Houston -- Taxpayers in Texas may have to pony up about half of the tab for wind damage caused by Hurricane Ike, state officials said.
Currently, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association has $2.1 billion available to pay for the storm's wind damage claims, about half of what it may need, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday.
"Rates are going to go up," state Rep. Craig Eiland said. "But, the immediate need is making sure people have the opportunity to file their claims."
The TWIA, created to help make windstorm insurance more affordable, has 142,566 policies and $42 billion in exposure, the newspaper reported. The bill expected from claims associated with Hurricane Ike could reach $4.2 billion, the Chronicle said.
Dunfermline, Scotland -- Chris Morrisonof Dunfermline, Scotland, noticed his Labrador retriever rattled when he walked, but had no idea the dog had swallowed 13 golf balls.
"I felt his stomach and heard them rattling around," said Morrison, who told The Daily Telegraph he regularly takes 5-year-old Oscar for a stroll on a golf course near his home. The black lab, he said, usually snoops around the ninth and 12th fairways for lost balls.
"The vet hadn't seen anything like it -- it was bizarre. I thought he might have had a couple in there, but not 13. He is a black Lab, so he is a fair size -- but to swallow 13 is quite amazing."
The balls were removed two weeks ago in an hour-long operation.
"It was like a magic trick," said veterinarian Bob Hesketh of nearby Rosyth.
Washington-- An accounting change by U.S. actuaries could dramatically increase contributions needed to cover the cost of public employees' pension funds, analysts said.
The American Academy of Actuaries is considering new standards that would require local governments to provide two estimates of returns on investments made on behalf of public employee pension funds, The Washington Post reported Friday.
Most municipalities estimate returns on investments at 8 percent, about twice the amount federal regulations permit for private firms, the Post reported.
But, the estimate may be too high. The number of public pension budgets considered underfunded jumped fivefold to 40 percent in 2006, compared with 2000, the Government Accountability Office reported.
With the real estate market in the doldrums and prices falling, many homeowners want to put a lid on their property tax assessments. Yet struggling local governments aren't in any hurry to mark down assessed values, especially in an area hit hard by the downturn. If you're in sticker shock over your recent assessment, here's a quick lesson on what to do about it.
L'alpe D’Huez, France -- Carlos Sastre won the 17th stage of the Tour de France by more than 2 minutes Wednesday, earning his first stage win in five years and the overall tour lead.
Sastre last won a tour stage in 2003, but led Wednesday's race by healthy margins over the final 6 miles of the 126.3-mile run from Embrun to L'Alpe-d'Huez.
The run included three uncharacterized climbs, including one at L'Alpe d'Huez in the final 9 miles where Sastre was able to take control.
He was timed in 6 hours, 7 minutes, 58 seconds, which was 2:03 ahead of runner-up Samuel Sanchez and Andy Schleck, and 2:13 ahead of Alejandro Valverde and Frank Schleck.
Sastre began the day 48 seconds behind Frank Schleck, his Team CSC Savxo Bank teammate, in the overall standings. The stage win Wednesday made Sastre the seventh rider this year to wear the overall leader's yellow jersey.
Beijing -- When it comes to U.S. Olympic basketball, it is no longer about extending a streak.
It is now all about pride. And perhaps some revenge.
The field for this year's Olympic men's basketball tournament contains the team that won the gold medal four years ago. That would be Argentina.
It also includes the current world champion, which would be Spain. Also present will be the team that eliminated the United States from the gold medal running in the 2006 world championship tournament. That would be Greece.
Finally, the team that won the 2002 world championships when they were held in the United States will be a part of the action in Beijing. That team is Serbia.
Yes, the Americans will be present as well. But until proven otherwise, Team USA has become just another hopeful among those fighting for Olympic supremacy.
A dividend is�a portion of a company's earnings that the firm pays directly to its shareholders. If The Tattoo Advertising Co. (Ticker: YOWCH) is earning roughly $4 in profit per share each year, it might decide to issue $1�per share annually to shareholders, then use the rest of the money to help build the business. If so, it will probably pay out $0.25 per share every three months.
Disclaimer: The views and investment tips expressed by investment experts on themoneytimes.com are their own, and not that of the website or its management. TheMoneyTimes advises users to check with certified experts before taking any investment decision.