Stock futures flat, but techs rally in premarket

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock index futures were flat on Wednesday, with investors reluctant to make big bets following a five-day rally that took major averages to levels not seen since December 2007.

Tech shares will be in focus with earnings due from tech heavyweight Apple and following strong results from both IBM and Google, which rallied in premarket trading and continued the string of major companies outperforming following results.

Investors were also cautious as they awaited another onslaught of earnings reports, including from Dow component McDonald's Corp . Apple Inc reports after the market's close and investors will scour that report for signs the company can continue to grow at an accelerated pace.

"The market has an upward bias because earnings have generally been better than most expected, but whether we take another leg up from here depends on Apple," said Oliver Purshe, president of Gary Goldberg Financial Services in Suffern, New York. "That is such a heavily watched stock that if it doesn't come out with strong numbers we could take a pause."

Google Inc rose 5.1 percent to $738.61 in light premarket trading a day after the search giant's core Internet business outpaced expectations. Revenue was also higher than expected.

International Business Machines Corp late Tuesday forecast better-than-anticipated 2013 results and also posted fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that beat expectations. The results helped to allay concerns about the tech sector that arose when Intel Corp gave a weak outlook last week. IBM, which is a Dow component, rose 3.9 percent to $203.81 before the bell.

Dow component United Technologies Corp reported earnings that fell from the prior year, hurt by large restructuring charges.

Coach Inc slumped 12 percent to $53.20 before the bell after reporting sales that missed expectations.

According to the latest Thomson Reuters data, of the 74 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far, 62.2 percent have topped expectations, roughly even with the 62 percent average since 1994, but below the 65 percent average over the past four quarters.

Overall, S&P 500 fourth-quarter earnings rose 2.6 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. That estimate is above the 1.9 percent forecast from the start of earnings season, but well below the 9.9 percent fourth-quarter earnings forecast from October 1, the data showed.

S&P 500 futures fell 1.8 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 3 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 4 points.

Both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average hit five-year closing highs on Tuesday, and recent gains have largely been fueled by a strong start to the earning season. The S&P has jumped 6.4 percent over the past four weeks.

Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives aim on Wednesday to pass a bill to extend the U.S. debt limit by nearly four months, to May 19. The White House welcomed the move, saying it would remove uncertainty about the issue.

The debt limit issue has been viewed as a market overhang for the past few weeks, with many investors worried that if no deal is reached to raise the limit, it could have a negative impact on the economy.

"We're raising our year-end target from 1,535 to about 1,575, in part because of the strong fourth-quarter earnings, but also because with the debt ceiling off the table that's a headwind removed from the market," Purshe said.

(Editing by W Simon and Kenneth Barry)

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Te'o tells Couric he briefly lied about girlfriend

NEW YORK (AP) — Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o has told Katie Couric that he briefly lied about his online girlfriend after discovering she didn't exist.

Te'o said in an interview to air Thursday on Couric's show that he didn't lie about the hoax until December, believing Lennay Kekua had died of cancer. A segment of the interview with Te'o and his parents was broadcast Wednesday on "Good Morning America."

The Heisman Trophy runner-up received a phone call in December from a woman saying she was Kekua, whom he believed had died in September.

Te'o said, "Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she's alive and then I'm going be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?"

Te'o maintained that he had no part in creating the hoax.

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Exxon Mobil meets Kurd leader after Baghdad talks

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s Kurdish regional government says its president has held talks with the head of Exxon Mobil amid signs that the energy giant may be exploring new options with the Kurds’ rival, the central government in Baghdad.

The Kurds said late Tuesday that regional President Massoud Barzani met with Exxon Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson in Switzerland and discussed company activities. It gave no further details.

Exxon infuriated Baghdad in 2011 by signing a deal with the Kurds to hunt for oil in their region and in nearby disputed territories.

Tillerson’s talks followed a rare meeting Monday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Exxon had planned to sell a key stake in Iraq’s south and focus instead on the Kurdish contract, though Monday’s talks prompted speculation it is reconsidering those plans.

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2013 could be 'climate game-changer'

An ice sculpture entitled 'Minimum Monument' by Brazilian artist Nele Azevedo outside Berlin's Concert Hall, September 2, 2009.


  • The "neglected" risk of climate change seems to be rising to the top of leaders' agendas

  • Extreme weather events are costing the global economy billions of dollars each year

  • Gas can be an important bridge to a lower carbon future but it's not the answer

  • More investment in renewable energy is needed, with fewer risks

Editor's note: Andrew Steer is President and CEO of the World Resources Institute, a think tank that works with governments, businesses and civil society to find sustainable solutions to environmental and development challenges.

(CNN) -- As leaders gather for the World Economic Forum in Davos, signs of economic hope are upon us. The global economy is on the mend. Worldwide, the middle class is expanding by an estimated 100 million per year. And the quality of life for millions in Asia and Africa is growing at an unprecedented pace.

Threats abound, of course. One neglected risk -- climate change -- appears to at last be rising to the top of agendas in business and political circles. When the World Economic Forum recently asked 1,000 leaders from industry, government, academia, and civil society to rank risks over the coming decade for the Global Risks 2013 report, climate change was in the top three. And in his second inaugural address, President Obama identified climate change as a major priority for his Administration.

Andrew Steer

Andrew Steer

For good reason: last year was the hottest year on record for the continental United States, and records for extreme weather events were broken around the world. We are seeing more droughts, wildfires, and rising seas. The current U.S. drought will wipe out approximately 1% of the U.S. GDP and is on course to be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. Damage from Hurricane Sandy will cost another 0.5% of GDP. And a recent study found that the cost of climate change is about $1.2 trillion per year globally, or 1.6% of global GDP.

Shifting to low-carbon energy sources is critical to mitigating climate change's impacts. Today's global energy mix is changing rapidly, but is it heading in the right direction?

Coal is the greatest driver of carbon dioxide emissions from energy, accounting for more than 40% of the total worldwide. Although coal demand is falling in the United States -- with 55 coal-powered plants closed in the past year -- it's growing globally. The World Resources Institute (WRI) recently identified 1,200 proposed new coal plants around the world. And last year, the United States hit a record-high level of coal exports—arguably transferring U.S. emissions abroad.

Meanwhile, shale gas is booming. Production in the United States has increased nearly tenfold since 2005, and China, India, Argentina, and many others have huge potential reserves. This development can be an economic blessing in many regions, and, because carbon emissions of shale gas are roughly half those of coal, it can help us get onto a lower carbon growth path.

However, while gas is an important bridge to a low carbon future—and can be a component of such a future—it can't get us fully to where we need to be. Greenhouse gas emissions in industrial countries need to fall by 80-90% by 2050 to prevent climate change's most disastrous impacts. And there is evidence that gas is crowding out renewables.

Renewable energy -- especially solar and wind power -- are clear winners when it comes to reducing emissions. Unfortunately, despite falling prices, the financial markets remain largely risk-averse. Many investors are less willing to finance renewable power. As a result of this mindset, along with policy uncertainty and the proliferation of low-cost gas, renewable energy investment dropped 11%, to $268 billion, last year.

What do we need to get on track?

Incentivizing renewable energy investment

Currently, more than 100 countries have renewable energy targets, more than 40 developing nations have introduced feed-in tariffs, and countries from Saudi Arabia to South Africa are making big bets on renewables as a growth market. Many countries are also exploring carbon-trading markets, including the EU, South Korea, and Australia. This year, China launched pilot trading projects in five cities and two provinces, with a goal of a national program by 2015.

Removing market barriers

Despite growing demand for renewable energy from many companies, this demand often remains unmet due to numerous regulatory, financial, and psychological barriers in the marketplace.

In an effort to address these, WRI just launched the Green Power Market Development Group in India, bringing together industry, government, and NGOs to build critical support for renewable energy markets. A dozen major companies from a variety of sectors—like Infosys, ACC, Cognizant, IBM, WIPRO, and others— have joined the initiative. This type of government-industry-utility partnership, built upon highly successful models elsewhere, can spur expanded clean energy development. It will be highlighted in Davos this week at meetings of the Green Growth Action Alliance (G2A2).

De-risking investments

For technical, policy, and financial reasons, risks are often higher for renewables than fossil-based energy. Addressing these risks is the big remaining task to bring about the needed energy transformation. Some new funding mechanisms are emerging that can help reduce risk and thus leverage large sums of financing. For example, the Green Climate Fund could, if well-designed, be an important venue to raise funds and drive additional investments from capital markets. Likewise, multi-lateral development banks' recent $175 billion commitment to sustainable transport could help leverage more funds from the private and public sectors.

Some forward-looking companies are seeking to create internal incentives for green investments. For example, companies like Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and UPS have been taking actions to reduce internal hurdle rates and shift strategic thinking to the longer-term horizons that many green strategies need.

Davos is exactly the type of venue for finding solutions to such issues, which requires leadership and coalition-building from the private and public sectors. For example, the the G2A2, an alliance of CEOs committed to addressing climate and environmental risks, will launch the Green Investment Report with precisely the goal of "unlocking finance for green growth".

Depending on what happens at Davos—and other forums and meetings like it throughout the year—2013 could just be a game-changer.

Follow us on Twitter@CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Andrew Steer.

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Senate to scrutinize FAA's approval of Dreamliner battery

A key U.S. Senate committee will hold a hearing in coming weeks to examine U.S. aviation safety oversight and the Federal Aviation Administration's decision to allow Boeing Co to use highly flammable lithium-ion batteries on board its new 787 Dreamliner, a congressional aide said on Tuesday.

U.S., Japanese and French authorities are investigating two separate cases in which lithium-ion batteries on board the new airliner failed. One of the batteries sparked a fire in a parked plane in Boston, while the other forced an emergency landing in Japan.

  • Related

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    A timeline of troubles: Boeing's Dreamliner

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    US, EU join Japan in grounding Dreamliners

  • The new Boeing Dreamliner 787

    The new Boeing Dreamliner 787

  • Dreamliner battery

    Dreamliner battery

  • Video: Dreamliner investigation focuses on batteries

  • Maps

  • Boeing International Headquarters, Chicago, IL 60606, USA

  • 1 1st Street Northeast, United States Capitol, Washington, DC 20543, USA

  • Federal Aviation Administration, 600 Maryland Avenue Southwest, Washington, DC 20024, USA

As a result, authorities around the world last week grounded all 50 Boeing 787s.

The Dreamliner, with a list price of $207 million, is the world's newest airliner, a lightweight, advanced carbon-composite design that has more electrical power than any other aircraft and uses 20 percent less fuel.

"Certainly the issues of FAA certification will be a key component of the aviation safety oversight hearing we're planning," an aide to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee told Reuters in an email.

The aide, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said committee chairman Senator John Rockefeller was "following the situation surrounding the Dreamliner and FAA's task force closely and he thinks the FAA and (Department of Transportation)are examining the issue carefully."

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is also keeping a close eye on the 787 investigations and the issue of FAA oversight, congressional aides said, although no formal hearings were planned at this point.

Boeing officials have briefed both oversight committees and other key lawmakers about the matter, a Boeing spokesman said.

The Senate committee had already been planning to conduct "substantial and aggressive oversight" of aviation safety during the first quarter, but would now look closely at the 787 incidents and FAA oversight as part of that process, the committee aide said.

Problems with the 787's lithium-ion battery have sparked questions about why the FAA in 2007 granted Boeing a "special condition" to allow use of the batteries on the plane, despite the fact that they are highly flammable and hard to extinguish if they catch fire.

Boeing designed a special system that was supposed to contain any such fire and vent toxic gasses outside the plane, but the two recent incidents have raised questions about whether that was a good decision.

It remains unclear what caused the batteries to fail, but when it announced plans to ground U.S.-based 787s, the FAA said both battery failures released flammable chemicals, heat damage and smoke - all of which could affect critical systems on the plane and spark a fire in the electrical compartment.

The FAA has said it will keep the 787s grounded until airlines demonstrate that the battery system is safe and complies with safety regulations.

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Cameron promises Britons straight choice on EU exit

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron promised on Wednesday to give Britons a referendum choice on whether to stay in the European Union or leave if he wins an election in 2015, placing a question mark over Britain's membership for years.

Cameron ended months of speculation by announcing in a speech the plan for a vote sometime between 2015 and the end of 2017, shrugging off warnings that this could imperil Britain's economic prospects and alienate its biggest trading partner.

He said the island nation, which joined the EU's precursor European Economic Community 40 years ago, did not want to retreat from the world, but public disillusionment with the EU was at "an all-time high".

"It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time for us to settle this question about Britain and Europe," Cameron said. His Conservative party will campaign for the 2015 election promising to renegotiate Britain's EU membership.

"When we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give the British people a referendum with a very simple in or out choice to stay in the European Union on these new terms; or come out altogether. It will be an in-out referendum."

The speech firmly ties Cameron to an issue that was the bane of a generation of Conservative leaders. In the past, he has avoided partisan fights over Europe, the undoing of the last two Conservative prime ministers, John Major and Margaret Thatcher.

Britain would seek to claw back powers from Brussels, he said, a proposal that will be difficult to sell to other European countries. London will do an "audit" to determine which powers Brussels has that should be delegated to member states.

Sterling fell to its lowest in nearly five months against the dollar on Wednesday as Cameron was speaking.

The response from EU partners was predictably frosty. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius quipped: "If Britain wants to leave Europe we will roll out the red carpet for you," echoing Cameron himself, who once used the same words to invite rich Frenchmen alienated by high taxes to move to Britain.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said his country wanted Britain to remain a full EU member, but London could not expect to pick and choose the aspects of membership it liked.

Business leaders have warned that the prospect of years of doubt over Britain's EU membership would damage the investment climate.

"Having a referendum creates more uncertainty and we don't need that," Martin Sorrell, chief executive of advertising giant WPP, told the World Economic Forum in Davos.

"This is a political decision. This is not an economic decision. This isn't good news. You added another reason why people will postpone investment decisions."

The speech also opens a rift with Cameron's junior coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats. Their leader, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, said the plan would undermine a fragile economic recovery.

And even allies further afield are wary: the United States has said it wants Britain to remain inside the EU with "a strong voice".


Cameron has been pushed into taking such a strong position in part by the rise of the UK Independence Party, which favors complete withdrawal from the EU and has climbed to third in opinion polls, mainly at the expense of the Conservatives.

"All he's trying to do is to kick the can down the road and to try and get UKIP off his back," said UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

Eurosceptics in Cameron's party were thrilled by the speech. Conservative lawmaker Peter Bone called it "a terrific victory" that would unify 98 percent of the party. "He's the first prime minister to say he wants to bring back powers from Brussels," Bone told Reuters. "It's pretty powerful stuff".

Whether Cameron will ever hold the referendum remains as uncertain as the Conservatives' chances of winning the next election in 2015.

They trail the opposition Labour party in opinion polls, and the coalition government is grappling with a stagnating economy as it pushes through public spending cuts to reduce Britain's large budget deficit.

Cameron said he would prefer Britain, the world's sixth biggest economy, to remain inside the 27-nation EU. As long as he secured the reforms he wants, he would campaign for Britain to stay inside the EU "with all my heart and soul".

But he also made clear he believed the EU must be radically reformed. It was riskier to maintain the status quo than to change, he said.

"The biggest danger to the European Union comes not from those who advocate change, but from those who denounce new thinking as heresy," he said.


The euro zone debt crisis was forcing the bloc to change, and Britain would fight to make sure new rules were fair to countries that didn't use the common currency, he said. Britain is the largest of the 10 EU members that do not use the euro.

Democratic consent for the EU in Britain was now "wafer thin", he said, reflecting the results of opinion polls that show a slim majority would vote to leave the bloc.

"Some people say that to point this out is irresponsible, creates uncertainty for business and puts a question mark over Britain's place in the European Union," said Cameron. "But the question mark is already there: ignoring it won't make it go away."

Asked after the speech whether other EU countries would agree to renegotiate Britain's membership, Cameron said he was an optimist and that there was "every chance of success."

"I want to be the prime minister who confronts and gets the right answer for Britain on these kind of issues," he said.

It is nearly 40 years since British voters last had a say in a referendum on Britain's membership of the European club. A 1975 vote saw just over 67 percent opt to stay inside with nearly 33 percent wanting to leave.

(Additional reporting by Paul Taylor in Davos and Alexandra Hudson in Berlin; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Peter Graff)

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Stock futures flat at five-year highs, investors await earnings

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock index futures were flat on Tuesday as investors held back from making large bets ahead of an onslaught of corporate earnings and after recently notching five-year highs.

Both the Dow and S&P 500 closed at their highest levels the earnings season. U.S. markets were closed on Monday for a public holiday.

Despite stronger-than-expected earnings results from major companies, including big banks, at the start of the quarterly reporting season, many investors are worried that other reports will reflect economic uncertainty in the fourth quarter.

"The market has been pleased with earnings thus far, and it is encouraging to see a cyclical company like DuPont show revenue strength, but I'm waiting on more tech and energy earnings until I come down one way or the other on this season," said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York.

posted a steep drop in earnings on reduced demand for paint pigment, though revenue was ahead of expectations.

Verizon Communications Inc fell 1.1 percent to $42.06 in premarket trading after reporting a steep loss due to pension liabilities and charges related to superstorm Sandy that offset strength in its wireless business. Travelers Cos Inc also posted earnings that were hurt by losses related to Sandy.

DuPont, Verizon and Travelers are all Dow components, as is Johnson & Johnson , slated to report later Tuesday along with Google Inc and Texas Instruments . Tech earnings will be in particular focus after Intel Corp last week gave a revenue outlook that was below expectations.

Overall, S&P 500 fourth-quarter earnings are forecast to have risen 2.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. That estimate is above the 1.9 percent forecast from a week ago but well below the 9.9 percent fourth-quarter earnings forecast from October 1, the data showed.

S&P 500 futures rose 0.3 point but remained below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 8 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 5 points.

Monday was a market holiday for Martin Luther King Day in the United States, and also marked the start of a second term for President Barack Obama, who called for aggressive action on climate change, economic equality and the federal budget.

"It remains a question whether Obama will be able to deliver on his agenda, but a sector like solar power companies could continue to be strong as he pushes for action," Sarhan said.

Markets have recently been pressured by uncertainty stemming from Washington about the federal debt limit and spending cuts that could hamper U.S. growth.

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives said they aim to pass on Wednesday a nearly four-month extension of the U.S. debt limit, allowing the government to borrow enough to meet its obligations during that period.

U.S. shares of Research in Motion jumped 8.9 percent to $17.25 in premarket trading after its chief executive said the company may consider strategic alliances with other companies after the launch of devices powered by RIM's new BlackBerry 10 operating system.

The Dow and S&P 500 closed at five-year highs on Friday as the market registered a third straight week of gains on a solid start to the quarterly earnings season, including from Morgan Stanley and General Electric Co .

(Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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Jim, John Harbaugh ready for rematch at Super Bowl

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Jim and John Harbaugh have exchanged a handful of text messages, and plan to leave it at that. No phone conversations necessary while the season's still going. No time for pleasantries, even for the friendly siblings.

There is work to be done to prepare for the Super Bowl, prepare for each other, prepare for a history-making day already being widely hyped as "Harbowl" or "Superbaugh" depending which nickname you prefer.

"It doesn't matter who the coach is, what relationship you have with the person on the other side," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said so matter-of-factly Monday afternoon.

Their parents sure aren't picking sides for the Feb. 3 matchup in New Orleans.

These days, the Harbaughs' longtime coaching father, Jack, stays away from game-planning chatter or strategy sessions with his Super Bowl-bound coaching sons. Baltimore's John Harbaugh and little brother Jim have been doing this long enough now to no longer need dad's input.

Yet, they still regularly seek it. And, their father does offer one basic mantra: "Get ahead, stay ahead."

"Probably the greatest advice that I've ever been given and the only advice that I've ever found to be true in all of coaching, I think we mentioned it to both John and Jim ... the coaching advice is, 'Get ahead, stay ahead,'" Jack Harbaugh said.

"If I'm called upon, I'll repeat that same message."

His boys still call home regularly to check in with the man who turned both on to the coaching profession years ago, and the mother who has handled everything behind the scenes for decades in a highly competitive, sports-crazed family — with all the routine sports clich├ęs to show for it.

The Harbaugh brothers will become the first siblings to square off from opposite sidelines when their teams play for the NFL championship at the Superdome.

Not that they're too keen on playing up the storyline that has no chance of going away as hard as they try.

"Well, I think it's a blessing and a curse," Jim Harbaugh said Monday. "A blessing because that is my brother's team. And, also, personally I played for the Ravens. Great respect for their organization. ... The curse part would be the talk of two brothers playing in the Super Bowl and what that takes away from the players that are in the game. Every moment that you're talking about myself or John, that's less time that the players are going to be talked about."

Both men love history, just not the kind with them making it.

"I like reading a lot of history ... I guess it's pretty neat," John Harbaugh offered Monday. "But is it really going to be written about? It's not exactly like Churchill and Roosevelt or anything. It's pretty cool, but that's as far as it goes."

Nice try, guys.

John watched the end of Jim's game from the field in Foxborough, Mass., as Baltimore warmed up for the AFC championship game. Jim called his sister's family from the team plane before takeoff after a win at Atlanta and asked how his big brother's team was doing against New England.

The improbable Super Bowl features a set of brothers known around the NFL as fierce competitors unafraid to make a bold move during the season. Unafraid to upset anyone who stands in their way.

In fact, each one made a major change midseason to get this far — John fired his offensive coordinator, while Jim boosted his offense with a quarterback switch from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick.

Leading up to Sunday's games, parents Jack and Jackie said they would wait to decide whether to travel to New Orleans if both teams advanced or stick to what has been working so well — watching from the comfort of their couch in Mequon, Wis.

"We enjoy it very much. We get down in our basement, turn on the television and just have a fantastic day watching outstanding football," Jack said last week. "We share our misery with no one but ourselves. Not only the misery, but the ups and downs, the ins and outs of an outstanding professional game."

And, no, the Harbaughs weren't looking ahead to a potential big trip to the Big Easy.

Jack insists his wife is quick to pull out that old sports cliche: "It's one game at a time. I think it's very appropriate," he said.

Jim figures they won't possibly miss this history-making game.

"I think they'll be there," he said with a smile.

The brothers, separated in age by 15 months, have taken different paths to football's biggest stage — years after their intense games of knee football at the family home. They tried to beat each other at cards, or whatever other game it was at the time. Sometimes, they tried to beat each other up. Sister, Joani Crean, often got in on the fun, too.

The 49-year-old Jim never reached a Super Bowl, falling a last-gasp pass short during a 15-year NFL career as a quarterback. The 50-year-old John never played in the NFL.

Still, both will tell you, "Who's got it better than us? No-body!" — one catchphrase they got from their dad.

"We can't put into words what it means to see John and Jim achieve this incredible milestone," their brother-in-law, Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean, said on Twitter. "We talked to Jim (before) his team plane left. All he wanted to know was how was John doing? How were they playing? One incredible family who puts the care, well-being and love for each other at the forefront like most families do. Again, we are very proud of them. Going to be exciting to watch it unfold."

John worked his way up from the bottom of the coaching ranks, while Jim was the star college quarterback at Michigan, a first-round draft pick and eventual Pro Bowler who made coaching his career once he retired.

John already has the one-up, while Jim's team is the early favorite. John's Ravens beat the 49ers 16-6 on Thanksgiving night 2011, in Jim's rookie season as an NFL coach — though both know that means nothing now.

"I just want everybody to know, that was a four-day deal and every story has been told," John said. "We're not that interesting. There's nothing more to learn. The tape across the middle of the room story, OK, you got it? It's OK. It was just like any other family, really. I really hope the focus is not so much on that. We get it, it's really cool and it's exciting and all that."

Said Jim, "Completely new business."

In spite of his efforts to avoid the topic, Jim did take the opportunity to express how proud he is of John.

"He's a great football coach, a real grasp of all phases — offense, defense, special teams. I think he could coordinate at least two of those phases and do it as well as anyone in the league," Jim said. "I've got half the amount of coaching experience he does. Again, it's not about us. I keep coming back to that. I'm really proud of my brother. I love him. That's the blessing part, that this is happening to him."

And, fittingly for the big brother, John feels the exact same way.


AP Sports Writer Dave Ginsburg in Baltimore contributed to this story.


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Democrats, environmentalists hail Obama’s focus on climate, but warn about Canada pipeline

WASHINGTON – Environmental groups hailed President Barack Obama’s warning about climate change, but said the president’s words will soon be tested as he decides whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

Obama pledged in his inaugural speech Monday to respond to what he called the threat of climate change, saying that “failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”

By singling out climate change, Obama indicated a willingness to take on an issue that he acknowledges was often overlooked during his first term. He also was setting up a likely confrontation with congressional Republicans who have opposed legislative efforts to curb global warming.

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, called Obama’s comments on climate change “exactly right.”

Andrew Hoffman, director of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, said Obama’s focus on climate showed political backbone.

“He finally had the courage to acknowledge the words ‘climate change,’” Hoffman said, adding that Obama and other administration officials have frequently used words such as green jobs or clean energy to describe energy policy, instead of the more politically charged term climate change.

“So I find it very interesting that in this second term he’s just coming right out and saying that climate change is exactly what we’re dealing with,” Hoffman said.

Obama, in his address, said some people “may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science” that global warming exists and has human causes, “but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.”

The president has pledged to boost renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, along with more traditional energy sources such as coal, oil and natural gas.

“The path toward sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition. We must lead it,” Obama said.

He said developing new energy technologies will lead to jobs and new industries. “That is how we will preserve our planet,” he said.

Environmental groups said the president’s first test on climate change could come early this year as he decides whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline that will carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas.

Obama blocked the pipeline last year, citing uncertainty over the project’s route through environmentally sensitive land in Nebraska. The State Department has federal jurisdiction because the $ 7 billion pipeline begins in Canada.

Republicans and many business groups say the project would help achieve energy independence for North America and create thousands of jobs.

But environmental groups say the pipeline would transport “dirty oil” and produce heat-trapping gases that contribute to global warming. They also worry about a possible spill.

“Starting with rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, the president must make fighting global warming a central priority,” said Margie Alt, executive director of Environment America.

Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said Obama’s “clarion call to action” on climate change “leaves no doubt this will be a priority in his second term.”

After Superstorm Sandy and other extreme weather events, there has been more political momentum than ever to address climate change, Meyer said.

“With presidential leadership, that shift will continue and deepen over the next four years, and meaningful progress on climate change will become an important part of Barack Obama’s legacy as president,” he said.

Alt and other environmental leaders said they are counting on Obama to set tough limits on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants and to continue federal investments in renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

Obama tried and failed in his first term to get a climate change bill through Congress. Some Democratic lawmakers and environmentalists have pushed for a tax on carbon pollution, but White House officials say they have no plan to propose one.

Scott Segal, an energy lobbyist who represents utilities and natural gas drillers, said Obama “missed the opportunity to remind listeners that climate change is an international phenomenon” that will require international solutions.

By imposing “inflexible” national policies to curb climate change, Obama could restrain the U.S. economy without delivering promised solutions, Segal said.


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Defterios: What keeps Davos relevant


  • Since the late 20th Century, the ski resort of Davos has been synonymous with the World Economic Forum

  • Defterios: I first came to Davos as a relatively junior correspondent, two months after the Berlin Wall fell

  • Fall of Communism, China's opening, removal of apartheid in South Africa unfolded in the 90s

  • It's the inter-play between geo-politics and business is what keeps the forum relevant

Davos (CNN) -- Veterans of Davos often refer to nature's awe-inspiring work as the Magic Mountain.

The name comes from an early 20th century novel by Thomas Mann -- reflecting on life in an alpine health retreat, and the mystery of time in this breath-taking setting.

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Since the late 20th century, this ski resort has been synonymous with the World Economic Forum, which represents networking on its grandest scale.

This year nearly 40 world leaders -- a record for this annual meeting -- 2000 plus executives and it seems an equal number of people in the media, like yours truly, are in pursuit of them all. The setting is certainly more chaotic then a decade ago. The agendas of the Fortune 500 chief executives are to filled with bi-lateral meetings and back door briefings to allow for the spontaneity that made this venue unique.

Davos gets ready for leaders' gathering


I first came to Davos as a relatively junior correspondent in 1990, two months after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was arguably then, after nearly two decades in the conference business, when the forum became a fixture on the global calendar.

Quest: U.S. economy to dominate Davos 2013

I can remember, quite vividly, working out of a bunker (like we do today) in the Davos Congress Centre. West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl sat side-by-side with his East German counterpart Hans Modrow. That meeting before the global community helped set the stage for monetary union, a huge unification fund for what became Eastern Germany and shortly thereafter German elections.

The early 90s at Davos were dominated by European reconstruction after the fall of communism. Former party bosses came to the forum to convince business leaders that a transition to market economics could be delivered. Boris Yeltsin made his Davos appearance during that chaotic transition from the USSR to today's Russia.

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In 1992, Chinese Premier Li Peng used the setting here in the Alps to articulate plans for the country's economic opening up to the world. Not by chance, the architect of Washington's engagement with Beijing, the former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger also took a high profile that year.

Again only two years later in 1994, Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres walked hand in hand on stage, holding a public dialogue leading up to the creation and recognition of the Palestinian Authority.

The World Economic Forum, as the saying goes, was positioned to be in the right place at the right time. While the author of the Magic Mountain talked about the complexity of time around World War I, in the 1990s time was compressed here.

The fall of communism, the lowering of global trade barriers, the opening up of China, the removal of apartheid in South Africa and the proliferation of the internet all unfolded in that decade.

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As those events came together, so too did the major players as they made the journey to Davos. Michael Bloomberg, evolving as a global name in financial data and now the Mayor of New York City, sat alongside Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. U.S. President Bill Clinton outlined his party's historic move to the political center before a packed audience of global business executives.

To spice things up, rock stars and actors, as they became activists, chose the Davos platform: Bono, Richard Gere, Sharon Stone, Brad and Angelina would have the wealthiest and most powerful corporate titans freeze in their tracks.

Earlier this week, I walked into the main plenary hall as workers put the final touches on the stage and lighting. It is a venue which has welcomed countless political leaders and business executives, during internet booms and banking busts, in the midst of a Middle East crisis and even during the lead up to two Gulf Wars.

But that inter-play between geo-politics and business -- during the best and worst of times -- is what keeps the forum relevant. It allows this setting at the base of the Magic Mountain to endure and recreate something unique during what Mann rightly described as the ongoing complexity of our times.

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