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AP Financial News Summary at 8:23 p.m. EDT

August 21, 2006

ASEAN Rushes to Create EU-Style Market

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ Southeast Asian ministers hope to fast-track plans to create a European-style single market by 2015 in talks in Malaysia this week, as the region struggles to strengthen its economic muscle to counter competition from rising giants China and India.

Can Rally Survive a Slow Summer Week?

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NEW YORK (AP) _ August has been an unusually busy time for Wall Street, with a key Federal Reserve decision and surprisingly good economic data keeping investors busy, culminating in a strong rally last week that pushed the major indexes to three-month highs.

First Prempro Suit Goes to Trial in Ark.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ Jury selection will begin Monday in federal court in the first trial of 4,500 lawsuits filed nationwide that challenge Prempro, a hormone-replacement therapy that some women say causes breast cancer.

Could a Blimp Improve Communications?

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PALMDALE, Calif. (AP) _ Bob Jones has a lofty idea for improving communications around the world: Strategically float robotic airships above the Earth as an alternative to unsightly telecom towers on the ground and expensive satellites in space.

AB Volvo Plans Series of Acquisitions

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NEW YORK (AP) _ AB Volvo, the world’s second-largest truck maker after DaimlerChrysler AG, has outlined ambitious plans for a series of acquisitions to broaden its product range, according to a published report Sunday.

Natural-Gas Prices Inflate State Coffers

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ELK CITY, Okla. (AP) _ Suzy Spieker’s telephone rings as many as 10 times a day with calls from people wanting to move to the Oklahoma frontier to get in on the money. Want a rental? Join the list, the Elk City real estate agent tells them. Want to buy? Her book of three-bedroom home listings has been whittled to a single page by an influx of oil and gas field workers.

Toledo Blade Locks Out Engravers Union

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TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) _ The Blade on Sunday locked out the nine employees of its engravers union, one of several unions negotiating new contracts at the newspaper.

All of a Sudden, Dell Looking Vulnerable

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DALLAS (AP) _ It wasn’t too long ago that Dell Inc. was riding high on the success of its patented direct-sales model to consumers and businesses, boldly predicting during an April 2005 meeting with analysts that the computer maker would soon swell from $50 billion in revenue to $80 billion.

Poles Flock to Irish Job Fair

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ They came from all over Poland: engineers in crisply pressed shirts, laborers with mud on their shoes, university graduates with backpacks, all seeking the same thing _ a job in Ireland.

Colombia Jungle Woodcutting Dangerous

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RIOSUCIO, Colombia (AP) _ Woodcutting has become a deadly business in this muggy, river-laced jungle region bordering Panama that leftist rebels are trying to retake from far-right paramilitaries.

Sector Wrap: Computers

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Two of the world’s largest computer makers posted quarterly earnings this week, with markedly different results.

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