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Last Update on June 29, 2015 17:11 GMT

PENDING HOME SALES

WASHINGTON (AP) -- More Americans signed contracts to purchase homes in May, as pending sales climbed to their highest level in more than nine years.

The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 0.9 percent to 112.6 last month. The index has increased 10.4 percent over the past 12 months, putting it just below the April 2006 level -- which was more than a year before the housing bust triggered the Great Recession.

The steady job growth coupled with low but rising mortgage rates have fueled the purchases. Pending sales increased in the Northeast and West last month, while slipping in the Midwest and South.

Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases. A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a contract and a completed sale.

GREECE-BAILOUT

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- The president of Cyprus has sent a letter to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (TSEE'-prahs) saying he supports his request for an extension of a few days to the country's bailout.

The bailout expires tomorrow, and Tsipras asked for it to be extended so Greece can hold a referendum on creditor reform demands on Sunday.

Without a deal to extend the bailout program, Greece will lose access to the remaining 7.2 billion euros ($8.1 billion) of rescue loans, and is unlikely to be able to meet a 1.6 billion-euro debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund due the same day.

The accelerating crisis has thrown into question Greece's financial future and continued membership in the 19-nation shared euro currency -- and even the 28-country European Union.

BOND INSURERS-SECTOR SNAP

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of bond insurers tumbled today after Puerto Rico's governor said the U.S. territory had little hope of paying its $72 billion debt.

Puerto Rico's bonds are popular with U.S. mutual funds because they are tax-free, but hedge funds and distressed-debt buyers began stepping in to buy up debt as the island's economy worsened and its credit rating dropped.

Puerto Rico's constitution dictates that the debt has to be paid before any other financial obligation is met.

A spokesman says Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla is hoping to defer debt payments while negotiating with creditors.

GE-SALE

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) -- General Electric is selling its U.S., Mexico, Australia and New Zealand fleet businesses to Element Financial Corp. for $6.9 billion.

GE Capital Fleet Services provides commercial car and truck financing and fleet-management services. GE recently announced it would sell most of GE Capital over the next two years for about $26.5 billion.

The U.S. and Mexico deal is expected to close in the third quarter, while the Australia and New Zealand transaction is targeted to close in the fourth quarter.

GE also says it has a memorandum of understanding for the possible sale of its European fleet businesses to BNP Paribas subsidiary Arval. If approved, the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

SUPREME COURT-GOOGLE-ORACLE-LEGAL

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court is staying out of a long-running legal battle between technology giants Oracle and Google over copyright protection for a computer program that powers most of the world's smartphones and computer tablets.

The justices say they won't review an appeals court ruling that said software maker Oracle Corp. could copyright portions of the Java programming platform that Google used to build its popular Android software for mobile devices.

Oracle is seeking roughly $1 billion in damages for claims that Google stole some of the Java technology that Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems.

A federal district court ruled in 2012 that federal copyright laws didn't cover the program. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed, saying it was copyright protected.

SUPREME COURT-GULF OIL SPILL

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The Supreme Court will not hear appeals from BP and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. over Clean Water Act fines for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The justices today let stand a lower court ruling that said the owners of the blown-out Macondo well could not avoid federal fines for the spill by blaming another company's failed equipment.

The companies had argued that the oil had not leaked from the well itself, but from the broken underwater pipe that connected the well to the rig owned by Transocean Ltd. That riser was ripped apart when the burning rig sank. The companies argued that the rig's owners should be the only companies to pay.

A district judge and a federal appeals court rejected that argument.

AIRBNB-DISASTER RESPONSE PROGRAM

NEW YORK (AP) -- Airbnb is teaming up with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to strengthen its program that lets victims of hurricanes, earthquakes and other disasters stay at host homes for free.

The online home rental service is sending 100,000 hosts in Florida, Louisiana and other states tips from FEMA's Ready campaign on how to prepare for hurricane season. During a disaster, FEMA will also provide Airbnb with real-time information so that the company can better figure out where its help is needed. For example, Airbnb can email hosts in specific neighborhoods to let them know shelter is needed in that area. Hosts can then go to the Airbnb's site or app and volunteer to take in victims or rescue workers for free.

SYSCO-US FOODS

NEW YORK (AP) -- Sysco is scrapping its proposed $3.5 billion buyout of US Foods. The decision comes following a Federal Trade Commission legal victory that temporarily blocked the deal to combine the two food-service companies.

The FTC opposed the deal, saying it would reduce competition by putting 75 percent of the national market for suppliers to restaurants and other food-service operations under the control of one company. The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., granted the halt on Tuesday.

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Business News

US pending home sales climb to 9-year high

WASHINGTON (AP) -- More Americans signed contracts to purchase homes in May, as pending sales climbed to their highest level in more than nine years.

Consumer Info

   WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- (Marketwired) -- 03/21/14 --
 Companies that pride themselves on being eco-friendly may have conflicted
 ideas between marketing with ad specialties and maintaining their green
 reputation. ...

Entertainment News

BOX OFFICE

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Dinosaurs are anything but extinct, at your local multiplex.

Get This

LENA DUNHAM WANTS PROPOSAL

NEW YORK (AP) -- "Girls" star Lena Dunham wants to be a married lady.

Science/Tech News

IN THE NEWS: SPACE STATION-STUDENTS

UNDATED (AP) -- Three high school students were going to get the science lesson of a lifetime by flying their experiment in space.

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