Wildlife groups, drilling industry talk about conservation
PITTSBURGH — As a natural gas drilling boom sweeps Pennsylvania and other states, conservation groups are debating whether it makes sense to work with the industry to minimize impacts to the environment — and whether to accept industry donations. The Pennsylvania chapter of the Audubon Society and the Ruffed Grouse Society worked with a gas industry group to hold public meetings for bird-watchers, anglers, hunters and hikers to ask questions about drilling. Don Williams, a Harleysville, Pa., resident who attended one meeting, say the idea of the drilling industry making donations to an independent conservation fund came up several times. Audubon and the Ruffed Grouse Society say they aren't seeking such donations but are talking with the industry about ways to strengthen rules and restore habitat after drilling.
Corps of Engineers reduces flow from Missouri River reservoir
ST. LOUIS — The Army Corps of Engineers has begun reducing the flow from a Missouri River reservoir, a move expected to worsen low water conditions on the Mississippi River and potentially halt barge traffic at St. Louis within weeks. Monique Farmer of the corps office in Omaha, Neb., confirmed that reduction of outflow from the Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota began Friday. She says the reduction is necessary because of drought on the upper Missouri River. The Missouri flows into the Mississippi near St. Louis. Barge traffic at St. Louis could be halted if the Mississippi drops another 4.5 feet. The governors of Missouri and Illinois and 15 senators have urged the corps to reconsider the flow reduction or risk economic catastrophe for firms that rely on the Mississippi for shipping.
Indian drugmaker recalls generic version of Lipitor
TRENTON, N.J. — Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Inc. has recalled dozens of lots of its generic version of cholesterol drug Lipitor because some may contain tiny glass particles, the latest in a string of manufacturing deficiencies that once led U.S. regulators to bar imports of the Indian company's medicines. Ranbaxy, a subsidiary of Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., India's biggest drugmaker, is operating under increased scrutiny from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because of quality lapses at multiple Ranbaxy factories over the past several years. The FDA also has alleged the company lied about test results for more than two dozen of its generic drugs several years ago. On Friday, Ranbaxy posted a notice on its U.S. website, saying it's recalling 10-, 20- and 40-milligram doses of tablets of atorvastatin calcium. That's generic Lipitor, the cholesterol fighter that reigned for years as the world's top-selling drug.
Entrepreneur plans party train from S. California to Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS — As if a weekend in Las Vegas isn't wild enough for Southern Californians, a Nevada entrepreneur is about to add five more hours of party to either end. After striking an agreement with Union Pacific Railroad last week, the Las Vegas Railway Express is one step closer to bringing to life the X Train, a luxurious “party train” complete with big screen TVs, recliners and two ultra lounges. Tourists can't get from Southern California to Las Vegas by rail alone, and Barron's company isn't the first to try and fix that. The much-talked-about XpressWest project proposes a high-speed train connecting Sin City to the region from which it draws 25 percent of its tourists.
Filipino worker dies after being burned in oil platform fire
NEW ORLEANS — The Philippine ambassador says one of the men critically burned in an offshore oil platform fire has died in Louisiana. The ambassador, Jose L. Cuisia Jr., says in a news release that 49-year-old Avelino Tajonera died Friday, shortly after his wife and three children arrived from Manila. Three other men remain hospitalized. The ambassador says their families are in Baton Rouge. The explosion and fire Nov. 16 also killed 42-year-old Ellroy Corporal, whose body was found in the waters nearby. The search for another man, 28-year-old Jerome Malagapo, was called off. The embassy quotes Consul General Herrera-Lim as saying three Filipino workers who survived the fire are back in Manila after giving statements to federal authorities investigating the fire.
European Union leaders hit impasse on budget deal talks
BRUSSELS — A summit of the European Union's 27 national leaders, charged with agreeing on a long-term budget for the bloc, broke up Friday afternoon without being able to reach a deal. Coming just days after the 17 eurogroup finance ministers failed, yet again, to agree on the conditions for releasing badly needed bailout money for Greece, the failure of the two-day summit raises questions about how the bloc makes important decisions. In most cases, unanimity is required, meaning that each country wields veto power. The EU's top officials, who put in long hours trying to soften up the national leaders individually before putting them together in the same meeting room, tried to put a brave face on the budget deadlock.
Walmart's Indian joint venture suspends employees after inquiry
MUMBAI, India — Walmart's Indian joint venture said Friday it has suspended several employees as part of an internal corruption investigation, another blow to the U.S. company's plans for aggressive expansion in a giant market that is largely untapped by foreign retailers. Bharti Walmart, Walmart's joint venture with India's Bharti Enterprises, said it had suspended “a few associates” and was “committed to conducting a complete and thorough investigation.” India's Economic Times newspaper reported that the company's chief financial officer was among the five employees suspended, a claim the company declined to verify.
From Wire Reports