Latest Pennsylvania news, sports, business, and entertainment

 

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Corbett administration officials are willing to appear before a Senate Finance Committee hearing on a proposal to hire a private company to manage the $3.5 billion Pennsylvania Lottery. A spokeswoman for Gov. Tom Corbett’s Department of Revenue said Thursday that officials are happy to answer questions in any format. The hearing date was set for Jan. 14. Monday is the deadline for the Corbett administration to decide on a British lottery operator’s sole bid to manage the lottery system on a 20- to 30-year contract, but talks are under way to postpone that. Camelot Global Services runs the national lottery in the United Kingdom and is a consultant to the California Lottery. Unionized state lottery employees plan to offer a competitive alternative, which is guaranteed in their contract.

 

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Penn State is beginning to make good on $60 million in fines stemming from the Jerry Sandusky scandal – and a leading lawmaker wants the money kept in-state. Sen. Jake Corman said Thursday he will introduce a bill to guarantee the NCAA fine goes toward “the betterment of Pennsylvanians.” Corman, Republican chairman of the Appropriations Committee wants lawmakers to act quickly. The university has already made its first $12 million payment. Corman says the money comes from funds raised largely in Pennsylvania. He plans to ask a state court to block the NCAA from releasing any money outside Pennsylvania. A university spokesman is declining comment. Sandusky is serving a lengthy prison sentence after being convicted this summer of 45 counts of child sexual abuse.

 

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A Pennsylvania state senator is seeking Senate support to create a gun violence prevention task force in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting. A memorandum issued Thursday by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Stewart Greenleaf said his proposed resolution would allow the task force experts to examine issues surrounding gun violence.

 

Those include proposals to strengthen firearms regulations, mental health laws, and efforts to fight bullying. Greenleaf says appointing a task force makes sense because gun violence prevention is a multipronged issue. The Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., left 20 students and six school professionals dead. Greenleaf says the task force will be asked to report recommendations to the Legislature in a matter of months so they can be considered in 2013.

 

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

 

The latest business news

 

NEW YORK (AP) – The “fiscal cliff” took the stock market on a roller coaster Thursday. Small developments in the tense budget standoff yanked stocks back and forth throughout the day.  In the end, U.S. stocks closed lower for the fourth day in a row, sending the unwelcome message that the budget standoff is still far from solved, the economy still far from healed.  The Dow finished down 18.28 points at 13,096.31. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 1.73 to 1,418.10. The Nasdaq composite index lost 4.25 to 2,985.91.

 

BANGKOK (AP) – Asian stock markets rose today, hours before President Barack Obama and key lawmakers were to meet at the White House to try to hammer out an 11th-hour budget compromise to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. Lawmakers have until Monday night to reach a deal before hundreds of billions of dollars in automatic tax increases and deep cuts to government spending kick in. Economists warn such a drastic reshuffling of money could throw the U.S. into another recession.

 

However, failure to avoid the fiscal cliff doesn’t necessarily mean tax increases and spending cuts would become permanent, since the new Congress could pass legislation, canceling them retroactively after it begins its work next year. Markets also got some lift from optimistic data out of the U.S. on Thursday and a statement from the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, who said in an interview that the worst of the debt crisis in the 17 European Union countries that use the euro appears to be over. In the U.S., the average number of people seeking unemployment benefits over the past month fell to the lowest level since March 2008, a sign that the job market is healing. Benchmark crude oil rose above $91 per barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and the yen.

 

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama will meet with congressional leaders at the White House on Friday in search of a compromise to avoid a year-end “fiscal cliff” of across-the-board tax increases and deep spending cuts. The development capped a day of growing urgency. Obama returned early from a Hawaiian vacation while lawmakers snarled at each other across a partisan divide. A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said the Ohio Republican would attend and “continue to stress that the House has already passed legislation to avert the entire fiscal cliff and now the Senate must act.” However, Boehner has also called House members back for a highly unusual Sunday evening session.

 

WASHINGTON (AP) – The National Association of Realtors will release pending home sales index for November. In the previous report for October, the index jumped to its highest level in almost six years.

 

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

 

 

Pennsylvania Lottery Numbers

 

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – These Pennsylvania lotteries were drawn Thursday:

Cash 5

08-09-11-12-33

Evening Big 4

4-0-7-2

Evening Daily Number

1-1-2

Evening Quinto

5-1-9-2-3

Match 6 Lotto

05-28-29-32-41-46

Midday Big 4

6-9-6-3

Midday Daily Number

1-4-0

Midday Quinto

0-9-4-7-4

Treasure Hunt

05-11-18-20-21

 

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

 

Features & Entertainment

 

WASHINGTON (AP) – An attorney for Hobby Lobby Stores says the arts and crafts chain won’t provide the morning-after and week-after pills in its employee insurance plan when the health care mandate takes effect Jan. 1, risking potential fines of $1.3 million a day. Becket Fund attorney Kyle Duncan says Hobby Lobby’s Christian owners consider the emergency contraceptives tantamount to abortion because they can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s womb. He says, “To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs.” Attorneys for the government have said the drugs do not cause abortions and that the U.S. has a compelling interest in mandating insurance coverage for them. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied Hobby Lobby’s emergency request to block enforcement of the mandate, but said the company may continue its appeal in lower courts. Duncan said the company will do so, but won’t provide all the contraceptives the law requires.

 

BRASSTOWN, North Carolina, (AP) – A New Year’s Eve possum drop that attracts thousands of people to a tiny western North Carolina town will go on this year, with one big change: It won’t involve a live possum. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that Brasstown will have the event Dec. 31 but with a different guest of honor.

During past drops, the possum was suspended in a see-through box covered with tinsel and lowered to the ground at midnight. Last month, a judge ruled a state agency lacked authority to issue a permit for the drop. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had sued, calling the event illegal and cruel. Clay Logan has been doing the drop for years. He says he’s considering using a stuffed animal or maybe road kill this year.

 

BUFFALO, New York (AP) – These days, we’ve all probably done it: Googled ourselves to see what people online might be seeing or saying about us. However, what if we don’t like what we see? That can be a problem, especially in these days when a job prospect might depend on our online profile. Some universities are providing students with tools to spiff up their online images. Syracuse, Rochester, and Johns Hopkins are among the universities that offer online tools to students free of charge to help them purge their online profiles of drunken frat parties, prank videos and other unsavory things. It can also help people who have common names who might have their images mixed up with someone with a more questionable college past.

 

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