- - Thursday, September 20, 2012

NEW YORK

NEW YORK — A court-appointed trustee in New York has mailed out $2.5 billion in checks to victims of Bernard Madoff’s massive fraud.

Irving Picard announced the distribution Thursday. He said it means that he’s so far satisfied nearly half of all valid claims made by the disgraced financier’s burned clients.

Mr. Picard has estimated that thousands of investors lost $17.3 billion in the decades-long fraud. He says he’s recovered about $9.1 billion since he was appointed following Madoff’s arrest in 2008.

Madoff pleaded guilty in 2009 to charges that he orchestrated the largest Ponzi scheme in history. He’s serving a 150-year prison term.

CALIFORNIA

Business groups protest state’s carbon market

SACRAMENTO — Dozens of people, some wearing red “Save Our Jobs” T-shirts, packed a public meeting to testify that a key component of the state’s landmark greenhouse gas emissions law will impose enormous costs on them and consumers.

Manufacturers, oil refiners and workers Thursday appeared before the California Air Resources Board to protest the state’s pending cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions.

They say the program’s fees amount to a $1 billion tax increase per year.

The California Chamber of Commerce and others wrote Gov. Jerry Brown urging him to halt the start of the program, the central element of California’s 2006 climate-change law, AB32.

Gino DiCaro, a California Manufacturers and Technology Association spokesman, said some 700 business have signed a letter to the board asking them to reconsider the costs of the program.

GERMANY

Employment commissioner calls for German pay hikes

BERLIN — European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Laszlo Andor called for an increase in German salaries to help energize the EU’s struggling economy.

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