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Top News & Analysis North America

  • TOKYO, Oct 4- Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, a fiery nationalist whose failed bid to buy a group of disputed islands ignited a crisis with China, is pushing ahead with a plan to build structures there to hammer home Japan's claim, officials involved told Reuters.

  • Oct 3- American Airlines and its pilots union resumed contract talks Wednesday, but other problems continued to beset the bankrupt carrier. "I will never ride on American Airlines ever again," said Tony Palm, who was stranded when a connecting flight on American from Chicago to New York's LaGuardia airport was canceled last month.

  • Trading house Marubeni Corp gained 1.4 percent to 498 yen after Barclays Securities lifted its price target on the stock to 700 yen from 650, saying the company had lower exposure to resources businesses than its peers. to 1,860 yen from 2,000, Mitsui& Co to 1,320 yen from 1,350, Sumitomo Corp to 1,190 yen from 1,230, and Itochu Corp to 1,070 yen from 1,100..

  • By Miranda Maxwell and Denny Thomas. MELBOURNE/ HONG KONG, Oct 4- A private equity firm founded by Chinese billionaire Yu Yong and a fund backed by state-owned China Development Bank have offered to buy Australian-listed copper explorer Discovery Metals Ltd, valung the company at about $850 million.

  • *Jittery investors await U.S. job data, watch Europe. *Social unrest in Iran, Turkey- Syria clashes in focus. SINGAPORE, Oct 4- Brent futures steadied above $108 a barrel on Thursday after a sharp drop in the previous session, with investors waiting for a European Central Bank policy meeting and critical jobs data out of the United States this week for more trading cues.

  • Japan's big three automakers, Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co and Honda Motor Co, were in demand as investors factored in concerns over sputtering global growth and sluggish demand from China amid rising anti-Japanese sentiment over a territorial dispute.

  • *SeaWorld disputes claim injury inflicted by another whale. *In protest, animal rights group calls for SeaWorld boycott. "We are encouraging the public to boycott SeaWorld over their treatment of these killer whales, which results in injuries to the animals and to the trainers," said Matt Bruce, a local spokesman for the animal rights group.

  • JUNEAU, Alaska-- A liquefied natural gas project in Alaska could cost more than $65 billion and would represent a mega-project of "unprecedented scale and challenge," officials behind the project told Gov.

  • Our biggest challenge is converting the 25 to 35 year old to becoming participants in our industry, "said Brian Gamache, chief executive of slot machine maker WMS Industries Inc at the annual Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.

  • TOKYO, Oct 4- The Nikkei average advanced 0.3 percent and the broader TOPIX rose 0.6 percent on Thursday morning. Struggling chipmaker Renesas Electronics Corp jumped 7.8 percent to 303 yen on short-squeeze after it said a larger-than-expected number of employees volunteered for its redundancy scheme.

  • Nihon Kohden Corp gained 4.4 percent to 2,744 yen after trading as high as 2,770 yen to a two-month high after J.P. Morgan raised its price target on the medical equipment maker to 4,100 yen from 3,700, saying it expected the firm to overshoot its first-half earnings guidance on strong Japanese sales.

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 3- The U.S. Treasury Department is examining individual retirement accounts as vehicles for potential tax avoidance, a top tax official said in a letter to Democratic lawmakers released on Wednesday.

  • The maker of precision motors was also weighed down by J.P. Morgan's downgrade to' neutral' from' overweight'. TDK Corp lost 2.5 percent to 2,791 yen, also hurt by a price target cut to 3,200 yen from 3,640 by J.P. Morgan.

  • Claire McCaskill, whose Missouri re-election campaign has attracted national attention since her Republican challenger made controversial remarks about rape, said on Wednesday she raised $5.8 million in the last quarter. Missouri is a key target for Republicans who need a net gain of four seats in November's election to win a Senate majority.

  • Oct 4- Louis Dreyfus Group and the hedge fund unit of JPMorgan Chase& Co are selling their jointly owned energy trading business to an investor group, the Financial Times reported on Thursday. The company will be sold to Glenn Dubin, Paul Tudor Jones and other investors.

  • The United States accuses China of flouting trade rules and undervaluing its currency to helps its exporters. Many U.S. companies outsource production to China. One study estimated that between 2001 and 2010, 2.8 million U.S. jobs were lost or displaced to China.

  • Izumi Co Ltd jumped 17.7 percent to 1,926 yen, its highest level since December 2007, after the supermarket operator said it would spend up to 8 billion yen to buy back up to 4 million of its own shares, or 5.1 percent of its issuing shares, between Oct. 4 and Dec. 28.

  • Wednesday's decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans came amid a separate labor dispute by the airline's 8,000 pilots and its parent company, AMR Corp., which filed for bankruptcy in November.

  • The business daily said Tomy would take over Pokemon operations in Europe and the United States from Bandai Co, a unit of Namco Bandai Holdings Inc, and local firms. Namco Bandai slipped 2.1 percent to 1,274 yen.

  • HONG KONG, Oct 4- Hong Kong shares were set to open slightly higher on Thursday with defensive sectors such as telecoms continuing to attract investor interest although gains are likely to be capped by weakness in oil producers after crude prices slumped overnight.