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Serbia, S.Europe Exit rock festival ends

Belgrade -- About 150,000 fans listened to some 500 performers during four days of the 10th Exit music festival that ended early Monday in Novi Sad, Serbia.

Britain's Prodigy was the last to perform on the Exit's main stage in the 17th century Petrovaradin Fortress overlooking the Danube River, 45 miles north of Belgrade, Vojvodina's RTV reported.

Among the performers were Madness, Kraftwerk, Lily Allen and DJ Moby.

The Exit music festival began in 2000, a symbol for young enthusiasts seeking an exit from the authoritarian regime of the late Serb President Slobodan Milosevic.

Ten years later, music experts say, the Novi Sad Exit festival is the biggest event of its kind in southeastern Europe.

Book author says Jacko was gay

Los Angeles -- The author of a new book about Michael Jackson claims he interviewed two of the late U.S. pop star's alleged male lovers.

Jackson, who was married to and divorced from Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe, died June 25 of cardiac arrest after a suspected prescription drug overdose. He was 50.

Although there has been much speculation about Jackson's sexuality throughout his life, the singer always maintained he was heterosexual.

The New York Post quoted investigative journalist Ian Halperin as saying in his book "Unmasked: The Final Years of Michael Jackson" that "virtually everybody I've interviewed about Jackson has told me: He's gay."

Markets mixed Monday morning

New York -- U.S. markets were mixed Monday morning with the corporate reporting season headed into its second week.

Reports due this week include Intel, Johnson & Johnson and New York bank Goldman Sachs.

In midmorning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 19.87 points, or 0.24 percent, to 8,166.39. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 0.26 percent, 2.29 points, to 881.42. The Nasdaq composite index lost 7.03 points, 0.4 percent, to 1,749.00.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bond was unchanged, yielding 3.297 percent.

The euro fell to $1.3948, compared to Friday's $1.3949. Against the Japanese yen, the dollar fell to 92.34 yen, compared to Friday's 92.42 yen.

NASA awards solar sensor contract

Washington -- The U.S. space agency says it has awarded a contract to the University of Colorado at Boulder for a "total and spectral solar irradiance sensor."

The approximately $42 million contract is for a key instrument for the future National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System, to be known as NPOESS.

NASA said the university's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics will be responsible for, among other things, the design, engineering analyses, hardware and software development, algorithm development, testing and integration of the instrument with the NPOESS spacecraft.

Nabucco pipeline finds backers

Istanbul -- Russia's hold on the European natural gas market is being challenged by a consortium of interests intent on building a pipeline from Turkey to central Europe.

Officials from six countries are meeting in Turkey to sign an agreement to construct a pipeline that would run from Turkey to Austria, crossing through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, CNN reported Monday.

The $11 billion project called Nabucco has U.S. support and would challenge the proposed South Stream pipeline Russia intends to build under the Black Sea connecting Russia with Italy.

The Nabucco pipeline would rely on natural gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz 2 field, CNN said. Officials said natural gas from Turkmenistan and Iraq may also find its way through the pipeline.

Economic Outlook: Emerging trends

New York -- Asian markets were sharply lower Monday, on a day marked by merger news in the airline and food industries in China and Japan.

China Eastern Airlines said it was prepared to purchase Shanghai Airlines in a share swap worth $1.3 billion, The New York Times reported. In Japan, Suntory Holdings said it was in talks to merge with Kirin Holdings, which would form a giant food group by any measure. Last year, the two companies combined to sell $41 billion worth of food and beverages.

Ryan Reynolds lands role in 'Green Lantern'

Los Angeles, July 12: After a flurry of rumors and speculation, Ryan Reynolds has won a three way race to play the coveted role in "Green Lantern," the Warner Bros. live-action movie based on the DC Comics hero.

Crude oil prices head lower

New York -- Crude oil prices fell to nearly $59 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Monday as a slide in prices headed into its fifth week.

Crude oil prices lost 61 cents from Friday, dropping to $59.28 per barrel.

Heating oil prices lost 0.026 cents to $1.5075 per gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline lost 0.0155 cents to $1.635 per gallon. Natural gas prices dropped 0.118 cents to $3.255 per million British thermal units.

At the pump, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $2.529 Monday, down from Sunday's $2.537 a gallon, AAA said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International.

Goldman Sachs leads bank rebound

New York -- Second quarter success at New York bank Goldman Sachs may prompt other institutions to ramp up their tolerance for risk-taking, an industry analyst said.

Richard Bookstaber, author of "A Demon of Our Own Design: Markets, Hedge Funds, and the Perils of Financial Innovation," told The New York Times Monday that "someone takes risks and makes money -- maybe they were smart, maybe they were lucky. But then everyone else feels like they need to take the same risks."

Analysts said risk-taking may have paid off for Goldman Sachs, which returned its portion of government bailout funds last month.

'Idol' host Ryan Seacrest signs record deal, triples his salary

Los Angeles, July 13:“American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest has signed a new contract extension, which earns him a huge raise and secures his availability as host of the popular talent show through 2012, according to 19 Entertainment, co-producer of the show.