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Top News & Analysis United States

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 8- Wal-Mart and American Express have teamed up for a useful kind of financial innovation. It's a smooth move by Wal-Mart. The partners aren't disclosing financial terms, but it seems unlikely Wal-Mart would pay as much as it does to other card issuers.

  • Raytheon Co. said Monday that it has won a $349 million five-year contract to provide anti-tank missiles for the U.S. government. Under the contract, Raytheon will deliver 6,676 of the new wireless missiles for the U.S. Army. The defense contractor is based in Waltham, Mass. Its shares fell 14 cents to $55.34 by late afternoon.

  • SEATTLE-- The computer problem that has cut off Alaska Airlines' ability to put passengers on planes was caused by a combination of two fiber optic cuts in the Sprint system.

  • NEW YORK-- A strong warning from the World Bank that growth in Asia may slow further dragged the price of oil Monday to its lowest close in two months. _ Benchmark crude fell 55 cents to close at $89.33 in New York. On the ICE Futures Exchange in London:.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 8- U.S. hedge funds and other clients of Wall Street investment firms raised their level of borrowed money in August, a sign they may be more confident in the markets, data published Monday showed. Leverage rose to $286.6 billion last month, according to New York Stock Exchange margin debt data, up 5.4 percent since August last year.

  • NEW YORK-- Music is not the only way for Ke$ ha to tell a story. It's scheduled to come out Nov. 20, shortly before her new album, "Warrior." According to Touchstone, an imprint of Simon& Schuster, the book will feature Ke$ ha's "thoughts and reflections" and pictures spanning from her childhood to her recent tour.

  • WASHINGTON-- Mitt Romney solely blamed President Barack Obama on Monday for potential defense cuts that Republicans in Congress worked out with the White House and Democrats and left the misimpression that Obama has ignored free trade initiatives.

  • WEST CHESTER, Pa.-- It's a Sunday afternoon, and David Venable is in his element: on the air, in one of the kitchens at the QVC home shopping network, chatting a mile a minute about bakeware on his popular show, "In the Kitchen with David."

  • Oct 8- Lena Dunham, creator of HBO comedy "Girls", has signed a deal for a debut book giving advice to young women on sex and work, a publishing contract reported to be worth several million dollars. The New York Times, citing unnamed publishing sources, said Random House paid more than $3.5 million for the 26- year-old's first book after a fierce bidding war.

  • NEW YORK-- Advertisements preaching religious tolerance and an end to bigotry are going up in Manhattan subway stations. A court decision forced the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to accept ads implying that enemies of Israel are "savages" and urging subway riders to "support the civilized man" and "Defeat Jihad."

  • *Spokesman for Intel Corp's McAfee security division says it plans to.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 8- U.S. hedge funds and other clients of Wall Street investment firms raised their level of borrowed money in August, a sign they may be more confident in the markets, data published Monday showed. Leverage rose to $286.6 billion last month, according to New York Stock Exchange margin debt data, up 5.4 percent since August last year.

  • FORT WORTH, Texas-- Pilots for American Eagle have approved a new labor contract with the company, which provides regional flights for American Airlines. Eagle and American Airlines are owned by AMR Corp. All three filed for bankruptcy protection in November.

  • PPROVIDENCE, R.I.-- A former bank executive working to hasten a resolution to hundreds of foreclosure disputes in Rhode Island's federal courts calls the mortgage crisis a "Gordian knot" and says debt forgiveness needs to be part of the solution.

  • The failure has caused delays at the Seattle- based airline's entire network of 64 destinations, which also includes airports in Alaska, Mexico and Canada. Alaska Airlines has an average of 436 flights a day.

  • *World Bank warns on slowing Chinese economic growth. NEW YORK, Oct 8- Cotton prices were flat to slightly higher on Monday as speculative short covering and a buoyant grains market offset concerns about slowing growth in China, the world's largest textile market.

  • FRANKFURT, Oct 8- Germany's markets regulator signalled support on Monday for the proposals of an EU advisory group that last week called for banks' deposit-taking business to be legally separated from higher-risk activities.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 8- Brent crude futures slipped on Monday on concerns that slower economic growth in China and the debt crisis in Europe will curb demand for petroleum, while the potential for Middle East turmoil to disrupt supplies limited losses. Brent November crude fell 20 cents, or 0.18 percent, to settle at $111.82 a barrel, having moved from $110.54 to $112.24.

  • Shares of Eli Lilly and Co. topped $50 for the first time in more than four years Monday after the drugmaker released more details behind late-stage studies of its potential Alzheimer's disease treatment.

  • NEWARK, N.J.-- Free rides on New Jersey Transit trains and buses may be coming to an end for some of the agency's employees. Chris Christie's emphasis on accountability to taxpayers. Similar measures have been approved by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, Delaware River Port Authority and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.