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  • A look at Michigan road funding plan Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 2:31 PM ET

    In May, voters would be asked to increase the state's 6 percent sales and uses tax to 7 percent and eliminate the sales tax on motor fuel, generating a net $588 million— mainly for $300 million for schools and nearly $100 million for local governments. The plan also would bar the Legislature from spending School Aid Fund revenue on public universities, an issue for...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 18- Royal Bank of Canada has agreed to pay $35 million to resolve a lawsuit by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, accusing it of running a massive trading scheme to gain lucrative Canadian tax benefits. The settlement, disclosed in papers filed Thursday in Manhattan federal court, would resolve claims that a group of RBC employees...

  • Obama waives sanctions authority despite new law Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 1:31 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— President Barack Obama signed legislation Thursday authorizing new sanctions on Russia but said he does not plan to impose the penalties outlined in the measure. The U.S. and Europe have sought to present a united front against Russia over Moscow's provocations in Ukraine. Obama has told Russian President Vladimir Putin he would roll back U.S....

  • LONDON, Dec 18- Britain's Supreme Court has denied Rusal, the world's biggest aluminium producer, the right to appeal against a court ruling that allows sweeping reform of the London Metal Exchange warehousing system, and also ordered it to pay costs. That court also denied Rusal leave to appeal, but the company approached the Supreme Court directly.

  • SD Supreme Court says gambling promos not taxable Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 11:37 AM ET

    PIERRE, S.D.— Gambling boosters lauded this week's South Dakota Supreme Court decision that Deadwood casinos will no longer have to pay gambling taxes on promotional programs that give patrons free credits to play slot machines, saying Thursday that it'll save operators big money. Deadwood Gaming Association Executive Director Mike Rodman said the...

  • Montana ex-billionaire jailed for contempt Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 9:49 AM ET

    BUTTE, Mont.— Embattled real estate mogul Tim Blixseth was taken away in handcuffs on Thursday after a federal judge ordered the onetime billionaire jailed until he accounts for millions of dollars he owes his creditors. The incarceration of the 64- year-old Blixseth marks a dramatic turn in his six-year legal struggle against accusations that he illegally...

  • Indiana officer asked to stop selling 'divisive' shirts Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 7:55 AM ET

    SOUTH BEND, Ind.— Some officials in the Indiana city of South Bend have called on a police officer to stop selling T-shirts that make light of the "I can't breathe" refrain used in recent protests of the police killing of a New York City man. Mishawaka police officer Jason Barthel this week began selling T-shirts with the message "Breathe easy, don't break the law" at a...

  • NY AG cracks down on toy guns that look real Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 7:00 AM ET

    Eric Schneiderman's office announced Thursday that letters were sent to Walmart, Amazon, K-Mart and Sears telling them to follow a state law intended to ensure that toy guns aren't mistaken for the real thing. A Walmart spokesman says the company will work with Schneiderman to ensure compliance. Messages left with K-Mart, Sears and Amazon Wednesday were not...

  • European court rules obesity can be a disability Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 6:43 AM ET

    LONDON— Obesity can be a disability, the European Court of Justice ruled Thursday— a decision that could have widespread consequences across the 28- nation bloc for the way in which employers deal with severely overweight staff. According to Jacob Sand, Kaltoft's lawyer, the ruling means employers will have an "active obligation" to cater to the needs of their...

  • NC Rules panel approves new fracking standards Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 6:36 AM ET

    The state Rules Review Commission on Wednesday approved the regulations with the understanding that technical corrections for 13 of them would be worked out between now and January, said Vikram Rao, chairman of the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission. Rao said he expects the Legislature to receive the set of rules in January. Prior to Wednesday's...

  • 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...

  • Belarus tightens control over online media Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 3:12 PM ET

    MINSK, Belarus— The Belarusian parliament has approved a bill that would allow authorities to shut Internet media if they carry content deemed illegal. Wednesday's move is part of the authorities' efforts to further tighten control over media ahead of November's presidential election, in which authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko is expected to...

  • WASHINGTON/ BOSTON, Dec 17- Government investigators fear the hackers behind the unprecedented attack on Sony's Hollywood studio may never be caught if they are under the protection of North Korea, a U.S. official said on Wednesday. The law enforcement official, who declined to be identified because the investigation is ongoing, said authorities will require...

  • Governor abandons single-payer health care plan Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 2:49 PM ET

    MONTPELIER, Vt.— Calling it the biggest disappointment of his career, Gov. Peter Shumlin said Wednesday he was abandoning plans to make Vermont the first state in the country with a universal, publicly funded health care system. "I am not going undermine the hope of achieving critically important health care reforms for this state by pushing prematurely for...

  • WASHINGTON/ BOSTON, Dec 17- Government investigators fear the hackers behind the unprecedented attack on Sony's Hollywood studio may never be caught if they are under the protection of North Korea, a U.S. official said on Wednesday. A threat against theaters planning to show Sony Corp's controversial movie about the assassination of the leader of North Korea...

  • Dec 17- A U.S. judge has dismissed Steve Wynn's lawsuit accusing prominent short-seller Jim Chanos of slander over an alleged statement that the casino mogul violated a U.S. anti-bribery law. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco ruled on Tuesday that Chanos was giving an opinion protected under the U.S. Chanos, founder of New York- based hedge fund...

  • Coalition of business owners opposes right to work Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 12:58 PM ET

    MADISON, Wis.— A newly formed coalition of more than 300 construction-related private businesses in Wisconsin announced Wednesday that it will work to defeat a right-to-work proposal being discussed by Republican leaders in the Legislature. Formation of the group comes as talks proceed behind the scenes among Republicans who control the Legislature...

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 17- The U.S. National Credit Union Administration said on Wednesday it filed a lawsuit against U.S. Bank and Bank of America over mortgage securities. The regulator said the banks broke state and federal laws by failing their duties as trustees for 99 securities trusts. The lawsuit is related to $5.8 billion in securities sold to five credit...

  • Protections blocked, but sage grouse work goes on Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 11:21 AM ET

    BILLINGS, Mont.— U.S. wildlife officials will decide next year whether a wide-ranging Western bird species needs protections even though Congress has blocked such protections from taking effect, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Wednesday. President Barack Obama signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill late Tuesday with a provision that barred money from...

  • Michigan road funds deal in doubt this session Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 4:01 AM ET

    Rick Snyder and legislative leaders failed Wednesday to negotiate a potential tax increase to improve Michigan's deteriorating roads, as chances of a $1.2 billion deal dwindled before lawmakers adjourn for the year. The Senate and House approved vastly different plans after the November election. The Senate plan would more than double the 19- cents-...