- - Sunday, November 14, 2010

ALASKA

GOP Senate hopeful awaits military vote

JUNEAU | GOP nominee Joe Miller said he won’t spend a lot of time, energy and effort fighting over ballots in Alaska’s undecided U.S. Senate race if the math doesn’t add up in his favor.

But Mr. Miller said Saturday that he won’t make any announcements until after absentee ballots arrive next week from military voters - a constituency the Army veteran thinks could go heavily for him.

He said Saturday that it’s inappropriate to call the race and suggest the military vote doesn’t matter.

Ballot counters have gone through 88 percent of precincts. Write-in votes cast by absentee, those that were questioned and early votes must still be tallied.

But the campaign of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, is confident that she will win re-election if the trend holds.

POSTAL SERVICE

Red ink last year: $8.5 billion

The U.S. Postal Service said Friday that it lost $8.5 billion last year despite deep cuts of more than 100,000 jobs and other reductions in recent years.

The Postal Service had estimated that it would lose $6 billion to $7 billion, but a sharp decline in mail took a toll. Increased use of the Internet and the recession, which cut advertising and other business mail, meant less money for the agency.

For the year that ended Sept. 30, the Postal Service had income of $67.1 billion, down $1 billion from the previous year. Expenses totaled $70 billion, a decline of about $400 million. The Postal Service also was required to make a $5.5 billion payment for future retiree health care benefits.

“Over the last two years, the Postal Service realized more than $9 billion in cost savings, primarily by eliminating about 105,000 full-time equivalent positions - more than any other organization, anywhere,” Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett said in a statement. “We will continue our relentless efforts to innovate and improve efficiency. However, the need for changes to legislation, regulations and labor contracts has never been more obvious.”

The Postal Service is in contract negotiations with two of its unions, with two more scheduled to be negotiated next year.

SUPREME COURT

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