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Top News & Analysis Illinois

  • ALBANY, N.Y.-- The digital divide is wider than ever between diners who talk, tweet and snap pictures mid-meal and those who wish they'd just shut up, shut down and be present. "There's no place to get away from the chatter," said Julie Liberty of Miami, who started the Facebook page "Ban Cell Phones From Restaurants" earlier this year. "

  • CHICAGO-- Illinois' unemployment rate dipped to 8.8 percent in September. And the Illinois Department of Employment Security says the seasonally adjusted figures reported Thursday show Illinois' unemployment rate has fallen 10 times in the past 13 months.

  • DEERFIELD, Ill.-- Drug and medical device maker Baxter International reported third-quarter results Thursday that edged 1 percent higher as the company trimmed expenses, meeting Wall Street expectations. The company's profit rose slightly to $583 million, or $1.06 per share, from $576 million, or $1.01 per share, in the prior-year period.

  • Michele Bachmann's tendency to cause a ruckus on Capitol Hill made her a tea party sensation. Allen West of Florida, Steve King of Iowa and Joe Walsh of Illinois are all embroiled in tough and expensive races that are drawing plenty of spending by friends and foes from around the country.

  • BOLINGBROOK, Ill.-- Beauty retailer Ulta Beauty said Thursday that Bruce L. Hartman has resigned as chief financial officer and will be replaced by Scott Settersten on a temporary basis. The company earned $35 million, or 54 cents per share, for the quarter ended July 28.

  • The benefit of recent downpours was more pronounced in states such as Iowa, the nation's biggest corn producer. Thursday's update showed that 63.9 percent of Iowa still is in extreme or exceptional drought _ the worst two classifications _ in what marked an improvement of nearly 12 percentage points from a week earlier.

  • CHICAGO-- A leading venture capital firm is opening an office in Chicago, giving a boost to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's efforts to attract high-tech businesses and entrepreneurs to the city.

  • NEW YORK-- The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of " Clybourne Park" says he recently withdrew permission for a Berlin theater company to produce the play after learning that one of the actors would perform the roles in blackface.

  • NEW YORK-- Mayor Michael Bloomberg will spend at least $10 million of his personal fortune promoting moderate candidates around the country in the final weeks before Election Day, he announced Wednesday, adding himself to the list of wealthy Americans pouring millions of dollars into the 2012 election.

  • LOS ANGELES-- The Beverly Hilton's International Ballroom will soon be filled with flowers, chiffon, fine china and crystal stemware for a starry black-tie ball costing couples as much as $20,000 to attend.

  • CHICAGO-- As Chicago struggles to quell gang violence that has contributed to a jump in homicides, a top elected official wants to tax the sale of every bullet and firearm _ an effort even she acknowledges could spark a legal challenge.

  • Shares of Abbott Laboratories continued to slip Thursday in premarket trading, a day after the drug and medical device maker reported third-quarter results and delivered an update on its upcoming business split.

  • Fifth Third's net income available to common shareholders fell to $354 million, or 38 cents per share, from $373 million, or 40 cents per share, a year earlier.

  • PARIS-- The burglars dashed out the back door with seven masterworks, then sped on screeching tires into the night. If the thieves who robbed Rotterdam's Kunsthal exhibition this week don't have a plan, the stolen art could quickly become a burden.

  • CHICAGO-- Grains futures rose Wednesday on the Chicago Board of Trade. Wheat for December delivery gained 8.5 cents to $8.5625 per bushel; December corn rose 7.25 cents to $7.455 per bushel; December oats increased 3.25 cents to $3.9575 per bushel and November soybeans gained 15.5 cents to $15.0925 per bushel.

  • WASHINGTON-- Drug and medical device maker Abbott Laboratories reported a higher third-quarter profit Wednesday, edging past analyst expectations, even as revenue slipped. Spokeswoman Adelle Infante said that the layoffs were in Abbott's nutrition, medical devices, established pharmaceuticals and molecular diagnostics divisions.

  • NEW YORK-- McDonald's Corp. reports its third-quarter results Friday, which should give a glimpse of how the world's biggest hamburger chain is coping with intensifying competition and the challenging global economy. WHAT TO WATCH FOR: After outperforming its rivals for years, some analyst think McDonald's may be entering a period of slower growth.

  • Home theaters and wine cellars have trickled down to the masses. What follows are truly exceptional features that you won’t see in just any mansion!

  • CHICAGO-- Grain prices rose Wednesday in early trading on the Chicago Board of Trade. Wheat for December delivery rose 3.25 cents to $8.51 per bushel; December corn gained 0.75 cent to $7.39 per bushel; December oats were unchanged at $3.9225 per bushel and November soybeans increased 4.25 cents to $14.98 per bushel.

  • DOWNERS GROVE, Ill.-- Dover Corp.' s third-quarter net income rose 40 percent, helped by acquisitions and by the absence of a big loss tied to discontinued operations from a year ago. Dover earned $241 million, or $1.31 per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with $172.3 million, or 91 cents per share, a year earlier.