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Judge dismisses challenge to 180-day limit on ballot drives

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan judge has dismissed a challenge to restrictions on how long ballot drive organizers have to collect voter signatures. The Committee to Ban Fracking wants to use more than 200,000 already-gathered signatures to help qualify for the 2018 statewide ballot. It sued to challenge the constitutionality of Michigan’s 180-day time period for signature collecting. Court ...

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Judge denies tugboat owner’s effort to sue government

tugboat, Mississippi river

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A federal judge ruled Friday that a tugboat company can’t countersue the government for payment for cleaning up a 2013 oil spill on the Mississippi River. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves refused to allow a challenge to an earlier U.S. Coast Guard administrative decision denying a request by Nature’s Way Marine to be reimbursed up to ...

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US trade deficit hits $44.5 billion, biggest in 10 months

trade gap, trade deficit

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit increased to the highest point in 10 months, driven up by a big rise in imports of oil and Chinese-made computers, cell phones and clothing. The deficit rose to $44.5 billion in June, 8.7 percent higher than a revised May deficit of $41 billion, the Commerce Department reported Friday. It was the biggest ...

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Pittsburgh’s Kennametal cutting 1,000 in drilling slowdown

Oil below $40 forces Texas driller into bankruptcy

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh-based Kennametal Inc. says it’s cutting 1,000 jobs over the next 15 months, citing weak demand for the coal-mining and gas-drilling cutting tools it makes. The company announced the cuts to its 12,000-strong workforce on Monday, but didn’t say what facilities will be affected. Kennametal had more than 14,000 employees, including 5,000 in the United States, just ...

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Kuwait raises gasoline prices, following Gulf neighbors

Kuwait skyline. (Image: Khaleel Haidar via Flickr)

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Kuwait will raise its subsidized gasoline prices by as much as 83 percent beginning in September, becoming the last Gulf nation to do so as low global oil prices continue to gnaw away at governments across the region. Kuwait’s Cabinet announced the decision on Monday, with the biggest price hike coming for its premium-grade gasoline. As ...

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Natural gas conversion company wants to dissolve

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A Maine natural gas company that faced a $250,000 fine this year following a potentially “catastrophic” gas leak is asking the state to dissolve an affiliate. On Friday, Summit Natural Gas of Maine asked the state Public Utilities Commission to dissolve Natural Gas Conversion Company, which launched in 2014 to help Mainers convert home heating systems ...

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To reverse damage of sitting, take a brisk, hour-long walk

exercise and sitting

LONDON (AP) — If you spend all day sitting, then you might want to schedule some time for a brisk walk — just make sure you can spare at least an hour. Scientists analyzing data from more than 1 million people found that it takes about 60 to 75 minutes of “moderate intensity” exercise to undo the damage of sitting ...

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US regulators: Still heavy risk in big bank loans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators say risk remains heavy in large loans made by banks and other financial institutions, though lending standards have improved. The Federal Reserve and other agencies cite increasing risks in loans to oil and gas producers as oil prices have fallen. The steep decline in oil prices has hurt many energy companies. The amount of large ...

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Edible balloons, frozen treats: Ice Cream Museum is coolest

ice cream museum

NEW YORK (AP) — Move over Willy Wonka. A temporary museum dedicated to all things ice cream is treating visitors to edible balloons, a Chocolate Chamber, a “swim” in a pool of faux rainbow sprinkles and, of course, scoops of heavenly ice cream. New York’s Museum of Ice Cream is the lifelong fantasy of 24-year-old, co-founder Maryellis Bunn. The six-room ...

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Exxon reports smallest profit since 1999

Exxon's 2Q profit plunges 63 percent on lower oil prices

DALLAS (AP) — Lower oil prices continue to punish Exxon Mobil Corp., which reported its weakest quarterly profit in nearly 17 years. Exxon still earned $1.7 billion in the second quarter. It was, however, down 59 percent from a year ago, and per share income missed Wall Street expectations. The energy giant cited lower prices for oil and gas and ...

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