News briefs for Aug. 23

Published 10:34 pm Friday, August 22, 2008

Barack Obama to announce running mate

WASHINGTON — The secret holding, Barack Obama on Friday readied announcement by text message of his vice presidential running mate from a list suddenly spiced by a dark horse from Texas.

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s prospects remained a mystery on a day full of them, although senior aides said the Obama campaign had never requested financial or other records from her.

Three days before the party gathers in Denver to nominate Obama for the fall campaign, several officials said Rep. Chet Edwards, whose district includes President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, had made the roster of potential running mates. Sens. Joe Biden of Delaware and Evan Bayh of Indiana were also in the mix, as were Govs. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas — and any unknown others Obama had managed to keep secret despite intense scrutiny.

Stocks jump as oil plunges

NEW YORK — Wall Street capped a volatile week with sharp gains Friday as oil prices tumbled and after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said inflation pressures are likely to moderate. The Dow Jones industrial average rose nearly 200 points.

Speculation that Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. could be sold helped buoy the financial sector and the overall market. Analysts warned this week that the investment bank could book large write-downs for bad debt. But reports Friday that Korea Development Bank is considering buying the company sent investors rushing for the stock. Lehman rose 69 cents, or 5 percent, to $14.41 but finished well off its highs of the session.

Florida farmers tally damage to crops

STEINHATCHEE, Fla. — As Tropical Storm Fay finally got on track Friday to make its way out of Florida, flood-stricken homeowners got an encouraging sign: Muddy brown water lines began appearing on the sides of homes, a clue that floodwaters were receding.

The fickle storm that stuck around for five days and carved a dizzying path that included three separate landfalls dumped more than two feet of rain in some places. But to the relief of Floridians, it was finally expected to veer west over the Panhandle before leaving for good later this weekend.

New cable, phone boxes prompt cries of ‘Not in my front yard!’

PHILADELPHIA — The road to advanced video, Internet and phone services is bumpy — and the bumps can be almost as big as refrigerators.

As cable and phone companies race to upgrade services or offer video for the first time, they’re doing it by installing equipment in boxes on lawns, easements and curbs all over American neighborhoods. Telecommunications rollouts have always been messy, but several towns and residents are fighting back with cries of “Not in my front yard!”

AT&T Inc.’s nearly fridge-sized units, which route its new U-verse video product to customers, are drawing particular ire. A few caught fire or even exploded. AT&T said it has fixed that by replacing the units’ backup batteries.

Doctors report 2 more partial face transplants

LONDON — Transplanting faces may seem like science fiction, but doctors say the experimental surgeries could one day become routine. Two of the world’s three teams that have done partial face transplants reported Friday that their techniques were surprisingly effective, though complications exist and more work is still needed.

“There is no reason to think these face transplants would not be as common as kidney or liver transplants one day,” said Dr. Laurent Lantieri, one of the French doctors who operated on a man severely disfigured by a genetic disease.

In Friday’s issue of the British medical journal Lancet, Lantieri and colleagues reported on their patient’s status one year after the transplant. Chinese doctors also reported on their patient, two years after his surgery.

Ed McMahon will sell his home to private buyer, not Donald Trump

LOS ANGELES — Ed McMahon is on the move.

McMahon has agreed to a deal with a private buyer for his hilltop home, said Howard Bragman, the former “Tonight” show sidekick’s spokesman.

Bragman declined to name the buyer or the selling price. But he said it isn’t real estate mogul Donald Trump, who recently offered to buy McMahon’s home and act as a landlord.

“For Mr. Trump, this acquisition was not business-related, but, as he has stated, was meant to help out an American icon,” said Michael Cohen, special counsel to Trump. “If another buyer should emerge who will create the benefit Mr. Trump sought for Ed McMahon, then he is clearly pleased.”