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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) The tobacco industry argues menthol cigarettes aren't riskier than regular cigarettes. The industry is trying to defend a lucrative business as the FDA weighs whether to ban the minty flavoring. An FDA advisory panel meets today and tomorrow to discuss its own report on the impact of menthol.

GRETNA, Va. (AP) Piedmont BioProducts has plans to build a Pittsylvania County refinery that would convert organic material into oil. Piedmont CEO Ken Moss says funding from the private sector and the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission will help pay for the project.

DUBLIN, Va. (AP) Volvo Trucks North America says the contract at its plant in Dublin has been extended for 24 hours. Volvo says all employees should report to work Thursday while negotiations with the United Auto Workers continue. The existing contract at the New River Valley Assembly Plant expired at midnight.

SUFFOLK, Va. (AP) A collision this morning between a Suffolk elementary school bus and a van has injured eight children and one adult. A city spokeswoman says a preliminary investigation indicates that the westbound van crossed the center line and collided with the eastbound bus. The van's driver suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to a hospital in Norfolk.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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