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Monday, June 16, 2008

Melting Glacier in Norway - panoramas

Having photographed Briksdalsbreen glacier each year we did research there it is now possible to see each year's retreat:







Nov. 2006

This photo shows that the ice has melted back to the bedrock and has lost around 100m in one year.

This is in April 2007 and more ice has fallen off the steep rock face. There is also a general thinning.


Melting Glacier in Norway - panoramas
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FOXNews.com - Police Investigating Calls to Hulk Hogan's Family From Crash Victim's Family - Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment

Florida police are investigating calls to wrestler Hulk Hogan and his family from the family of the victim of a car crash involving Hogan's son Nick Bollea after threatening voicemails were played on the radio, FOXNews.com confirmed on Monday.

A spokeswoman for the Clearwater Police Department in Florida said they are conducting an "open investigation" into calls "made from the Graziano family to the Bollea family," but would not release any more information as the inquiry is ongoing.

Profanity-laced voicemails were played by Hogan family friend and radio host "Bubba the Love Sponge" on his radio show Monday morning, and were said to contain the voice of Frank Graziano, brother of John Graziano, who suffered serious head injuries last summer when Hogan's son Nick Bollea crashed his 1998 Toyota Supra into a tree after street racing.

Click here to listen to the threatening voicemails sent to Hogan and family.

In addition to referring to Hogan's estranged wife and daughter as "whores," the voicemail says "every Marine, every gangster, every lowlife, every crackhead and every scumbag is going to be looking" for Hogan and his "homosexual" son.


The man said to be Graziano also tells the wrestler he will "[urinate] on you and your family's grave" and "you and your family kept opening your f---ing mouth, so I'm going to put something in there, you scumbag."

Bollea is now serving an eight-month sentence after pleading no contest to a felony charge of reckless driving.

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People React To R. Kelly's Not-Guilty Verdict - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News

A court of law let R. Kelly go, but the court of public opinion? That's another matter entirely. Two of his most dedicated Chicago fans attended his trial every single day to send the message that they hadn't given up on him. But even some of his other fans believe, despite the verdict rendered by a 12-member jury on Friday, that the R&B singer is guilty, if not of child pornography, then of something. The singer will be facing a divided fanbase as he seeks to rebuild his life. Here's a sample of what people in Chicago and New York's Times Square told MTV News when asked to give their reaction.

Mary Tesche, 19, from Anchorage, Alaska: "I think he did it, and just because he's a celebrity, they're giving him a free pass to get out of jail. I read all the celebrity blogs, and I think he definitely did it. I think he should have gone to jail for it. [His fame] had a huge part, obviously. I think his career will go downhill and that people will think he's crazy, that he's a pervert. No one will want to give money to a pervert."

Chuck Kobas, 37, from Chicago suburbs: "It was a big waste of taxpayer money, especially since the girl and her parents weren't the ones pressing charges."

Joe Miller, 21, from Chicago suburbs: "I was actually a spectator in court, and from what I saw, I didn't think the prosecution had a good case. I wasn't impressed. The fact that they couldn't get the girl to testify, that wasn't very convincing. But is it possible he did it? Sure. But I loved the judge. He was awesome, Cook County to the core. He was yelling at Sam Adam Jr. when he was giving out water bottles to R. Kelly's team in court, 'This isn't Wrigley Field!' "

Butos Polycarpe, 35, from Haiti: "The fact that he has a lot of money and delayed the process for six years, longer than any normal trial would have been delayed, that's why he got off. I'm a big fan, but at the same time, justice is due to those who deserve it. I also blame the parents of the girl because they allowed it to happen to her. The parents should be on trial. But if the tape wasn't enough to convict R. Kelly, what else can they do?"

Quenton Felton, 18, from Evanston, Illinois: "He knows he's guilty. I don't really care for the verdict, but I can't say I was surprised, although I did think he'd get at least a year in prison."

Emily Stell, 26, from Chicago: "I was surprised because I thought he was screwed."

Sourelly Hasbun, 19: "I'm not surprised [by the verdict], because he's famous. Money gets rid of anything. His fame played a big part, that's the whole reason why he was acquitted. I never thought he was guilty. I think he will have a bigger career, because nobody really cares, I think. It's music, that's what they want. They want his music, and they don't care about the trial. I don't think that's right, but it's true."

Sinead Angus, 18, from Massachusetts: "I was happy that he finally got acquitted because I didn't feel he was guilty at all. Because he's — he's not old, but he's a very mature guy, so I thought he'd probably have more sense, and he wouldn't do that. I've always been a fan. I don't think he's guilty, I really don't. I think he'll have a new album and keep making great music. I think [the charges were] totally not true. There are so many other scandals out there — which one are you going to believe?"

Nate Hughes, 26, from Chicago: "I think he did it, but as a black man, I'm glad he got off. I've seen him in nightclubs, at the Rock N Roll McDonald's, hitting on younger girls, but I'm glad he's gotten away with it."

Joseph Johnson, 41, from East Orange, New Jersey: "I think money talks, bullsh-- walks. His trial was held up for four, five years. He got good attorneys. Money talks. The music he makes — even though he's a musical genius — that doesn't justify what he did. It's a shock to the system. Me being a black man and him being a black artist — not putting racism into it — but if it was me, I would have went to jail. It's terrible. I do not agree with the decision, and I think everyone should protest R. Kelly right now. ... R. Kelly could make a song about doo-doo and make a hit out of it, but what he does doesn't justify the devilish acts that he did. He's most definitely guilty. I'm not surprised [by the verdict]. There's no telling what he was doing before he was caught on camera. God bless Aaliyah, but he's been doing this awhile. He could have been doing more acts than this. Obviously, nothing will happen to his career. A lot of people knew what he did; there were videos. People will forget about it, and as long as he makes good music, people will ignore what he did."

Joseph Caterino, 21, from New York: "To be honest, celebrities get off on a lot of charges. If it was the average Joe, like you or me, we'd probably be facing some jail time. I think his fame played a huge factor, absolutely. It was enough to get him acquitted. If it were me or you, we'd definitely be behind bars. The fact that he does have that fame and status — he'll walk away because he has the money to do so. He is guilty in my head, and I feel many other Americans will feel the same way. I think he'll lose a good amount of fans."

Eric Karnis, 19, from East Meadow, New York: "Based on the evidence, I think he's guilty. There's video evidence available; everyone's seen it, it's all over the Internet. But I'm not surprised [by the verdict]. He probably had a good lawyer, so it's not surprising at all. I've seen a lot of celebs get off in the past. Just look at Michael Jackson. I think that he had the means and the whole country watching, and he was able to acquit himself with a good lawyer. The evidence showed that [Kelly] was most likely guilty. I think he'll continue to make records, but he has been hurt by the charges brought against him, but still has a solid fanbase, so he should be fine."

Rachel Adamczyk, 25, from Chicago: "I just graduated from Chicago-Kent College of Law, and I'm studying for the bar exam. In my personal opinion, I think he's guilty, but you have to prove it. The state just didn't have, in the jury's eyes, enough evidence. I think it was a fair trial."

Joyce Klemm, 61, from Chicago: "R. Kelly, oh that a--hole! You just hit a nerve with me. With enough money, you can buy anything — any jury, any judge — in Chicago. That they weren't sure it was the girl was a bunch of malarkey. There needs to be a better definition of reasonable doubt, because what they had was beyond a reasonable doubt."

Russell Morrison, 22, from Manchester, England: "Personally, I like the guy, so I'm glad he's been acquitted. I don't know if the charges were true or not. Hopefully, he continues making that good music. The way I see it is, until he's proven guilty, I can't call him guilty. I've seen a little bit of the video. People are saying it's him, it's not him. The thing with being a fan is, a lot of people just jump on the bandwagon and say he did it. If the evidence is there, and it comes out that he did do it, he should be punished. When you got the money and you got the power, you can make certain things go away. Personally, I hope he goes on to better things, but the charges may make it worse for him."

Sarah Rundle, 19, from Gateshead, England: "So many people have been brought up on the same charges and been found guilty, but because it's R. Kelly, everyone had something to say about it, because he's a star. He's obviously got a lot of support from his fans, but then there will be people who definitely see him as guilty. It's happened before, like with Aaliyah. He's still been successful after that, so you can't say."

Cooper Carllson, 21, from Chicago suburbs: "It just doesn't hold enough weight when the girl says, 'It's not me.' "

Danielle Powell, 23, from Chicago: "I was disappointed just because I believe the girl was too scared to testify, and that's sad. This verdict really devalued what happened to the girl, and the community really devalued her, because this was all placed on her, even though she was so young. I would love to see justice served, but there's no way now."

Find a review of the major players in the R. Kelly trial here. For full coverage of the case, read the R. Kelly Reports and check out this complete timeline of the events leading up to the trial.

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Kanye Booed at Bonnaroo - E! Online

The Bonnaroo boobirds were out in full force for Kanye West this weekend.

The Grammy winner walked onto the festival stage nearly two hours past his scheduled 2:45 a.m. performance time Sunday morning and was greated by bleary-eyed fans' chorus of boos and chants of "Kanye sucks."

West was originally set to kick things off at 8:15 p.m., but because he wanted to make the most of his Glow-in-the-Dark Tour's lighting show, the hip-hopster's camp asked to push back the gig to 2:45 a.m. following Pearl Jam's show.

However, the Seattle grunge rockers' gig lasted an hour longer than planned, with Eddie Vedder and bandmates not wrapping until 1:15 a.m. Then there was an extended break while Pearl Jam's roadies disassembled the band's stage and West's crew set up his own elaborate backdrop, a glow-in-the-dark spaceship along with undulating black platform and raised video screen.

Organizers posted a message via Jumbotron that the "Can't Tell Me Nothing" rapper wouldn't be taking the stage until 3:15 a.m., then 3:30. When 4:15 a.m. rolled around and still no West, the antsy crowd began hurling glow sticks at the stage and screaming anti-West sentiments. Bonnaroo officials didn't help the matter, not informing festivalgoers why the changeover was taking so long.

West finally made his entrace at 4:30 a.m., but by then, many exhausted attendees had had enough and returned to their tents.

Apparently, they didn't miss too much.

Judging by online reviews, West's performance didn't stand out from the 150 acts performing at the four-day musical campout. In fact, it was a yawner.

"He was two hours late, cut his show short, didn't once acknowlegde the crowd that waited two hours on an already late show, not even a wave goodbye...I'm no longer a Kanye fan, huge disappointment," one fan wrote at the music blog Stereogum.com.

"It's not the stage hands' fault; that stage was set up for well over an hour before Kanye decided to grace us with his presence," wrote another attendee on VillageVoice.com. "The next time he holds that finger up and proclaims himself as #1, I hope someone tells him what he can do with that finger."

Per festival reports, West failed to even acknowledge his tardiness.

The bad vibes carried over to Sunday's daytime slate, when during his set pedal-steel guitar virtuoso Robert Randolph groused about West's behavior, prompting fans to reprise the "Kanye sucks" chant.

There was no immediate comment from the West camp.

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The Associated Press: Marvel 'Hulks' out with $54.5M opening weekend

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "The Incredible Hulk" was a box-office bruiser, yanking in $54.5 million over opening weekend and laying to rest the stigma of his unappreciated big-screen adventure five years ago.

"The Hulk got a second chance, got angry and came back with a vengeance," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. "This was a big question mark going in. The film had a history or a checkered past."

Ang Lee's "Hulk" opened in 2003 with a whopping $62.1 million weekend but then rolled over and died in subsequent weeks amid terrible word of mouth. That movie crawled to $132.2 million in sales, seemingly a respectable total but actually meager considering its huge first weekend.

Marvel Studios, which financed "The Incredible Hulk," and distributor Universal hope the new movie, starring Edward Norton as the scientist who turns into the Hulk when maddened, will have a longer shelf life and eventually top out with better numbers than its predecessor.

Also rebounding off a bad last movie was director M. Night Shyamalan, whose fright flick "The Happening" with Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel opened at a sturdy No. 3 with $30.5 million.

Shyamalan, whose blockbusters include "The Sixth Sense" and "Signs," flopped two years ago with "Lady in the Water."

"Night rocked," said Chris Aronson, distribution executive for 20th Century Fox, which released "The Happening," a tale of an airborne toxin that prompts people to kill themselves in ghastly ways. "Any time you're coming off an effort like `Lady in the Water' that was perceived as a disappointment, movie-goers and critics tend to be a little gun-shy, but the numbers speak for themselves."

Fans and critics definitely were gun-shy on "The Incredible Hulk," some expecting the movie to bomb because of the bad taste "Hulk" left in audiences' mouths.

"With all the naysayers, this is a huge accomplishment," said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal. "For months, they thought this was going to be a bomb."

The new movie is not a sequel to 2003's "Hulk" but, in Marvel's terms, a reboot. Fans found the earlier movie too dark and brooding.

This take is more action-oriented, casting Norton's Bruce Banner as a fugitive in the vein of "The Incredible Hulk" TV series starring Bill Bixby in the 1970s and '80s.

Despite solid reviews and fan buzz, "The Incredible Hulk" did nearly $8 million less over opening weekend than "Hulk." That gap widens even more factoring in today's higher ticket prices.

But the new flick still put up some of the best numbers ever for a movie opening in June. The studio's exit polls show audiences are recommending the movie to friends, giving it a good shot to surpass the total gross of "Hulk," Rocco said.

The movie also pulled in $31 million in 38 other countries, putting its worldwide total at $85.5 million.

DreamWorks Animation and Paramount's "Kung Fu Panda," the previous weekend's No. 1 movie, slipped to second place with $34.3 million, raising its total to $118 million.

A solid June lineup has pushed Hollywood ahead of last year's record box office pace. Since the first weekend of May, domestic grosses total $1.46 billion, up 4.6 percent from 2007's, according to Media By Numbers. Factoring in higher ticket prices, actual movie attendance this summer is up 1.6 percent.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "The Incredible Hulk," $54.5 million.

2. "Kung Fu Panda," $34.3 million.

3. "The Happening," $30.5 million.

4. "You Don't Mess With the Zohan," $16.4 million.

5. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," $13.5 million.

6. "Sex and the City," $10.2 million.

7. "Iron Man," $5.1 million.

8. "The Strangers," $4.1 million.

9. "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," $3 million.

10. "What Happens in Vegas," $1.7 million.

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Bloomberg.com: Worldwide

June 16 (Bloomberg) -- Manufacturing in the New York region shrank more than forecast in June as customers reduced orders because of the slowdown in consumer spending and business investment.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's general economic index dropped to minus 8.7 from minus 3.2 a month earlier, the bank said today. Readings less than zero signal contraction.

The biggest housing slump in a quarter-century and the weakest auto sales in 15 years are hurting U.S. factories and threatening to cause more job cuts. Today's figures reinforced concern the economy will experience a degree of stagflation, where growth slows and inflation accelerates.

``We are going to see a much more gradual rebound in the economy than we previously thought,'' said Ryan Sweet, an economist at Moody's Economy.com in West Chester, Pennsylvania. ``Tightening credit conditions and the housing recession are all weighing on the factory sector.''

The New York Fed began its Empire State gauge in 2001. It provides one of the month's earliest pictures of the state of manufacturing. The region's general economic index averaged 17.2 in 2007 and reached a record low of minus 22.2 in March. This month's survey was taken from June 2 through June 12.

Economists forecast the Empire State index would rise to minus 2 this month, according to the median of 51 projections in a Bloomberg News survey. Tomorrow, the Fed publishes its report for national industrial production in May. On June 19, the Fed's Philadelphia branch releases its own factory data.

`Further Declines'

``Unfortunately, further declines are likely in the months ahead,'' said Steven Wood, president of Insight Economics LLC in Danville, California. ``Demand was moribund even with robust exports.''

Treasuries initially extended gains after the report, surrendering them later. Yields on benchmark 10-year notes were at 4.24 percent at 12:45 p.m. in New York, from 4.26 percent at last week's close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.3 percent to 1,356.32.

The New York Fed initially issued two sets of Empire index data, each with different readings. The correct figures were later confirmed on its Web site.

Another report showed confidence among homebuilders unexpectedly dropped this month, signaling the housing slump may worsen. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo sentiment index fell to 18, matching a record low, from 19 in May, the Washington-based group said. Readings under 50 mean most respondents view conditions as poor.

Sales to `Erode'

``Housing still occupies a major place in this ongoing, rather unique and rather strange economic slowdown,'' David Seiders, chief economist at the builders' group, said on a conference call. ``I do expect the sales volume to erode somewhat further in the months ahead.''

The New York Fed's new orders index declined to minus 5.5 from minus 0.5, today's report showed. Shipments dropped to minus 6.5 from 4.6. A gauge of unfilled orders decreased to minus 10.5 from minus 4.4. The index of inventories improved to minus 2.3 from minus 6.5.

The report showed raw-material costs continue to hamper business. The index of prices paid eased to 66.3 from a record 69.6. The gauge of prices received increased to 26.7, the highest since January 27.4, from 15.2.

`Ominous Sign'

The increase in prices is ``an ominous sign if it proves to be general and particularly if it extends to the retail sector,'' economists at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in New York, said in an e-mail to clients.

Eastman Kodak Co. said May 31 it is raising prices on film and paper by as much as 20 percent to cover higher costs for silver, aluminum, plastics and resin.

Ford Motor Co. has said U.S. light vehicle sales may drop to 14.7 million this year, which would be the lowest in 15 years. The auto industry affects companies from plastics manufacturers to electronics firms.

The measure of employment was 1.2 in June, from 1.1 in May.

Companies were more upbeat about their prospects. The index measuring the outlook for six months from now increased to 32.2, the highest this year, from 23.9 in May. Area factories were optimistic the slump in orders and sales wouldn't persist.

Fed Survey

Manufacturers in the New York region ``report that business activity remained sluggish in May, while cost pressures have been increasingly widespread,'' the Fed said last week in its regional economic survey, known as the Beige Book. Nationwide, economic growth was ``generally weak.''

The Beige Book is part of a package of analysis and data central bank policy makers will use as they decide the direction of interest rates at their meeting June 24-25. Fed officials cut the benchmark interest rate 2.25 percentage points over the first four months of this year and futures traders project no change at this month's meeting.

The Philadelphia Fed is scheduled to release its regional report on manufacturing on June 19. Economists forecast that measure would improve to minus 10 this month from minus 15.6 in May.

The jump in commodity prices is a boon to some companies. Pall Corp., the East Hills, New York-based maker of oil filters for refineries and drugmakers, said June 9 that profit may be higher than its previous forecast.

To contact the reporter on this story: Courtney Schlisserman in Washington at cschlisserma@bloomberg.net

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UPDATE 1-Landry's CEO to buy company for $21 a share | Deals | Regulatory News | Reuters

June 16 (Reuters) - Landry's Restaurants (LNY.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said it agreed to be bought by CEO Tilman Fertitta for about $1.3 billion, including debt.

Fertitta, who made his initial offer for the restaurant-chain operator in January and revised it in April, will pay $21.00 a share in cash, a premium of about 25 percent to the stock's Friday close of $16.79.

The deal value of $1.3 billion includes about $885.0 million of debt.

Fertitta, who has been with the company for more than two decades and owns about 39 percent of Landry's, has received debt financing commitments from Jefferies Funding LLC, Jefferies & Co Inc, Jefferies Finance LLC and Wells Fargo Foothill LLC to fund the acquisition.

Landry's, which operates the iconic Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and several casual-dining outlets, said a special committee will solicit superior acquisition proposals from third parties for about 45 days following the signing of the merger agreement.

The deal is expected to be completed in about four months.

The company said it will stop payment of its regular quarterly dividend of 5 cents per share while the transaction is pending.

Shares of the Houston, Texas-based company were up 14 percent at $19.11 in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Anne Pallivathuckal in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy)

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Bloomberg.com: Canada

June 16 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fell from a record on signs that Saudi Arabia will increase production to stabilize prices.

The kingdom will produce 9.7 million barrels of oil a day next month, an increase of 200,000 barrels from June's level, King Abdullah told United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, according to a UN spokesman. Prices earlier climbed to a record $139.89 after a fire cut North Sea output and the dollar declined against the euro, bolstering the appeal of commodities.

``The possible Saudi production increase and the North Sea fire don't warrant a price swing of more than $5,'' said Gene McGillian, an analyst at TFS Energy LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. ``We weren't able to get to $140, then fell to little changed, and suddenly without a warning prices were more than $1 lower. This market is being whipped around.''

Crude oil for July delivery fell 87 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $134.24 a barrel at 2:07 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are up 97 percent from a year ago.

``When you put in a new record and fail to see any follow- through, it suggests that there is some underlying weakness in the market,'' said Michael Fitzpatrick, vice president for energy risk management at MF Global Ltd. in New York.

Brent crude oil for August settlement declined 93 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $134.11 a barrel on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Shenk in New York at mshenk1@bloomberg.net.

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Bloomberg.com: Worldwide

June 16 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin is recommending his agency approve Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.'s purchase of XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. The shares of both companies rose.

The only two U.S. pay-radio companies committed to not raise rates and will sell smaller packages of channels at lower prices, Martin said in a statement. They'll also set aside some channels for noncommercial and minority programmers, he said.

``On balance, this transaction would be in the public interest,'' Martin said.

Martin hasn't received assurances his proposal will gain the needed majority vote from the five-member commission, said two FCC officials who declined to be identified. The agency poses the final regulatory hurdle for the all-stock deal, valued at $3.73 billion based on June 13 closing prices.

Sirius and XM executives told the FCC they wouldn't raise prices for 36 months if the combination is approved, the agency officials said. Other promises include allowing any manufacturer to make radios, letting consumers purchase individual channels, and committing 12 channels to noncommercial use and 12 channels for competing, minority broadcasters, the officials said.

XM spokesman Chance Patterson had no comment. Sirius spokesman Patrick Reilly didn't immediately return a phone call.

Sirius, based in New York, rose 15 cents, or 5.9 percent, to $2.69 at 11:55 a.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading, after gaining as much as 8.3 percent to $2.75. XM, based in Washington, advanced 71 cents, or 6.5 percent, to $11.58.

FCC Decision

Martin may formally forward his recommendation to the other four commissioners as early as this week, the officials said. That would commence a period of negotiations that typically lasts at least three weeks. The agency, which has been reviewing the deal since March 2007, isn't under a deadline to act.

Under the proposed conditions, the combined company would set aside 8 percent of its airwaves for competing channels, the officials said. U.S. Representative Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat, and other lawmakers have been pushing for XM and Sirius to give up a larger percentage.

The U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust authorities cleared the deal in March, saying the companies couldn't raise prices profitably because consumers have other choices for music such as MP3 players and traditional broadcast radio.

Opponents, including traditional broadcasters, say the combination will replace competitors with a monopoly.

XM, with 9.3 million subscribers and 170 channels, and Sirius, with 8.6 million customers and 130 channels, offer basic subscriptions for $12.95 monthly. Sales growth comes mainly from being included as part of the equipment in new automobiles.

Sirius will offer service in Puerto Rico after the merger, where neither company has customers now, the officials said.

Under the proposed takeover, investors would get 4.6 shares of Sirius for each XM share owned.

To contact the reporter on this story: Todd Shields in Washington at tshields3@bloomberg.net

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