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Sat., Jan. 8, 2011, midnight

Electric Ford Focus on sale this year

DETROIT – Ford Motor Co. said Friday that an electric version of its Ford Focus sedan will go on sale in North America by the end of this year.

Ford introduced the electric Focus at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The car is expected to go up to 100 miles on an electric charge.

The automaker says the Focus can be fully charged in three to four hours using a 240-volt outlet. That’s half the time it takes to charge the Nissan Leaf, a competitor that went on sale last month.

Ford also said its fuel efficiency numbers will be competitive with the Leaf.

Associated Press

Former Madoff aide free on house arrest

NEW YORK – The longtime secretary of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff made bail on Friday and will await her New York trial on fraud charges while under house arrest.

Annette Bongiorno, 62, of Boca Raton, Fla., was to be released later in the day and taken to her second home in Manhasset, Long Island. She had been jailed in Manhattan after failing to post $5 million bail.

Prosecutors had sought to convince U.S. District Judge Taylor Swain that Bongiorno should stay locked up because she could use millions of dollars – alleged proceeds of Madoff’s epic fraud – to flee.

But after learning that the government had moved to freeze $7.6 million in Bongiorno’s assets, Swain agreed to lower the bail to $3 million.

Authorities allege Bongiorno helped Madoff cover up a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that made her wealthy as it wiped out the life savings of thousands of clients.

Associated Press

Idaho jobless rate rises to 9.5 percent

BOISE – The Idaho Department of Labor says the state’s December unemployment rate was higher than the national average for the first time in nearly a decade.

Idaho’s projected seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December rose for the fifth straight month to 9.5 percent, leaving 71,900 workers without jobs.

Nationally, the unemployment rate dropped 0.4 points to 9.4 percent for December.

Based on current data, Idaho’s average unemployment rate for 2010 was a record 9.2 percent, breaking the previous record of 9 percent set in 1982.

December unemployment figures for Idaho counties will be released later.

Associated Press


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