plane is about to end a slow and symbolic journey across America by quietly buzzing the Statue of Liberty and landing in a city whose buildings often obscure the power-giving sun. Science Writer Seth Borenstein.

CLIMATE CHANGE

BOW, N.H. â¿¿ President Barack Obama's push to fight global warming has triggered condemnation from the coal industry across the industrial Midwest, where state and local economies depend on the health of an energy sector facing strict new pollution limits. By Steve Peoples.

CHINA-INFANT FORMULA

BEIJING â¿¿ Nestle SA says it will cut infant formula prices in China by an average of 11 percent starting Monday in response to an investigation into alleged price-fixing by several foreign companies. The price cuts by the company's Wyeth Nutrition unit will be maintained through 2014, and the prices of some products will be cut by up to 20 percent, a spokesman said. China has been investigating five foreign companies and one Chinese company for allegedly violating market competition laws by manipulating retailers to sell infant formula at inflated prices.

BRITAIN-RUPERT-MURDOCH

LONDON â¿¿ Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has been recorded saying wrongdoing by his British newspapers was "next to nothing" and apparently acknowledging that his reporters paid police officers for information. In a tape published in transcript by the ExaroNews journalism website and broadcast Wednesday on Channel 4 News, Murdoch is heard saying, "it's the biggest inquiry ever, over next to nothing." By Jill Lawless.

AP Photos

With:

PAULA DEEN â¿¿Paula Deen is ending her business relationship with a longtime agent after her admission that she used racial slurs in the past resulted in the loss of major pieces of her media and merchandising empire.

Also moved for use on July 4 and thereafter:

SMALLBIZ-BEER-ECONOMIC IMPACT

NEW YORK â¿¿ To see how a small business can transform a neighborhood, just follow the barrels. As the craft beer market grows, drinkers aren't the only beneficiaries. From New England to the Pacific Northwest, new businesses have bubbled up around craft breweries, drawing young people and creating a vibrant community where families could plant roots and where small businesses can thrive. By Business Writer Tali Arbel.

AP photos.

With:

â¿¿ SMALLBIZ-BREWERIES â¿¿ Brewery owners tackled the hard work of renovating old buildings in rundown urban neighborhoods. Their efforts have helped create small-business hubs around them. A look at six craft breweries that transformed their surroundings. AP photos.

â¿¿SMALLBIZ-BREWERIES-PHOTO GALLERY

Eds: Photos include before and after photos of neighborhoods.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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