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  • July 3- Health insurer Aetna Inc said it would buy smaller rival Humana Inc for about $37 billion in cash and stock, in the largest ever deal in the insurance industry. The combination will push Aetna close to Anthem Inc's No.2 insurer spot by membership, and would nearly triple Aetna's Medicare Advantage business. Antitrust authorities, who were aggressive in...

  • July 2- U.S health insurer Aetna Inc is nearing an agreement to buy rival Humana Inc for about $34 billion in a cash and stock deal, people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday. One person said Aetna's offer would value Humana at about $230 per share and that a deal could be announced as early as Friday. A $230 per share offer would be at a premium of nearly...

  • Bourbon boom: Kentucky inventory reaches 40-year high Thursday, 2 Jul 2015 | 3:04 PM ET

    LOUISVILLE, Ky.— Kentucky's bourbon boom is showing no signs of peaking as distilleries keep up a production pace unmatched for decades. The state's bourbon inventory reached a 40- year high last year, with nearly 5.7 million barrels aging in warehouses, the Kentucky Distillers' Association said Thursday. "There's an ocean of spirits resting in Kentucky right...

  • WASHINGTON— Loud but hardly universal catcalls from Republicans underscored the obstacles and opportunities ahead as U.S. and Cuban leaders announced an opening of embassies in Havana and Washington and a resumption of diplomatic relations severed the year President Barack Obama was born. Obama also called on Congress to lift the economic and travel...

  • Correction: Carnegie Heroes story Wednesday, 1 Jul 2015 | 5:00 PM ET

    PITTSBURGH— In a story June 30 about the Carnegie Heroes awards, The Associated Press reported erroneously on the fate of a boy whose brother drowned in a river. Late Oregon teen among 18 to win Carnegie Medal for heroism. PITTSBURGH— A 16- year-old Oregon boy who drowned while trying to save his younger brother's life is one of 18 people to be honored with a Carnegie...

  • FRANKFORT, Ky.— Lawyers for a Christian ministry building a Noah's ark theme park said Wednesday that Kentucky officials violated First Amendment religious protections when they denied the project a tax incentive worth millions. Answers in Genesis, developer of the 510- foot wooden ark in central Kentucky, is suing to get back into the tourism incentive...

  • Obama: 'Feeling pretty good' about health care Wednesday, 1 Jul 2015 | 3:19 AM ET

    NASHVILLE, Tenn.— Fresh off a Supreme Court victory, President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he's "feeling pretty good" about the state of his health care law and pleaded for bipartisan cooperation on ways to make it work even better. The state's Republican governor, Bill Haslam, tried to expand Medicaid under the health care law to cover more than 200,000 state...

  • WASHINGTON— Exotic dancers hired as admissions counselors. Recruiters told to seek out "impatient" individuals who have "few people in their lives who care about them." It's a modest step, consumer advocates say, that will probably succeed in shutting down the most obviously fraudulent programs, often criminal justice and medical training programs that can cost...

  • —Craig Randleman, 50, of Bend, Oregon, and Thomas Joy, 28, of Spokane, Washington, rescued an 8- year-old boy from attacking pit bulls in Spokane in April 2014. —Robert A. Pritchard Jr., 13, of Jacksonville, Florida, rescued a 6- year-old girl from a burning mobile home in June 2014. —S. Alexander Smith, 16, of Aloha, Oregon, drowned trying to rescue his 13- year-old brother from...

  • S. Alexander Smith, of Aloha, jumped into the Row River upstream from a 15- foot waterfall to try to save his 13- year-old brother, Christian, on July 1, 2014. Smith was the only one of those honored Tuesday by the Pittsburgh- based Carnegie Hero Fund Commission who died during a rescue attempt. The other 16 winners are from Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio,...

  • Federal Export-Import Bank set for midnight expiration Tuesday, 30 Jun 2015 | 1:41 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— Conservatives cheered the demise of the federal Export-Import Bank Tuesday and vowed to beat back efforts to revive it, even as business leaders and the White House issued dire warnings that letting the agency expire at midnight would hurt U.S. competitiveness globally. "Congress is taking a step backward," President Barack Obama argued in an...

  • MONTPELIER, Vt.— The transfer of 280 Vermont prison inmates from a private prison in Kentucky to one in Michigan has been completed, a state Department of Corrections official said Tuesday. The inmates were moved from the Lee Adjustment Center in Beattyville, Kentucky, owned by the Corrections Corporation of America, to the North Lake Correctional Facility in...

  • Still, the court's willingness to rein in the EPA emboldened opponents of Obama's climate change agenda, who said the court had finally woken up to what they call the haphazard and costly nature of the environmental regulations that Obama has put forth. Mike Duncan, president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which lobbies for the coal...

  • DENVER— Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul courted donors from the new marijuana industry Tuesday, making the Kentucky senator the first major-party presidential candidate to publicly seek support from the legal weed business. During an interview with The Denver Post after the fundraiser, Paul also declined to answer whether he would have voted...

  • Congress failed to renew the bank's charter because of opposition from Republicans who say it amounts to corporate welfare. Some questions and answers about the Export-Import Bank, and its future:. Q: What does the Export-Import Bank do?

  • RALEIGH, N.C.— Duke Energy Corp. CEO Lynn Good is getting a raise a year after the country's largest electric company confronted a coal ash spill that coated 70 miles of a North Carolina river in sludge containing toxic heavy metals, the company said in a regulatory filing Monday. Duke Energy's board of directors approved raising Good's annual salary by $50,000...

  • WASHINGTON— The supporters of the federal Export-Import Bank have the Senate votes to revive it and will get a chance to do so, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday. "Looks to me like they have the votes, and I'm going to give them the opportunity," McConnell, who opposes the bank, said in a telephone interview from Kentucky, where he is spending Congress' July 4...

  • The Louisville Metro Council's decision to raise the minimum wage does not conflict with state law, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman ruled. "The Metro Council and I took this step year to provide working families a higher minimum wage because we know that many struggle to pay for housing, food, clothing and medical care," Louisville...

  • Justices rule against EPA power plant mercury limits Monday, 29 Jun 2015 | 10:47 AM ET

    The EPA did factor in costs at a later stage, when it wrote standards that are expected to reduce the toxic emissions by 90 percent. The rules, which took effect in April, will remain in place while the case goes back to a lower court for the EPA to decide how to account for costs, environmental advocates say. Writing for the court, Justice Antonin Scalia said the EPA was...

  • WASHINGTON— Trading sharp words, a deeply divided Supreme Court upheld the use of a controversial drug in lethal-injection executions Monday, even as two dissenting justices said for the first time they think it's "highly likely" the death penalty itself is unconstitutional. In the dispute over the lethal-injection drug, midazolam was used in Arizona, Ohio and...