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Business News at 5 p.m.

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All times EDT.

—Adds: MALI-IMF, HERSHEY-SWEETENER, CHICAGO MINIMUM WAGE-THINGS TO KNOW

—Updates: FINANCIAL MARKETS, BLOOD DONATIONS-GAYS, APPLE IPOD TRIAL

TOP STORIES:

EUROPE-LOOMING DEFLATION

LONDON — It's the D-word that's pushing the European Central Bank into a corner. But it's not debt — Europe's main economic problem in recent years — that is driving speculation the ECB will switch on the printing press to help the economy. It's deflation. A look at what deflation is and why it's a problem in Europe now. By Pan Pylas. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

AUTO SALES

DETROIT — American shoppers passed on the malls and headed to the car dealerships over Thanksgiving weekend. Black Friday promotions — coupled with falling gas prices, low-interest loans and hot new vehicles — drove U.S. auto sales higher in November, kicking off what's expected to be a strong holiday season. By Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher. SENT: 900 words, photo.

With:

— AUTO SALES-TOP SELLERS — Top selling new vehicles in the U.S. in November. SENT: 65 words.

SKOREA-THANKSGIVING SHOPPERS

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, but the hot deals at U.S. online retailers during the holiday season are changing the shopping habits of South Koreans who are aggrieved at marked-up prices of locally made and imported goods at hometown stores. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 810 words, photos.

CHINA-COAL GOAL

TANG COUNTY, China — Soot-covered residents of Tang County say they see change coming as Chinese leaders pledge to cut back on the kind of rampant coal use that has made this country the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. Beijing and other Chinese cities have been phasing out coal burning in an attempt to rein in clouds of toxic smog and some fear it's only a matter of time before those same coal controls hit families here who depend on what remains the cheapest form of heat and energy available. By Jack Chang. SENT: 970 words, photos.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

RUSSIA-ECONOMY

MOSCOW — The Russian government acknowledges that the country will fall into recession next year, battered by the combination of Western sanctions and a plunge in the price of its oil exports. The news causes the stock market to drop and pushes the ruble to a fresh record low against the dollar. By Nataliya Vasilyeva. SENT: 690 words, photos.

FINANCIAL MARKETS

NEW YORK — Energy and health-care companies lead major stock indexes higher, even as crude oil resumed its slide. General Motors rises after reporting stronger sales, and Biogen, a biotech company, soars following news that its drug for Alzheimer's disease showed promise. By Matthew Craft. SENT: 620 words, photos.

HOME PRICES

WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices rise at a faster year-over-year pace in October than in September, snapping a seven-month slowdown. By Josh Boak. SENT: 450 words, photo.

CEO OUTLOOK

WASHINGTON — Chief executives at the largest U.S. companies expect sales to keep growing in the next six months and also plan to step up hiring. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 490 words, photo.

CONSTRUCTION SPENDING

WASHINGTON — Newly built homes and schools boost U.S. construction spending in October to the highest level since May. By Josh Boak. SENT: 550 words, photo.

INDUSTRY:

HOLIDAY SHOPPING-CYBER MONDAY

NEW YORK — Cyber Monday deals are being stretched out this holiday season, crimping sales on the day itself. Sales were up, according to estimates. But they weren't as strong as some were expecting. By Mae Anderson. SENT: 500 words. UPCOMING: Will be updated with ComScore figures, timing uncertain.

PLANES-BATTERY FIRES

WASHINGTON — Dramatic government tests results are raising concern that bulk shipments of rechargeable lithium batteries carried in passenger airplanes are susceptible to fires or explosions that could destroy the airliners. By Joan Lowy. SENT: 970 words, photos.

With

— PLANES-BATTERY FIRES-GLANCE — Lithium batteries have been involved in a series of fires on planes, in aircraft cargo. SENT: 350 words.

FOOD-MARIJUANA DINING

ASPEN, Colo. — Acclaimed chef Chris Lanter is talking a crowd of eager foodies through a demo on cooking with marijuana. One catch — there's no actual weed at his demonstration. State and city regulations prohibit any "open and public" use of the drug, even at licensed businesses holding private events. It's a strange dichotomy. By Kristen Wyatt. SENT: 840 words, photos.

HERSHEY-SWEETENER

NEW YORK — Hershey is looking at replacing the high-fructose corn syrup in some of its products with sugar. Will Papa, chief research and development officer at The Hershey Co., tells The Associated Press the company uses a mix of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup in its products but that it is "moving more toward sugar." SENT: 560 words, photo.

BLOOD DONATIONS-GAYS

WASHINGTON — Government health advisers have concerns about lifting a nationwide ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, despite growing pressure from gay rights advocates, medical experts and blood banks. By Matthew Perrone. SENT: 740 words.

— ATLANTIC CITY CASINOS — Atlantic City's eight surviving casinos would get a break on taxes and the city would get help making up for lost revenue under a rescue plan unveiled by two New Jersey lawmakers. SENT: 530 words.

— BLACKSTONE-INDCOR — The Blackstone Group cancels an initial public offering for IndCor Properties and will instead sell the industrial real estate company to Singapore's sovereign wealth fund for $8.1 billion. SENT: 100 words.

— OTSUKA-AVANIR PHARMA ACQUISITION — Otsuka Pharmaceutical will spend $3.5 billion in cash to buy Avanir Pharmaceuticals in a deal that expands the Japanese drugmaker's portfolio of neurologic disease treatments. SENT: 250 words.

— SELLING CALIFORNIA — A lawsuit that aims to force California officials to sell 11 state properties to private investors for $2.3 billion and then have the state lease them back is set for trial. SENT: 430 words.

— PORT LABOR — Labor strife on the West Coast waterfront isn't going to steal Christmas, as full negotiating teams are meeting for the first time in nearly two weeks. SENT: 650 words, photos.

— GERMANY-LUFTHANSA STRIKE — Pilots at German airline Lufthansa extend their two-day strike to long-haul flights in an ongoing dispute over retirement benefits. SENT: 150 words, photos.

— PORTUGAL-AIRLINE STRIKE — Portugal's national airline is enduring its fifth walkout this year, with a 24-hour strike by cabin crew grounding around 200 flights. SENT: 140 words.

— CHICAGO MINIMUM WAGE-THINGS TO KNOW — Chicago's minimum wage workers will earn $13 an hour by 2019 under a plan the City Council approved overwhelmingly on Tuesday. SENT: 450 words.

AUTOS:

AIR BAG RECALLS

DETROIT — Automakers are planning to join forces in an effort to determine why air bag inflators made by Takata Corp. can rupture and endanger drivers and passengers, two people briefed on a pending announcement say. They also say that Honda and Toyota will call for an industrywide investigation, and that other automakers have agreed to participate. By Tom Krisher. SENT: 650 words, photo.

RV REBOUND

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — RV manufacturers have made up more ground since being sideswiped by the Great Recession, and production of the rolling homes is expected to return next year to levels seen before the economic downturn hit. By Bruce Schreiner. SENT: 690 words, photo.

— GERMANY-ELECTRIC CARS — Germany looks set to fail in its ambitious plan to put a million electric cars on the road by 2020, according to experts. SENT: 140 words.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

DIGITAL LIFE-GIFT GUIDE-SMART SPORTS GEAR

ATLANTA — Bluetooth technology and wireless connectivity are adding another dimension to sports gear and sports training. Tennis rackets, basketballs and even workout clothes are now available with sensors that can monitor and analyze your athletic activity and — hopefully — improve your abilities. By Ron Harris. SENT: 670 words, photos, interactive.

APPLE IPOD TRIAL

SAN FRANCISCO — After nearly a decade in legal wrangling, a billion-dollar class-action lawsuit over Apple's iPod music players heads to trial in a California federal court. A key witness will be none other than the company's legendary late founder Steve Jobs, who will be heard in a videotaped deposition. By Brandon Bailey. SENT: 790 words, photos.

— SONY HACKED — The FBI confirms it is investigating a recent hacking attack at Sony Pictures Entertainment, which caused major internal computer problems at the film studio last week. SENT: 270 words, photos.

— GERMANY-US-HACKER EXTRADITION — Germany's top court blocks the extradition to the United States of a Turkish man accused of stealing almost $60 million in a series of hacking raids against credit card companies. SENT: 310 words.

INTERNATIONAL:

CRIMEA-PROPERTY GRAB-ABRIDGED

YALTA, Crimea — One day in October, a dozen armed men in masks drove up to the gates of Yalta Film Studios. They weren't actors, and this was no make-believe. It was a hostile takeover. The studio is just one of thousands of businesses seized from their owners since Crimea was annexed by Russia eight months ago. Crimea's new pro-Moscow leaders say the takeovers, which they call nationalizations, are indispensable to reverse years of wholesale plunder by Ukrainian politicians and oligarchs. By Laura Mills and John-Thor Dahlburg. SENT: 1,040 words, photos, video. Longer version also available.

— GREECE-BAILOUT TALKS — The leader of Greece's popular left-wing opposition says he will demand a reduction in the country's debt from its bailout, if his party comes to power in a possible snap election early next year. SENT: 360 words, photos.

— GERMANY-NUCLEAR POWER — The chief executive of German utility E.ON says it has enough money set aside to cover the cost of shutting down its nuclear plants, even after the company splits in two next year. SENT: 140 words, photos.

— FRANCE-ECONOMY — France's Socialist government is criticizing companies for not hiring despite major tax cuts designed to encourage job creation. SENT: 150 words, photo.

— EUROPE-RUSSIA-PIPELINE — Turkey and Russia are looking to shake up the energy market in southeastern Europe, after Moscow scrapped a multibillion dollar pipeline project that was to cross the region and instead sought to create a link to Turkey. SENT: 300 words, photo.

— INDIA-FRENCH JETS — India is close to an agreement to buy Rafale fighter planes from France. The 12 billion euros ($15 billion) deal for 126 of the jets would be France's first foreign sale of the combat-tested planes. SENT: 480 words, photo.

— IRAQ — Iraq reaches a deal with the Kurdish government to exchange oil from the autonomous northern region for a nearly 20 percent share of the national budget, resolving a months-long impasse that had undermined national unity in the face of the Islamic State group's onslaught. SENT: 540 words, photos.

— SWEDEN-GOVERNMENT DEFEAT — A Swedish far-right party that made strong gains in the September election said Tuesday it won't vote for the left-leaning government's budget proposal, likely forcing the collapse of Prime Minister Stefan Lofven's minority government. SENT: 330 words.

— MALI-IMF — The International Monetary Fund has unfrozen its loans to Mali after a review of allegations of financial irregularities and the country will soon receive $11.7 million. SENT: 260 words.

A sampling of Money & Markets modules is below. The full digest for AP's Money & Markets service can be found at markets.ap.org. For questions about Money & Markets content, please contact Trevor Delaney (800-845-8450, ext. 1807). For technical support: Todd Balog (816-654-1096). After 6 p.m., contact the AP Business News desk (800-845-8450, ext. 1680) for content questions; 1-800-3AP-STOX for technical support and 212-621-1905 for graphics help.

CENTERPIECE

2015 Outlook

How high, or how low, will the Standard & Poor's 500 index be at the end of next year? A look at the forecasts of several major brokerages. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

UnitedHealth's 2015 outlook

UnitedHealth Group expects that diminished expenses arising from the health care overhaul will help fuel double-digit earnings growth next year. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.