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Top News & Analysis United States

  • *Check-writing capability, other features, coming next year* Shares of rival card companies NetSpend, Green Dot tank* Wal-Mart, Amex shares largely unchanged. NEW YORK, Oct 8- Wal-Mart Stores Inc and American Express Co are teaming up to offer a prepaid debit card called Bluebird to target lower-income shoppers who do not have bank accounts.

  • Detailed results were revealed for the first time Monday at an American Neurological Association conference in Boston. "It's certainly not the home run we all wanted, but we're very encouraged by these results," said Maria Carillo, chief science officer for the Alzheimer's Association, which had no role in the research.

  • NEW YORK-- Top draft pick Anthony Davis and former No. 1 choices LeBron James and Dwight Howard are featured in a program detailing life as an NBA rookie. Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Clippers teammates Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and a number of other top players are included in " My Life as an NBA Rookie," debuting Oct. 29 on Disney XD.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 8- U.S. natural gas futures edged higher at midday Monday in seesaw trade, underpinned by chilly U.S. temperatures that have stirred early heating demand.

  • LONDON-- A Russian man has claimed responsibility for scrawling graffiti on a mural by modern American master Mark Rothko at London's Tate Modern museum, saying Monday he never intended to decrease the work's value. The defaced painting was one of a series intended to decorate the Four Seasons restaurant in New York.

  • WICHITA, Kan.-- Machinists at the Bombardier Learjet plant walked the picket line early Monday, while the Wichita, Kan.- based company said it will continue operations during the strike. Traffic at the only gate open for non-striking employees was backed up for more than three miles Monday morning as picketers briefly stopped cars that were attempting to enter.

  • Delta plans to add a flight between Seattle and Shanghai starting on June 17, 2013. Delta, which is based in Atlanta, is also proposing a flight between Seattle and Tokyo-Haneda, Japan, set to begin in March.

  • Oct 8- Eli Lilly and Co said pooled data from two large studies show patients with mild Alzheimer's disease taking its experimental drug solanezumab had 34- percent less decline in memory over 18 months compared with those taking placebos.

  • The widening outbreak has alarmed federal and state health officials and focused attention on regulation of pharmaceutical compounding companies like the one that produced the drugs, the New England Compounding Center Inc in Framingham, Massachusetts.

  • *Congressman says Coast Guard in "death spiral". *Coast Guard fleet one of world's oldest. Signs of out-of-date gear were clear aboard the 270- foot cutter Tahoma, now hauled out of the water to undergo an 11- month makeover at Baltimore's Coast Guard yard.

  • DUBAI, Oct 8- A battle of wills between Iran's government and foreign exchange traders may end with authorities taking over all legal trade in the rial, leaving many Iranians to seek hard currency illegally in a poorly supplied black market.

  • FRANKFURT, Oct 8- Germany's markets regulator signalled support for the proposals of an EU advisory group led by Bank of Finland Governor Erkki Liikanen, which called last week for banks' deposit-taking business to be legally separated from higher-risk activities.

  • *FTSE 100 index finishes 0.5 percent lower. *Charts signal FTSE's uptrend intact. were down 0.4 percent after the World Bank cut its growth forecasts for China and as investors prepared for third-quarter earnings, which kick off on Tuesday in the United States with results from aluminium company Alcoa.

  • WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.-- Targacept Inc. said Monday it will eliminate 26 jobs, or 38 percent of its staff positions, as it tries to cut more costs after its second significant drug failure of the year.

  • NEW YORK-- Shares of Vringo, which buys and licenses patents, jumped more than 16 percent in heavy trading Monday, after the company said it filed a patent infringement lawsuit against ZTE Corp.' s U.K. subsidiary.

  • Oct 8- Fitch Ratings announced today that it is affirming UnitedHealth Group Inc.' s. The rating action follows today's announcement by UNH that it will acquire Amil Participacoes S.A., a Brazil- based managed care company in a predominately debt-financed transaction expected to be valued at approximately $4.9 billion.

  • *World Bank says China economic slowdown may worsen. NEW YORK, Oct 8- Oil prices eased 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.

  • Oct 8- Two private equity firms agreed to a $166 million settlement of a lawsuit that accused them of stripping assets from the Mervyn's retail chain and pushing the former unit of Target Corp into bankruptcy, according to court documents.

  • CLERMONT, Ky.-- Bourbon fan Tim Allen started his day of sightseeing by sipping whiskeys crafted at a Jim Beam distillery. Where else are pre-lunch nips more commonplace than in Kentucky bourbon country?