PODCAST: Fewer first-time jobless claims last week, U.K. bans two overly airbrushed cosmetic ads

Here are today's top headlines from the Marketplace Morning Report and from around the web.

Some good news on the job front this morning. Fewer people filed for first time unemployment benefits last week -- 24,000 fewer to under 400,000, according to a Labor Department report just out.

The number of people who signed contracts to buy homes rose for a second month in June. But the gain was not enough to signal a rebound in the weak housing market. Plus, foreclosure activity dropped in the first half of this year according to a new report from RealtyTrac. Foreclosures were down compared to last year In 19 of the 20 most populated U.S. cities. The only city where foreclosures went up is Seattle.

A new report out today in the journal "Health Affairs" makes clear that the U.S. government will be spending a lot more of its money on health care -- at least, if the health care reform law goes into effect as everyone expects.

Electronics giant Panasonic today said it swung to a quarterly loss -- blamed on damages and lost sales after Japan's earthquake back in March. Sony today also reported a loss: Hurt by the earthquake, of course. But also that huge security breach a few months back...

Time Warner Cable said today its second quarter profit was up 23 percent. Thanks in part to more business -- business.

International Paper earned more than expected in the second quarter as higher prices on its packaging and paper offset a drop in volume.

Germany's stock market is down 1.5 percent, part of that is coming from worries about Italy. Debt costs for the financially troubled country are surging this morning.

Rural America now accounts for just 16 percent of the nation's population, the lowest ever.

Meanwhile, officials in Jefferson County, Ala., will meet today to discuss their own budget woes. And try to decide if they will pay a $3.2 billion sewer debt or file for Chapter 9. It would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

There's a new attraction at Toronto's giant CN Tower, one of the tallest structures in the world. Starting Monday, you'll be able to walk outside of the observation deck up top, onto a metal see-through grate and look down 1,200 feet below. No rails. And hopefully you won't drop anything. Your body will be tethered to the building of course. What's not tethered, is the fee of $184 that will disappear from your wallet because of your fascination with heights.

The British Advertising Standards Authority Has banned two makeup ads -- a Lancome ad with Julia Roberts and a Maybelline ad with Christy Turlington. They were deemed misleading for being overly airbrushed. On behalf of women everywhere who maybe don't look like Julia Roberts or Christy Turlington -- even on a very non-airbrushed day -- Thank you British Advertising Standards Authority!

About the author

Daryl Paranada is the associate web producer for Marketplace overseeing all daily website content and production, as well as producing multimedia features -- including the popular economic explainer series Whiteboard -- and special projects. Follow him on Twitter @darylparanada.

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