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BIDEN: US-CHINA TIES RELY ON TRUST, GOOD MOTIVES

Wednesday, 04 December 2013 06:51 Published in National News

BEIJING (AP) — Emerging from a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that U.S.-China relations depend on trust and a positive notion of each other's motives. Neither leader made public mention of a major clash over disputed airspace that's pitted China against the U.S. and its Asian allies.

Appearing somber and subdued, Biden said the relationship between the two major powers will significantly affect the course of the 21st century. If the U.S. and China can get that relationship right, the possibilities are limitless, Biden said as reporters were allowed in briefly at the conclusion of the meeting in Beijing.

"Complex relationships require sustained, high-level engagement, and that's why I'm here," Biden said after a meeting than ran more than an hour longer than scheduled. Biden and Xi had a second, expanded meeting and a working dinner planned for later Wednesday.

Absent from Biden's comments was any discussion of U.S. concerns over China's new air defense zone. In Tokyo a day earlier, Biden pledged to raise those concerns "with great specificity" with Xi and other Chinese leaders, adding that China's move was deeply concerning.

"This action has raised regional tensions and increased the risk of accidents and miscalculation," Biden said Tuesday after meeting with Japanese President Shinzo Abe, whose government has been on edge for the past two weeks since China unilaterally asserted its authority over airspace above tiny islands that China and Japan both claim.

For his part, Xi said the relationship between the U.S. and China had gotten off to a good start this year "and has generally maintained a momentum of positive development." But he said the situation in the region and around the world is changing, with more pronounced challenges and regional hotspots that keep cropping up.

"The world as a whole is not tranquil," Xi said through a translator, adding that the U.S. and China shoulder important responsibilities for upholding peace. "To strengthen dialogue and cooperation is the only right choice facing both of our countries."

Added Biden, "The way I was raised was to believe that change presents opportunity."

TOFFOLI LEAD KINGS OVER BLUES 3-2

Tuesday, 03 December 2013 10:57 Published in Sports

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Rookie Tyler Toffoli scored two goals, Jarret Stoll also tallied and Ben Scrivens made 25 saves for the Los Angeles Kings in a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.

Scrivens, who has performed brilliantly in place of the injured Jonathan Quick, was heading toward his fourth shutout of the season when Kevin Shattenkirk and Vladimir Tarasenko scored in the final 5:54. Scrivens has given up fewer than three goals in each of his last 10 starts and has posted two shutouts since Quick went on injured reserve with a Grade Two groin strain on Nov. 12 at Buffalo.

Los Angeles has allowed fewer than three goals in a franchise-record 13 consecutive games. The streak includes a pair of 3-2 shootout losses to Buffalo and San Jose.

Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves for the Blues, who have lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time this season following their 6-3 defeat at San Jose on Friday. Halak had allowed just five goals in his previous five starts after getting pulled with a 3-0 deficit in the first period of a 4-1 loss at Washington on Nov. 17.

The Kings, who hadn't had a first-period goal in any of their previous four home games - all losses - opened the scoring at the 10:38 mark. Stoll got the puck from Justin Williams near the top of the left circle and took a 40-foot wrist shot that glanced off defenseman Barret Jackman's leg and past Halak with Dustin Brown screening the goalie.

Toffoli made it 2-0 at 16:13 of the period, beating Halak from short range after Drew Doughty's long snap shot from the high slot deflected off Toffoli's stick and Halak's right shoulder before hitting the crossbar. He gave the Kings a three-goal cushion at 5:48 of the second, scoring from the low slot after Willie Mitchell's wrist shot from the left point caromed off teammate Mike Richards.

Toffoli, a 21-year-old center who was taken in the second round of the 2010 draft, has six goals and 11 points in 14 games since he was recalled from the minors on Nov. 2 - and four of his goals have been game-winners. His only other two-goal game in the NHL was on November 9 at Staples Center in a 5-1 win over Vancouver.

NOTES: St. Louis has yet to be shut out this season. ... The Kings eliminated the Blues from the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons. In 2012, they beat St. Louis in the second round on the way to their first Stanley Cup title. The Blues, who entered the NHL with the Kings in the 1967 expansion, are still looking for their first Cup. ... Kings captain Dustin Brown has been held to a goal and an assist in his last 13 games. ... Los Angeles C Jeff Carter, playing in his fourth game after missing the previous 10 because of a lower body injury, carried the puck into the Blues' zone and took a 50-wrist shot that beat Halak to the stick side - but hit the left post with 9 1-2 minutes into the second period. ... The Kings are 8-0-0 when leading after two periods. ... Los Angeles is 0 for 20 on the power play over its last six games.

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AUTO SALES LIVE: INDUSTRY MOMENTUM ROLLS ON

Tuesday, 03 December 2013 10:51 Published in National News

The holiday weekend and an ongoing shift from cars to small SUVs boosted the auto industry in November.

Buyers took advantage of Black Friday deals, and analysts say the late-month surge likely boosted November sales above a strong month last year.

Chrysler kicked off the sales reports by topping expectations with a gain of 16 percent. General Motors posted an increase of 14 percent while Ford sales rose 7 percent. Toyota had a 10 percent increase while Nissan sales rose 11 percent.

Here's a running account of sales reports for the day, presented in reverse chronological order. All times are EST.

__

--- 11:15 a.m.: Americans love a rivalry. In the annual battle between the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro, the Camaro is set to win the 2013 contest. Year to date, the Chevy has sales of 75,552, compared with 71,540 for the Ford model. Ford rolls out the latest version of the popular pony car this week, with events around the country.

__

--- 11:00 a.m.: Little slowdown in pickups: Ford sold 65,501 F-Series pickup trucks in November, the seventh straight month where sales topped 60,000. Consider that it takes the company more than two months to sell that many Fusion midsize cars or Escape SUVs, Ford next best-selling vehicles. GM sold 48,748 Chevy Silverados and GMC Sierras combined, while Chrysler says Ram pickup sales totaled 29,635.

__

--- 10:50 a.m.: GM likes the big picture. Kurt McNeil, GM's U.S. sales chief, said the company feels good about the overall economy and its own sales momentum. "The economy is creating jobs and household wealth," he said. "Energy costs are dropping and credit is available and affordable. All of this bodes well for future growth."

__

--- 10:40 a.m. It's electric: Sales of the Chevy Volt gained 26 percent to 1,920, while sales of the Nissan Leaf jumped 30 percent to 2,003. Although the two are the best-selling electric vehicles in the U.S., more attention lately has been focused on the Tesla Model S, which sells for about twice the price. The Model S has exceeded sales expectations, but is also the subject of a government investigation after two of the vehicles experienced fires.

___

--- 10:30 a.m.: With a big month for sales of the Jeep Cherokee, Chrysler took advantage of a shift in the market toward smaller SUVs. Erich Merkle, Ford's top sales analyst, said small crossover SUVs like the Cherokee and Ford Escape continued to gobble up market share during November, gaining two full percentage points over a year ago to 15.5 percent of U.S. sales. The gains came at the expense of small and midsize cars. Midsize cars fell one point to 14.5 percent, while small cars dropped a point to around 20 percent, Merkle said.

__

--- 10:10 a.m.: Thanksgiving turkey apparently didn't make car buyers sleepy. Toyota credited the holiday weekend with pushing its sales gains to 10 percent.

"Showroom traffic surged over the holiday weekend for Toyota, indicating good momentum we expect to continue through the end of the year and into 2014," said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager.

__

--- 10 a.m.: General Motors reports a sales increase of 14 percent, led by pickups, the Chevy Tahoe SUV and the Chevy Impala large car.

__

--- 9:45 a.m.: Ford sales rose 7 percent last month. Sales of F-Series pickups gained 16 percent, and the midsize Fusion rose 51 percent. But the Focus small car slumped, with a decline of 17 percent.

__

--- 9:20 a.m. The star for Chrysler is the all-new Cherokee small sports utility vehicle. Delayed for months while engineers tinkered with the transmission, the Cherokee notched a rate achievement in November: Sales of more than 10,000 in its first full month on the market.

"That is a big number," said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of auto sales forecasting for LMC Automotive, an industry consulting firm.

___

--- 8 a.m. Chrysler beats expectations for an increase of around 10 percent. The Auburn Hills, Mich., company sells 142,275 cars and trucks last month, up from 122,565 a year ago.

The Chrysler brand gains 12 percent as dealers sell 11,288 Town & Country minivans, up 70 percent from the same month last year. The pickup boom rolls on — Ram sales gained 22 percent.

___

--7:45 a.m. Analysts expect November industry sales to rise from 3.6 percent to 6.3 percent. Here's a recap of forecasts from companies that track sales and also provide car-buying advice:

— TrueCar.com: sales of 1.21 million, up 6.3 percent.

— Edmunds.com: sales of 1.2 million, up 4.7 percent.

— Kelly Blue Book: sales of 1.19 million, up 3.6 percent.

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