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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 20, 2016

Dow Chemical adds paid weeks to parental leave benefit

Dow Chemical is fattening the paid leave it gives employees after the birth of a child as it becomes the latest major U.S. employer to rethink how it treats parents. The creator of Ziploc bags and Saran Wrap said Wednesday that mothers will receive a minimum of 12 weeks of paid leave, while non-birthing parents can get two weeks. That’s up from six to eight weeks and one week, respectively.

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All 400,000 birds at Indiana farms with bird flu killed

INDIANAPOLIS – Animal health officials responding to a bird flu outbreak in southwest Indiana say crews have finished killing more than 400,000 birds ordered euthanized at the 10 affected commercial poultry farms. The state issued a statement Wednesday evening saying all of the birds have been killed.

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Russian ruble slides to record low in Moscow trading

MOSCOW – The Russian ruble slid to a record low against the dollar Wednesday under pressure from the low oil price. The ruble traded above 81.8 to the dollar in Moscow on Wednesday evening, down by around four percent. That beat the mark of 80.1 set when the currency crashed in value in December 2014 before stabilizing.

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FILE - In this file photo, customers at a Wal-Mart store head to the checkout lines past a worker with the company’s motto on the back of her vest, in Salt Lake City.

Most Wal-Mart workers to get pay raises 

NEW YORK – Wal-Mart is giving raises to the vast majority of its U.S. employees as part of the world’s largest retailer’s previously announced investment in its workforce. The move comes as it seeks to hold onto workers in an increasingly competitive market. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Wednesday said more than 1.2 million U.S. hourly workers will get wage increases on Feb. 20. The company, the largest U.S. private employer with 1.4 million total workers, also said it will provide free, basic short-term disability to full-time hourly workers. And it will start allowing workers to accrue paid time off as they earn it.

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TUESDAY, JAN. 19, 2016

Netflix impresses Wall St. with robust 4Q overseas growth

SAN FRANCISCO – As its U.S. subscriber growth tapers off, Netflix’s Internet video service is setting out to conquer the rest of the world in an audacious expansion likely to sway the company’s stock and the prices it pays for TV shows and movies. The stakes riding on Netflix’s next act came into sharper focus Tuesday with the release of the company’s fourth-quarter report.

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MONDAY, JAN. 18, 2016

China economic growth slowest since 2009

BEIJING – China’s economic growth edged down to 6.8 percent in the final quarter of 2015 as trade and consumer spending weakened, dragging the full year’s growth to the lowest level in 25 years. Chinese leaders are trying to reduce reliance on trade and investment by nurturing slower, more self-sustaining growth based on domestic consumption and services. But the unexpectedly sharp decline over the past two years prompted fears of a politically dangerous spike in job losses. Beijing responded by cutting interest rates and taking other steps to shore up growth.

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A shovel prepares to dump a load of coal into a 320-ton truck at the Black Thunder Mine in Wright, Wyo., in April 2007.

Wyoming officials back efforts to rescue coal 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Public enemy No. 1 for climate change and no longer the fossil fuel that utilities prefer to burn to generate electricity, coal has few allies these days. But one state is still fighting to save the industry: Wyoming. From a proposal to burn the stuff underground to hosting a contest to find profitable uses for carbon dioxide from power plants, the top coal-producing state has spent tens of millions of dollars for a coal savior – with little to show.

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In brief: NYC deal reached to limit horse-drawn carriages

NEW YORK – A deal to reduce the number of horse-drawn carriages in New York City and permanently move stables to Central Park will now go to the City Council for approval in a compromise between the drivers and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had pledged to end the popular rides. The mayor, the union representing carriage drivers and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said late Sunday they reached a deal that would reduce the number of horses from about 180 to 95 and confine operations to the park.

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Iran to boost oil output by 500,000 barrels

TEHRAN, Iran – Iran is aiming to increase its oil production by 500,000 barrels per day now that sanctions have been lifted under a landmark nuclear deal with world powers, a top official said. In comments posted on the Oil Ministry’s website Monday, Deputy Oil Minister Roknoddin Javadi said Iran is determined to retake its share of the oil market, which plunged after crippling sanctions were imposed in 2012.

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SUNDAY, JAN. 17, 2016

BBB Tip of the Week: Powerball Lottery Scams

Lottery scams were among the top 10 scams of 2015. An easy prediction is that scammers will take advantage of the recent Powerball frenzy. Even though Powerball winners are announced on television and online, scammers send out emails and snail mail or make telephone calls in attempts to trick secondary winners of smaller prizes. For people who haven't won the lottery, scammers may tell them that they won a "second chance" drawing. In either case, scammers will ask winners to pay for taxes up front in order to receive the winnings.

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