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Oct 3, 2011, 1:45 a.m.

Stock futures signal more losses for equities

(Reuters) Stock index futures pointed to a weaker open on Wall Street on Monday after steep declines in the previous session, with futures for the S&P 500, for the Dow Jones and for the Nasdaq 100 down 0.6-0.9 percent. * The Institute for Supply Management releases at 1400 GMT its September manufacturing index. Economists expect a reading of 50.5 versus 50.6 in August.

Special Report: A "great haircut" to kick-start growth

NEW YORK (Reuters) - More than three years after the financial crisis struck, the economy remains stuck in a consumer debt trap. It's a situation that could take years to correct itself. That's why some economists are calling for a radical step: massive debt relief. Federal policy makers, they suggest, should broker what amounts to an out-of-court settlement between institutional bond investors, banks and consumer advocates - essentially, a "great haircut" to jumpstart the economy.

Greece to miss deficit targets despite austerity

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece will miss a deficit target set just months ago in a massive bailout package, according to government draft budget figures released on Sunday, showing that drastic steps taken to avert bankruptcy may not be enough. The dire forecasts came while inspectors from the International Monetary Fund, EU and European Central Bank, known as the troika, were in Athens scouring the country's books to decide whether to approve a loan tranche. Without that installment, Greece would run out of cash as soon as this month.

Analysis: Europe's leaders weakened when bold action needed

PARIS (Reuters) - Just when Europe needs strong leadership to overcome its sovereign debt crisis, its pivotal leaders, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, have both been weakened at home. The political fates of the German chancellor and the French president may hinge on their handling of the crisis that began in Greece and threatens to overwhelm the 17-nation euro area.

Christie White House bid talk spurs obesity debate

(Reuters) Speculation that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will enter the presidential race has led to a feverish debate about the possibility of having the fattest man in the White House since the corpulent William Howard Taft squeezed behind the big desk in the Oval Office. Of course Taft, who reportedly weighed nearly 340 pounds during his presidency, ran for the highest office in 1908 when there wasn't the same focus on image and no need to worry about how a candidate looked on television.

Jittery Amanda Knox awaits verdict in murder trial

PERUGIA, Italy (Reuters) - American Amanda Knox will tell an Italian court she did not murder her British roommate during a frenzied sex game that turned violent when she makes her final plea to judges on Monday to overturn her 26-year jail sentence. Nearly four years after 21-year-old Meredith Kercher's half-naked body was found in a pool of blood in Perugia, Knox's closely-watched appeals trial is reaching its climax.

Tim Cook's time to shine with new Apple iPhone

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Tim Cook finally gets his chance to stride out from under Steve Jobs' shadow, and he could not have picked a better time or device to mark his unofficial debut as Apple Inc's CEO. The latest generation of the iPhone -- still the smartphone industry's gold standard after four years -- is expected to see the light of day this Tuesday, just in time for the holidays.

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