BC-IA--Iowa News Digest 4:40 pm, IA

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News,Science and Technology

Iowa news at 4:40 p.m. All times Central.

ADDS BROKERAGE COLLAPSE-TAXES, STATE EMPLOYEES NEGOTIATIONS AND PAWLENTY-IOWA STATE.

The Iowa news editor is Scott McFetridge. Barbara Rodriguez is on the desk in Des Moines. If you have stories of statewide interest or breaking news, please email to apdesmoines(at)ap.org or call 800-453-2113. AP stories, along with the photos that accompany them, can also be obtained from http://w ww.apexchange.com. Reruns are also available from the Service Desk (877-836-9477).

TOP STORIES:

BROKERAGE COLLAPSE-TAXES

IOWA CITY — Court records show the Iowa Department of Revenue has accused disgraced businessman Russ Wasendorf Sr. and his former wife of underreporting their income and dodging millions in taxes.

STATE EMPLOYEES NEGOTIATIONS

DES MOINES — One day before contract negotiations kick off between the union that represents state workers and Gov. Terry Branstad, a top union official criticized the governor for giving bonuses to top staffers while asking for concessions from public sector employees.

PAWLENTY-IOWA STATE

AMES — It would've cost big bucks to get Republican Tim Pawlenty to return to Ames, where his presidential campaign ended in 2011 after a poor finish at the Iowa Straw Poll.

HARKIN INSTITUTE-AGRICULTURE

IOWA CITY — The president of Iowa State University has withdrawn restrictions on the Harkin Institute of Public Policy's ability to research agriculture in an effort to end a dispute over academic freedom, a spokesman said Friday. ISU President Steven Leath issued a memo Wednesday replacing a November order that allowed the institute to conduct agriculture research only if it related to Sen. Tom Harkin's papers and received the approval of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development. No other research into agriculture was allowed. By Ryan J. Foley.

WESTERN IOWA BODY

EARLY — A man arrested in western Iowa on charges of assault and kidnapping had been released from prison just two days earlier.

HEALTH CARE PREMIUMS-OUTCRY

DES MOINES — Dozens of Iowans have asked the state health insurance commissioner to deny another premium increase sought by the state's dominant health insurer, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The company wants to raise premiums on 150,000 individual policyholders by 12 percent to 13 percent starting in April.

DROUGHT-RIVER SHIPPING

ST. LOUIS — The Army Corps of Engineers says its sweeping efforts to keep a crucial stretch of the drought-plagued Mississippi River open to barge traffic are paying off and should avert a shipping shutdown the industry fears is imminent, perhaps as early as this weekend. The corps is even suggesting a shutdown could be avoided entirely. By Jim Suhr. Eds: Note Iowa interest.

BUSINESS:

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY-SOKOL

OMAHA, Neb. — The lawyer for a former top executive at Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway says David Sokol won't face any charges for the questionable trades he made shortly before resigning. Sokol's attorney told The New York Times that the Securities and Exchange Commission decided Thursday not to charge Sokol related to his investment in Lubrizol just before Berkshire acquired the chemical company. Sokol was board chairman of Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy. By Business Writer Josh Funk.

SPORTS:

BKC--DEVELOPING IOWA

Iowa opened Big Ten play with a 4-point loss against Indiana, perhaps the best team in the country. Next up for the developing Hawkeyes? Oh, perhaps the roughest trip in the Big Ten this season — Ann Arbor to face No. 2 Michigan. By Luke Meredith.

The AP, Des Moines

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