Nation roundup for January 11


Facts released on Walmart bribery

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart Stores Inc.’s CEO Mike Duke found out in 2005 that the retailer’s Mexico unit was handing out bribes to local officials, according to emails obtained by lawmakers.

The emails contradict earlier claims by Walmart senior executives that they weren’t aware of bribes being made by the company.

Democratic Congressmen Elijah E. Cummings and Henry A. Waxman, who are investigating bribery charges at Walmart’s Mexico division, on Thursday released emails that indicate that Duke and other senior Walmart officials were informed multiple times starting in 2005 about bribes being made in the country.

U.S. law forbids American companies from bribing foreign officials.

The lawmakers shared the emails, which they say they got from a confidential source, with Walmart on Wednesday, and sent a letter to Duke asking for a meeting to discuss them.

“It would be a serious matter if the CEO of one of our nation’s largest companies failed to address allegations of a bribery scheme,” according to the letter written by Waxman and Cummings to Duke.

Pregnancy drug lawsuit is settled

BOSTON (AP) — Eli Lilly and Co. has settled a lawsuit brought by four sisters who contended their breast cancer was caused by a drug their mother took during pregnancy in the 1950s, a move some believe could trigger financial settlements in scores of other claims brought by women around the country.

A total of 51 women, including the Melnick sisters, filed lawsuits in Boston against more than a dozen companies that made or marketed a synthetic estrogen known as DES.

The Melnick sisters’ case was the first to go to trial. The settlement was announced Wednesday on the second day of testimony.

DES, or diethylstilbestrol, was prescribed to millions of pregnant women over three decades to prevent miscarriages, premature births and other problems. It was taken off the market in the early 1970s after it was linked to a rare vaginal cancer in women whose mothers used it. Studies later showed the drug didn’t prevent miscarriages.

Gasoline prices predicted to fall

NEW YORK (AP) — At least gasoline should cost you less in 2013.

Hamburger, health care and taxes are all set to take a bigger bite out of the family budget this year. But drivers’ annual gas bills are expected to drop for the first time in four years.

Forecasters say ample oil supplies and weak U.S. demand will keep a lid on prices. The lows will be lower and the highs won’t be so high compared with a year ago. The average price of a gallon of gasoline will fall 5 percent to $3.44, according to the Energy Department.

“Everything is lining up to lead to softer prices this year,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service.

S&P 500 closes at five-year high

NEW YORK (AP) — The Standard and Poor’s 500 closed at another five-year high Thursday after the stock market got a boost from reports suggesting the outlook for economic growth may be improving.

The S&P 500 rose 11.10 points to 1,472.12, its highest close since December 2007, when the U.S. economy was entering the Great Recession. It also closed at a five-year high last Friday and is now 93 points off its record close of 1,565.15, logged in October 2007.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 80.71 points at 13,471.22. The Nasdaq composite rose 15.95 points to 3,121.76.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the struggling euro zone should start growing again later this year, but he warned that the region has yet to reach a turning point in its struggle with recession and handling its government debt load.

 

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