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  • US works to ease Caribbean dependence on Venezuelan oil Saturday, 24 Jan 2015 | 1:26 PM ET

    MIAMI— A decade-long addiction to oil subsidized by Venezuela may be coming to an end for several Caribbean nations, with a nudge from the United States. Fears that falling oil prices could knock the wheels off the already wobbly economy of oil-dependent Venezuela have sparked apparent interest in alternatives to Petrocaribe, a trade program created by the...

  • WATFORD CITY, N.D.— Police chief Art Walgren knew how much the oil boom had changed this once-sleepy town when he spotted something that would have been unheard of not long ago: license plates from Sinaloa, Mexico, home to one of the world's most violent drug cartels. Before, there was little chance police would see cars here from nearly 2,000 miles away.

  • Elon Musk's SpaceX drops lawsuit against Air Force Saturday, 24 Jan 2015 | 12:17 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— A private spacecraft company run by billionaire Elon Musk has dropped a lawsuit alleging the U.S. Air Force improperly awarded a contract to launch military satellites to a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Musk's SpaceX filed the lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in April after Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. landed...

  • Ocwen to pay $2.5 million to settle California dispute Saturday, 24 Jan 2015 | 12:11 PM ET

    SACRAMENTO, Calif.— Ocwen Financial Corp. is paying a $2.5 million penalty and submitting to a review by an independent auditor to avoid losing its license to make and service mortgages in California. The settlement announced late Friday by California's Department of Business Oversight stems from Ocwen's refusal to turn over records sought by state...

  • Treasurer says lottery sales up, but challenges loom Saturday, 24 Jan 2015 | 11:52 AM ET

    BOSTON— The Massachusetts Lottery has enjoyed its most successful holiday sales period ever. That's according to new state Treasurer Deb Goldberg, who told lawmakers the Lottery took in $972 million during the ten weeks from early November through early January. Goldberg, who took office last Wednesday, said the Lottery faces more challenges ahead, including...

  • Vermont taking applications for vendors at 2015 'Big E' Saturday, 24 Jan 2015 | 11:06 AM ET

    MONTPELIER, Vt.— The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is taking applications from people or groups who would like to represent the state in the Vermont pavilion at this year's Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts. The "Big E," billed as " New England' s Great State Fair," is going to be held from Sept. 18 to Oct. 4. Vermont Agriculture Secretary Chuck...

  • Medicaid, firing squads on agenda for Utah Legislature Saturday, 24 Jan 2015 | 11:01 AM ET

    Utah leaders are grappling with how they'll help thousands of poor Utah residents get health coverage under Medicaid, in what's expected to be one of the most hotly debated issues of the session. In Utah, that's about 90,000 people. Rather than having more people on Medicaid, Utah Gov.

  • Fake schools draw scrutiny of federal investigators Saturday, 24 Jan 2015 | 10:50 AM ET

    SAN FRANCISCO— From her hometown in India in 2010, Bhanu Challa said she had no reason to doubt that Tri-Valley University was a legitimate American school where she could pursue a master's degree. Authorities told her that Tri-Valley was a sham school. Tri-Valley is among at least half a dozen schools shut down or raided by federal authorities in recent years...

  • GRANTS PASS, Ore.— Fresh off a victory in Washington state, a leading gun control group backed by billionaire Michael Bloomberg is hoping to make Oregon its next prize in a campaign to require gun sales to go through universal background checks. Part of that was devoted to strengthening the Democratic majority in the state Senate, the key battleground.

  • Proposed Illinois legislation would ban powdered alcohol Saturday, 24 Jan 2015 | 10:30 AM ET

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill.— A proposed Illinois law would ban the sale of powdered alcohol before it hits store shelves. Ira Silverstein, a Chicago Democrat sponsoring the measure, said he doesn't want the product to reach stores. His plan amends the state's Liquor Control Act of 1934, according to the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises Newspapers.

  • FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.— To those who know and love the Grand Canyon, the names of its historic lodges are synonymous with the national park itself. Phantom Ranch, Bright Angel Lodge, El Tovar— all bring to mind a place coveted worldwide for its sweeping views, river rapids and history told though layers of geology. But the fate of those names is up for debate after a longtime...

  • WICHITA, Kan.— The recent plunge in fuel prices have been a welcome relief across the agricultural sector, helping ease the pain of low grain prices for growers and boosting profits for cattle ranchers. "Every movement we make in farming takes fuel," Kansas cattle rancher and hay grower Randy Cree said. Livestock producers in the Midwest and vegetable growers in the...

  • ANCHORAGE, Alaska— When the Alaska Cooperative Extension Service published its book on growing and using fresh herbs in the Far North, dedicating it was as easy as sprinkling chives on a baked potato. "An Alaska Herb Garden" honors Barbara Fay, a self-taught gardener whose experiments with herb varieties in the harsh interior Alaska climate over 40 years was an...

  • In a likely sign of things to come from a number of companies this results reporting season, Ford Motor Co on Friday said it was taking a pre-tax charge of $800 million for its Venezuela business. Ford also said that it was unable to maintain normal production in Venezuela with the availability of vehicle parts constrained. Kimberly-Clark blamed increased...

  • More privacy sought for Obama healthcare website Saturday, 24 Jan 2015 | 6:15 AM ET
    HealthCare.gov website seen on Nov. 12, 2014.

    The Obama administration may need to make still more changes to protect consumer privacy on the government's health insurance website.

  • Federal permit approved on SunZia transmission line Saturday, 24 Jan 2015 | 6:11 AM ET

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— A proposed $2 billion transmission line that would carry electricity generated by renewable resources in New Mexico and Arizona to markets across the West is one step closer to being in service after clearing its final federal hurdle. Jewell told the Associated Press in a telephone interview that New Mexico is blessed with sunshine and wind,...

  • WASHINGTON— The Obama administration appears to be making broader changes to protect consumer information on the government's health insurance website, after objections from lawmakers and privacy advocates. The Associated Press reported last week that details such as consumers' income and tobacco use were going to private companies with a commercial...

  • HAVANA— Everyone warns you Old Havana is a facade, but it's impossible not to be taken by its charms. For a foreigner who isn't coming with predetermined notions of Cuba as global boogeyman or socialist paradise, each alley and avenue, each conversation with a Cuban, complicates the picture. I'm nowhere near the first Westerner, American or journalist to visit...

  • WASHINGTON— President Barack Obama will cut short his three-day trip to India to travel to Saudi Arabia to pay respects following the death of King Abdullah, U.S. and Indian officials said Saturday, hours before the U.S. president was to depart for New Delhi. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the president and first lady Michelle Obama would travel to...

  • Attorney Preet Bharara filed the petition late Friday asking the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its Dec. 10 decision to overturn the convictions of Anthony Chiasson and Todd Newman, saying that the ruling "threatens the effective enforcement of the securities laws." Chiasson co-founded Greenwich, Connecticut- based Level Global Investors.