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   Patriot Coal is offering the mine workers union a 35 percent stake in the reorganized company.  The offer is aimed at winning support for benefit and wage cuts for thousands of active miners, retirees and beneficiaries.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Patriot sent the offer to the United Mine Workers of America on Wednesday.  

   The move comes less than three weeks before the Creve Coeur-based coal producer and the union are set to clash in a bankruptcy hearing after negotiating over the proposed cuts for months.  Patriot says it must cut $150-million in operating expenses in order to survive.  The company says they only place left to cut is wages and benefits.  

   Patriot spun off from St. Louis-based Peabody Energy in 2007, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July of last year.  

   The UMWA has organized several demonstrations outside Peabody's downtown headquarters since then.  The union argues that Peabody should maintain responsibility for Patriot's obligations to it's union workers, especially retirees.
Friday, 12 April 2013 03:11
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   ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Brian Elliott notched his third straight shutout, stretching his streak to 189 minutes, 31 seconds without a goal, and the St. Louis Blues won their sixth straight game by beating the Minnesota Wild 2-0 on Thursday night.

   Roman Polak ended a 120-game streak without a goal, and Andy McDonald also scored, sending the Wild to their sixth loss in eight games. They have been shut out in three of four, the only times they have been blanked all season.

   The Wild have six goals in six games, and their scoreless streak is at 121 minutes, 25 seconds.

   The last time the Blues won at least six straight was Oct. 22-Nov. 7, 2010, a seven-game streak. They have given up five goals during the run.

 
Friday, 12 April 2013 02:49
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   AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - Spain's Sergio Garcia and Australia's Marc Leishman -- a pair that has compiled exactly zero major titles between them -- are the surprise first-round leaders at the 77th Masters. Garcia posted a bogey-free 6-under 66 playing in the afternoon to grab a share of the lead with Leishman, who ran off a string of four straight birdies on the way to the 66 he posted early in the day.

   Long-hitting Dustin Johnson, another player without a major to his name, finds himself just a shot back after a 67.

   Fifty-three year old Fred Couples showed he still can play the tough Augusta National course with a 4-under 68, that puts him in a group of players along with former champ Trevor Immelman.

   Four-time champ Tiger Woods posted a 2-under 70.  That's only two shots off the best first-round score Woods has ever posted at Augusta, where he is seeking his fifth green jacket. Woods has not won a major in five years.

   Chinese teenager Guan Tianlang had an impressive Augusta National debut with a 1-over 73. The 14-year-old became the youngest person to play in the Masters.

   Jamie Donaldson had one of the day's highlights with a hole-in-one on the sixth hole, but could only muster a 74.

 
Friday, 12 April 2013 02:42
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   CHICAGO (AP) - Actors, directors and film critics have gathered in Chicago to honor the late movie critic Roger Ebert.

   The movie reviewer's widow, Chaz Ebert, welcomed her husband's fans to the Chicago Theatre on Thursday, and remembered him as a father, friend, humanitarian and journalist.

   A choir began the memorial by singing "Roger Ebert, we will always love you."

   Actors John Cusack and Chris Tucker were to speak at the event, called "Roger Ebert: A Celebration of Life," along with Ebert's friends and family.

   The acclaimed critic died April 4 at age 70 after a years-long battle with cancer. The day before his death, Ebert wrote in a post on his blog that he was taking a break from his schedule of almost-daily movie reviewing because the cancer had recurred.

 
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