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Business News: Unions Campaigning; Gas Big In Penn; Brazil Soap Opera

By: AP
By: AP
Unions focus more on state and local races...Reports: Marcellus reserves larger than expected...Wright house in Phoenix to be offered for sale...Last episode of soap opera grips Brazil

labor officials campaigning too

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Unions are shifting more of their political muscle to state and local races this year as they try to block efforts that undermine bargaining rights, make it harder to organize or reduce labor's clout.
Some unions are redirecting money from the presidential and congressional campaigns to races in dozens of states where they feel threatened.
In New Hampshire, unions want to keep the governor's seat in Democratic hands to prevent a right-to-work measure. In Maine and Minnesota, labor leaders hope to overturn Republican majorities in state legislatures. And in Michigan, unions aim to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state constitution.
The shift comes as labor is still reeling from battles in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and other states where governors have sought to limit union rights or restrict union power.

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- There's been plenty of debate over the Marcellus Shale natural gas field, but new research adds a twist that could impact political and environmental battles. Two independent financial firms say the Marcellus isn't just the biggest natural gas field in the country -- it's the cheapest place for energy companies to drill.
A report from Standard & Poor's issued this week finds that the powerful combination of Marcellus resources and the location near major markets in the Northeast is altering natural gas prices and market trends across the nation.
Another report from ITG Investment Research says Marcellus reserves are far larger than recent government estimates.

PHOENIX (AP) -- A Phoenix home designed by noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright had been threatened with demolition but is now about to go on the market.
Real estate broker Robert Joffe says the 1952 home designed by Wright will be listed Monday for sale at $2,379,000.
Joffe says he doesn't foresee the house being bought for resale or as a residence for the purchaser. Instead, he expects a philanthropic buyer either would donate the property to a Wright foundation or use it for housing for students at a Wright-affiliated school.
Wright family members sold the two-acre property. The current owners planned to demolish the home to redevelop the property.
The potential demolition set off a firestorm among architects. The city is considering a possible historic status designation.

SAO PAULO (AP) -- Brazil's national electricity grid is bracing itself for possible power outages Friday night as television airs the final chapter of the smash soap opera has enthralled Latin America's biggest country for months.
The Electric Energy System Operator says that unless energy generating and distributing companies prepare themselves, the country could suffer power outages at the end of "Avenida Brasil." It's the story of a young woman's vengeance on her nouveau-riche stepmother who abandoned her in a landfill.
A spokesman for the energy system operator said officials fear sudden surges in electricity consumption as millions of viewers switch on their living room lights, raid their refrigerators and turn on microwave ovens. He declined to be identified in accordance with department policy.


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