Bus strike on hold as talks continue

PHOENIX - Continuing negotiations at least temporarily averted a possible bus strike in some of Phoenix's southeastern suburbs. A work stoppage would affect bus service in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Tempe as well as routes into Phoenix and Scottsdale.


States join review of airlines' merger

DALLAS - The attorney general of Texas and counterparts in 18 other states joined a U.S. Justice Department review of the proposed merger between American Airlines and Tempe-based US Airways.

It's not unusual for states to join a federal merger review, in order to look out for their own interests and take part in meetings and depositions conducted by the Justice Department. The states and the airlines signed a confidentiality agreement covering the review.

Much of the scrutiny of the deal has focused on Reagan National Airport just outside Washington, D.C. Members of Congress have raised concern that if combined, American and US Airways would control about 70 percent of the takeoff and landing slots, but the airlines have fought any suggestion that they should be forced to sell some slots to boost competition.

US Airways CEO Doug Parker told a Senate panel last week that if the combined airline loses slots at Reagan, it will cut flights between the capital and smaller cities.

Tribune Co. to buy 19 TV stations

CHICAGO - Tribune Co. said Monday that it reached a deal to buy Local TV Holdings LLC's 19 TV stations for $2.73 billion in cash, significantly boosting its television business as it looks to sell its newspaper operations.

Tribune owns 23 TV stations and cable network WGN America, along with the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers.

The deal will give it 42 stations, making the Chicago-based company one of the nation's top TV station owners. Tribune said it will be the No. 1 commercial TV station group in the country based on its broadcast reach into more than 50 million homes.

US manufacturing, construction jump

In U.S. economic reports:

• Manufacturing activity grew in June behind a pickup in new orders, exports and production. The Institute for Supply Management said its index of factory activity increased to 50.9 in June. That's up from 49 in May, which was the lowest reading in four years.

A reading above 50 suggests growth, while those below indicate contraction.

• Spending on residential housing rose in May to the highest level in 4 1/2 years, the Commerce Department said. Construction spending rose 0.5 percent in May compared with April's 0.1 percent increase. That sent overall construction spending higher despite a big drop in nonresidential activity.

The Associated Press