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August 16, 2010 01:22 PM

Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks have turned higher on Wall Street, after four days of heavy selling.
The market initially pulled back after a regional manufacturing report fell short of forecasts and Japan became the latest country to show signs of slowing growth. The National Association of Home Builders also reported that its monthly index of builders' sentiment fell to the lowest level since March of last year.
  • The Interior Department says it will no longer allow new deepwater drilling projects to go forward without environmental reviews. The announcement comes after the White House Council on Environmental Quality reported that BP got environmental exemptions based on decades-old data. Shallow-water drilling will also be subjected to stricter environmental scrutiny under the new policy.
  • President Barack Obama says a rising homegrown clean energy industry can help reverse years of manufacturing job losses overseas. The president paid a visit to a company near Milwaukee that makes advanced batteries and power systems that use renewable sources of energy. The company, ZBB Energy Corp., is expanding with the help of a $1.3 million federal stimulus loan.
  • Federal health regulators are pushing to withdraw a blood pressure drug that has been on the market for 14 years in spite of the manufacturer's failure to submit evidence that it actually helps patients. The Food and Drug Administration approved Shire Laboratories' drug ProAmatine in 1996 based on promising early results. The company has never submitted a mandatory follow-up study to prove long-term benefits.
  • Federal transportation officials are proposing that motorcoach operators be required to install seatbelts in their buses for the first time. Under a regulation proposed today by the U.S. Department of Transportation, operators would have three years to install lap-shoulder belts. Seatbelts can reduce deaths in motorcoach rollover accidents by an estimated 77 percent.

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