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TUESDAY, JAN. 19, 2016




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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If you think drones are a passing fad, better think again

LAS VEGAS (AP) – If you’re used to thinking of drones as a passing fad, last week’s CES gadget show should give you second thoughts. Tiny, self-piloted copters promise to buzzily follow you around like something out of a Neal Stephenson cyberpunk novel. New drones that could find lost wilderness adventurers or help them see out above treetops; others purport to carry a human passenger at the touch of a button.

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Lower pay for poor is what’s widening U.S. income gap, study finds

WASHINGTON (AP) – The income gap in major U.S. cities goes beyond the trend of rising paychecks for those at the top: Pay has plummeted for those at the bottom. Many of the poorest households still earn just a fraction of what they made before the Great Recession began in late 2007. Even as the recovery gained momentum in 2014 with otherwise robust job growth, incomes for the bottom 20 percent slid in New York City, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Washington and St. Louis, according to an analysis of Census data released Thursday by the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

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More employers try to help workers pay student loans

NEW YORK (AP) – Employers are discovering that making it easier for workers to pay off their student loans helps to attract and keep a happy workforce. More and more companies are helping workers refinance their debts at better rates, giving employees extra cash for loan payments, or even paying their workers’ lenders directly. It’s a major benefit for millennials – people 35 and under – who are struggling to pay thousands of dollars in student debts as they enter the workforce.

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