EDINBURGH, Sept 18- People in Scotland began voting on Thursday in a referendum on whether the country should become independent or stay part of the United Kingdom. The first to cast a ballot in Edinburgh's Waverley Court was a businessman who gave his name as Ron. "This is a historic day for Scotland.» Read More
German industrial conglomerate BASF, consumer products company Unilever and Swiss bank Credit Suisse all enjoyed strong share price gains after their reports. Procter& Gamble, for example, led the Dow Jones industrial average higher after the giant consumer products company reported earnings that beat analysts' expectations.
EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine-- Great Northern Paper is holding a celebration marking the one-year anniversary of the reopening of its East Millinocket mill. Cate Street Capital of Portsmouth, N.H., bought two shuttered paper mills in East Millinocket and Millinocket last September.
ATLANTA-- Georgia labor officials say metro Atlanta's unemployment rate dropped to 8.4 percent in September. The Georgia Department of Labor announced the new preliminary unemployment figure early Thursday morning. Among other Georgia metro areas, the Athens area continued to have the lowest area jobless rate at 6.4 percent.
The most pressing economic issue facing Washington _ whether President Barack Obama or Republican Mitt Romney wins _ is a looming deadline for across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases. Some $100 billion will be sliced from federal budgets and taxes will rise by $400 billion if the government goes over the so-called "fiscal cliff" in early January.
PIERRE, S.D.-- South Dakota State University is getting its first commitments from donors to help build a proposed $7 million facility that will be used for teaching and research about hogs. The SDSU Foundation says First Bank and Trust, which operates in eastern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota, has committed $250,000 to the project.
LONDON-- British publishing and education company Pearson PLC says it is in talks with German media group Bertelsmann SE over merging the firms' Penguin and Random House publishing operations. Pearson is publisher of the Financial Times and Penguin Group books.
Net income rose to $31.3 million, or $1.32 per share, matching the forecast of analysts surveyed by FactSet. A year earlier, the company earned $21.5 million, or 91 cents per share. The shares fell $3.19, or 5.2 percent, to $58.65 in midday trading.
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 24- Amid the fanfare accompanying the noisy launch of the iPad mini this week, Apple Inc also took the wraps off new Mac computers.
LONDON-- The Northern Ireland city of Londonderry has announced a program of arts events ranging from punk to painting to celebrate its role as the U.K.' s "city of culture" for 2013..
LONDON-- A London landmark that is a ceremonial passageway from Trafalgar Square toward Buckingham Palace will be converted from office space into a luxury hotel, Britain's government said Thursday. The Admiralty Arch was leased for 99 years to development company Prime Investors Capital, which plans to turn it into a five-star, 100- bedroom hotel.
PITTSBURGH-- Coal miner Consol Energy Inc. on Thursday posted an $11.4 million third-quarter loss, hurt by ongoing weak demand for coal. The Pittsburgh- based company's loss amounted to 5 cents per share, compared with a year-ago profit of $167.3 million, or 74 cents per share.
It was a rough third quarter for United Airlines. Net income for United Continental Holdings Inc. dropped to $6 million, or 2 cents per share, from $653 million, or $1.69 per share, a year earlier. But excluding that charge, its profit of $1.35 per share was still 12 cents less than analysts expected, according to FactSet.
ATLANTA-- Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. reported a drop in its third-quarter profit and revenue Thursday as the bottling company struggled with the weak economy in Europe and the drag of currency translations.
NEW ORLEANS-- BP PLC said Thursday it has capped and plugged an abandoned piece of equipment that is believed to be the source of a sheen spotted near the site of its massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP and the Coast Guard both say no oil has been seen leaking out of the container since it was capped and plugged.
PARIS-- French carmaker Renault SA says its revenue slumped 13.3 percent in the third quarter as an economic downturn in France, Italy and Spain caused sales to slump. Renault's sales in Europe fell 18.4 percent, almost twice as fast as the overall market decline.
BATON ROUGE, La.-- Louisiana Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell's office says five pharmaceutical companies will pay the state more than $18.6 million to resolve allegations they misreported drug price information to the state's Medicaid program.
The Barneys display puts Disney characters on the runway in front of animated versions of industry bigwigs in a short film that features Minnie's daydream sequence strutting her stuff in Paris in a hot-pink, ruffle-covered Lanvin dress. Daisy Duck, Cruella De Vil and Goofy get similar insta-slim treatments.