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  • ALBANY, N.Y.-- The New York comptroller says the state is spending about $12 billion a year to deal with obesity, which is reaching "epidemic proportions" in children, affecting nearly one-third of them.

  • *China, Taiwan, Australian companies see dismal earnings. That compares to dreary corporate profits in China and others in the Asia-Pacific region, like Australia, that depended heavily on the now weakened buying power of major economies such as China.

  • Medical device maker Medtronic Inc. helped write and edit medical journal articles attributed to outside physicians, which downplayed the risks of the company's best-selling bone graft, according to Senate investigators.

  • PARIS-- French retailer PPR is seeing its revenue continue to grow as it doubles down on its luxury brands and jettisons struggling retail operations. The company behind Gucci and Bottega Veneta said Thursday that sales grew 16 percent to 2.6 billion.

  • Benchmark oil gained 13 cents to $85.86 a barrel at midday in New York after rising as high as $86.75 in the morning. Brent crude added 45 cents to $108.30 a barrel in London. Pump prices fell another 2 cents overnight to a national average of $3.60 a gallon.

  • SINGAPORE-- Singapore Airlines has ordered 25 Airbus planes worth $7.5 billion including five superjumbo A380s. It also said it will cease nonstop flights to Los Angeles and New York. That will end of nonstop flights from Singapore to Los Angeles and Newark.

  • Oct 24- ABC News sought on Wednesday to move to federal court a meat processor's defamation lawsuit over reports about lean finely textured beef, a product that critics have labeled ``pink slime.''. ABC, a unit of Walt Disney Co, said previously the lawsuit was without merit.

  • Equity Residential, whose chairman is Sam Zell, and AvalonBay Communities Inc on Wednesday both reported an increase in rents, but they were the smallest increases in at least three quarters.

  • LONDON-- British police say 300 potential victims of a disgraced BBC entertainer, the late Jimmy Savile, have come forward so far since details emerged earlier this month that he was among the country's most prolific sex offenders.

  • NEW YORK-- A weak showing in home sales and more disappointing earnings reports are sending stocks slightly lower on Wall Street.

  • *Vale puts Simandou mine project in Guinea on hold. RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 24- Brazil's Vale SA, the world's No. 2 mining company, said on Wednesday that third-quarter profit fell 66 percent compared with a year earlier after the price of iron ore dropped to three-year lows.

  • Oct 24- St. Jude Medical Inc said it received a Form 483 n otice from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about its Sylmar, California, manufacturing plant, where it makes cardiac rhythm management products. A Form 483 from the FDA is a notice that lists its concerns after conducting a quality inspection.

  • TOKYO, Oct 25- Japan's Nikkei share average was seen moving sideways on Thursday with investors weighing up profit forecast cuts from Nintendo Co Ltd and others as earnings season gets under way, although expectations of further monetary easing by the Bank of Japan should provide support.

  • BUENOS AIRES, Argentina-- Hundreds of sailors who had to leave the Argentine navy's signature sailing ship moored in Africa, seized by a court in a debt dispute, arrived in Buenos Aires early Thursday, frustrated and disheartened.

  • *Vale puts Simandou mine project in Guinea on hold. RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 24- Brazil's Vale SA, the world's No. 2 mining company, said on Wednesday that third-quarter profit fell 66 percent compared with a year earlier after the price of iron ore dropped to three-year lows.

  • *Third-quarter EPS $1.82 versus Wall Street's $1.69. Oct 24- Weapons maker Northrop Grumman Corp on Wednesday raised its earnings forecast for 2012 but said revenues would be lower next year even if Congress averts $500 billion in further budget cuts that are due to start taking effect in January.

  • SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 24- Zynga Inc raised the lower end of its 2012 earnings outlook after quarterly revenue beat Wall Street's rock-bottom expectations, driving its shares 13 percent higher.

  • SEATTLE, Oct 24- Firm sales numbers for Microsoft Corp's Windows 8 and its new Surface tablet will not be available for three months, but it may be clear long before then if it has a hit on its hands.

  • *Patriot Coal bankruptcy puts health care, pensions at risk. Oct 24- Peabody Energy Corp and Arch Coal Inc are being sued by mine workers who content that the companies have an obligation to pay pension and health care benefits that were transferred to Patriot Coal in a 2007 spinoff.

  • *$3 billion bid tops offer from Nationstar Mortgage Holdings. Oct 24- Ocwen Financial Corp and Walter Investment Management Corp on Wednesday prevailed in a bankruptcy auction for Residential Capital LLC's mortgage business with a $3 billion bid that topped rival Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc..