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Porsche increases stake in VW

Automaker Porsche said Sunday it had boosted its stake in Volkswagen AG to 42.6 percent as part of its goal to take a majority hold in Europe's biggest car maker before the end of the year.

Porsche Automobil Holding SE was already Volkswagen's biggest shareholder, with just over 35 percent, and said this month that its stake had increased, without giving an exact figure.

Porsche said it wanted to announce its holding now, given the ongoing turbulence on financial markets. It also said it held an additional 31.5 percent in cash-settled options, which would give it indirect control of 74.1 percent of VW shares.

“The goal remains, as long as the financial conditions are right, to increase (the stake) to 75 percent in 2009 and clear the way for a controlling stake,” the Stuttgart-based company said.

As part of that goal, Porsche said it was sticking to plans to lift its VW stake above the 50 percent mark before the year's end. Associated Press

Florida Riviera Beach

A 70-year-old woman was injured and three dogs were killed after a swarm of bees terrorized a neighborhood in South Florida.

Authorities say crews removed 50 pounds of honeycomb from the side of a home in Palm Beach County after Friday's attack. The hive has been contained.

The bees swarmed Nancy Hill and her two dogs. Hill was treated at a hospital, but the dogs died. The bees also attacked two other dogs in the neighborhood. One of those died and the other was injured.

Lab tests should determine whether the bees were Africanized bees, also known as killer bees. Their stings are no more potent than an ordinary bee's, but they are far more aggressive and attack in swarms. Associated Press

Washington

Deliberations in Alaska Senator Ted Stevens' criminal trial will start anew today with an alternate replacing a juror whose father died, the judge decided. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan struck the juror from the panel during a Sunday hearing in Washington. The juror traveled to California on Oct. 24 to be with her family, and the judge said she hadn't responded to calls from the court seeking to determine when she could resume deliberations.

The judge said that before the female alternate joins the jury today, she will be questioned on whether any factor has arisen since she was dismissed last week to prevent her from deciding the case fairly. Bloomberg

Iraq Baghdad

Iraq's Cabinet delayed a decision Sunday on the draft security agreement that would keep American troops there for three more years, and one prominent lawmaker suggested some parties may be stalling until after the U.S. election on Nov. 4. The Bush administration has been hoping for quick agreement by the Iraqis on the pact, which must be approved by parliament before the U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year. Associated Press

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