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NEW ORLEANS — BP acted "recklessly" and bears most of the responsibility for the nation's worst offshore oil spill, a federal judge concludes, exposing the energy giant to roughly $18 billions of dollars in additional penalties. BP's market value plummeted by $7 billion after the ruling as its shares suffered their worst percentage decline in almost three years, falling almost 6 percent to $45.05. BP, which already agreed to pay billions of dollars in criminal fines and compensation, vowed to appeal the ruling, which could nearly quadruple what the London-based company has to pay in fines for polluting the Gulf of Mexico. By Michael Kunzelman and Janet McConnaughey. SENT: 950 words.


— GULF OIL SPILL-MARKET REACTION — BP shares tank after a judge rules that the oil giant's reckless conduct led to the worst U.S. offshore oil spill, a decision that could cost BP another $17.6 billion. SENT: 220 words.


FRANKFURT, Germany — The European economy needs help. Most people didn't expect it would arrive quite this quickly. The European Central Bank cut interest rates and announced a program to pump money into the financial system and stimulate bank lending by buying private sector financial assets. The majority of analysts didn't think the ECB would move this soon. The reason for the stepped-up action: the eurozone's top monetary authority is worried. Here's a look at what the bank did and how much it might help. By David McHugh. SENT: 850 words, photos.


— EUROPE-ECONOMY-EURO — The euro slides sharply after the European Central Bank surprises traders by trimming its main interest rate to a record low of 0.05 percent from the previous low of 0.15 percent. SENT: 130 words.


Legal or not, the business of selling weed in the U.S. is as wacky as ever. The tangle of sometimes conflicting rules and regulations that govern whether and how it can be grown, bought and sold create complexity and ambiguity that cause major headaches for marijuana businesses — and enticing opportunities for those who want to exploit it. Shady public companies, consultants with little experience and wild health claims are proliferating along with legitimate new businesses. By Jonathan Fahey. SENT: 2,000 words, photos. With 990-word abridged version.


BERLIN — Visit any tourist destination, and you're bound to see individuals and groups taking photos of themselves for sharing on social media. It's a declaration to the world that they were there. So it was a matter of time before tech companies started designing phones and apps to help people take more and better selfies. By Frank Jordans. SENT: 800 words. UPCOMING: 800 words with new approach by 3 p.m., photos.




Nude photos of several female celebrities circulated online soon after hackers stole them. Websites responded by doing what they could to block or remove the images, apparently on grounds the images were protected by copyright. Shouldn't there be a better way to police images and other content on these sites? Here's a look at the laws surrounding copyright online and the challenges websites face. By Michael Liedtke. SENT: 1,000 words, photo.


NEW YORK — Police handcuff several protesters in New York and Detroit as they block traffic in the latest attempt to escalate their efforts to get McDonald's, Burger King and other fast-food companies to pay their employees at least $15 an hour. By Joseph Pisani. SENT: 600 words, photos, video. UPCOMING: Will be updated.



WASHINGTON — U.S. businesses add jobs at a healthy pace in August, the fifth straight month of solid gains. Payroll processer ADP says private employers added 204,000 jobs last month, down from 212,000 in July, which was revised slightly lower. Job gains above 200,000 are usually enough to lower the unemployment rate. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 290 words.


WASHINGTON — Slightly more Americans seek unemployment benefits last week, but the total number of people receiving jobless aid remains at its lowest level in more than seven years. By Josh Boak. SENT: 360 words, photo, glance.


WASHINGTON — U.S. services firms expand in August at the fastest pace on record. The Institute for Supply Management says its services index rose to 59.6 last month from 58.7 in July. The August figure is the highest recorded since the measure was introduced in January 2008. By Paul Wiseman. SENT: 250 words.


WASHINGTON — The U.S. trade deficit falls in July to its lowest level since January, as exports of autos, telecom equipment, industrial machines and semiconductors rise. By Josh Boak. SENT: 480 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — U.S. workers see their productivity increase in the April-June quarter after a big decline in the first quarter while their labor costs edge down slightly. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 420 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — The average 30-year U.S. mortgage rate this week remains at a 52-week low of 4.10 percent for the third straight week. By Marcy Gordon. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 300 words by noon.


NEW YORK — U.S. stocks open higher after the European Central Bank surprised traders by trimming its main interest rate to a record low and announcing that it would purchase asset-backed securities in an effort to stimulate that region's ailing economy. By Steve Rothwell. SENT: 600 words, photo. UPCOMING: 700 words by 5 p.m.



YORK, Maine — Lighthouses for sale! Actually, lots of lighthouses for free. Technological advances and a desire to purge unneeded properties have paved the way for the federal government to get rid of more than 100 lighthouses over the last 14 years, and it intends to keep selling and giving them away. The sold lighthouses, located on both coasts and in the Great Lakes states, have become everything from museums to bed-and-breakfasts. By Patrick Whittle. SENT: 600 words, photos, glance.


RICHMOND, Va. — Cigarette maker Reynolds American Inc. is taking its Zonnic brand nicotine gum nationwide, challenging the pharmaceutical industry's hold and pricing power of the market for products to help people stop smoking. By Michael Felberbaum. SENT: 650 words, photos.

— COAL MINE — Coal companies agree to consolidate ownership of a Montana mine in a deal aimed at boosting exports of the fuel to Asia through ports on the U.S. West Coast. Under terms of the deal, Wyoming-based Cloud Peak Energy would sell its 50 percent stake in the 120-worker Decker Mine to co-owner Ambre Energy of Australia. SENT: 520 words, photos.

— HOME DEPOT-DATA BREACH — Home Depot's outgoing CEO Frank Blake tells investors that the nation's largest home-improvement chain continues to investigate a potential breach at the company and reassured that customers will not be liable for any potential fraudulent charges. SENT: 350 words.

— MALAYSIA-AIRLINE-BUCKET LIST — Malaysia Airlines scraps the title of a competition asking people what activities and destinations are on their "bucket list," acknowledging it was inappropriate given the two deadly disasters it has suffered this year. SENT: 350 words, photo.

— FRANCE-NESPRESSO KNOCKOFFS — No more worries about the warranty, the machine breaking or — worst of all — a botched cup of coffee. France's Competition Authority says Nespresso has for the first time agreed to open up its machines to knockoff coffee pods, under pressure from anti-trust regulators. SENT: 390 words.

— GERMANY-LUFTHANSA STRIKE — A union representing pilots at Lufthansa says they will stage a six-hour strike Friday, targeting short- and medium-haul flights from Frankfurt. SENT: 140 words.


— DENMARK-EARNS-LEGO — Danish toy maker Lego says revenue soared 11 percent in the first six months of 2014, mostly because of the success of the "Lego Movie." SENT: 120 words.



YPSILANTI, Mich. — Your car will do more of the work to prevent crashes in the near future. At the same time, those expecting vehicles to take the wheel completely will be disappointed. That's the view of Toyota safety executives, who promise by "mid-decade" to roll out the automaker's next generation of safety systems that warn drivers who take their eyes off the road and keep cars in the center of a lane. By Tom Krisher. UPCOMING: 400 words by 2:30 p.m.


RENO, Nev. — To bring electric cars to the masses, Tesla Motors will transform an expanse of desert where pioneers passed on their way to the California Gold Rush and wild mustangs still roam the hillside. This time, the rush will be in Nevada, which Tesla chose over four other states as the site for a $5 billion factory that the carmaker projects will crank out enough high-tech car batteries to power 500,000 vehicles annually by decade's end. By Justin Pritchard and Scott Sonner. SENT: 830 words, photos. UPCOMING: Will be updated from news conference with Gov. Sandoval scheduled for 7 p.m.

— FIAT-CHRYSLER — Fiat SpA says its merger with Chrsyler is going ahead since there isn't enough opposition to derail it. Fiat says shareholders had cashed out 463 million euros ($609 million), under the 500 million-euro ($657 million) threshold that would have scuttled the deal. Fiat shareholders had overwhelmingly approved the deal, but Italian law gives dissenters the right to cash out. SENT: 130 words.



BEIJING — An Apple supplier in China is violating safety and pay rules despite the computer giant's promises to improve conditions, two activist groups said Thursday, ahead of the release of the iPhone 6. The report by China Labor Watch and Green America adds to a string of complaints about wage, safety and environmental conditions at China's network of contractors that produce most of the world's personal computers and mobile phones. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 510 words, photos.


NEW YORK — After years of promoting its phones as "the next big thing," Samsung is realizing that bigger isn't necessarily better. Two new Galaxy Note smartphones from Samsung are about the same size as last year's Note 3. What's different: A side screen on one of them and sharper cameras on both. By Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 930 words, photos

— GOOGLE-FTC SETTLEMENT — The government says Google has agreed to pay full refunds totaling at least $19 million to consumers who were charged for purchases that children made via apps without parental consent from the Google Play app store. SENT: 350 words.


TOKYO — The boundary between the online and physical worlds got blurry last week when Sony's PlayStation Network was disabled by an online attack, while simultaneously an American Airlines passenger jet carrying a Sony executive was diverted due to a bomb threat on Twitter. Experts say that's a wakeup call for a world still coming to grips with cybersecurity: What goes down online can be equally if not more disruptive in the real world. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 900 words, photos.

— DRUG WEBSITE SHUTDOWN — The top executive of a New York City-based Bitcoin company is scheduled to plead guilty to federal criminal charges. The case against Charlie Shrem of Manhattan grew from the government's shutdown of the black market website Silk Road. SENT: 130 words, photo. UPCOMING: Will be updated from 4 p.m. hearing, 300 words by 6 p.m.



BEIJING — Police in Shanghai detain the chief editor and several employees of an influential Chinese financial news site on allegations they extorted money from companies by threatening to publish negative news about them. The case surrounding, the website for the 21st Century Business Herald, is the latest scandal involving news corruption in China, where extortion schemes have plagued the state-owned media, especially those specializing in financial news. By Didi Tang. SENT: 650 words, photo.

— JAPAN-TUNA — The multi-nation fisheries body that monitors most of the Pacific Ocean has recommended a substantial cut to the catch of juvenile bluefin tuna, a move conservationists say is only an initial step toward saving the dwindling species. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 600 words, photos.

— BRITAIN-ECONOMY — The Bank of England votes to keep its main interest rate at a record low 0.5 percent even as Britain's economy recovers at a brisk pace. SENT: 130 words.

— GERMANY-ECONOMY — Factory orders in Germany rebound sharply in July following two monthly falls, indicating Europe's biggest economy is holding up despite the crisis in Ukraine. SENT: 340 words.

— FRANCE-CONVICTED TRADER — The Paris appeals court authorizes the controlled release of Frenchman Jerome Kerviel, convicted of one of history's biggest trading frauds. SENT: 140 words.

— EGYPT-POWER OUTAGE — Egypt suffers a massive power outage that halted parts of the Cairo subway, took TV stations off the air and ground much of the country to a halt for several hours, as officials offered no clear explanation for how the country suddenly lost 50 percent of its power generation. SENT: 750 words.

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Leader no more

The world is catching up to U.S. stocks. Last year, investors from around the world flocked to the United States, where economic growth was slow but looked more stable than elsewhere. The demand helped to vault U.S. stocks to the best performance of the five largest developed markets and five largest emerging markets. This year has seen that U.S. exceptionalism fade. Renewed confidence in emerging markets' economic growth means buyers are once again interested, and many of those economies have beaten the U.S. this year. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.


$1 billion buyback

Nordstrom's board authorizes the repurchase of up to $1 billion of its outstanding shares through March 1, 2016. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.



For the week ending Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014


Small-cap leaders

The stocks of smaller companies are having a tough year. They are trailing the broader market following a series of warnings that they've become too expensive. Here's a snapshot of the companies that have been able to rise above the pack to lead the S&P Small Cap 600 index. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.