Latest Pennsylvania news, business, and entertainment

 

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A Philadelphia jury is set to hear closing arguments today (Monday) in the capital murder trial of an abortion doctor accused of killing babies born alive. Prosecutors say 72-year-old Kermit Gosnell operated a clinic where poor, desperate women sought late-term abortions they couldn’t get elsewhere. Gosnell was initially charged in the deaths of seven newborns, but a judge threw out three of those counts last week. Gosnell is also charged in the overdose death of a 41-year-old patient. Deliberations will likely begin Tuesday.

 

PITTSBURGH (AP) – A new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has dramatically lowered estimates of how much of a potent greenhouse gas is being leaked by the natural gas industry despite rapid growth in production. The EPA now estimates that from 1990 to 2010, the U.S. natural gas industry released about 20 percent less methane into the atmosphere than previously thought, even though production increased by about 38 percent during that period.

 

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Where you can buy beer in Pennsylvania will be the subject of debate in the coming weeks in the state Senate, pitting profit-seeking businesses against one another and perhaps even against residents’ wishes. In the middle of it is Bucks County Sen. Charles McIlhinney, who’ll chair a committee hearing Tuesday on legislation that passed the House last month. The debate about beer is largely a passenger in Gov. Tom Corbett’s drive to privatize the state-controlled sales of wine and liquor. Therefore, any changes to Pennsylvania’s relatively restrictive beer laws will be pieces in the larger puzzle of liberalizing the sale of all alcohol. McIlhinney says he’s looking to create a fair playing field for everyone in the wine, beer and liquor business.

 

MONACA, Pa. (AP) – Officials say an oil company’s decision on whether to build a proposed petrochemical plant in western Pennsylvania may be pushed back to next year. Gov. Tom Corbett told the Pittsburgh Business Times on Friday that he “never had June as a date” for Shell Oil Co. to decide on the multibillion-dollar plant. The governor said he’s always thought, “It would be early next year.” In addition, he said his conversations with officials indicate, “They’re still moving forward.” The June 30 deadline stems from a six-month extension Shell negotiated at year’s end Horsehead Corp. for the site about 35 miles north of Pittsburgh. The so-called cracker plant would convert natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale into chemicals such as ethylene used to make plastics and other products.

 

(Copyright 2012, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved)

 

The Latest Business News

 

NEW YORK (AP) – Investors, underwhelmed by the quarterly earnings reports from some major companies, are hoping the stock market will pick up the pace this week. It stalled on Friday after word the U.S. economy didn’t grow as much as hoped. The government said the economy grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year. That was below the 3.1 percent forecast by economists. The shortfall reinforced the perception that the economy is grinding, rather than charging, ahead. Investors have also been troubled by reports in the last month of weaker hiring, slower manufacturing, and a drop in factory orders. The S&P 500 index dropped 3 points, or 0.2 percent, on Friday to close at 1,582. The Dow rose 12 points, or 0.1 percent, to 14,712. In addition, the Nasdaq composite fell 11 points.

 

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Asian stock markets mostly rose today as investors awaited the European Central Bank’s interest rate decision later this week after disappointing U.S. growth data. The U.S. government said Friday that the economy expanded 2.5 percent in the first quarter over a year earlier, falling short of expectations of 3 percent growth, and compounding worries about the global economy. The report came after Japan said its consumer prices fell 0.9 percent in March, underlining challenges to the government’s efforts to pull the economy out of a long spell of debilitating deflation. The downbeat reports were tempered by expectations the European Central Bank will either lower interest rates or expand financial support for the 17-country euro area at its meeting Thursday. Benchmark crude oil fell below $93. The dollar fell against the euro and the yen.

 

(Copyright 2012, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved)

 

Features & Entertainment

 

WASHINGTON (AP) – Riding a bike isn’t kids stuff to some people. There are plenty of grownups who never learned to ride a bicycle as kids. However, it’s not too late. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association says it’s holding 14 adult-only classes this spring and summer. In addition, the beginning riders don’t have to worry about the embarrassment of training wheels. The Washington Post reports adult learners are taught with another method. At the first, they use bikes without pedals. That way the new riders develop a sense of balance while pushing the bike with their feet on the ground.

 

BEAR, Del. (AP) – A sign at a Delaware church opposing gay marriage has attracted national attention online. The News Journal reports that the sign outside Glasgow Church in New Castle County featured a play on the equal sign that’s become popular on social media to show support for same-sex marriage. The church sign included a cross, then a “greater than” sign, followed by the equal sign. A picture of the sign posted on Twitter drew attention from bloggers and thousands of comments. Senior Pastor Chuck Betters said the church’s intended message was that “the cross of Jesus Christ is greater than any ideology,” but that it was misinterpreted as a political statement against gay people. He removed the sign in a day and called it a mistake.

 

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama jokes that the years are catching up to him and he’s not “the strapping young Muslim socialist” he used to be. Obama poked fun at himself as well as some of his political adversaries during the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner attended by politicians, members of the media and Hollywood celebrities. Entering to the rap track “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled, Obama joked about how re-election would allow him to unleash a radical agenda. Then he showed a picture of himself golfing on a mock magazine cover of “Senior Leisure.” The president closed by noting the nation’s recent tragedies in Massachusetts and Texas.

 

(Copyright 2012, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved)

 

 

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