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  • CHICAGO, Dec 17- Exports of U.S. agricultural products such as wheat, rice, soybeans and meat products stand to gain from a surprise U.S. move toward repairing relations with Cuba, agriculture industry officials said on Wednesday. President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that the United States would restore diplomatic relations with Cuba more than 50...

  • Hillary Clinton backs Obama move on Cuba Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 8:19 PM ET

    Secretary of State and potential presidential contender Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday she supported President Barack Obama's move to establish diplomatic ties with Cuba after more than 50 years of hostile relations. She added: "I support President Obama' s decision to change course on Cuba policy, while keeping the focus on our principal objective-...

  • UPDATE 2-Obama has power to further weaken Cuba sanctions Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 8:15 PM ET

    With Republicans due to take control of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate in January, the chance of lawmakers scrapping all sanctions on Cuba soon is almost zero. The sanctions on Cuba are tighter than those against other U.S. adversaries such as Iran and Russia although America sends food and medicine to Cuba. A president can loosen trade bans...

  • Obama says people should 'go to the movies' Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 7:26 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— President Barack Obama says his administration is taking the cyberattack against Sony studios seriously. Sony said Wednesday it was canceling the Dec. 25 release of "The Interview" after many theaters said they would hold off on screening the film. Obama told ABC News in an interview Wednesday that the administration will be "vigilant" and will alert...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 17- The S&P 500 scored its best day since October 2013 on Wednesday as the Federal Reserve gave an upbeat assessment of the U.S. economy and said it would take a patient approach toward raising interest rates. The Fed said it would take a "patient" approach in deciding when to bump borrowing costs higher, which Fed Chair Janet Yellen, at a news conference,...

  • BRASILIA, Dec 17- Latin American leaders who for years have pressured the United States to drop its economic embargo against Cuba praised President Barack Obama for moving on Wednesday to restore diplomatic relations with its communist-run Cold War foe. U.S. policy toward Cuba has soured its reputation across much of Latin America, especially in recent years...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 17- A tiny mutual fund based in Miami, a clutch of cruise line operators and a Canadian natural resources company rank among the early winners in the Obama administration's surprise move on Wednesday to thaw relations with Cuba. While the Cuban economy is small, with gross domestic product of roughly $70 billion, according to the World Bank,...

  • Dec 17- After twenty years, Thomas Herzfeld's long bet on Cuba is paying off. The Miami Beach- based portfolio manager behind the $25.3 million Herzfeld Caribbean Basin fund, the only Cuba- focused fund in the United States, watched its shares soar more than 40 percent at one point on Wednesday after President Barack Obama's surprise move to thaw relations with the...

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 17- Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, asked the International Trade Commission on Wednesday to begin a study of the economic impact on the United States of current restrictions on exports to Cuba. He said the study, ordered in light of President Barack Obama's easing of trade restrictions on Cuba, would...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 17- The S&P 500 scored its best day since October 2013 on Wednesday as the Federal Reserve gave an upbeat assessment of the economy and said it would take a patient approach toward lifting interest rates. "This is the market saying,' Ah, I get it,' the Fed does not want to be in the business of disruption, this is a steady monetary policy and the Fed will continue...

  • The United States' commercial ties with Cuba were broken 54 years ago after Fidel Castro took over. Now U.S.- Cuba trade is poised to resume: President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced plans to re-establish diplomat relations with Havana, and economic ties are expected to follow. Gary Hufbauer and Barbara Kotschwar of the Peterson Institute for...

  • HAVANA/ WASHINGTON, Dec 17- President Barack Obama announced the United States would restore diplomatic relations it severed with Cuba more than 50 years ago, drawing resistance from lawmakers opposed to reconciling with the communist-run island. Obama said the moves were made possible by Havana's release of American Alan Gross, 65, who had been imprisoned...

  • Dec 17- The United States move to normalize relations with Cuba could pave the way for Sherritt International Corp to export nickel and cobalt to one of the biggest markets in the world, the miner's Chief Executive David Pathe told Reuters. Sherritt shares jumped as much as 36 percent on Wednesday after President Barack Obama moved to thaw a five-decade freeze...

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 17- The renewal of full diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba could be the start of a long thaw in decades of animosity but the path is full of obstacles, not least the U.S. sanctions on the Communist-run island. Only Congress can overturn the law, and with Republicans due to take control of both the House of Representatives and the...

  • Sony cancels 'The Interview' amid terror hack threats Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 3:28 PM ET

    A U.S. official said Wednesday that federal investigators have now connected the Sony hacking to North Korea and may make an announcement in the near future. Sony said it was cancelling "The Interview" release "in light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film. Seemingly putting to rest any hope of a delayed theatrical release or a...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 17- U.S. stocks were up more than 1 percent in Wednesday afternoon trading as the Federal Reserve gave an upbeat assessment of the economy and said it would take a patient approach toward lifting interest rates, a view that investors embraced. Stocks extended sharp gains following the statement but pared some of that increase heading into the close...

  • Senator Robert Menendez said on Wednesday that President Barack Obama's shifts on Cuba policy were intended to circumvent U.S. law. "Today's regulatory changes... are clearly intended to circumvent the intent and spirit of U.S. law and the U.S. Congress," Menendez said in a statement issued after Obama announced that the United States will restore diplomatic...

  • White House does not rule out Cuba visit by Obama Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 2:29 PM ET

    President Barack Obama does not have concrete plans to visit Cuba after restoring diplomatic relations with Havana, but a White House spokesman said on Wednesday he would not rule out a presidential visit. "If there is an opportunity for the president to visit, I'm sure he wouldn't turn it down," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.

  • Analysis: 53 years on, time right for US, Cuba Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 2:21 PM ET

    MEXICO CITY— After 53 years of hostility between the United States and Cuba, the timing to make amends was perfect for both governments. The surprise moves come as President Barack Obama is turning his attention to legacy issues, and Raul Castro is trying to boost his nation's economic fortunes in the face of stalled reforms and falling oil prices that have hit...

  • CHICAGO, Dec 17- The normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba is an "important opportunity" for U.S. agriculture that will make exports of U.S. farm goods cheaper, easier and less time consuming for shippers, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Wednesday. President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that...