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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

'Snow White' action film reaps the box-office green

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "Snow White & the Huntsman" turned out to be a fairer box-office beauty than

Hollywood anticipated.

According to studio estimates Sunday, Universal Pictures' action yarn inspired by the fairy-tale princess debuted strongly at No. 1 with $56.3 million domestically. That's about $20 million higher than industry expectations.

"Snow White" bumped Sony's "Men in Black 3" from the top spot and into second-place with $29.3 million. The Will Smith-Tommy Lee Jones sequel raised its domestic total to $112.3 million after two weekends and added $78.6 million overseas for an international take of $274.6 million and a worldwide gross of $386.9 million.

Disney's superhero sensation "The Avengers" remained strong at No. 3 with $20.3 million, lifting its domestic total to $552.7 million. "The Avengers" climbed past "The Dark Knight" at $533.3 million to become No. 3 all-time on the domestic revenue chart, behind "Avatar" at $760.5 million and "Titanic" at $658.5 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com: (Where available, latest international numbers are also included.)

1. "Snow White & the Huntsman," $56.3 million ($39.3 million international).

2. "Men in Black 3," $29.3 million ($78.6 million international).

3. "The Avengers," $20.3 million ($12.4 million).

4. "Battleship," $4.8 million ($1.5 million international).

5. "The Dictator," $4.7 million ($6.5 million international).

6. "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," $4.6 million ($557,000 international).

7. "What to Expect When You're Expecting," $4.4 million ($3.7 million international).

8. "Dark Shadows," $3.9 million ($7.2 million international).

9. "Chernobyl Diaries," $3 million.

10. "For Greater Glory," $1.8 million.

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Global economy weakens

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The global economy's foundations are weakening, one by one.

Already hobbled by Europe's debt crisis, the world now risks being hurt by slowdowns in its economic powerhouses.

The U.S. economy, the world's largest, had a third straight month of feeble job growth in May. High-flying economies in China, India and Brazil are slowing, too.

Fears of a global economic downturn have sent investors rushing toward the safest possible investments: U.S. and German government bonds. As a result, the interest rate on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note has hit a record-low 1.46 percent. The rate on the German 10-year bond is even lower: 1.17 percent.

"Treasurys are at 1.46 because people are freaking out," says Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo Economics.

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Change seen in farm aid

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A program that puts billions of dollars in the pockets of farmers whether or not they plant a crop may disappear with hardly a protest from farm groups and the politicians who look out for their interests.

The Senate is expected to begin debate this week on a five-year farm and food aid bill that would save $9.3 billion by ending direct payments to farmers and replacing them with subsidized insurance programs for when the weather turns bad or prices go south.

The details are still to be worked out. But there's rare agreement that fixed annual subsidies of $5 billion a year for farmers are no longer feasible in this age of tight budgets and when farmers in general are enjoying record prosperity.

Getting a bill to the president's desk will be a challenge. Most of the bill's spending is on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, at an annual cost now of about $75 billion. The Republican-led House is looking for greater cuts to this program than the Democratic Senate will accept.

The House also is more sympathetic to Southern rice and peanut farmers who say that shallow loss program hurts them. They want to keep some form of target price subsidy.

The current farm bill expires at the end of September.