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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Business in brief: EPA tightening PC power use

The Spokesman-Review

Consumers will soon get the chance to help save the planet and some money too, thanks to new guidelines coming out for personal computers.

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Program will release more stringent requirements for PC manufacturers, aimed at potentially cutting energy use by 60 percent. For consumers, that could mean savings of anywhere from tens of dollars to $100 a year on electricity bills.

If successful, the program may mean the equivalent of taking 2.7 million cars off the road each year, said Jill Abelson, a spokeswoman for the EPA. Today, more than 180 million computers are in use in the United States, representing 2 percent of the country’s annual electricity output, she noted.


Judge lets Black stay out on bond

Former media mogul Conrad Black may remain free on bond while awaiting sentencing for swindling the Hollinger International media empire he once ran out of millions of dollars, a judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve turned down a request by federal prosecutors to have the Canadian-born newspaper executive jailed immediately lest he return to his native country and fight extradition.

“I find clear and convincing evidence that Mr. Black is not going to flee,” St. Eve told attorneys.

But St. Eve imposed tight restrictions on Black’s travel while free on bond. He may not stray from the Chicago area or south Florida, where he and wife, Barbara Amiel Black, own an estate.

The Blacks left the courthouse hand in hand, accompanied by his daughter, Alana, after the hearing. Black declined to make any comment.

New York

Four charged in heating-oil scam

The owners of two heating oil transportation companies in New York City boroughs Brooklyn and Queens and two others have been charged criminally in a $75 million scheme to allegedly shortchange residential heating oil customers in New York and on Long Island, N.Y., prosecutors said Thursday.

In a press release, the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn said Leonard Baldari Jr., owner of Mystic Tank Lines Corp. in Astoria; Michael David Hiller, Mystic Oil’s treasurer; Tonino Solimine, the owner of T&S Trucking Corp. in Brooklyn; and Eston Clare, T&S’s office manager, have been charged in two separate indictments.

Authorities on Thursday seized more than 34 tanker trucks in searches of seven locations in Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and in New Jersey. About $500,000 in cash also was seized from a safe during a search of Solimine’s home Thursday.

“The defendants made millions of dollars by systematically stealing heating oil from unsuspecting customers,” U.S. Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf said in a statement. “Now they will be held accountable for their actions.”

The men each have been charged with embezzlement of interstate and foreign shipments of heating oil and conspiracy to launder money. They each face up to 30 years in prison on the charges. The government also is seeking forfeiture of $75 million in the matter.

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