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  • WASHINGTON-- The AFL-CIO says it has registered more than 450,000 new voters from union households over the past 18 months, part of an ambitious push to swell the ranks of Democratic-leaning voters and help President Barack Obama win reelection.

  • BUFFALO, N.Y.-- First Niagara Financial Group says it's realigning some staffing and will do away with 180 positions as it recruits for 250 others. The bank says it's hired 2,700 people over the past two years, including 1,200 from its recent purchase of 195 HSBC branches in New York and southwestern Connecticut.

  • Custom-mixed medicines like the steroid shots suspected in a meningitis outbreak have long been a source of concern, and their use is far wider than many people realize.

  • HARRISBURG, Pa.-- Officials at Exelon Corp.' s Three Mile Island nuclear facility in central Pennsylvania are beginning to test a new emergency siren system. Exelon says the sirens have improved sound and better battery backup to ensure they'll work during an electrical outage.

  • STATE COLLEGE, Pa.-- Penn State won't increase football season ticket prices or current donation levels in 2013, and announced tweaks to guidelines including a lower, $200 level of giving for booster-club members.

  • PROVIDENCE, R.I.-- Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling might have to sell or give up the famed blood-stained sock he wore on the team's way to the 2004 World Series championship to cover millions of dollars in loans he guaranteed to his failed video game company.

  • HARRISBURG, Pa.-- Certain employers that hire new workers in Pennsylvania would get to keep 95 percent of the state income tax withheld from the workers' paychecks under a bill moving quickly through the state House of Representatives. The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Kerry Benninghoff was awaiting final action in the chamber Wednesday.

  • CAMP HILL, Pa.-- Rite Aid Corp.' s revenue from established locations slid less than 1 percent last month, as the introduction of cheaper generic drugs helped knock down pharmacy sales for the nation's third largest drugstore chain.

  • YORK, Pa.-- Department store operator Bon-Ton Stores said Thursday that a key revenue figure rose 0.6 percent in September as it tightly managed its inventory and marketing efforts. Total revenue for the five weeks ended Sept. 29 rose 0.7 percent to $288.9 million.

  • NEW YORK-- Thousands of teenagers who can't take their cellphones to school have another option, courtesy of a burgeoning industry of sorts in always-enterprising New York City: paying a dollar a day to leave it in a truck that's parked nearby.

  • *Oil India to get 20 pct, Indian Oil Corp 10 pct in Niobrara shale acreage. and Indian Oil Corp have jointly bought a 30 percent stake in Houston- based Carrizo Oil& Gas's Niobrara shale asset in Colorado for $82.5 million, the companies said in a statement.

  • PHILADELPHIA-- Candy maker Hershey is vowing to use only certified cocoa for all of its chocolate products by 2020 and accelerate programs to help eliminate child labor in the cocoa-producing regions of West Africa.

  • Friends Fiduciary Corp., a Philadelphia nonprofit, sold its shares in Caterpillar Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Veolia Environment after a review was requested by the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting.

  • PITTSBURGH-- Penn State University professors won't be part of an industry-funded study this year on the economic impact of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, an undertaking the school was criticized for in the past.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 3- U.S. "I think we're in a wait and see mode, we are awaiting minutes and then all eyes will be focused on the payroll data," said Sean Simko, senior portfolio manager at SEI Investments in Oaks, Pennsylvania.

  • Oct 3- Health insurer Highmark Inc wants a state court to block any possible deal talks with rivals involving Pennsylvania's West Penn Allegheny Health System, which last week ended a planned $475 million alliance with Highmark.

  • Oil fell the most in five months on Wednesday as China's slowing economy raised questions about the strength of global oil demand. Benchmark oil fell $3.75, or 4.1 percent, to $88.14 per barrel Wednesday in New York.

  • --U.S. gaming operator Cannery Casino Resorts closed on $590 million in new senior secured credit facilities to refinance its existing debt.

  • The commission voted 3-0, with two members absent, to approve a 15- year contract with Rhode Island- based GTECH that is expected to make $1.7 billion in profit over five years _ a $500 million increase over state projections. GTECH already provides and maintains vending machines for the Hoosier Lottery.