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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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Court Strikes Down Missouri Law Cutting Jobless Benefits


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Missouri Supreme Court struck down a law Tuesday that had cut the duration of the state's unemployment benefits to one of the shortest periods nationally, meaning thousands of residents could get a longer financial lifeline as they look for work.

Since January, jobless workers have been limited to 13 weeks of benefits as a result of a measure that links the duration to Missouri's statewide unemployment rate, providing less aid when fewer people are searching for work.

In a 4-3 ruling Tuesday, the state's high court said the law never should have taken effect because of the way in which it was passed by the Republican-led Legislature. The result is that Missouri's jobless benefits will return to a maximum of 20 weeks, which is still shorter than the longtime national norm of half a year.

When Missouri's benefit cut took effect, it tied the state with North Carolina for the second shortest period, behind only the 12 weeks of benefits offered in Florida.

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_UNEMPLOYMENT_BENEFITS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-07-26-17-42-57

Weiner: I'd Beat Trump Jr. Like 'Rented Mule' In Mayoral Run

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Democratic former congressman who resigned in disgrace amid a sexting scandal says he'd come out of political retirement to thwart a potential New York City mayoral bid by Republican Donald Trump Jr.

The son of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been floated as a possible mayoral candidate after his speech in support of Trump at the Republican National Convention last week in Cleveland.

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (WEE'-nur) was asked about his possible candidacy Tuesday. He tells Fox 5 he'd re-enter politics to beat Trump Jr. "like a rented mule."

Weiner says he'd then "turn the keys" back over to Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio (dih BLAH'-zee-oh).



Gasoline Prices Continue To Plunge; U.S. Crude Oil Supply At 86-Year High

Gasoline nationally is the cheapest since April and the lowest on this date in 12 years, AAA reported Monday:

"National pump prices have fallen for 43 of the past 44 days, dropping 22 cents during this span.

"The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline sits at $2.21 per gallon, which is the lowest mark since April and the lowest price for this date since 2004.

"Today’s price is five cents less than one week ago, 15 cents less than one month ago, and 56 cents less than the same date last year.



The Latest Housing Data Is Bad News for People Predicting Recession

While some think a recession could be looming for the U.S., fresh housing data says the opposite.

Purchases of new U.S. single-family homes just hit their highest level in more than eight years, representing what Wall Street is calling a strong market.

"Today's report confirms the considerable strength in the housing market over the past few months," Rob Martin, an economist at Barclays Plc, said in a note. "We expect housing to continue to firm, on average, over the medium term, with a buoyant household sector supporting both prices and volumes."

George Pearkes, a strategist at Bespoke Investment Group, also pointed out an encouraging trend for the housing market. He said the data is the exact opposite of what would be expected leading up to an economic downturn. Note in the chart that before every recession for the last several decades, new home sales were either flat or in decline. This time they're heading in the exact opposite direction.



Analyst Warns of a Restaurant Downturn and Sees Harbinger of U.S. Recession

According to one analyst, not even the Pokemon Go craze can save the restaurant industry.

During much of the recovery from the financial crisis, restaurant spending has been a retail highlight as other areas, like department stores, have struggled. According to Stifel Financial Corp. analyst Paul Westra, however, recent surveys point to the start of a serious decline.

"Today, we adopt a bearish outlook for restaurants as we confidently believe that, at a minimum, the simultaneous -150 basis points to -200bps deceleration of restaurant industry comps across all categories during the second quarter within our most recent Stifel Sales Survey reflects the start of a U.S. Restaurant Recession," Westra and his team said in a note.

This doesn't just bode ill for restaurants, but could point to trouble across the economy as a whole. A downturn in dining could be implying a U.S. recession as soon as early 2017, he said, since "restaurants have historically led the market lower during the three to six-month periods prior to the start of the prior three U.S. recessions," Westra adds.



New-Home Sales in U.S. Jump to Highest Level Since February 2008

Source: Bloomberg via Chicago Tribune

Purchases of new U.S. single-family homes rose in June to the highest level in more than eight years, indicating a firm and resilient housing market.

Sales increased 3.5 percent to a 592,000 annualized pace, the fastest since February 2008, Commerce Department data showed Tuesday in Washington. Figures for May were revised higher. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 560,000 rate.

While the government’s new-home purchase data are subject to big swings from month to month, the broader picture for residential real estate shows steady gains fueled by stable employment and low borrowing costs. Faster wage growth and construction of properties priced for entry-level buyers have the potential of further stoking the market.

“The grinding recovery continues,” said Brett Ryan, a U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. in New York. “The fundamental underpinnings are still really supportive for housing, so it should be a steady contributor to growth over the next year or so.”

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-26/new-home-sales-in-u-s-jump-to-highest-level-since-february-2008

US Home Prices Rise at Steady Pace as Sales Heat Up



U.S. home prices extended their steady upward march in May, spurred by rising sales and a dwindling supply of available houses.

The Standard & Poor's CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased 5.2 percent in May compared with a year ago. That is down from a 5.4 percent annual gain in April but still above last summer's growth rate.

Solid job growth and near-record low mortgage rates are spurring more Americans to buy homes. Yet higher prices haven't encouraged more people to list their properties for sale. That is forcing buyers to compete against each other and bid up prices, particularly in coastal cities with strong job growth.

"Sellers are in the driver's seat, as buyers contend with fierce competition and very fast-moving markets," Svenja Gudell, chief economist at real estate data provider Zillow, said.

Home prices are slowly edging back

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/us-home-prices-rise-steady-pace-sales-heat-40885859

Charges Dismissed Against Planned Parenthood Videographers

Source: Houston Chronicle

Attorney's office on Tuesday dismissed all charges against anti-abortion activists who secretly videotaped Planned Parenthood officials in Houston.

David Robert Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were charged with tampering with a governmental record, for using a fake identification to gain access to the facility. In a surprise move before a hearing on the legitimacy of the indictment, prosecutors dismissed the charges.

Deleiden and his attorneys claimed victory for the anti-abortion movement, saying they were satisfied with the decision.

Daleiden, 27, and Sandra Merritt, 62, both of Davis, Calif., were indicted by a Harris County grand jury in January, accused of tampering with a government record for allegedly using fake driver licenses to conceal their identities while dealing with a Houston Planned Parenthood clinic.



Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Charges-dismissed-against-Planned-Parenthood-8422998.php

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denies Moscow was behind hacking of US Democratic Party emai

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denied accusations that Moscow was behind the hacking of Democratic Party emails.

When asked whether Russia was responsible for the hack, Mr Lavrov told reporters: "I don't want to use four-letter words."

His comments comes days after Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned following a leak of internal DNC emails showing officials actively favoured Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the presidential primary.


U.S. Navy's New $13B Aircraft Carrier Can't Fight

(CNN)The $13-billion USS Gerald R. Ford is already two years behind schedule, and the U.S. Navy's newest aircraft carrier is facing more delays after the Pentagon's top weapons tester concluded the ship is still not ready for combat despite expectations it would be delivered to the fleet this September.

According to a June 28 memo obtained by CNN, Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department's director of operational test and evaluation, said the most expensive warship in history continues to struggle launching and recovering aircraft, moving onboard munitions, conducting air traffic control and with ship self-defense.

"These four systems affect major areas of flight operations," Gilmore wrote in his report to Pentagon and Navy weapons buyers Frank Kendall and Sean Stackley. "Unless these issues are resolved ... they will significantly limit CVN-78's ability to conduct combat operations."

Fixing these problems would likely require redesigning the carrier's aircraft launch and recovery systems, according to Gilmore, a process that could result in another delay for a ship that was expected to join the fleet in September 2014.


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