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  • NEW YORK/ ST. LOUIS, Dec 18- U.S. authorities sued MoneyGram International Inc's former chief compliance officer on Thursday, seeking a $1 million civil penalty and to hold him personally responsible for failing to stop fraudulent telemarketers from using the money-transfer firm's services. The lawsuit against Thomas Haider was filed in U.S. District Court in...

  • Pier 1 meets 3Q profit forecasts Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 4:15 PM ET

    FORT WORTH, Texas _ Pier 1 Imports Inc. on Thursday reported profit of $17.9 million in its fiscal third quarter. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was also for earnings of 20 cents per share. Analysts expected $488.5 million, according to Zacks.

  • 'Team America' screenings also pulled from theaters Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 3:24 PM ET

    NEW YORK— Programmed as a playful substitute to "The Interview," Trey Parker and Matt Stone's North Korea comedy "Team America: World Police" also has been pulled from theaters. After Sony dropped its planned Dec. 25 release of "The Interview" on Wednesday, a handful of theaters across the U.S. plugged in screenings of "Team America," the 2004 puppet film that parodies...

  • Correction: Cuba-Travel story Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 3:18 PM ET

    NEW YORK— NEW YORK— In a story Dec. 17 about travel to Cuba, The Associated Press reported erroneously the number of Americans who were authorized to travel to Cuba last year. US travel industry carefully eyeing Cuba tourism. NEW YORK— Cuba was once a haven for sun-seeking American tourists.

  • Analysts say companies with considerable debt such as Nabors Industries Ltd and small private firms with less efficient rigs will scramble to keep them in operation. Rig rates of $25,000- $30,000 per day in the quarter ended Sept. 30, are expected to fall 20-25 percent or more next year and talks over lower rates are already underway, analysts said.

  • BRASILIA, Dec 18- A congressional committee investigating a mushrooming corruption scandal at Brazil's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA recommended on Thursday that prosecutors bring charges against 52 people for alleged money laundering and racketeering. It now goes before the two houses of Congress for debate and a final vote.

  • Judge appoints board to sort out polygamous homes Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 12:34 PM ET

    SALT LAKE CITY— A Utah judge has appointed a board of trustees to sort out the redistribution of more than 700 homes in a polygamous community on the Utah- Arizona border where Warren Jeffs' sect is based. State Judge Denise Lindberg's order Wednesday gives the panel limited power, though. Meanwhile, others are being evicted for refusing to pay $100- a-month...

  • Cheniere lands 20-year natural gas deal in Portugal Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 10:40 AM ET

    HOUSTON— Cheniere Energy landed a 20- year contract to supply natural gas in Portugal, sending shares up 8 percent in early trading. Companies such as Exxon Mobil and Sempra Energy are seeking federal permits for more than 20 export projects that could handle as much as 29 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day. EDP also has electricity and gas operations in Spain...

  • 2014: A year of battle lines drawn over dinner Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 10:38 AM ET

    Have you picked a side yet? If not, you'd better think fast, because the battle lines are being drawn and they cut right down the dinner table. For if there was any theme to the food world in 2014, it was the prevalence of polarizing issues.

  • Ford expands drivers air bag recall nationwide Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 8:47 AM ET

    DETROIT— Ford Motor Co. has agreed to government demands to expand a driver's side air bag inflator recall to the entire U.S. Ford's action puts pressure on BMW and Chrysler, the only two automakers that haven't agreed to national recalls. Honda and Mazda already took their recalls national.

  • BRUCEVILLE- EDDY, Texas— Authorities from multiple law enforcement agencies are combing the area around a remote Central Texas television studio where a morning meteorologist was shot in a parking lot after an argument. The Texas Department of Public Safety says the shooting occurred around 9:15 a.m. Wednesday outside KCEN-TV's rural studio on...

  • Feds: Uganda-based man counterfeited $2M in cash Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 7:47 AM ET

    PITTSBURGH— Federal authorities have charged a man with leading an international counterfeit money operation based in the African nation of Uganda, and shipping bogus bills to the Pittsburgh area and other locations in the United States. Gustafson was arrested Dec. 11 in Uganda and investigators seized sophisticated printers and other equipment...

  • Hackers who said they were incensed by the film attacked Sony Corp last month, leaking documents that drew global headlines and distributing unreleased films on the Internet. "Sony has no further release plans for the film," a Sony spokeswoman said on Wednesday when asked whether the movie would be released later in theaters or as video on demand.

  • Q&A: Drones might help show how tornados form Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 12:26 AM ET

    DENVER— Researchers say they've collected promising weather data by flying instrument-laden drones into big Western and Midwestern storms. The University of Colorado and University of Nebraska announced this week they have formed the Unmanned Aircraft System and Severe Storms Research Group to develop the program. Drones can take measurements at any...

  • Motiva backs off hydrocracker expansion at Texas refinery Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 3:19 PM ET

    HOUSTON, Dec 17- Motiva Enterprises has withdrawn its permit request to expand a hydrocracker and diesel hydrotreater unit at its Texas refinery, the largest in the United States. In a brief letter received by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month, Motiva asked, without explanation, to withdraw its August permit application for the...

  • You're going to see volatility here, "said Daniel Flynn, energy analyst at Chicago's Price Futures Group. Brent for February delivery was up $1.05 at $61.06 a barrel by 2:37 p.m. EST, after hitting a session high of $63.40. The biggest slide in oil prices since the 2008 financial crisis had accelerated after OPEC met in November, when Gulf producers resisted calls...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 17- Crude oil jumped nearly 5 percent on Wednesday as important chart support prices held fast after nearly a week of selling, leading to technical buying that turned the market around abruptly. "I think it was triggered by some short-covering, and once it gets going it feeds upon itself," said John Saucer at Mobius Risk Group in Houston.

  • New York to ban fracking; environmentalists cheer Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 12:57 PM ET

    ALBANY, N.Y.— Handing environmentalists a breakthrough victory, New York plans to prohibit fracking for natural gas because of what regulators say are its unexplored health risks and dubious economic benefits. New York, which overlies part of the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation that has led to a drilling boom in Pennsylvania and other nearby states, has...

  • Bird flu found in wild birds in Washington state - USDA Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 12:18 PM ET

    Dec 17- Two strains of avian influenza have been confirmed in wild birds in Washington state, near the U.S. border with Canada, but there is no immediate cause for public health concerns, U.S. agriculture officials said on Wednesday. The other strain, H5N8, was found in captive gyrfalcons that were fed hunter-killed wild birds, the USDA said. Neither virus has been...

  • US travel industry carefully eyeing Cuba tourism Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 12:11 PM ET

    NEW YORK— Cuba was once a haven for sun-seeking American tourists. President Barack Obama's announcement Wednesday of plans to re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba doesn't suddenly lift the ban on U.S. tourism. "Cuba is the largest country in the Caribbean, so there's some exciting possibilities," said Roger Frizzell, spokesman for Carnival Corp. He said "some...