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  • CHICAGO, Oct 9- Narayana Kocherlakota surprised economists around the world last month when he called on the U.S. central bank to hold interest rates near zero, possibly for several years to come.

  • Oct 9- Continental Resources Inc, the top oil producer in the Bakken region, said on Tuesday it expects to cut $1 million off the cost of its average well there by the end of 2013, as it takes on one of the biggest challenges in the booming oil basin.

  • OKLAHOMA CITY-- Continental Resources Inc. said Monday that it plans to triple production and proved reserves of oil and natural gas liquids in the next five years on its leased properties in the U.S.

  • SEATTLE-- Residents of Washington, Oregon and Colorado won't just be considering whether to let adults buy pot at state-sanctioned shops when they vote next month on legalizing and taxing marijuana. "Farmers are already engaged in a high-risk endeavor," said Roy Kaufmann, a spokesman for Oregon's pot initiative. "

  • BOZEMAN, Mont.-- More than a dozen eastern Montana landowners filed a lawsuit Friday against Exxon Mobil Corp. claiming the company ignored warnings before a pipeline break that spilled an estimated 1,500 barrels of crude oil into the Yellowstone River. Exxon Mobil spokesman Patrick Henretty said the company had not received the lawsuit.

  • CALGARY, Alberta, Oct 5- Canadian cash crude prices weakened for the fourth straight session on Friday as production from the Alberta oil sands looked set to increase for next month.

  • LONDON, Oct 5- The booming business of transporting Bakken crude has thrown a lifeline to U.S. railroads, at a time when shipments of coal, their main commodity by volume, have fallen sharply. Coal accounted for just over 43 percent of rail car loadings by weight, and 25 percent of gross revenues, last year according to the Association of American Railroads.

  • BOZEMAN, Mont.-- A Japanese pharmaceutical company is acquiring Bozeman- based LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals in a $60 million deal to expand its vaccine division, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. announced.

  • Conditions worsened, though, in Kansas and Iowa, the nation's biggest corn producer, and nearly 98 percent of Nebraska was still deemed to be in one of the two worst categories. According to the map, which is put out by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, 75 percent of Iowa is enduring extreme or exceptional drought.

  • Light synthetic crude for November delivery last sold for $9.75 a barrel over benchmark West Texas Intermediate, compared with $12 a barrel over WTI on Tuesday, according to Shorcan Energy Brokers. November Western Canada Select heavy blend was quoted at $11 a barrel under WTI, an 80- cent wider discount than on Tuesday.

  • INDIANAPOLIS-- Campaign cash from outside political groups is flooding into conservative states with close Senate races like Indiana, Arizona and Montana, where residents are more accustomed to local news promos between football games than the relentless, often snarky attack ads.

  • HELENA, Mont.-- The state Labor Department says Montana's minimum wage will increase by 15 cents an hour to $7.80 beginning on Jan. 1. Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly said Tuesday the cost of living rose by 1.7 percent from August 2011 to August 2012, leading to the increase in minimum wage.

  • *Illinois, Montana refineries down for work. CALGARY, Alberta, Oct 2- Canadian crude prices strengthened on Tuesday, despite outages at some key U.S. refineries, after Syncrude Canada Ltd, one of the top to oil sands mining operations, reported lower production.

  • DENVER-- CenturyLink Inc. workers in 13 western states have voted to authorize a strike if union leaders can't reach a new contract with the communications company. The union and Monroe, La.- based CenturyLink are trying to reach a new contract for 13,000 employees, who formerly worked for Qwest Communications, before the current contract expires Saturday night.

  • Oct 1- Connacher Oil and Gas Ltd:. *Announces closing of sale of Montana refining and plans for 2013 capital. *Board approved preliminary 2013 capital budget of about $70 million relating.

  • WASHINGTON-- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has spent tens of millions of dollars on television ads to help boost Republican congressional candidates, launched an extensive effort on Monday to mobilize voters. It also will include information on House and Senate races and a comparison of the candidates on the issues.

  • Buford, Wyo.,  to a Vietnamese buyer for $900,000 in April. The same month, a couple  the tiny town of Wauconda, Wash., for $360,000. In May, the French “ghost village” of Courbefy  to an American photographer for about $643,000.You regularly see news items about entire towns and villages going up for sale. Why buy a whole town? Many buyers see business potential. An oft-cited plan for such purchases is transforming it into a tourist destination. One man used his July  of the abandoned town Bank

    For those who might like to own a town (and perhaps even give it a wacky new name) and have at least $250,000 to spend, here are eight options.