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Federal sick-leave bill would grant up to seven days annually

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., on Monday introduced a federal bill that would require workers to receive sick leave.

The bill has 101 sponsors, including Wisconsin Democratic representatives Tammy Baldwin and Gwen Moore.

The bill requires companies with 15 or more workers to let workers earn up to seven paid sick days per year.

Milwaukee, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., are the only local governments to have approved sick-leave laws. The city of Milwaukee’s law is on hold pending a decision from a Milwaukee County Circuit Court on a lawsuit filed by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

Northstar rail line project proposal leads to lawmaker posturing

Washington (AP) — The long-awaited Northstar commuter rail line could get a boost from a pending federal transportation package, but it’s causing squabbling among Minnesota members of Congress.

Democratic Rep. Jim Oberstar is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. On Friday, he submitted $112.6 million in Minnesota projects but did not include a proposal that would extend the Northstar project.

Oberstar has been the program’s leading champion but said he will support money for the project when Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann does.

Her district includes much of the rail line, but she has been an outspoken critic against earmark spending.

The rail line is slated to run from Minneapolis to Big Lake. Backers want it extended 30 miles to St. Cloud.

Workers rally in protest of Chrysler plans to shut Kenosha plant

Kenosha (AP) — Passing motorists honked horns in solidarity with auto workers, retirees and others rallying outside the idled Chrysler engine plant in Kenosha on Monday.

Speakers blasted the automaker for its plan to close the Kenosha plant by the end of 2010 as part of bankruptcy reorganization, while expanding operations in Mexico, where a new plant is to produce the Phoenix V-6 engine.

Dubai to get own Bellagio and MGM Grand hotels

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A Dubai developer says it plans to build Mideast outposts of two Las Vegas icons, the Bellagio and MGM Grand, even as the hotels’ parent MGM Mirage struggles under a crippling debt load.

Pearl Dubai said in a joint statement with MGM Mirage on Tuesday that it will develop the properties and a 30-suite Skylofts hotel at the Dubai Pearl, a development near the base of the manmade Palm Jumeirah island.

Pearl Dubai said it will pay for and own the three hotels, which will be managed by a division of MGM Mirage.
Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Dubai hotels will differ from their Vegas counterparts in one respect though: gambling is banned in the Islamic city-state.

China allows two banks in Hong Kong to sell yuan bonds

Hong Kong (AP) — Two major banks outside mainland China said Tuesday they are the first foreign companies granted approval to sell bonds in Chinese yuan — a step toward making it an international currency.

The banks — London-based HSBC Holdings and Hong Kong-based Bank of East Asia — said their subsidiaries in mainland China have been given permission by regulators to start issuing yuan-denominated bonds in Hong Kong.

Other details, including the amounts and timing of the offerings, weren’t released.

It marks the first time firms based outside the mainland have been given the OK to sell such debt securities in Hong Kong, a move that furthers Beijing’s goal of promoting the yuan as an alternative to the U.S. dollar for international trade and reserves.

For banks it means more yuan to lend out and pay for their own operations on the mainland; for Hong Kong it means an expanded role as a center for offshore yuan financing and trade.

Indian stocks rise after election rally as infrastructure spending looms

Mumbai, India (AP) — India’s benchmark Sensex index extended its postelection rally Tuesday, closing up 0.12 percent in a day of volatile trade on hopes that the incoming government would quickly usher in pro-growth reforms.

The Sensex index rose 17.82 points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 14,302.03, after skyrocketing an unprecedented 17.3 percent in just seconds of trading Monday, forcing a historic halt to trading.

Construction firms continued their advance Tuesday on expectations that the new government would boost infrastructure spending. Larsen & Toubro Ltd. gained 8.82 percent, to 1,346.25 rupees a share.

Real estate stocks, which have been hammered over the last year, rose as investors bet the incoming government would fast implement another stimulus package and enact long-delayed financial sector reforms to spur the flagging economy.

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