07-19-2018  8:43 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Komen Begins Data Collection to Address Breast Cancer Disparities

In anticipation of forming an initiative to address breast cancer disparities, Komen partners with independent contractors ...

American Underground Announces Call for Applications

Black startup founders have until August 6 to apply to Google For Entrepreneurs Exchange program ...

Experience the Culture at the Second Annual Pan African Festival of Oregon

Event will take place from 12 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. August 11 ...

Oregon Humane Society Photo Contest Now Open

Submissions for annual pet photo contest open until August 15 ...

Oregon man accused of murder in beating of elderly father

HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon man has been charged with murder in the death of his 77-year-old father.The Washington County Sheriff's Office says 53-year-old Shaun Maki reported in March that his father was suffering from self-inflicted injuries inside the home they shared.The critically...

Man sentenced to prison after pleading no contest to assault

ALBANY, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon man was sentenced to more than three years in prison in a case of an assault in a bathroom at Linn-Benton Community College.The Corvallis Gazette-Times reports Prosecutors charged Benjamin Leland Bucknell, of Corvallis, with attempted murder, second-degree...

Tractor operator dies trying to suppress Oregon wildfire

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A tractor operator who was killed in a wildfire that scorched 70 square miles (181 kilometers) in little more than 24 hours in the Pacific Northwest appears to have died trying to restrain it, police said.The blaze east of Portland, Oregon, and near the city of The...

Washington state man sentenced for Manchester shooting

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for shooting a man while he was sleeping.The Kitsap Sun reports 22-year-old Robert Hackett was sentenced last week after pleading guilty to attempted first-degree murder.The Kitsap County Sheriff's...

OPINION

Newsprint Tariffs Another Assault on the Black Press

The NNPA opposes the Trump tariffs on newsprint and demands an end to the disastrous trade policies that are hurting our businesses and communities ...

A Letter from America’s Children

American children struggling with poverty, violence and homelessness, deserve media coverage, too ...

Rep. Maxine Waters Takes Strong Stand for Fair Housing

Congresswoman Maxine Waters recently stepped up to file legislation designed to cure many of regressive ills pushed by Secretary Carson ...

10 Indoor Plants Every Pet Lover Must Have

Dr. Jasmine Streeter shares her tips on stress-busting plants ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Netanyahu greets Hungary's Orban as 'true friend of Israel'

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday welcomed Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, calling him a "true friend of Israel" despite the outcry over the visiting leader's past remarks that have been interpreted as anti-Semitic.Orban and Netanyahu held a joint...

Ga. Democrat shows the way for other black women in politics

ATLANTA (AP) — Democrats have long pointed to a Georgia electorate that is increasingly urban and less white as a sign they may be able to break the Republican hold on statewide offices. This year, after previous disappointments, their gubernatorial candidate has already made history as the...

Bill Clinton: Leaders must remember 'our common humanity'

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton says the key to political leadership is remembering "our common humanity."Clinton's comments came Wednesday night during the NAACP Convention in San Antonio, where he presented Texas native Willie Brown with the 2018 NAACP Springarn Medal for...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Brady Bunch' house for sale for nearly jumi.9M

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The home featured in the opening and closing scenes of "The Brady Bunch" is for sale for jumi.885 million.Records show George and Violet McCallister bought the two-bedroom, three-bathroom split-level home in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1973 for...

A Comic-Con without Marvel, HBO gives others a chance to pop

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Comic-Con fans know one thing to be true: Where there is fun, there's usually a line that precedes it. And hours before the annual pop culture convention officially kicked off Wednesday night in San Diego, there were lines everywhere — to get onto the convention floor...

Bruce Springsteen surprises audience at Billy Joel concert

NEW YORK (AP) — Bruce Springsteen propped himself on top of Billy Joel's piano to sing a duet with The Piano Man, who was celebrating his 100th concert at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.Joel told the energetic crowd he had a guest coming onstage who has won a Grammy, Oscar and...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

New York state launches tax probe of Trump Foundation

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state tax officials have opened an investigation into the Trump Foundation to...

Sisters recount years of horror in Syria's Palestinian camp

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — When the first Syrian soldier reached Lod street in the Palestinian refugee camp of...

US deporting crime victims while they wait for special visa

For victims of crime on U.S. soil who are living here illegally, a special visa program encourages them to help...

Growing extremism threatens Mali's July 29 elections

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — As deadly attacks by extremists become more brazen in Mali, officials and citizens fear...

EU preparing to hit back if US puts tariffs on car imports

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union says it is already preparing measures to retaliate against the United...

Inquest opens into British woman poisoned by nerve agent

LONDON (AP) — A coroner on Thursday opened an inquest into the death of a British woman who was exposed to...

Christopher S. Rugaber and Daniel Wagner AP Business Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Just as the U.S. economy is making progress despite Europe's turmoil, here come two new threats.

A congressional panel is supposed to agree by Thanksgiving on a deficit-reduction package of at least $1.2 trillion. If it fails, federal spending would automatically be cut by that amount starting in 2013.

Congress may also let emergency unemployment aid and a Social Security tax cut expire at year's end.

Either outcome could slow growth and spook markets.

Analysts are concerned, but most aren't panicking.

Many say the economy and markets can withstand the blows. That's because Congress or the Federal Reserve could take other steps next year to lift the economy. And investors expect so little from the congressional panel that they're unlikely to overreact whatever it does.

"There's no doomsday scenario in reducing government spending," said David Kelly of JP Morgan Funds.

The 12-member bipartisan panel, or supercommittee, was created in August to defuse a political standoff over raising the federal borrowing limit. If it can't agree on a deficit-reduction plan, automatic spending cuts would hit programs prized by both parties: social services such as Medicare for Democrats, defense for Republicans.

The panel appears to be deadlocked.

Economists say a stalemate makes it harder for Congress to extend the Social Security tax cut and unemployment benefits. On the other hand, if the supercommittee does forge a deal, it might include an extension of those benefits. Or it could at least clear the way for an extension later.

The Social Security tax cut gave most Americans an extra $1,000 to $2,000 this year. Unemployment benefits provide about $300 a week. Most of that money quickly and directly boosts consumer spending, which drives the economy.

By contrast, an expiration of those benefits could cut growth by about three-quarters of a percentage point, economists say. Throw in other cuts, like those passed in the August debt deal, and all told, federal budget policies could subtract 1.7 percentage points from growth in 2012, according to JPMorgan Chase and Moody's Analytics.

Given the tepid economy, such a hit could be damaging.

"It would be very difficult for an economy that's doing well to digest, let alone one that's barely growing at potential," said Ryan Sweet, an economist at Moody's. "That could unwind a lot of the improvement we've seen so far."

The economy grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the July-September quarter. Some analysts fear it could fall below 2 percent next year, especially if the emergency unemployment benefits and Social Security tax cuts aren't renewed.

The U.S. economy faces other threats, too - from persistently high unemployment to Europe's spreading debt crisis, which could hasten a recession.

If the automatic spending cuts take effect, the defense budget could be cut by nearly $500 billion over nine years. Some contractors are nervous.

Wes Bush, CEO of Northrop Grumman, has told analysts that the company is bracing for spending cuts.

"It's certainly going to be a more challenging environment" next year, he said.

Another wild card: Some investors fear that the supercommittee's failure would spark fresh downgrades of U.S. debt. Standard & Poor's downgraded the government's long-term debt in August. That contributed to a stock market plunge. It's possible that a deadlocked supercommittee would lead the two other major rating agencies - Fitch and Moody's - to follow suit.

Yet S&P's downgrade did little to tarnish U.S. debt. Treasury prices rose, and yields fell. Bond investors still saw Treasurys as a super-safe investment. Federal borrowing costs actually declined.

"S&P showed that when a rating agency downgrades the best-known security in the world, it has little impact," Kelly said. The market for U.S. Treasurys is so broad, accessible and transparent that ratings downgrades don't pose much threat, he noted.

Kelly said Wall Street is unlikely to panic given that expectations for the supercommittee "are so low as to be subterranean."

Even so, some traders appear to be positioning for a shock. So-called "defensive" sectors of the stock market, like healthcare companies and utilities, which tend to retain their value in a weak economy, have been outpacing the S&P 500 index as a whole.

In the past month, the economy has shown surprising strength. Reports this week showed that manufacturers are producing more goods and consumers are spending more. The number of people seeking unemployment benefits for the first time is at a seven-month low.

Still, more than once since the recession officially ended more than two years ago, the economy has displayed vigor only to stumble again. High gas and food prices and Japan's earthquake sharply slowed growth in the first half of the year. Congress' debt-ceiling fight sent consumer confidence to recession levels.

Sweet thinks there's a good chance Congress will end up extending the Social Security tax cut. Partly on that assumption, Moody's foresees 2.6 percent growth next year. For this year, analysts generally estimate less than 2 percent growth.

Lawmakers could make other policy changes next year to energize the economy. The tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration, and extended in 2010, are set to expire after 2012. Republicans will push to renew them.

Some of the automatic cuts set to kick in in 2013 could be delayed or altered. That's particularly true if the White House or either chamber of Congress changes sides in 2012.

And some economists say the automatic spending cuts could actually boost confidence a bit: They would reassure the world that the U.S. government can make progress in shrinking its deficit.

Even so, the supercommittee seems likely to fall short of its goal to help reduce the federal debt load.

And there's more pressure to come.

Priya Misra, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, estimates that Congress will need to find $2 trillion more in cuts by August 2013 to prevent another credit downgrade.

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