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  • Oct 12- Cleaning services company Ecolab Inc. St. Paul, Minnesota- based Ecolab will pay about $1.7 billion in cash and issue about 8 million shares to Champion, subject to certain adjustments at and after closing. Houston- based Champion, whose competitors include Schlumberger NV, Halliburton Co and Baker Hughes Inc, had sales of $1.2 billion last year, Ecolab said.

  • Oct 12- Cleaning services company Ecolab Inc. Ecolab's shares closed at $63.67 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. Houston- based Champion, which competes with companies such as Schlumberger NV, Halliburton Co and Baker Hughes Inc, had sales of $1.2 billion last year, Ecolab said.

  • Ecolab buying Champion Technologies in $2.2B deal Friday, 12 Oct 2012 | 7:46 AM ET

    ST. PAUL, Minn.-- Ecolab, the cleaning, food safety and pest-control services company, is buying the specialty chemical company Champion Technologies in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $2.2 billion.

  • *Minnesota woman sues pharmacy in federal court. WASHINGTON/ BOSTON, Oct 11- The pharmacy at the center of a deadly U.S. meningitis outbreak possibly linked to tainted steroid injections faced mounting federal and state scrutiny on Thursday, including a potential criminal investigation, as the national death toll climbed to 14..

  • MINNEAPOLIS, Oct 11- A Minnesota woman who says she received injections of the steroid at the center of a deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis in the United States on Thursday sued the company that made the suspect medication.

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 11- The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits slid last week to the lowest level in more than four and a half years, according to government data that may provide a boost to President Barack Obama a month before voters go to the polls.

  • By David Morgan and Tim McLaughlin. WASHINGTON/ BOSTON Oct 11- The pharmacy at the center of a deadly U.S. meningitis outbreak possibly linked to tainted steroid injections faced mounting federal and state scrutiny on Thursday, including a potential criminal probe, as the national death toll climbed to 14..

  • Vice President Joe Biden to deliver a feisty performance Thursday evening during a high-stakes debate against Republican challenger Paul Ryan and seize back momentum in the race for the White House.

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 11- As many as 14,000 people- more than previously thought- received possibly tainted steroid injections tied to a deadly U.S. meningitis outbreak and patients should watch for symptoms for several months, health officials said on Thursday.

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 11- The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits slid last week to the lowest level in more than four and a half years, according to government data that may provide a boost to President Barack Obama a month before voters go to the polls.

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 11- The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits slid last week to the lowest level in more than four and a half years, according to government data that may provide a boost to President Barack Obama a month before voters go to the polls.

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 11- U.S. health authorities said on Thursday that more people than previously thought received possibly tainted steroid injections and that some 14,000 patients could be at risk of contracting meningitis in an unprecedented outbreak of the disease.

  • Minnesota projected to harvest record corn crop Thursday, 11 Oct 2012 | 4:02 PM ET

    MINNEAPOLIS-- Despite the drought that parched much of the rest of the country, 2012 is shaping up as a pleasant surprise for many Minnesota farmers who are expected to harvest record corn and sugarbeet crops. "It went better than we thought it would _ by a long ways _ that's for sure," southwestern Minnesota corn and soybean farmer Scott Johnson said with a laugh.

  • Conn. gov. says raises hurt board's credibility Thursday, 11 Oct 2012 | 4:01 PM ET

    HARTFORD, Conn.-- Outrage over unauthorized pay raises for Connecticut education staff members deepened Thursday with the state House Republican leader calling for the Board of Regents president to step down and the Democratic governor saying credibility must be restored "as quickly as possible."

  • *Wal-Mart lines up 6 major health centers for procedures. *Wal-Mart has covered transplants since 1996 By Jessica Wohl.

  • Cargill 1Q profit soars but cautions on drought Thursday, 11 Oct 2012 | 1:58 PM ET

    WAYZATA, Minn.-- Agribusiness company Cargill said on Thursday that its first-quarter profit nearly quadrupled to $975 million. Still, the Minneapolis company said the impact of the U.S. drought and weather in other crop-growing areas such as the Black Sea region "is still unfolding." Revenue fell 2 percent to $33.8 billion from $34.6 billion a year ago.

  • Vice President Joe Biden to deliver a feisty performance Thursday evening during a high-stakes debate against Republican challenger Paul Ryan and seize back momentum in the race for the White House.

  • AVONDALE, Penn., Oct 11- The Federal Reserve's intention to keep interest rates ultra low for nearly three more years is suggesting to some that the Fed is willing to cut the jobless rate at the expense of higher inflation, putting the central bank's credibility at risk, a top Fed official said on Thursday.

  • US corn estimate lowered to reflect harvest yields Thursday, 11 Oct 2012 | 9:53 AM ET

    DES MOINES, Iowa-- The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday slightly lowered its projection for the nation's corn crop for a fourth straight month, reflecting worse-than-expected news about the actual impact of this year's withering drought from the farmers busy harvesting their fields.

  • The news could help President Barack Obama in his tight race for re-election on Nov. 6 against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who says Obama has mishandled the economy. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 30,000 to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, the Labor Department said.