• Russian FM: politics must not affect oil decisions

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's foreign minister said Friday that political issues should not influence decisions on global oil production, even as the country's economy takes a hit from falling oil prices. Russia is weighing how to respond to this year's 30 percent drop in the price of crude, to below $80 per barrel. A government official said Monday a decision on production targets had not yet been made. When asked whether Russia was willing to cut oil production after a meeting with his Saudi counterpart in Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said only that Russia and Saudi Arabia did not want oil production targets to be affected by "political or geopolitical designs.

  • Toyota recalls nearly 423K Lexuses for fuel leaks

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    DETROIT (AP) — Toyota is recalling nearly 423,000 Lexus luxury brand cars in the U.S. to fix fuel leaks that can cause fires. The recalls affect the 2006 to 2011 GS, 2007 to 2010 LS and the 2006 to 2011 IS models. Toyota says that the cars' fuel lines have nickel phosphate plating to protect against corrosion. Some lines could have been built with particles coming in contact with a gasket. That can cause the sealing property to deteriorate and trigger fuel leaks. Toyota says it's not aware of any fires or injuries caused by the problem.

  • Ahead of the Bell: SolarCity

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — SolarCity's stock is surging in premarket trading on Friday following the company's announcement that it is teaming with Walmart on some new solar power and energy storage projects. The California-based company said Thursday that it has a contract with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to install new solar projects at facilities in up to 36 states over the next four years. It has already completed more than 200 solar projects at Walmart locations since 2010. SolarCity has also installed and tested energy storage projects in combination with solar power generation at 13 Walmart facilities since early 2013. It will be incorporating 10 additional storage projects in the next year. Shares of SolarCity Corp., based in S

  • Japan orders air bag maker to conduct probe

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    TOKYO (AP) — Japan's transport ministry said Friday it has ordered air bag maker Takata to conduct an internal investigation after cases of its air bags exploding triggered safety concerns in the United States and other countries. The ministry also ordered Takata and Japanese automakers to study whether additional recalls are needed in Japan following a U.S. decision to expand recalls nationwide from an earlier measure limited to high-humidity zones. Takata air bags can inflate with excessive force, sending metal shrapnel toward the driver and passengers. The problems have been blamed for at least six deaths and dozens of injuries. Millions of cars have been recalled worldwide.

  • Pipeline Easement Information Center launches

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Petroleum Council has launched an effort to help smooth relations between energy pipeline companies and property owners. The online Easement Information Center includes resources for landowners and land agents involved in securing pipeline easements, which give energy companies access to private land in exchange for compensating the landowner. It's the product of a task force formed earlier this year that included industry representatives, regulators and landowners. More pipelines could help cut down on road traffic and the wasteful burning off or "flaring" of natural gas as the energy industry booms in western North Dakota.

  • Tribal head to speed North Dakota pipeline talks

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The new leader of North Dakota's oil-rich Three Affiliated Tribes is pledging to speed negotiations on a proposed pipeline through tribal land that would curb the wasteful burning of natural gas in the state by more than 10 percent. North Dakota's booming oil production has led to an unmanageable increase in the state's output of natural gas, which is a byproduct of oil production. Oneok Inc., the biggest operator of natural gas pipelines and processing plants in North Dakota, wants to build a 20-mile-long pipeline to capture natural gas from oil wells in Dunn County and move it to an existing pipeline network nearby.

  • Disney, Shanghai Media expanding partnership

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Walt Disney Co. and Shanghai Media Group are expanding their strategic partnership in China. The companies said Friday that their partnership will now include television content development, movie co-production, content distribution and cooperation on marketing. One project the companies are working on together is "Born in China," a film currently in production in China that will feature the country's wildlife. The movie is expected to open in theaters in 2016. Hollywood studios have increasingly teamed up with Chinese companies to gain access to Chinese financing and a government-controlled film market that is growing strongly. Walt Disney Co. is based in Burbank, California. Its shares rose

  • Malaysia axes fuel subsidies as oil prices drop

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia's government said Friday it will completely withdraw fuel subsidies from next month following the plunge in global oil prices. Domestic Trade Minister Hasan Malek said fuel prices will now be set at the end of every month based on a monthly average price under a "managed float" system from Dec. 1. He said the move will allow Malaysians to enjoy the full benefits of the fall in global crude prices. Last year, the government spent 23 billion ringgit ($6.7 billion) on fuel subsidies. The world oil price has plummeted 31 percent in just five months, a sharp drop after a four-year period of prices near or above $100 a barrel. On Thursday, benchmark U.S. crude was about $76 a barrel.

  • XPLOR Energy pleads to Clean Water Act violation

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An Oklahoma energy corporation has pleaded guilty to knowingly violating the federal Clean Water Act by discharging pollutants into Breton Sound and the Gulf of Mexico. U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite said XPLOR Energy SPV-1, Inc., based in Southlake, Texas, entered the plea Thursday inside of a one-count bill of information. Polite, in a news release, said the charges stem from the company's oil and gas production activities in the Breton Sound area of the Gulf. As part of the plea, XPLOR has agreed to pay a $3.1 million penalty and serve a three-year term of probation. If the court accepts the plea, Polite said $2.5 million of the penalty would go to the U.S.

  • Mohegan Sun chief executive set to retire in 2015

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Mitchell Etess, chief executive of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, says he plans to retire next year, but will stay on in a transition. Etess told investor analysts of his decision on a conference call Thursday. He said he'll remain with the parent company of the Mohegan Sun casinos in Connecticut and Pennsylvania beyond the end of his contract on June 30, 2015. Etess joined Mohegan Sun nearly 19 years ago as senior vice president of marketing. The Mohegan Sun failed to get a foothold in Massachusetts with casino proposals, but is in the running for a casino in New York's Catskills region. The authority expects to have a successor in place by April 1.

  • Poll: Employers watching insurance costs closely

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    Despite years of rising medical costs and pressure from the health care overhaul, employers consider employee health insurance a priority. But new surveys suggest coverage may grow skimpier in the coming years. A poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that companies that offer health insurance see it as a key tool to attract workers and keep them on the job. But they're also sweating the expense, with 86 percent citing the cost of coverage as a main factor in picking a plan. Five key findings from the poll: ___ WHEN OFFERING BENEFITS, COST IS TOP OF MIND Nearly 9 in 10 employers who offer health insurance benefits call the cost to their organization an important factor i

  • Gift Guide: 3 ways to watch streaming video on TV

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — Even casual viewers of online video will appreciate the ability to watch it on a big-screen TV. For about $100, you can get a great streaming TV device to do that. Or for about a third of that, you can get a pretty good one. Content selection varies, but all offer such basics as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube. After trying out 10 streaming devices, I have three recommendations and an honorable mention: ___ AMAZON FIRE TV STICK A "stick" is a cheaper, lightweight version of a regular streaming device, often with poorer performance. That's not the case with the $39 Fire TV Stick, which is why I'm recommending it over the $99 Fire TV. The processor isn't as powerful, and there isn't as much working memor

  • Explosion on Gulf platform; 1 dead, 3 injured

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An explosion occurred on an offshore oil and gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, killing one person and injuring three. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said Fieldwood Energy reported the explosion on its Echo Platform just before 3 p.m. about 12 miles off Louisiana's coast. In a statement late Thursday, the Houston, Texas-based company said it was "an isolated incident that has been fully contained." The company said the person who was killed was an employee of a contractor, and another contractor employee was seriously injured. All other personnel working at the facility were accounted for, Fieldwood Energy said in the email statement.

  • California tuition hike fight shifts to Sacramento

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — University of California President Janet Napolitano prevailed Thursday in persuading the system's governing board to authorize five years of tuition increases, a politically risky move likely to ignite months of debate to determine if the costs ultimately fall on students or taxpayers. Over the shouts of demonstrators and the opposition of Gov. Jerry Brown, the UC Board of Regents voted 14-7 to approve increases of as much as 5 percent in each of the next five years unless the state devotes more money to the 10-campus system.

  • Asia stocks dulled by weak economic reports

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stock markets were lackluster Friday as positive economic news from the U.S. was tempered by weakness in Europe, China and Japan. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.8 percent to 17,154.61 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.2 percent to 23,389.12. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.2 percent at 5,305.80. Seoul's Kospi added 0.3 percent to 1,964.27. Markets in Southeast Asia were mostly lower. US DATA: The solid performance of the world's largest economy was the only consolation for investors. Sales of previously occupied homes increased in October on an annual basis for the first time this year while the Labor Department said unemployment figures fell slightly last week. U.S. retailers

  • Employers decry 'break' in West Coast port talks

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Negotiations over a new contract for dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports took an unexpected turn Thursday, as the union insisted on "small table" talks while employers decried the "extended break." The full teams for the longshoreman's union and the association representing trans-ocean shipping lines and operators of port terminals aren't scheduled to meet again until Dec. 2. The maritime association called the development a "slowdown tactic" — a pointed reference to their complaints that dockworkers are deliberately dragging as they load and unload ships. Public pressure has been mounting to resolve labor strife at ports that handle billions of dollars of imports and exports each day.

  • Senators get no clear answers on air bag safety

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — There were apologies and long-winded explanations, but after nearly four hours of testimony about exploding air bags, senators never got a clear answer to the question most people have: whether or not their cars are safe. A hearing Thursday before the Senate Commerce Committee featured an apology from the quality chief for Japan's Takata Corp., the maker of the air bags that can inflate with too much force, firing metal shrapnel into a car's passenger compartment. A senior Honda executive also acknowledged his company didn't comply with disclosure laws. But an exchange between Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Honda Executive Vice President Rick Schostek pretty much summed up the day.

  • Groups tell US: Don't extend Fermi 2 plant license

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    MONROE, Mich. (AP) — Environmentalists have told federal officials they oppose a renewal of DTE Energy Co.'s license to operate the Fermi 2 nuclear power plant near Monroe. Several groups spoke Thursday to the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board at the Monroe County Courthouse. The Monroe News reports that among them were Citizens Resistance at Fermi 2, Beyond Nuclear and Don't Waste Michigan. The utility is seeking permission to renewing the license so the plant in Frenchtown Township can operate until 2045.

  • Kozy Shack recalls some puddings over labeling

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    ARDEN HILLS, Minn. (AP) — Pudding maker Kozy Shack Enterprises is recalling some of its puddings because they are not labeled as containing milk. The voluntary recall involves 4-ounce cups of Foodservice Kozy Shack Simply Well Chocolate Pudding. The recalled pudding was distributed through foodservice distribution channels and not sold in retail stores. The product was distributed to 20 states — Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Minnesota-based cooperative Land O'Lakes owns Kozy Shack Enterprises.

  • Soaring generic drug prices draw Senate scrutiny

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Some low-cost generic drugs that have helped restrain health care costs for decades are seeing unexpected price spikes of up to 8,000 percent, prompting a backlash from patients, pharmacists and now Washington lawmakers. A Senate panel met Thursday to scrutinize the recent, unexpected trend among generic medicines, which usually cost 30 to 80 percent less than their branded counterparts. Experts said there are multiple, often unrelated, forces behind the price hikes, including drug ingredient shortages, industry consolidation and production slowdowns due to manufacturing problems. But the lawmakers convening Thursday's hearing said the federal government needs to play a bigger role in restraining prices.