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NRC INSPECTORS SENT TO CHECK PROGRESS PLANT

WASHINGTON

Federal regulators said Friday they sent two inspectors to a Progress Energy Inc. nuclear power plant after a valve in a cooling system failed last month. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it sent inspectors to Progress Energy's Brunswick nuclear power plant on the North Carolina coast for a one-week examination of why a water supply valve failed in late July. The NRC said the company repaired the valve quickly, and public safety was not at risk. The two-unit, 1,875-megawatt plant is near Southport, N.C.

WASHINGTON

Unemployment hits 6-month high

The nation's unemployment rate inched up to a six-month high of 4.6 percent in July as hiring simmered down. Workers' wages, meanwhile, grew modestly. The latest snapshot of conditions around the country, released by the Labor Department on Friday, showed that new job creation has slowed. Employers increased payrolls by 92,000 last month, down from 126,000 in June. It marked the fewest add-ons in a month since February. Hefty job cuts by the government were a big factor. Jobs also were eliminated in construction, factories and retailers.

BEIJING

Lenovo to market $199 computer

Lenovo Group Ltd. said Friday it will sell a basic personal computer aimed at China's vast but poor rural market and priced from $199 to $399. The announcement follows Dell Inc.'s bid to boost its presence in China's booming market with the unveiling in March of a low-cost personal computer meant for novice Chinese users. Beijing-based Lenovo, which acquired IBM Corp.'s PC division in 2005, is expanding abroad but is eager to maintain its dominance in China, where research firm Gartner Inc. says PC sales grew by 23 percent last quarter. The new PC will use a buyer's TV as a monitor.

OKLAHOMA CITY OKLA.

Bankruptcy filings rocket upward

U.S. bankruptcy filings were 38 percent higher last month than in July 2006 and are 50 percent higher for all 2007 than they were a year ago, according to federal data complied by the research company Jupiter eSource LLC. Almost 307,000 bankruptcies were filed in the first seven months of this year, the company said Friday. The 50 percent growth is partly a result of a low rate of filings in early 2006 under a new, more restrictive law.

WASHINGTON

Consumer agency back in business

A federal consumer protection agency has regained its full authority to oversee the safety of thousands of household products, but only for the next six months. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has been unable to order mandatory recalls, adopt new rules or assess civil penalties since early this year because it has not had enough members to officially meet and take action. An amendment to a homeland security bill allows the commission, which normally has three members, to meet and take action for the next six months with only two members present.

Times wires

GM'S PAIN, BUYERS' GAIN

General Motors Corp., with U.S. sales down 22 percent in July, may need to spend $500-million in the second half of this year for no-interest loans and other incentives to clear out unsold light trucks.

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