TODAY

– February 27, 2015

Real estate mogul to give $200M to U. of Michigan

(AP) — New York real estate magnate and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is donating $200 million to the University of Michigan for its business school and athletics programs, the largest single donation to the school and among the most generous in higher education history.

 

The money will be split between the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and University of Michigan Athletics, and raises Ross' total giving to his alma mater to more than $313 million, the Ann Arbor school said in a statement Wednesday. The Athletic Campus is expected to be named the Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus.

"Stephen Ross' vision has always been about the ability of facilities to transform the human experience," school President Mary Sue Coleman said in the statement. "He understands the power of well-conceived spaces, and his generosity will benefit generations of Michigan students, faculty and coaches."

According to lists from The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Ross' gift is the third biggest to a higher education facility in 2013. Earlier this year, it was announced that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg would donate $350 million to Johns Hopkins University, and in July the A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust gave a $250 million donation to Centre College in Kentucky.

Ross' $200 million donation is among the 30 single largest donations to a U.S. college or university, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education's list.

In Michigan, specific projects will be announced in the coming months, the school said. In addition, scholarships will be available to Ross students.

The Ross School of Business proposes to create new spaces for students to study, collaborate and connect with each other, faculty and potential employers. Classrooms will include advanced technology to support in-person and virtual collaboration.

With the additional funding, University of Michigan Athletics plans to improve its campus to help athletes succeed on the playing field and in the classroom, improve its facilities and build sites to be a destination for local, state, national and international competitions.

Ross earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting from the University of Michigan Business School in 1962, a law degree from Wayne State University in Detroit and a master of law degree in taxation from New York University.

"The University of Michigan had a profound impact on my life and I have received enormous satisfaction from being able to give back to the institution that played such a critical role in my success," Ross said.

In 2004, Ross gave $100 million toward a new building and endowed operations for the business school, which was renamed in recognition of his gift. The building was completed in 2009.

In other donations to University of Michigan Athletics, Ross gave a $5 million lead gift to create the Stephen M. Ross Academic Center, which provides study space. Additional past gifts include $5 million for the school's stadium expansion project and $50,000 to the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts for the Henry Pearce Endowed Scholarship, and scholarship support for student athletes.

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Written on 02/27/2015, 8:44 am by CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer
(AP) — The number of Americans signing contracts to buy homes rose at a healthy pace in January, a sign that home sales are poised to accelerate after a...
Written on 02/27/2015, 8:40 am by PAUL WISEMAN, AP Economics Writer
(AP) — Harsh winter weather left U.S. consumers feeling a bit less confident this month, the University of Michigan says. But confidence levels still remain at the highest level in eight years. The University of Michigan says its index of consumer sentiment slid to 95.4 in February from an 11-year high of 98.1 in January. "It is hard not to attribute the small February decline to the temporary impact of the harsh weather," said Richard Curtin, chief economist of the surveys. Consumer confidence sank dramatically in the hard-hit Northeast and Midwest and rose in the South. Overall, consumers' assessment of current economic activity and their expectations for the future both fell. Earlier this week, the Conference Board, a business research group, said that its consumer confidence index fell a bit this month but remained at the highest levels since before the Great Recession began in late 2007. A big drop in gasoline prices — which left money in consumers' pockets and contributed to their improving outlook — has reversed in recent weeks: Gasoline prices have risen to an average $2.37 a gallon nationwide from $2.04 a gallon a month ago, according to AAA. "Consumers remain sensitive to any hint of decreased spending power, " Stone McCarthy Research Associates noted in a report, "and the rise in gasoline prices starting in February after seven months of declines was unwelcome." Still, it noted that confidence "levels remain among the strongest since before the financial crisis and recession."
Written on 02/27/2015, 8:28 am by CANDICE CHOI, AP Food Industry Writer
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Written on 02/27/2015, 7:36 am by CHRISTINE ARMARIO, Associated Press
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Written on 02/26/2015, 1:27 pm by 
The Associated Press
U.S. stock indexes are drifting mostly lower, pulling the Dow Jones industrial average slightly below its latest all-time high. The Dow fell 10 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 18,214 Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell three points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,110. The Nasdaq composite rose 20 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,987. Energy stocks fell more than the rest of the market as the price of oil plunged again. Chevron and Exxon Mobil were among the biggest decliners in the Dow. Sears fell 5 percent after the company reported its fourth straight year of falling profit and revenue. Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.03 percent from 1.97 percent late Wednesday.
Written on 02/26/2015, 12:55 pm by KRISTIN J. BENDER, Associated Press
(AP) — Two stolen Italian books dating to the 17th century that were discovered in the San Francisco Bay Area and many other plundered ancient artifacts will be returned to their country of origin, federal officials say. The books, "Stirpium Historiae" and "Rariorm Plantarum Historia Anno 1601," were taken from Italy's Historical National Library of Agriculture and sold to an antiquities dealer in Italy, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement. The Bay Area buyer willingly surrendered the books to investigators. ICE's Homeland Security Investigations unit will return other cultural treasures to the Italian government this week, including a 17th century cannon, 5th century Greek pottery and items dating to 300-460 B.C. The items were stolen in Italy and smuggled into the U.S. over the last several years. Their value was not released. "The cultural and symbolic worth of these Italian treasures far surpasses any monetary value to the Italians," Tatum King, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in San Francisco said in the statement. Agents also recovered four stolen artifacts reported missing in July 2012. Three Roman frescos dating to 63-79 A.D. and a piece of dog-figure pottery from the 4th century B.C. that were illegally pilfered from Pompeii were recovered from a private art collection in San Diego and will be returned to Italy. Eleven investigations nationwide led to the recovery of the antiquities. U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Rome's force for combatting art and antiquities crimes helped Homeland Security Investigations officials in New York, Boston, Baltimore, Miami, San Diego and San Francisco. "This repatriation underscores the strong level of judicial cooperation between the U.S. and Italy, and the great attention that both countries assign to the protection of cultural heritage," said Claudio Bisogniero, Italy's ambassador to the U.S. The U.S. government has returned more than 7,200 artifacts to 30 countries since 2007, including paintings from France, Germany, Poland and Austria; 15th to 18th century manuscripts from Italy and Peru; and items from China, Cambodia and Iraq, the statement says.
Written on 02/26/2015, 12:46 pm by MARTHA MENDOZA, AP National Writer
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Written on 02/26/2015, 12:44 pm by 
ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press
(AP) — Internet activists declared victory over the nation's big cable companies Thursday, after the Federal Communications Commission voted to impose the toughest rules yet on broadband providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T to prevent them from creating paid fast lanes and slowing or blocking web traffic. The 3-2 vote ushered in a new era of government oversight for an industry that has seen relatively little. It represents the biggest regulatory shake-up to telecommunications providers in almost two decades. The new rules require that any company providing a broadband connection to your home or phone must act in the "public interest" and refrain from using "unjust or unreasonable" business practices. The goal is to prevent providers from striking deals with content providers like Google, Netflix or Twitter to move their data faster. 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On-demand video began hogging bandwidth, and evidence surfaced that some providers were manipulating traffic without telling consumers. By 2010, the FCC enacted open Internet rules, but the agency's legal approach was eventually struck down in the courts. The vote Thursday was intended by Wheeler to erase any legal ambiguity by no longer classifying the Internet as an "information service" but a "telecommunications service" subject to Title II of the 1934 Communications Act. That would dramatically expand regulators' power over the industry and hold broadband providers to the higher standard of operating in the public interest. "Despite the cable industry's best efforts to undermine our cause, we secured an open Internet, free from gatekeepers and corporate monopolies. We have an Internet for the people," said David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress, a progressive Internet activism group. Industry officials and congressional Republicans fought bitterly to stave off the new regulations, which they said constitutes dangerous overreach and would eventually raise costs for consumers. The broadband industry was expected to sue. "With years of uncertainty and unintended consequences ahead of us, it falls to Congress to step in," said Michael Powell, head of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association. GOP lawmakers said they would push for legislation, although it was unlikely Obama would sign such a bill. "Only action by Congress can fix the damage and uncertainty this FCC order has inflicted on the Internet," Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said in a statement. Complicating the issue is that not every broadband provider agrees on what should be done. Sprint, for example, has said it doesn't think the new regulations would hurt investment. AT&T, however, supports the less stringent rules previously in place by the FCC but which were struck down in court. On Thursday, a senior company official said the FCC had gone too far and could cause irreversible harm. "Does anyone really think Washington needs yet another partisan fight? Particularly a fight around the Internet, one of the greatest engines of economic growth, investment, and innovation in history?" said Jim Cicconi, AT&T's senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs. The FCC says it won't apply some sections of Title II, including price controls. That means rates charged to customers for Internet access won't be subject to preapproval. But the law allows the government to investigate if consumers complain that costs are unfair. Also at stake Thursday was Obama's goal of helping local governments build their own fast, cheap broadband. Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina, have filed petitions with the agency to help override state laws that restrict them from expanding their broadband service to neighboring towns. The FCC was considered likely to approve these petitions, which could set a precedent for other communities that want to do the same. Nineteen states place restrictions on municipal broadband networks, many with laws encouraged by cable and telephone companies. Advocates of those laws say they are designed to protect taxpayers from municipal projects that are expensive, can fail or may be unnecessary.

Latest State News

Written on 02/27/2015, 7:55 am by Associated Press
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Written on 02/26/2015, 12:55 pm by KRISTIN J. BENDER, Associated Press
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Written on 02/26/2015, 12:46 pm by MARTHA MENDOZA, AP National Writer
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Written on 02/27/2015, 8:26 am by TOM KRISHER, AP Auto Writer
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