PRESS DIGEST - New York Times business news - Oct 13

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Wednesday, 13 October 2010 07:57 GMT

Oct 13 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The New York Times business pages on Wednesday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* Less than a month before November elections, the United States is mired in a grim New Normal that could last for years. That has policy makers, particularly the Federal Reserve, considering a range of ever more extreme measures, as noted in the minutes of its last meeting, released Tuesday. Call it recession or recovery, for tens of millions of Americans, there&${esc.hash}39;s little difference.

* The cities, counties and authorities of New York have promised more than ${esc.dollar}200 billion worth of health benefits to their retirees while setting aside almost nothing, putting the public work force on a collision course with the taxpayers who are expected to foot the bill.

* Extreme weather this year has sent grain prices soaring, jolting commodities markets and creating fears of tight supplies that could eventually hit consumers&${esc.hash}39; wallets.

* Intel Corp <INTC.O> on Tuesday reported earnings better than expected on a sharp revenue increase. The company has established one of the most well-known brands, but some new products make little mention of the company.

* Amid growing inquiries by law enforcement into dubious paperwork by home lenders, one of the nation&${esc.hash}39;s largest, GMAC Mortgage, said Tuesday that it was expanding its review of foreclosures to all 50 states. The company said it was hiring legal and accounting firms to conduct independent reviews of the foreclosure process.

* A critical mass of officials at the U.S. Federal Reserve appears to favor taking new actions to reinvigorate the torpid recovery.

* As California companies begin mass production of a new solar cell, the industry has been changed -- by China. Chinese manufacturers, heavily subsidized by their own government and relying on vast economies of scale, have helped send the price of conventional solar panels plunging and grabbed market share far more quickly than anyone anticipated.

* China posted a ${esc.dollar}16.9 billion trade surplus for September, capping the largest quarterly excess since the financial crisis in 2008.

* The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will propose rules that require mobile phone companies to alert customers when they are about to incur extra usage charges.

* The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday struggled to divine the balance Congress had meant to strike in a 1986 law that established a system to compensate people injured by vaccines while barring some, but not all, lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers.

* The Obama administration lifted its deepwater drilling moratorium after imposing rules intended to prevent another disaster like the Gulf of Mexico rig explosion.

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