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Top News & Analysis Illinois

  • NEW YORK, Oct 5- The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to a near four-year low of 7.8 percent in September, a potential boost to President Barack Obama's re-election bid. PETER JANKOVSKIS, CO-CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, OAKBROOK INVESTMENTS, LISLE, ILLINOIS.

  • Oct 5- Avon Products Inc said on Friday that Executive Chairman Andrea Jung, who was replaced as chief executive officer in April, will step down from the board at the end of 2012..

  • Italy faces the risk of a credit crunch when its banks have to repay the cheap three-year loans they took from the European Central Bank, the chairman of the country's third-biggest lender Monte dei Paschi said on Thursday.

  • *Supportive U.S. data offset by weak China, Europe reports. NEW YORK, Oct 5- Oil prices fell on Friday and headed for a weekly loss as a fragile global economy and uncertainty about Europe's debt crisis countered any support from a better-than-expected U.S. employment report.

  • The outbreak was first reported in Tennessee, where three people have died and 25 of the cases have been reported. "We do know there were over 700 patients in Tennessee who were exposed," said Dr.

  • NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct 4- A steroid medication linked to the death of at least five people from rare fungal meningitis may have been administered to patients in 23 states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said on Thursday, raising fears the rare outbreak could spread.

  • TOKYO, Oct 5- Japan's Nikkei stock average is likely to tread in range on Friday, as investors wait for the outcome of a Bank of Japan policy meeting due during trading hours, as well as key U.S. jobs data later in the day. closed at 8,845 on Thursday, up 0.1 percent from the Osaka.

  • Oct 4- The Federal Reserve appears to be moving toward adopting specific numerical thresholds for inflation and joblessness as guideposts for monetary policy. Most policymakers think doing so would be a useful step, minutes from the Fed's September policy-setting meeting showed.

  • The informant, a Wall Street banker who remained anonymous to protect his career, previously received two other million-dollar payouts from the IRS, said his attorney, Erika Kelton, with Phillips& Cohen in Washington. His reward last week could have been larger if his claims were brought forward under newer IRS whistleblower rules revamped in 2006, she said.

  • *Middle East tensions, Turkey strikes at Syria lift oil. NEW YORK, Oct 4- Oil prices jumped 4 percent on T hursday as inflamed Middle East tensions stoked supply fears and U.S. gasoline futures rallied following a fire at the largest operating refinery in the United States.

  • LOS ANGELES/ CHICAGO, Oct 4- Walmart employees affiliated with a union-backed group walked off the job in Los Angeles on Thursday, protesting conditions at the world's largest retailer, which promptly defended itself, saying the "publicity stunt" was not having an impact on its business. unfair labor practices by Wal-Mart Stores Inc, sponsors of the action said.

  • WASHINGTON-- The Federal Reserve wants to find a clearer way to signal to the public when it might start raising interest rates. Most members agreed at the Sept. 12-13 meeting that linking a future rate increase to a level of unemployment or some other numeric target could be useful.

  • CHICAGO-- Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale says he's pleased that teachers ratified a new contract. The Chicago Teachers Union announced Wednesday night that 79 percent of the union's membership had voted in favor of the contract. Teachers walked off the job Sept. 10, idling about 350,000 students for seven days.

  • *Middle East tensions, Turkey strikes at Syria lift oil. NEW YORK, Oct 4- Oil prices jumped 4 percent on T hursday as inflamed Middle East tensions stoked supply fears and U.S. gasoline futures rallied following a fire at the largest operating refinery in the United States.

  • LOS ANGELES/ CHICAGO, Oct 4- Walmart employees affiliated with a union-backed group walked off the job in Los Angeles on Thursday, protesting working conditions at the world's largest retailer, which promptly defended itself, saying the "publicity stunt" was not having an impact on its business.

  • NEW YORK-- Sears Holdings Corp. said that its hiring of seasonal workers for the crucial winter holidays will be unchanged from a year ago.

  • CHICAGO-- Several environmental groups want the Illinois Pollution Control Board to order Midwest Generation to clean up groundwater pollution that allegedly leached from coal-ash ponds at four of the company's power plants.

  • Oct 4- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it has cracked down on thousands of online pharmacies for selling potentially unsafe, unapproved or fake medicines, including the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra and antiviral Tamiflu.

  • Oct 4- Li& Fung Ltd, a global supplier of apparel, is in advanced talks to buy Synergies Worldwide, a small, New York- based supplier, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The move would help Hong Kong- based Li& Fung gain a better foothold in the fast fashion and discount clothing space.

  • CHICAGO-- A growing number of retirees are looking to pass along more to the next generation than money and possessions. "There's an element regarding money, but it is really more about affirming your life as a legacy," says Neal Van Zutphen, a certified financial planner in Mesa, Ariz..