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CITIGROUP MAY BE SUNTRUST'S LATEST SUITOR

The takeover rumors are swirling around SunTrust Banks again. The hot topic: New York banking giant Citigroup might be interested. The Financial Times' MergerMarket news service quotes anonymous bankers saying Atlanta-based SunTrust has been in merger talks and suggesting Citigroup would be a good fit. The speculation played well on Wall Street, where SunTrust stock jumped $4.55 a share Monday and another 67 cents Tuesday to close at $80.67 in New York Stock Exchange trading. Of course, takeover rumors are nothing new for SunTrust, which ranks among the five biggest banks in market share in Florida. In the past, SunTrust has been rumored to be a target of Wells Fargo, JPMorgan and PNC. "We don't comment on rumors," said SunTrust spokeswoman Susie Findell.

Florida's dry spell carries high costs

No one likes getting caught in the rain, but Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson says southeast Florida isn't getting enough - and the economic consequences can get serious. Florida will face severe agricultural losses if the prolonged drought in southeast Florida continues, and those losses will translate into lost tax revenues, unemployment and higher food prices. Lake Okeechobee stores irrigation water for about 700,000 acres of agriculture. Florida's "dry season" starts in November, and most agricultural producers are doubtful about getting through the critical period until next spring with a sufficient water supply. Total statewide economic losses are expected to surpass $1-billion over the next two years if the current water situation doesn't change.

Polls check pulse on climate change

Gov. Charlie Crist lately has cast himself as a climate change crusader. But, governor, do the people care? A pair of dueling polls want to answer that question this week. The first, released Monday by Allied Industries of Florida, said 38 percent of those polled said Crist and the state Legislature should make economic issues their top priority. Only 1 percent said global warming should be top priority. However, the same poll counted 44 percent who believed global warming was a major problem requiring immediate action, while an additional 41 percent said it was a problem that required action over time. Allied Industries, a Tallahassee lobbying group, has voiced opposition to Crist's sweeping environmental policies announced last month at his Miami climate summit. A second poll is slated for release this morning.

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