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Top News & Analysis Iowa

  • MANITOWOC, Wis.-- Around lunchtime each day, the latest missives promoting or pillorying Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney arrive in Diane Ouradnik's mailbox. Senior citizens are getting dueling pieces from Obama and Romney casting the other as detrimental to Medicare.

  • BOSTON, Oct 23- The pharmacy tied to a deadly U.S. meningitis outbreak escaped harsh punishment from health regulators several times in the years leading up to the health crisis that has raised questions about oversight of the customized drug mixing industry, newly released state records show.

  • LIANGJIAHE, China-- The next leader of China spent much of his youth living in a dug-out cave. Xi Jingping's seven years in this remote northern community meant toiling alongside rural villagers by day and sleeping on bricks by night, in stark contrast to his pampered early years in Beijing.

  • Like other tobacco companies, Reynolds American Inc., the second-biggest U.S. cigarette maker, has ventured into smokeless tobacco and other nicotine products as tax increases, health concerns, smoking bans and stigma cut into demand for cigarettes. In 2009, Reynolds bought Swedish company Niconovum AB, which makes nicotine gum, pouches and spray products.

  • NEW YORK-- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is poised to spend $500,000 of his personal fortune on gay marriage campaigns in Maine, Minnesota and Washington state, he said Monday, following up on a major political spending push the billionaire businessman-turned-politician announced last week.

  • RICHMOND, Va.-- Reynolds American Inc.' s third-quarter profit grew nearly 7 percent as higher prices and smokeless tobacco gains helped offset a decline in the number of cigarettes it sold.

  • WASHINGTON-- Unions are shifting more of their political resources to state and local races this year as they try to head off passage of laws that could undermine bargaining rights, make it harder to organize or reduce their political muscle. In Maine and Minnesota, labor leaders hope to overturn Republican majorities in state legislatures.

  • WASHINGTON-- Medicare is coming under scrutiny in the meningitis outbreak that has rekindled doubts about the safety of the nation's drug supply. In 2007, Medicare revoked coverage of compounded inhaler drugs for lung disease.

  • WASHINGTON-- Unions are shifting more of their political resources to state and local races this year as they try to head off passage of laws that could undermine bargaining rights, make it harder to organize or reduce their political muscle. In Maine and Minnesota, labor leaders hope to overturn Republican majorities in state legislatures.

  • On Thursday, Southwest Airlines said demand _ and pricing _ for business travelers grew weaker in September. Revenue seemed to be rebounding this month, Southwest said. But nothing quite says "ka-ching" like $981 for a short-notice round-trip ticket from Minneapolis to New York.

  • CLEVELAND-- Unemployment rates fell last month in nearly all of the battleground states that will determine the presidential winner, giving President Barack Obama fresh fodder to argue that voters should stick with him in an election focused squarely on the economy.

  • WASHINGTON-- Medicare is coming under scrutiny in the meningitis outbreak that has rekindled doubts about the safety of the nation's drug supply. In 2007, Medicare revoked coverage of compounded inhaler drugs for lung disease.

  • When the University of Phoenix, the country's largest university, announced this week it's closing 115 campuses and satellite locations, it signaled more than a sudden availability of commercial real estate near highway interchanges, where for-profit colleges like to set up shop as a student convenience.

  • DES MOINES, Iowa-- Iowa's unemployment rate has dropped to 5.2 percent in September, down significantly from the August figure. Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert says the decline was welcome news. Iowa's unemployment rate is far below the national rate of 7.8 percent.

  • OMAHA, Neb.-- An index of economic conditions in 10 Midwest and Western states jumped this month after three months of drought-induced doldrums. "Our survey indicates that the negative impacts of the drought are being more than offset by the positives of very strong incomes from high agriculture and energy prices," said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss.

  • Rates dropped in Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada and North Carolina. They were unchanged in New Hampshire and Virginia. With just 18 days until Election Day, polls show GOP challenger Mitt Romney gaining momentum with voters in key states.

  • RICHMOND, Va.-- Reynolds American Inc., the second-biggest U.S. cigarette company, should give investors some insight into its premium Camel brand and its value-priced Pall Mall brand when it releases its third-quarter results before the stock markets open Tuesday.

  • LINCOLN, Neb.-- Nebraska is trailing its neighbors in wind-energy development and missing an opportunity to add jobs to the state economy while producing a cleaner form of energy, according to a report released Thursday.