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*Launch now targeted for 1:15 p.m. EDT ( 1715 GMT. Oct 9- A n Austrian daredevil made last-minute preparations on Tuesday for a death-defying s kydive from a balloon 23 miles over the New Mexico desert af ter delays due to winds earlier in the day.
U.S. ports are expected to handle 1.45 million 20- foot Equivalent Units in October, up 9.9 percent from the year-earlier period, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct 8- About 13,000 people in 23 U.S. states may have received steroid injections linked to a rare fungal meningitis outbreak that has killed eight people, but far fewer are likely to contract the disease, the Centers for Disease Control said on Monday.
CARACAS, Venezuela-- During his re-election campaign, President Hugo Chavez promised to deepen the "21st century socialism" that has meant an ever-greater state role in the economy. Chavez faces immediate economic time bombs beginning with a rapidly expanding public debt, one of Latin America's highest inflation rates and a weakening currency.
*Current record was set in 1960 by a U.S. Air Force colonel. Oct 8- An Austrian adventurer is preparing to skydive from a balloon flying 23 miles above New Mexico on Tuesday, seeking to break a long-standing altitude record- and the sound barrier- in the process. If the weather is good, the balloon will be launched at dawn on Tuesday, around 7 a.m. New Mexico time.
*Marathon to purchase refinery for $598 million. HOUSTON, Oct 8- Marathon Petroleum Corp is buying BP Plc's Texas City refinery, the site of a deadly industrial accident, in a $2.5 billion deal that will make it the No. 4 U.S. refiner with a bigger potential slice of lucrative exports.
NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct 8- Some 13,000 people in 23 U.S. states may have received steroid injections linked to a rare fungal meningitis outbreak that has killed eight people, but far fewer are likely to contract the disease, the Centers for Disease Control said on Monday.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-- A state-created fund that backs up private insurers in Florida could fall short of the money it needs to pay off hurricane insurance claims if a major storm were to pound the state. Florida created a special fund after Hurricane Andrew caused widespread damage 20 years ago.
MIAMI-- LeBron James is visiting China for the ninth time, which makes him one of the resident Miami Heat experts about the world's most populous nation. So maybe it's fortunate that the coming week won't exactly include a ton of free time for the Heat, who arrived in Beijing on Monday night for a weeklong trip.
NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct 8- U.S. health authorities scrambled on Monday to identify more cases of a rare form of meningitis, including enlisting local police to find people who might be infected by tainted steroid injections that have so far killed eight people.
NEW YORK-- Supermarket chains like Safeway and Roundy's could have even more reason to fear Wal-Mart. As of the end of July, Wal-Mart had 10 "Express" stores and had ramped up its "Neighborhood Market" concept to 217 locations, said Citi Investment Research analyst Deborah Weinswig.
PORTLAND, Maine-- Maine has always been proud of the commodities it claims as homegrown, among them Stephen King, L.L. Bean, lobster, and a host of political icons including Edmund Muskie, George Mitchell and Olympia Snowe. Independent Angus King hails from Alexandria, Va., attended Dartmouth College and moved to Maine, where he has settled in Brunswick.
NEW YORK, Oct 8- U.S. natural gas futures edged higher at midday Monday in seesaw trade, underpinned by chilly U.S. temperatures that have stirred early heating demand.
The widening outbreak has alarmed federal and state health officials and focused attention on regulation of pharmaceutical compounding companies like the one that produced the drugs, the New England Compounding Center Inc in Framingham, Massachusetts.
*Congressman says Coast Guard in "death spiral". *Coast Guard fleet one of world's oldest. Signs of out-of-date gear were clear aboard the 270- foot cutter Tahoma, now hauled out of the water to undergo an 11- month makeover at Baltimore's Coast Guard yard.
Oct 8- Media General Inc exited its nearly two-centuries-old newspaper business by selling the Tampa Tribune, and raised its revenue forecast for political advertising on its TV stations due to stronger-than-anticipated demand in key election battlegrounds.
Morgan Stanley's Qatar head Khalid al-Subeai resigned last week to join the investment banking division of unlisted Barwa Bank, while Goldman's Qatar Chief Executive Tamim al-Kawari has joined investment bank QInvest, part-owned by Qatar Islamic Bank, as deputy CEO, according to several sources aware of the matter.
Oct 8- Media General Inc said it has sold its last newspaper, the Tampa Tribune, and raised its full-year revenue forecast for political advertising on its TV stations due to stronger-than-anticipated demand in key election battlegrounds.
*Romney claws his way back after first debate* Only 2 points behind in Reuters/ Ipsos poll By Steve Holland. PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla., Oct 7- Mitt Romney appeared on Sunday to have halted his perilous slide in the polls and is back to running a close race with President Barack Obama as he prepares a new assault on the Democrat over foreign policy.