Latest Pennsylvania news, sports, business, and entertainment

 

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania higher education officials are heading back to the negotiating table with the union representing state university faculty. The two sides are slated to meet Friday for the first discussions since Dec. 11. Members of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties have been working without a contract for about 18 months. Bargaining has stalled over issues including pay for part-time instructors, health care benefits, and compensation for online education. The union has authorized its leadership to call a strike. Officials at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education say they need to control costs during tight economic times. The system serves about 115,000 students on 14 campuses across the state.

 

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – The butter sculpture at the 97th Pennsylvania Farm Show pays tribute to the state’s homegrown agricultural products. The eagerly awaited 1,000-pound tableau was unveiled Thursday evening. It features milk and dairy items, grapes and wine, Christmas trees, and fruits and vegetables. The farm show is billed as the nation’s largest indoor agricultural event. Held at a massive complex in Harrisburg, it formally begins on Saturday and runs through Jan. 12. The food court and equine area open at noon Friday. New food court offerings include veal meatball sandwiches, bacon on a stick, pumpkin funnel cakes, and apple cider slushies. The Farm Show features about 6,000 animals, some 10,000 exhibits and a wide variety of family-friendly fun.

 

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

 

The latest business news

 

NEW YORK (AP) – Federal Reserve policy makers are split over how long to continue an economic stimulus program. That sent stocks down on U.S. markets Thursday. Traders also factored in mixed holiday sales reports from retailers and the prospect of another fiscal fight looming in Congress over the nation’s borrowing limit. The Dow Jones industrial average finished down 21 points at 13,391. The Dow had surged 308 points on Wednesday, its biggest gain in more than a year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost three points to end at 1,459. The Nasdaq composite lost 11 to end at 3,100. Rising stocks outnumbered falling ones on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was 3.8 billion shares, above the recent average.

 

BANGKOK (AP) – Japan’s benchmark stock index soared on its first trading day of the new year today, as investors reacted to a weakening yen and Washington’s temporary skirting of the so-called fiscal cliff. However, other Asian markets stalled as enthusiasm faded over the last-minute budget deal reached in Washington to avoid steep, automatic tax increases and spending cuts that would have taken effect Tuesday. The measure, however, was largely seen as crisis avoidance – and puts off hard decisions about how to reduce government spending and deal with America’s massive debt. The U.S. reports December employment figures today. Benchmark crude oil fell but hovered above $92 per barrel. The dollar rose against the euro and the yen.

 

WASHINGTON (AP) – Economists say hiring last month continued at a steady pace despite uncertainty over negotiations to avoid the fiscal cliff. A survey of economists by FactSet predicts that employers added 155,000 jobs in December, slightly higher than November’s 148,000. The unemployment rate is projected to remain at 7.7 percent. Stable hiring would mean the job market held up during the talks between Congress and the White House over tax increases and spending cuts that were not resolved until the new year. A trio of encouraging reports Thursday on private hiring and layoffs suggested companies did not panic last month, although the Labor Department report will offer a more accurate measure of how businesses responded to the uncertainty in Washington. Economists say hiring probably won’t rise above the current 150,000 per month trend until after the borrowing limit is resolved.

 

WASHINGTON (AP) – Tucked into the “fiscal cliff” tax package approved by Congress are billions of dollars in tax breaks that should make the new year a lot happier for businesses of many stripes, including film producers, race track owners and the makers of electric motorcycles. More than 50 temporary tax breaks were renewed through 2013, saving businesses and individuals about $76 billion. Congress routinely renews the tax breaks. However, this time around, they were allowed to expire at the end of 2011 as lawmakers struggled to reach consensus on a wide range of tax issues. The package passed by Congress this week and
signed by President Barack Obama renews the tax breaks retroactively, so taxpayers can claim them on both their 2012 and 2013 tax returns.

 

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

 

Pennsylvania Lottery Numbers

 

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

Cash 5

01-22-26-32-38

Evening Big 4

0-3-3-2

Evening Daily Number

9-0-7

Evening Quinto

9-4-8-3-3

Match 6 Lotto

11-18-19-20-21-46

Midday Big 4

5-8-7-6

Midday Daily Number

6-6-3

Midday Quinto

9-2-8-1-6

Treasure Hunt

05-06-19-27-28

 

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

 

Features & Entertainment

 

NEW YORK (AP) – Think of it as “finger” food for thought. A federal appeals court in New   York says a man can go ahead with his lawsuit against police in New YorkState, John Swartz and his wife claim they were arrested for giving the finger to the police officer. He later filed suit over what he calls malicious prosecution. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals restored the claim by the couple over the May, 2006 encounter with police as they drove through a village 50 miles west of Albany, A lower court judge threw out the claim after police claimed they stopped the car because they took Swartz’s gesture was a sign there was some kind of domestic dispute in the car. The appeals court says the police claim is unreasonable because there is, a “nearly universal recognition” that the middle-figure salute “is an insult.”

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) – New episodes of “Downton Abbey” that start airing Sunday aren’t new to the Brits. They’ve already seen season three. In addition, that means you can find out every twist and turn on the Internet, if you want to. “Lost” producer Damon Lindelof says it’s unfair that England gets to see the show before the U.S. “because we beat them in a war.” Nothing stopped fans from watching season two when 17 million people tuned in the seven episodes.

 

ATLANTA (AP) – The 60,000 Christian students attending this week’s Passion 2013 conference in Atlanta are being challenged to end slavery and human trafficking in the world. The president of International Justice Mission, Gary Haugen (HOW’-gun), told college-aged students packing the Georgia Dome that there are 27 million people held in various forms of slavery in the world today. However, he said, “You, by God’s grace, can be the generation that ends slavery.” Haugen urged young Christians not to wait until they grow older, more cautious, and hard-hearted, but to step out in faith and obedience to help free the world’s captives. He told the students that God may someday ask where they were while slaves were crying out in despair. The annual worship conference began on New Year’s Day and wraps up this evening.

 

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