• SKorea holds N-plant drills against cyber threats

    Updated: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's monopoly nuclear power company said it began drills Monday against possible cyberattacks after online threats of attack against its plants. State-owned Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. said the two-day drills are meant to prepare workers in the event of hacking attacks aimed at disabling the plants' controlling systems. The company and the energy ministry said that even though the controlling system is safe from hacking, they are holding the exercises to assure public safety. Last week, documents including layouts of nuclear facilities and personal information of nuclear workers were published online.

  • Ohio gas prices drop again ahead of holidays

    Updated: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio drivers traveling for the holidays are finding it's much cheaper to fill their tanks this year than it was a year ago. The state's average price for a gallon of regular gas was $2.19 in Monday's survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc. That's 22 cents less than a week ago and $1.08 under the average at this time last year. It's also well under the national average, which was about $2.39 on Monday. That's down 16 cents from a week ago and is 85 cents cheaper than a year ago. Oil prices have fallen significantly since summer. The relatively low gas prices are one factor contributing to forecasts of increased travel around the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

  • AAA Michigan: Gas prices fall 24 cents in week

    Updated: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — AAA Michigan says statewide gas prices have dropped about 24 cents a gallon in the last week. The auto club says the average price per gallon of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was $2.23 on Sunday. That's about $1 less than a year ago. This is the sixth week in a row that the statewide average price has fallen. Statewide prices remain at their lowest level in more than 5 years. Dearborn-based AAA Michigan surveys fuel costs at 2,800 Michigan gas stations daily. It says the cheapest price was about $2.07 in the Flint area. The highest price was about $2.46 a gallon in the Marquette area. The auto club says the Detroit-area average has fallen for the 16th week in a row, to about $2.25 a

  • As Air Force fixes nuke flaws, future debated

    Updated: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Faced with one of its biggest challenges in years — repairing a troubled nuclear missile corps — the Air Force has taken an important first step by admitting, after years of denial, that its problems run deep and wide. Less certain is whether it will find all the right fixes, apply them fully and convince a doubting force of launch officers, security guards and other nuclear workers that their small and narrow career field is not a dead end. The stakes are huge. The nation's strategy for deterring nuclear war rests in part on the 450 Minuteman 3 missiles that stand ready, 24/7, to launch at a moment's notice from underground silos in five states.

  • Asian markets gain as oil rebounds

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian markets were mostly higher Monday after the Fed's pledge not to rush to raise interest rates prompted investors to add risky assets ahead of the year-end holiday. A rise in the price of oil boosted energy stocks. KEEPING SCORE: China's Shanghai Composite Index added 2.4 percent to 3,185.12. South Korea's Kospi added 0.4 percent to 1,936.79 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.4 percent to 23,428.73. Japan's Nikkei 225 was unchanged at 17,621.66. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.6 percent to 5,424.90. Stocks in Southeast Asia and Taiwan also rose. ANALYST'S TAKE: "Our markets have opened firmer after the strong rebound in energy prices," said Tony Kwok, a sales trader in Sydney for CMC Markets. "O

  • US mulls putting NKorea on terrorism sponsor list

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama says the United States is reviewing whether to put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism as Washington decides how to respond to what he calls an "act of cybervandalism," not one of war, against a movie company. North Korea has reacted angrily to Obama's comments blaming it for the hacking of Sony, warning of strikes against the White House, Pentagon and "the whole U.S. mainland, that cesspool of terrorism." Such rhetoric is routine from North Korea's propaganda machine during times of high tension with Washington.

  • South Korea lowers outlook on weak private sector

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea lowered its growth forecast for next year, citing persistently weak sentiment among consumers and businesses. But the government predicted that overall economic conditions will improve from this year thanks to government measures, recovery in the U.S. economy and the fall in oil prices. The finance ministry said Monday that Asia's fourth-largest economy will expand 3.8 percent in 2015. Six months ago, it forecast growth of 4.0 percent. It also lowered its forecast for this year to 3.4 percent growth from the previous forecast of 3.7 percent. In 2013, South Korea's economy expanded 3.0 percent.

  • NY farmers lament lost opportunity for gas riches

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — While environmental groups are doing a victory dance over New York's decision to ban fracking, farmers such as apple grower David Johnson are grieving for dashed hopes and dreams. "I'm devastated," Johnson said after Gov. Andrew Cuomo's health and environmental commissioners announced Wednesday that they were recommending a fracking ban. "I have concerns about how to continue this farm that's been in the family for 150 years." Energy companies denied the chance to drill in New York can simply raise their rigs in other states. That's what they've done since the Marcellus Shale gas drilling boom began in 2008 and New York launched an environmental review that effectively put a moratorium in place.

  • Comstock quits Tuscaloosa play on falling prices

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    MCCOMB, Miss. (AP) — A second oil company is stopping drilling in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale because of falling oil prices. Comstock Resources, based in Frisco, Texas, said Thursday that it would stop drilling in the oil region, which straddles the state line between southwest Mississippi and Louisiana's Florida Parishes. "Comstock has released its rig in the Tuscaloosa Marine shale and will postpone its drilling activity there until oil prices improve," the company said in a news release discussing its 2015 exploration plans. Company officials said they also will shut down four rigs drilling for oil in the Eagle Ford shale formation in Texas, but will continue natural gas operations there.

  • US companies eager to embrace Cuba face hurdles

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Cargill aims to sell more corn and soybeans. MasterCard covets another site for Americans to swipe credit cards. Marriott sees beachfront property that needs hotels. And outside Orlando, Florida, Danny Howell just knows there would be demand for his classic Chevrolet parts. American businesses have begun imagining ways to capitalize on last week's announcement that the United States will restore diplomatic ties with Cuba and ease curbs on trade with one of the last surviving Communist regimes. Their more ambitious plans would require that Congress lift the U.S. embargo on most exports to Cuba. Given sharp resistance from some in Congress, that might not happen soon. But many analysts think Congress w

  • US coal mines nearing record low in worker deaths

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Less than five years after an explosion fueled by excess coal dust killed 29 men deep inside a West Virginia underground mine, the nation's coal mines are on pace for an all-time low in work-related deaths. Federal mine safety officials credit changes they've made since the Upper Big Branch disaster in April 2010. They point to their more aggressive use of team inspections at problem sites and other measures, which they say have fostered more responsible behavior below ground. "I do think we're seeing a cultural change in the mining industry that's for the better," Assistant Labor Secretary Joseph Main, who heads the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, told The Associated Press. Main too

  • DC metro gas prices down 11 cents from last week

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Gas prices in the D.C. metro area are down 11 cents from a week ago. In its weekly report, AAA said Sunday that the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas is $2.51, down from $2.62 a week ago. The price is 82 cents lower than this time a year ago, when the price was $3.33. The price of gas in the metro area is 10 cents above the national average of $2.41. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in the District of Columbia alone is $2.82, down 9 cents from a week ago.

  • Survey: US gas prices fall 25 cents per gallon

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average price of regular gasoline nationwide has dropped another 25 cents a gallon in the past two weeks, to $2.47. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday that prices will likely keep falling. Lundberg says the average price of regular gasoline is the lowest it's been in more than five years. She says lower crude oil prices are driving prices down, along with an abundant oil supply and the rising value of the U.S. dollar. The highest-priced gas in the Lower 48 states was found in Long Island, New York, at $2.82 a gallon. The lowest was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at $2.06 a gallon. California's lowest average was in Sacramento, at $2.58 a gallon. The average price for midgr

  • Lottery boss wants less left to chance at Capitol

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Armed with sales statistics tailored for each legislative district, the Minnesota Lottery chief is paying visits to lawmakers as he attempts to repair strained relationships and head off another showdown over tickets sold on the Internet, through automated cash-machines and at gas station pumps. Lottery Executive Director Ed Van Petten acknowledges he "kind of opened my mouth too much" last session amid a fight to protect a new slate of games from a bipartisan push to scrap them, a skirmish he won thanks to Gov. Mark Dayton's veto of a bill passed overwhelmingly. Key lawmakers say they will again try to pull the plug on virtual ticket sales, contending it makes gambling too easy and stretches the lottery's

  • AAA: Md. drivers paying $2.58 per gallon

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Motorists in Maryland are paying 10 cents less at the pump when compared with a week ago. AAA Mid-Atlantic said in a weekly report that the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Maryland was $2.58, down from $2.68 a week ago. The price of gas in the state is 13 cents more than the national average of $2.45. The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in cities around the state includes $2.57 in Baltimore, $2.65 in Cumberland, $2.64 in Hagerstown and $2.58 in Salisbury. Motorists in the state are paying 79 cents less than at this time last year when the average price of a gallon of regular gas was $3.37 per gallon.

  • Delaware drivers see gas prices fall to $2.55

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Motorists in Delaware are paying 11 cents less at the pump when compared with a week ago. AAA Mid-Atlantic said Sunday in a weekly report that the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Delaware was $2.55. That's compared to $2.66 a week ago. Motorists in the region are paying 83 cents less than a year ago. At this time last year Delaware drivers were paying $3.38 per gallon. The price of gas in the state is 14 cents higher than the national average of $2.41 per gallon.

  • National coal mining deaths

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — National coal mining deaths dropped by more than half the year after the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia, from 48 to 21, and there were 20 each in 2012 and 2013, and a record low of 15 so far in 2014. The U.S. averaged about 30 coal mining deaths a year in the five years before Upper Big Branch. Injuries in coal mines have been on the decline each year since 2007, when there were 4.2 incidents per 200,000 hours worked. Last year the rate was 3.1. Inspectors issued 63,493 citations or orders in coal mines last year, a 34 percent drop from 2010, when 96,390 were written. U.S.

  • Environmentalists and Christie often differ

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    Some New Jersey environmentalists are upset that Gov. Chris Christie's administration is opposing the proposed rules from President Barack Obama's Administration to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by power plants by 2030. It's just the latest in a long string of times the Republican governor's actions have upset New Jersey environmentalists. Following is a run-down of some of his actions that have upset environmental groups: GREENHOUSE GAS INITIATIVE: Christie pulls New Jersey out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a project among states in the Northeast that caps how much carbon dioxide can be produced by power plants and auctions off the right to produce it. The proceeds of the auction go to energy efficiency

  • New Jersey critiques US power plant plans

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie's administration is joining other critics of President Barack Obama in voicing disproval for a federal proposal to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The state called the planned rules "incomplete, needlessly complex and impossible to implement" in a letter to the federal Environmental Protection Agency last month. New Jersey environmentalists say Christie's Department of Environmental Protection is out of line by calling for the rules to be withdrawn rather than just reworked. It's the latest of a string of clashes between environmental advocates and Christie. Some environmentalists say Christie is more concerned with a possible presidential run than New Je

  • McCrory to propose new NC road-building sources

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Gov. Pat McCrory and North Carolina legislators praised each other for the new method they approved last year to fund transportation projects they say is based not on who you know but more on reducing gridlock and creating jobs. The result, the state Department of Transportation says, is efficiencies to fund 300 additional projects in its first 10-year road-building proposal released this month under new evaluation formulas. "Everybody understood that we needed to get politics out of the road and transportation decision-making business," Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said.