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Top News & Analysis Iowa

  • WASHINGTON-- Unions are shifting more of their political resources to state and local races this year as they try to head off passage of laws that could undermine bargaining rights, make it harder to organize or reduce their political muscle. In Maine and Minnesota, labor leaders hope to overturn Republican majorities in state legislatures.

  • On Thursday, Southwest Airlines said demand _ and pricing _ for business travelers grew weaker in September. Revenue seemed to be rebounding this month, Southwest said. But nothing quite says "ka-ching" like $981 for a short-notice round-trip ticket from Minneapolis to New York.

  • CLEVELAND-- Unemployment rates fell last month in nearly all of the battleground states that will determine the presidential winner, giving President Barack Obama fresh fodder to argue that voters should stick with him in an election focused squarely on the economy.

  • WASHINGTON-- Medicare is coming under scrutiny in the meningitis outbreak that has rekindled doubts about the safety of the nation's drug supply. In 2007, Medicare revoked coverage of compounded inhaler drugs for lung disease.

  • When the University of Phoenix, the country's largest university, announced this week it's closing 115 campuses and satellite locations, it signaled more than a sudden availability of commercial real estate near highway interchanges, where for-profit colleges like to set up shop as a student convenience.

  • DES MOINES, Iowa-- Iowa's unemployment rate has dropped to 5.2 percent in September, down significantly from the August figure. Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert says the decline was welcome news. Iowa's unemployment rate is far below the national rate of 7.8 percent.

  • OMAHA, Neb.-- An index of economic conditions in 10 Midwest and Western states jumped this month after three months of drought-induced doldrums. "Our survey indicates that the negative impacts of the drought are being more than offset by the positives of very strong incomes from high agriculture and energy prices," said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss.

  • Rates dropped in Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada and North Carolina. They were unchanged in New Hampshire and Virginia. With just 18 days until Election Day, polls show GOP challenger Mitt Romney gaining momentum with voters in key states.

  • RICHMOND, Va.-- Reynolds American Inc., the second-biggest U.S. cigarette company, should give investors some insight into its premium Camel brand and its value-priced Pall Mall brand when it releases its third-quarter results before the stock markets open Tuesday.

  • LINCOLN, Neb.-- Nebraska is trailing its neighbors in wind-energy development and missing an opportunity to add jobs to the state economy while producing a cleaner form of energy, according to a report released Thursday.

  • PARMA, Ohio-- Lest anyone forget the importance of Ohio's white, working-class voters, President Barack Obama sent a clear reminder on Thursday. Clinton implored voters to reward Obama for bailing out the auto industry, which has deep roots in Ohio. Ohio is at the center of both Obama and Republican Mitt Romney's campaign strategies.

  • ALBANY, N.Y.-- Aspen Dental Management and the private equity firm that controls it illegally operate dental clinics across the country and engage in aggressive, misleading profit-driven practices that cause patients economic harm, claims a federal lawsuit filed Thursday in New York.

  • Michele Bachmann's tendency to cause a ruckus on Capitol Hill made her a tea party sensation. Allen West of Florida, Steve King of Iowa and Joe Walsh of Illinois are all embroiled in tough and expensive races that are drawing plenty of spending by friends and foes from around the country.

  • The benefit of recent downpours was more pronounced in states such as Iowa, the nation's biggest corn producer. Thursday's update showed that 63.9 percent of Iowa still is in extreme or exceptional drought _ the worst two classifications _ in what marked an improvement of nearly 12 percentage points from a week earlier.

  • GRAND ISLAND, Neb.-- North Dakota- based Titan Machinery Inc. says it's buying three CaseIH agriculture equipment dealerships in Nebraska. Titan, of West Fargo, N.D., says it is acquiring Toner's Inc., which operates Toner's in Grand Island, Red Line Equipment in Broken Bow and Ord Equipment in Ord.

  • Steve King of Iowa has little use for the Humane Society, particularly when it comes to laws designed to give calves, pregnant sows and hens a little more freedom on the farm.

  • An Associated Press analysis of presidential campaign advertising data from April through last week found that pro-Romney spending has exceeded pro-Obama ad spending by at least $65 million across the nine states expected to decide the election: Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa and Wisconsin.