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Stocks rise...Fed finds economy expanding in all regions...VW passes GM in global auto sales

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Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 2:34 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street. Investors are seizing on strong company earnings and a wave of corporate deal news. Time Warner shares soared 17 percent after Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox disclosed it made an unsolicited takeover offer of about $76 billion in cash and stock for its rival media giant. Time Warner rejected the offer.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Federal Reserve survey indicates the economy kept expanding in all regions of the country in June and early July, helped by strength in consumer spending. All 12 of the Fed's regions reported growth. Five regions — New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas and San Francisco — characterized growth as "moderate" while the others reported "modest" growth. Boston and Richmond reported that growth came in at a slightly slower pace.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says it would be a serious mistake for Congress to require the nation's central bank to adopt a formal policy rule to guide its decisions on setting interest rates. Yellen faced a barrage of questions from Republican lawmakers today about proposed legislation to make the Fed more accountable and its decisions more transparent. One of the requirements would have the Fed adopt a policy rule that would govern future decisions and would require the General Accountability Office to audit the rule.

DETROIT (AP) — Volkswagen bumped General Motors out of second place in the global auto sales race during the first half of the year, but Toyota is expected to stay in first place. GM says it sold 4.92 million cars and trucks worldwide from January through June, while VW says it sold 4.97 million. Toyota won't release first-half numbers until later this month. But it was in first place at the end of the first quarter and it expects to sell 10.1 million vehicles this year.

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple will pay up to $400 million to compensate consumers ensnared in a plot to raise the prices of digital books unless the company overturns a court decision attesting to its pivotal role in the collusion. The terms of the settlement were disclosed in a court filing today, a month after attorneys suing Apple notified U.S. District Judge Denise Cote that an agreement had been reached to avert a trial. Apple is appealing Cote's decision and won't have to pay the $400 million settlement if it prevails.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) removed seven reptiles from an unlicensed man last week. FWC investigators charged Nick Mitchell with unlawful possession of seven venomous reptiles and several other violations related to the care, keeping and labeling of his animals. The animals, including a gila monster, black monocled cobra, rhino viper, dusky pygmy rattlesnake, black neck spitting cobra and two banded cobras, were seized and placed at a local licensed facility.

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