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  • INDIANAPOLIS-- The severe drought conditions that troubled Indiana through the summer have largely dissipated, with a federal report showing the state's dryness in its best condition since mid-June. Drought Monitor's weekly report released Thursday listed about 15 percent of Indiana in severe drought, mostly in the state's southeastern corner.

  • The price of oil is rising the most in two months after tensions rose between Syria and Turkey. Oil rose to $91.63, a jump of $3.49, or 4 percent, in morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The increase came as Turkey's military fired on targets in Syria for the second day.

  • LONDON-- Unilever has announced that it will consider selling its Skippy peanut butter business in the US and Canada as part of a strategic review. The company says it is also considering other options for the brand.

  • NICOSIA, Cyprus-- Cyprus is aiming to get a bailout of about 11.5 billion from the other 16 countries that use the euro to recapitalize its troubled banks and pay its bills, officials said Thursday _ significantly less than what its potential rescuers estimate it needs.

  • ANCHORAGE, Alaska-- The day Alaskans highly anticipate has arrived with the distribution of dividend checks from the state's oil savings account. This year's $878 dividend from the Alaska Permanent Fund will be directly deposited Thursday into the bank accounts of eligible residents who choose that route.

  • CHEYENNE, Wyo.-- Wyoming's unemployment rate increased slightly to 5.7 percent in August. For the month of August, Fremont County posted the highest unemployment rate in the state at 6.6 percent, followed by Lincoln County at 6.4 percent, Big Horn at 6.1 percent and Laramie at 5.9 percent.

  • LONDON-- The NBA is coming back to London with a regular-season game between the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks in January. The NBA says the Pistons and Knicks will play on Jan. 17 at the O2 Arena, the site of this year's Olympic gold-medal game.

  • FRESH LOWS: Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell again to record lows this week, making home-buying and refinancing more attractive. THE NUMBERS: The average rate on the 30- year mortgage dropped to 3.36 percent, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950 s.

  • VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP, Mich.-- Auto parts maker Visteon Corp. said Wednesday that Martin Welch has stepped down as chief financial officer. Visteon, the former parts arm of Ford Motor Co., said Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer Michael Widgren will be its interim CFO. Visteon's shares rose 39 cents to $45.88 in morning trading.

  • NEW DELHI-- India's Cabinet pushed ahead with a second wave of economic reform proposals, endorsing higher levels of foreign investment in insurance and pension funds and amendments to laws governing competition, Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said.

  • The price of oil is higher after tensions rose between Syria and Turkey. Oil rose to $89.21, a jump of $1.06, or 1.2 percent, in morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The increase in prices came as Turkey's military fired on targets in Syria for the second day.

  • NORFOLK, Va.-- Virginia Port Authority officials are holding a public hearing on proposals to privatize some of the Port of Virginia's operations. The Port of Virginia is the third-largest port on the East Coast. But state officials have been frustrated that it hasn't rebounded from the recession as quickly as its competitors in New York and Savannah, Ga., have.

  • NEW YORK-- A new report is highly critical of the Long Island Rail Road's work crew productivity. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Inspector General Barry Kluger reviewed several recent construction projects and found that LIRR crews reported to work late, knocked off early and that a lack of oversight was widespread.

  • WASHINGTON-- Orders to U.S. factories fell in August from July, mostly because of a sharp drop in volatile aircraft orders. The decline offset an increase in orders that reflect corporate investment plans. The Commerce Department said Thursday that factory orders dropped 5.2 percent in August, the biggest decline in more than three years.

  • HOUSTON-- Mattress retailer Mattress Firm says a secondary public offering of about 4.7 million shares has priced at $29.85 apiece. Mattress Firm Holding Corp. said Thursday that it is not selling any shares in the offering. Shares of the Houston- based company, which went public in November 2011, gained $1.56, or 5.2 percent, to $31.74 in morning trading.

  • HARRISBURG, Pa.-- Officials at Exelon Corp.' s Three Mile Island nuclear facility in central Pennsylvania are beginning to test a new emergency siren system. Exelon says the sirens have improved sound and better battery backup to ensure they'll work during an electrical outage.

  • CARSON CITY, Nev.-- State Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto says Nevada residents who lost their homes to foreclosure in 2009 or 2010 have until Dec. 31 to submit an application for possible compensation under the federal Independent Foreclosure Review program.

  • NEW BRITAIN, Conn.-- A New Britain Superior Court judge has backed Connecticut's first proposed wind farm. Judge Henry Cohn rejected opponents' claims that the six turbines proposed for Colebrook would unduly hurt the environment or harm neighbors.

  • PHOENIX-- Public and private economists weigh in on the state of Arizona's economy on Thursday as legislative budget analysts evaluate Arizona's fiscal health. The economists serve on the Finance Advisory Committee. That group provides input to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee staff.