Top News & Analysis California

  • AMSTERDAM-- In Hollywood movies, heists usually feature criminals who plan meticulously and use high-tech equipment to avoid detection. But the thieves who snatched seven paintings by Picasso, Matisse and Monet worth millions from a gallery in Rotterdam appear to have taken a less glamorous approach, relying mostly on speed and brute force.

  • John Freedson, a producer of the off- Broadway musical revue that hilariously tweaks Broadway shows and stars, said Wednesday that its run will be extended through April 28.

  • WASHINGTON-- Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits jumped 46,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, the highest in four months. The four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, rose slightly to 365,500, the Labor Department said Thursday.

  • SAN FRANCISCO-- Google Inc.' s third-quarter earnings should reveal whether investors' recently rejuvenated optimism about the Internet search leader's growth prospects is justified.

  • Drug developer Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. and partner Genzyme said Thursday a panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration had voted 9 to 6 to recommend approval of Kynamro, for treating patients genetically predisposed to have sky-high LDL, or bad cholesterol. The FDA is not bound to follow recommendations of its advisers, but usually does so.

  • DETROIT-- A federal judge in California has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the use of Albert Einstein's image in a magazine ad by General Motors. The Detroit News says the Hebrew University of Jerusalem filed the lawsuit against GM. Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/.

  • In a letter to Geron shareholders, BioTime suggests two deals that would form a new publicly traded company owning Geron's stem cell assets with some of BioTime's. It said Geron could have a stake of up to 45 percent in the company, which would also hold $40 million in BioTime stock along with shares of some BioTime stem cell subsidiaries.

  • That's a sign layoffs are increasing, but the Labor Department said that there were technical reasons behind rise, such as delayed figures from California. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia says that manufacturing in the Philadelphia region expanded in October after five months of declines.

  • PARIS-- Shoe hats, lobster dresses, and spiraling goggle glasses could easily be part of a closet inventory belonging to Lady Gaga. The house of the influential fashion designer, and hated rival of Coco Chanel, is being revived this fall, in one of the most highly anticipated fashion events of 2012 in Paris.

  • It's the latest snapshot of the growing burden of student debt and it's another discouraging one: Two-thirds of the national college class of 2011 finished school with loan debt, and those who borrowed walked off the graduation stage owing on average $26,600 _ up about 5 percent from the class before.

  • The ruling means that DC Comics and its owner Warner Bros. will retain all rights to continue using the character in books, films, television and other mediums, including a the film reboot planned for next year.

  • NEW YORK-- Align Technology Inc., which makes the Invisalign clear braces system, slumped Wednesday after the company gave disappointing estimates for its third-quarter results and offered a weak fourth-quarter forecast. Align Technology shares skidded $7.05, or 20 percent, to $28.36 in aftermarket trading following the announcement.

  • NEW YORK-- An opera-loving philanthropist convicted in New York of a multimillion-dollar fraud has been freed on bail to await the outcome of his appeal. Alberto Vilar was freed Wednesday on $10 million bail from a federal lockup in Fort Dix, N.J. He'll be required to wear an electronic bracelet, as he was before his November 2008 conviction.

  • VALENCIA, Calif.-- Shares of MannKind Corp. fell sharply in after-hours trading Wednesday after the diabetes drug developer said it is planning a public offering of stock and warrants. MannKind said that it intends to sell common shares and warrants to purchase common shares in the underwritten offering.

  • Eight people died and 38 homes were destroyed in the gas-fueled inferno that tore through the bedroom community of San Bruno on Sept 9, 2010 after one of PG&E's pipelines ruptured.

  • NEW YORK-- Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market:. Quest Diagnostics Inc., down $3.62 at $59.75. Dean Foods Co., up $1.92 at $16.96.

  • U.S. home construction is making a comeback that could invigorate the economy's still-weak recovery. Builders last month started construction on single-family houses and apartments at the fastest rate in more than four years, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

  • LOS ANGELES-- American Express Co. said Wednesday that its net income rose 1 percent in the third quarter, aided by lower expenses and increased spending by the credit card issuer's customers. In the second quarter, American Express' revenue grew 5 percent from a year earlier.

  • SAN DIEGO-- Home foreclosure activity in California fell to a new five-year low in the third quarter as rising prices eased pressure on homeowners and lenders, a research firm said Wednesday.

  • NEW YORK-- Can't figure out how to dress as a binder full of women for Halloween? The Yellow One is flying off the shelves after Mitt Romney's threat to do away with government support for PBS.