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  • JUNEAU, Alaska-- A smog-like haze that hung over part of Alaska's Kodiak Island this week was courtesy of a volcanic eruption _ 100 years ago. The National Weather Service says strong winds and a lack of snow Tuesday helped stir up ash from the 1912 eruption of Novarupta, the largest volcanic blast of the 20th century.

  • ANCHORAGE, Alaska-- Royal Dutch Shell PLC has concluded drilling for the season in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska's northwest and north coast. Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith says the company completed one top hole in both the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. Top holes are the foundation of an exploratory well.

  • *BP, Justice Department seek to settle civil, criminal charges.

  • HOUSTON, Oct 26- A federal judge on Friday delayed until February 2013 the start of a massive trial to determine liability from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, citing tourist events that will keep New Orleans' hotels booked.

  • ANCHORAGE, Alaska-- Alaska officials on Friday hailed a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit decision that will open up drilling at the Point Thomson petroleum field, creating hundreds of jobs and providing key infrastructure that could advance prospects for a large-scale natural gas pipeline.

  • Texas- based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday that 1,408 rigs were exploring for oil and 416 were searching for gas. Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas dropped seven rigs and New Mexico fell by 5. Alaska and Oklahoma lost three apiece, and West Virginia was down by two.

  • NEW YORK-- A growth in early voting and tough economy for the media are forcing changes to the exit poll system that television networks and The Associated Press depend upon to deliver the story on Election Night, all with the pressure-filled backdrop of a tight presidential race.

  • California: Up 26,935, due to layoffs in all sectors, particularly the service industry. Florida: Up 3,947, due to layoffs in agriculture, construction, manufacturing, retail and services. Ohio: Up 1,936, due to layoffs in transportation and manufacturing.

  • SEATTLE-- Alaska Airlines' parent company more than doubled third-quarter profit as traffic grew and its planes were fuller. Alaska Air Group Inc. said Thursday that net income rose to $163.4 million, or $2.27 per share, compared with $77.5 million, or $1.06 per share, a year ago. The figures include Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air.

  • One of the reports adds that the Marcellus reserves that lie below parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and New York are far larger than recent government estimates, while another said the powerful combination of resource, cost and location is altering natural gas prices and market trends across the nation.

  • Texas- based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday that 1,410 rigs were exploring for oil and 427 were searching for gas. A year ago, Baker Hughes listed 2,013 rigs. Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Alaska gained five rigs while Arkansas, Colorado and North Dakota rose by two each.

  • It cited a consultant's findings, indicating that between July 2008 and February 2012, the program generated an estimated $2 in economic activity in Alaska for every $1 in tax credits issued. Eighty-four percent of direct wages for qualified productions went to non- Alaska residents.

  • BARROW, Alaska-- Nearly every shareholder of the Barrow- based Arctic Slope Regional Corp. will be pocketing about $4,000 just before the holidays. The Alaska Native corporation has announced the fall dividend will be $40 per share. The board is targeting an annual payout of $50 per share.

  • WITH HONORS: College savings plans offered through four states earned top marks from Morningstar in the company's annual update to ratings of so-called 529 plans. PRETTY GOOD: Four other plans earned silver-medal honors from Morningstar. Those 529 plans are sponsored by Arkansas, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia.

  • BOSTON-- College savings plans offered through the states of Alaska, Maryland, Nevada and Utah earned top marks from Morningstar Inc. in the company's annual update to ratings of so-called 529 plans.

  • Texas- based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday that 1,411 rigs were exploring for oil and 422 were searching for gas. Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained four rigs while Alaska, New Mexico and Oklahoma gained one apiece. Arkansas, Colorado, North Dakota and Wyoming lost one rig apiece.

  • --New York- based Marsh& McLennan Cos. has reported material improvement in both its business and financial profiles in recent years. Rating Action On Oct. 12, 2012, Standard& Poor's Ratings Services raised its counterparty credit rating on Marsh& McLennan Cos. to' BBB' from' BBB-'.

  • ANCHORAGE, Alaska-- The Interior Department's deputy secretary said Thursday that there will be no slowdown of the permitting process for Arctic offshore drilling if President Obama is re-elected. Royal Dutch Shell PLC was allowed to begin exploratory drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off Alaska's north shores this summer, but U.S.

  • The governor said earlier this year that the 2013 Legislature could take up gas tax legislation if TransCanada Corp. and the North Slope's major players _ Exxon Mobil Corp., BP and ConocoPhillips _ met a number of milestones in 2012. All of those benchmarks have been met, including cost estimates and a rough timeline for a potential project.