Among the stories for Thursday from The Associated Press:
CLIMATE TALKS-SOLAR DREAMS
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — With its vast deserts and long stretches of sunny days, the Middle East would seem to be an ideal place to harness solar energy. Until now, the region has largely shunned solar because it has cost about three times more than heavily-subsidized fossil fuels. But technological advances have pushed costs down dramatically, and many countries rich in oil and gas are reconsidering renewables amid growing demands for power to fuel their booming economies and rapidly increasing populations. By Environment Writer Michael Casey.
— CLIMATE TALKS — Typhoon-hit Philippines demands that ministers at the United Nations climate talks put aside their political differences and take bold steps to combat global warming.
SUPERSTORM-BOOM AND BUST
FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Landscaping crews use heavy equipment to repair damage from Superstorm Sandy, racking up overtime pay at a time of year when many are typically looking for part-time jobs to carry them through the winter. Just down the road, business is more subdued at a restaurant where the word "OPEN" in black spray paint greets the few customers. The national economy is expected to absorb the blow from Sandy with little long-term damage, but in the short term, at least, Sandy is introducing dramatic booms and busts across the Northeast. The effects vary widely across industries, bringing banner years for some while pushing others toward economic ruin. By Michael Melia.
GUATEMALA CITY — Software company founder John McAfee was arrested by Guatemalan police for entering the country illegally, ending his bizarre journey as a blogging fugitive claiming to be persecuted by authorities in Belize. The fate of the anti-virus guru remains unclear as Guatemalan authorities await word from their Foreign Ministry as to what they will do with McAfee and whether they intend to send him back to Belize, where he is a person of interest in the killing of a fellow ex-pat. By Sonia Perez-Diaz.
AP photos, video
FISCAL CLIFF-NO DEAL IMPACT
WASHINGTON — The dealmakers who warn that a year-end plunge off the "fiscal cliff" would be disastrous don't seem to be rushing to stop it. Why aren't they panicking? For one thing, the Dec. 31 deadline is more flexible than it sounds. Like all skilled procrastinators, Washington negotiators know they can finagle more time if they need it. By Connie Cass.
— FISCAL CLIFF — Obama administration takes tough line with GOP in fiscal cliff as Obama talks with Boehner.
— FISCAL CLIFF-DEBT CEILING — The political fight that took the nation to the verge of defaulting on its debts last year is back, overshadowed by "fiscal cliff" disputes but with consequences far graver than looming tax hikes and steep spending cuts.
MARKETS & ECONOMY:
WASHINGTON — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid fell sharply last week as a temporary spike caused by Superstorm Sandy faded. Weekly applications have fallen back to a level consistent with modest hiring. The Labor Department says applications dropped 25,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 370,000. By Christopher S. Rugaber.
— MORTGAGE RATES — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages ticked up this week just slightly above record lows, keeping home-buying and refinancing attractive to consumers.
— FORECLOSURE SALES — Sales of U.S. homes facing foreclosure are on the rise and outpacing sales of bank-owned homes, a reflection of stepped up efforts this year by lenders to avoid foreclosing on homes with mortgages gone unpaid.
— UN-FOOD PRICES — A United Nations agency says prices of basic foods fell by 1.5 percent last month, with the international prices of all commodities except dairy products dropping.
NEW YORK — Stocks are opening mixed on Wall Street following news that Europe will hold off on new economic stimulus measures.
— OIL PRICES — The price of oil hovers below $88 a barrel.
LONDON — Starbucks says it will pay about $16 million in British tax in each of the next two years, after being accused by the country's lawmakers of "immorally" avoiding tax. It has paid just $14 million in its 14 years of business there.
FASHION-COLOR OF THE YEAR
NEW YORK — Emerald is Pantone's Color of the Year for 2013. The company, which creates and matches colors for the fashion, home and beauty industries, picks its top hue based on both how it's already being used and a prediction of sustained popularity. By Fashion Writer Samantha Critchell.
— EARNS-H&R BLOCK — H&R Block's fiscal second-quarter loss narrows, helped by cost-cutting efforts.
— TRAIN DERAILMENT-CHEMICALS — U.S. representative calls for tighter rail industry regulations after derailment releases chemicals in New Jersey.
— BMW-RECALL — BMW recalling X5 SUVs with diesel engines because they can lose power-assisted steering.
— BRITAIN-ROLLS ROYCE — Rolls-Royce gives evidence to Britain's Serious Fraud Office in a bribery probe, says prosecutions are possible.
— FRANCE-PPR — French retailer PPR is selling its American plus-size clothing business to two private equity firms as it doubles down on its luxury brands.
LOS ANGELES — The end of one labor crisis at the nation's busiest port complex could be a prelude to another. The resolution of an eight-day walk-off by clerical workers at the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors that stalled billions of dollars of cargo and left container ships stranded off the California coast points to the stakes for upcoming contract talks with dockworkers at western U.S. shipping terminals. By Michael R. Blood.
TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA
NEW YORK — Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company will spend $100 million next year to move production of one of its Mac computers to the U.S. from China, according to an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek.
SAN FRANCISCO — The epic $1 billion patent fight between the world's top two smartphone makers resumes Thursday in a federal courtroom when Apple and Samsung again square off over rights to vital technology. By Paul Elias.
AP EXCLUSIVE: JAPAN-RADIATION RISK
TOKYO — Influential Japanese scientists who help set national radiation exposure limits have for years had trips paid for by the country's nuclear plant operators to attend overseas meetings of the world's top academic group on radiation safety. Some of these same scientists have consistently given optimistic assessments about the health risks of radiation, interviews with the scientists and government documents show. Their pivotal role in setting policy after the March 2011 tsunami and ensuing nuclear meltdowns meant the difference between schoolchildren playing outside or indoors and families staying or evacuating. By Yuri Kageyama.
EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK
FRANKFURT, Germany — The European Central Bank underlines the gloomy prospects for the economy of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro, cutting its forecast for growth next year to minus 0.3 percent from plus 0.5 percent. Even so, the bank leaves rates unchanged at its meeting Thursday, and ECB head Mario Draghi gives little sign the bank is willing to add more stimulus. By David McHugh.
— EU-CLOSER UNION — Four top European Union officials lay out a blueprint for a closer financial union that will clash with some member states' cherished national interests.
— ITALY-POLITICS — Lawmakers belonging to Silvio Berlusconi's center-right party abstain from a confidence vote in the government of Premier Mario Monti, raising questions over its future and the progress of its economic reform program.
— GREECE-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Greece's unemployment rate rose to 26 percent in September, highlighting the country's economic plight as it heads toward a sixth year of recession.
— FRANCE-ECONOMY — Unemployment in France rises to 10.3 percent in the third quarter, while youth unemployment jumps more than a percentage point to 24.9 percent.
— BRITAIN-BUDGET — Britain's Treasury chief says the country may lose its triple A credit rating even though his economic strategy remains centered on getting public finances under control.
— GERMANY-ECONOMY — German industrial orders rebound by a strong 3.9 percent in October in hopeful sign.