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  • US companies clamor to do business in Cuba Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 8:43 AM ET

    Some U.S. companies took immediate steps to enter the Cuban marketplace after Obama's move to end the trade embargo. The NYT reports.

  • Protection sought for scenic California region Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 7:13 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— A contingent of California environmental groups, business representatives and politicians will use a visit Friday from Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to push for permanent protection of some 350,000 acres of picturesque federal land near the state's famous wine country. Congress declined this session to pass legislation from Democratic...

  • Environmental groups say the practice of storing coal ash in holding ponds supported by permeable, earthen dikes leads both to contamination of surrounding groundwater and the risk of catastrophe when those dikes fail, as happened in Tennessee and at a site in North Carolina earlier this year. The EPA has said contaminants such as arsenic, mercury and cadmium...

  • For US and Cuba, normalcy will take many steps Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 3:30 AM ET

    That's about to become clear as the Obama administration and the communist government of Raul Castro move to normalize more than a half-century of bitter animosity between the United States and Cuba. While international relations can be subject to laws passed by Congress, the White House enjoys broad discretion in diplomatic recognition.

  • It's law now: 'No Social Security for Nazis' Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 3:21 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— President Barack Obama on Thursday capped a swift and forceful response to an Associated Press investigation by signing into law a measure that bars suspected Nazi war criminals from receiving U.S. The AP's investigation, which was the impetus for the No Social Security for Nazis Act, found that dozens of former Nazis collected millions of...

  • EPA expected to treat coal ash waste like garbage Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 3:08 AM ET

    The Obama administration is under court order to unveil the rule Friday, ending a six-year effort that began after a massive spill at a Tennessee power plant in 2008. Since then, the Environmental Protection Agency has documented coal ash waste sites tainting hundreds of waterways and underground aquifers in numerous states with heavy metals and other...

  • Hack attack spurs call for more NKorea sanctions Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 12:06 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— Suspicions that North Korea was behind a destructive hacking attack against Sony Pictures and a threat against movie theaters are intensifying calls for tougher U.S. steps to cut that country's access to hard currency and declare it once more as a state sponsor of terrorism. A U.S. cyber-retaliation against North Korea would risk a dangerous...

  • Companies' data security in question after Sony hack Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 12:05 AM ET

    The hack, which a U.S. official has said investigators believe is linked to North Korea, culminated in the cancellation of a Sony film and ultimately could cost the movie studio hundreds of millions of dollars. "The Sony breach is a real wake-up call even after the year of mega-breaches we've seen," says Lee Weiner, Boston security firm Rapid7's senior vice...

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

    With a few narrow exceptions, the Federal Aviation Administration prohibits commercial use of drones but is about to propose regulations that will broaden the use of small ones. Congress may also step in next year to try to nudge the FAA to move faster. Drones are forecast to create 100,000 jobs and $82 billion in economic impact in the first 10 years they're...

  • EPA to step in on fish consumption water rules Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 8:05 PM ET

    SEATTLE— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday said it plans to come up with updated water quality standards for Washington partly tied to how much fish people eat— in case the state doesn't do it by next year. The federal process will run parallel to the state's own, which is currently underway, and ensures the EPA can propose a rule in a timely manner...

  • *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.

  • Government selling last stake in Ally Financial Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 7:20 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— The government is selling the last of its shares in Ally Financial Inc., the former financing arm of General Motors that was bailed out during the financial crisis. Detroit- based Ally said Thursday that the Treasury Department is selling its remaining 54.9 million shares. Ally, formerly called GMAC Inc., received a $17.2 billion bailout that began...

  • Fed gives banks more time to sell risky holdings Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 6:21 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— The Federal Reserve is delaying by two years a requirement that U.S. banks sell off their riskiest investments such as stakes in private equity and hedge funds. Banks say they need more time to complete the sales. The Fed said Thursday that it plans to extend from July 2015 to July 2017 the deadline by which banks will have to sell their stakes.

  • Hope and some fear in Cuba amid thaw with US Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 5:56 PM ET

    HAVANA— The restoration of diplomatic ties between Cuba and the United States unleashed expectations Thursday of even more momentous changes on an island that often seems frozen in a past of classic cars and crumbling Art Deco buildings. Some fear a cultural onslaught, or that crime and drugs, both rare in Cuba, will become common along with visitors from the...

  • Dec 18- U.S. banks will be able to do more business in Cuba after the United States and the island nation agreed to restore diplomatic ties, but trade groups said their members will be slow to ramp up operations, fearing big penalties for mistakes. The U.S. Treasury Department said it expects to ease its sanction rules for banking in Cuba in the coming weeks.

  • UNITED NATIONS, Dec 18- Iran has not demonstrated sufficient flexibility in nuclear talks with six world powers aimed at ending a 12- year standoff with the Islamic Republic over its atomic ambitions, France and Britain said on Thursday. The remarks, at the United Nations, came just after the completion of another inconclusive round of negotiations in Geneva...

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 18- U.S. regulators have declared insurer MetLife Inc so big that its failure could destabilize financial markets, a designation that brings extra regulation. MetLife said in a statement on Thursday announcing the designation that it was disappointed by the decision, made by the U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council, and was considering...

  • Sony hacking fallout puts all companies on alert Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 4:52 PM ET

    The hack, which a U.S. official has said investigators believe is linked to North Korea, culminated in the cancellation of a Sony film and ultimately could cost the movie studio hundreds of millions of dollars. "The Sony breach is a real wake-up call even after the year of mega-breaches we've seen," says Lee Weiner, Boston security firm Rapid7's senior vice...

  • UNITED NATIONS, Dec 18- Iran has not demonstrated sufficient flexibility in nuclear talks with six world powers aimed at ending a 12- year standoff with the Islamic Republic over its atomic ambitions, France and Britain said on Thursday. The remarks at the United Nations came just after the completion of another inconclusive round of negotiations in Geneva...

  • Figures on government spending and debt Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 4:34 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— Figures on government spending and debt.