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Wires

  • American Express Co. launched a digital payments platform last year aimed at competing with bank debit cards and other prepaid cards. The program, dubbed Serve, allows customers to open an online prepaid account that can be funded using a bank account, an American Express card or another credit card.

  • NEW YORK-- Align Technology Inc., which makes the Invisalign clear braces system, slumped Wednesday after the company gave disappointing estimates for its third-quarter results and offered a weak fourth-quarter forecast. Align Technology shares skidded $7.05, or 20 percent, to $28.36 in aftermarket trading following the announcement.

  • NEW YORK-- An opera-loving philanthropist convicted in New York of a multimillion-dollar fraud has been freed on bail to await the outcome of his appeal. Alberto Vilar was freed Wednesday on $10 million bail from a federal lockup in Fort Dix, N.J. He'll be required to wear an electronic bracelet, as he was before his November 2008 conviction.

  • NEW YORK-- A Bangladeshi man who came to the United States to wage jihad was arrested in an elaborate FBI sting on Wednesday after attempting to blow up a fake car bomb outside the Federal Reserve building in Manhattan, authorities said.

  • District Judge Jed Rakoff, who this year presided over the trial in which Rajat Gupta was convicted. Gupta, a 63- year-old former board member for Goldman and Procter& Gamble Co., faces sentencing Oct. 24.

  • ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-- The eastern New Mexico town of Portales is preparing for its 39th annual peanut festival this weekend. But the festivities may be overshadowed by anxiety over the shuttering of a local plant at the heart of a national peanut butter recall.

  • This is a look at companies that have re-examined their relationship with the cyclist in light of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's decision to ban him for life from the sport based on evidence he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France:.

  • In exchange for operating as the state's so-called insurer of last resort _ meaning it must provide insurance coverage regardless of a customer's health status _ Blue Cross has been exempt from paying several local and state taxes.

  • NEW YORK-- New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says the 21- year-old arrested on charges that he plotted to blow up the Federal Reserve building in Manhattan came to the U.S. on a student visa. Authorities tracked him using Facebook and other social media, but the account was taken down Wednesday.

  • WELLINGTON, New Zealand-- The New Zealand stock market has suspended trading in shares of Fisher& Paykel Appliances pending an announcement. The home appliance company has been the target of a $704 million takeover bid by Chinese home appliance giant Haier Group, which already owns 20 percent of the company.

  • PAYING MORE FOR CHECKING: The average monthly service fee on checking accounts rose 25 percent from last year to a record $5.48, according to financial data publisher Bankrate. ATM fees rose 4 percent and overdraft fees rose 1.4 percent.

  • The average monthly service fee on checking accounts that don't pay interest is now a record $5.48, a 25 percent increase over last year, according to Bankrate, a financial data publisher. The fee for using an ATM outside a bank's network rose to $2.50, a 4 percent increase.

  • MINNEAPOLIS-- 3 M Co. makes an array of stuff that, taken together, can be a good indicator of where the economy is today, and where it's headed. That's what investors will be looking for when 3 M reports third-quarter results on Tuesday. WHAT TO WATCH FOR: 3 M makes Post-it notes.

  • VALENCIA, Calif.-- Shares of MannKind Corp. fell sharply in after-hours trading Wednesday after the diabetes drug developer said it is planning a public offering of stock and warrants. MannKind said that it intends to sell common shares and warrants to purchase common shares in the underwritten offering.

  • MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay-- Uruguay's Senate voted to legalize first-trimester abortions for all women Wednesday in a groundbreaking measure that came with so many strings attached it left neither side in the bitter debate completely satisfied. That's a big step for Latin America, where only Cuba grants all women the right to abortions.

  • NEWARK, Del.-- Student lender Sallie Mae said Wednesday it swung to a profit in the third quarter after losing money a year earlier, as it reduced operating expenses and set aside less money to cover bad loans. Sallie Mae said it set aside $270 million for troubled loans in the third quarter, or $139 million less than it did a year earlier.

  • STRONG STARTS: builders started construction on single-family homes and apartments at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 in September, up 15 percent from August. NICER NEIGHBORHOOD: The September construction level was the highest since July 2008.

  • Armstrong was dumped by Nike, Anheuser-Busch and other sponsors, and he gave up the top spot at Livestrong, his beloved cancer-fighting charity, a week after an anti-doping agency released evidence of drug use by the seven-time Tour de France winner.

  • Given Imaging Ltd.' s shares jumped sharply in after-hours trading Wednesday after the medical equipment company said that it is considering a sale. Given said that Barclays is assisting in its review process and an executive committee will oversee the effort. Given Imaging shares rose $1.73, or 11.3 percent, to $17 in after-hours trading.

  • Offshore drilling contractor Noble Corp. said Wednesday that its third-quarter net income fell 15 percent because of delays for ships and rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Brazil. The Zug, Switzerland, company's net income totaled $114.8 million, or 45 cents per share, in the three-month period that ended Sept. 30.