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  • WASHINGTON, Dec 21- Last month's move by the U.S. commodities regulator to let Southwest Airlines Co keep its multibillion-dollar oil trades secret for 15 days offered the world's biggest low-cost carrier a break it has been seeking for three years. All other swap trades except Southwest's must be reported "as soon as technologically practicable."

  • Gas flares in Eagle Ford Shale continue upward Sunday, 21 Dec 2014 | 10:41 AM ET

    SAN ANTONIO— Gas flaring in the most profitable shale field in the U.S. is on pace to surpass to 2013 levels of waste and pollution in South Texas, according to a newspaper analysis of state records published Sunday. The Eagle Ford Shale burned off more than 20 billion cubic feet of natural gas in the first seven months of this year, according to the Railroad...

  • Haggen chain buying 146 Safeway, Albertsons stores Saturday, 20 Dec 2014 | 2:16 PM ET

    BELLINGHAM, Wash.— The Washington state- based grocery chain Haggen Inc. plans to buy 146 Albertsons and Safeway stores in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona. The Bellingham Herald reports the sales are required under the federal review of Safeway's sale to an investment group that owns Albertsons. Associated Food Stores is buying eight stores...

  • Texas ranchers seeking alternative incomes Saturday, 20 Dec 2014 | 10:46 AM ET

    GAIL, Texas— The Muleshoe Ranch's profits were chopped in half when the drought withered pastures, dried up stock tanks and forced the owner to move most of his cattle out of state. Three years later, the sprawling 33,000- acre West Texas ranch is again populated with cattle, thanks to improved rainfall. The changes may be permanent, and the ongoing drought is among...

  • LOS ANGELES, Dec 19- Sony Pictures said on Friday it is looking for alternatives to release "The Interview" after it scrapped the Christmas Day theatrical opening of the screwball comedy at the center of a cyberattack on the studio blamed on North Korea. On Wednesday, Sony canceled the theatrical release of the film depicting the assassination of North Korean...

  • Patients return to Dallas hospital where Ebola hit Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 4:08 PM ET

    DALLAS— The Dallas hospital where a man died of Ebola and two nurses were infected with the disease said Friday that its revenues have returned to what they were before the crisis and patient flow is almost there. In a financial statement Friday, the parent company of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas said that from Dec. 1-15, emergency room visits at the...

  • Arctic offshore drill company enters guilty pleas Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 2:43 PM ET

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska— The company hired by Royal Dutch Shell PLC in 2012 to drill on petroleum leases in the Arctic Ocean pleaded guilty Friday to eight felony environmental and maritime crimes. Noble Drilling U.S. LLC, based in Sugarland, Texas, agreed to pay $12.2 million after pleading guilty to five counts of failing to maintain records on a drill ship that...

  • 1st drone in Nevada test program crashes in demo Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 1:33 PM ET

    BOULDER CITY, Nev.— An aerial drone testing program got off to a bumpy start Friday in Nevada, when the first unmanned aircraft authorized to fly without direct Federal Aviation Administration supervision crashed during a ceremony at a remote site. Company and FAA officials said the drone wasn't damaged. "Protocol is to troubleshoot the problem," said Bruce...

  • MEXICO CITY, Dec 19- The allure of investing in Mexico's historic oil sector opening has been dimmed by the plummeting price of crude, putting pressure on the government to offer bigger incentives to private investors in the first major round of contracts up for grabs. Since Congress in August approved the laws governing the dissolution of Mexico's 75-...

  • Texas' November jobless rate falls to 4.9 percent Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 11:46 AM ET

    AUSTIN, Texas— Texas' unemployment rate has declined for the third month in a row to 4.9 percent in November as the state continues to add jobs, the Texas Workforce Commission reported Friday. "The Texas economy continued its record-breaking expansion, providing job opportunities across a wide range of industries," Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres...

  • Unemployment rates fell in 41 US states last month Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 10:35 AM ET

    The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates rose in only three states: Connecticut, Louisiana, and Washington state. North Dakota's 2.7 percent unemployment rate was lowest in the nation, while Mississippi's 7.3 percent rate was the highest. The biggest job gains occurred in California, which added 90,100 jobs in November, followed by Florida,...

  • How oil's decline caused a Texas housing boom  Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 10:23 AM ET

    CNBC's Diana Olick discusses how the fall in oil prices is impacting the housing market in Texas.

  • Thousands respond to black rhino import request Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 7:07 AM ET

    Shire said the agency will examine the public comments "for substantive information" as it weighs whether the hunt in Namibia— where 1,800 of the remaining 4,880 black rhinos live— is a form of conservation. The hunter, Corey Knowlton, bid $350,000 at an auction last January that the Dallas Safari Club billed as a fundraising effort to save the species.

  • Poll: Americans skeptical of commercial drones Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 12:01 AM ET

    The FAA is expected to propose restricting drones weighing less than 55 pounds to flights under 400 feet high, forbid nighttime flights, and require drones be kept within sight of their operators. Eddy Dufault, 58, a machinist and part-time wildlife photographer in Marlborough, Massachusetts, who is considering buying a drone, said he agrees with most of the...

  • *White House not in position to confirm North Korea responsible. WASHINGTON/ LOS ANGELES, Dec 18- Washington made the woes of cyberattack victim Sony Pictures its own on Thursday as the White House acknowledged that the devastating strike against the big Hollywood studio was a matter of national security that would be met by a forceful government response.

  • 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.