US works to ease Caribbean dependence on Venezuelan oil

MIAMI (AP) — A decade-long addiction to oil subsidized by Venezuela may be coming to an end for several Caribbean nations, with a nudge from the United States.

Fears that falling oil prices could knock the wheels off the already wobbly economy of oil-dependent Venezuela have sparked apparent interest in alternatives to Petrocaribe, a trade program created by the late President Hugo Chavez that has kept the region dependent on the South American country for energy.


Fueled by oil, agriculture sector welcomes low diesel prices

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The recent plunge in fuel prices has been a welcome relief across the agricultural sector, helping ease the pain of low grain prices for growers and boosting profits for cattle ranchers.

"Every movement we make in farming takes fuel," Kansas cattle rancher and hay grower Randy Cree said.


Breached pipeline that spilled oil lies exposed on riverbed

GLENDIVE, Mont. (AP) — Sonar indicates part of an underground pipeline that spilled almost 40,000 gallons of oil into Montana's Yellowstone River and fouled a local water supply is exposed on the riverbed.

The pipeline is exposed for about 50 feet near where the breach occurred Jan. 17, according to a news release from public agencies involved with the response.


Gasoline prices drop again, but should rise going forward

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average price of a regular gallon of gas dropped 13 cents in the past two weeks to $2.07, but it could soon rise.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday that the lowest prices in more than five years are likely to increase because of rising wholesale prices.

Japan logs record trade deficit in 2014 on weakening yen

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's trade deficit ballooned to a record 12.8 trillion yen ($109 billion) last year as a weakening yen pushed the cost of imports higher despite a moderate recovery in exports.

Preliminary data from the Finance Ministry released Monday showed Japan's exports rose 4.8 percent to 73.1 trillion yen ($620 billion) in 2014 while imports climbed 5.7 percent to 85.9 trillion yen ($763.7 billion). The trade deficit rose by 11.4 percent from the 11.5 trillion yen ($97.7 billion) gap in 2013.

The Japanese yen has weakened over the past year to about 117 yen to the dollar compared with about 100 yen in early 2014. That raises the value of Japan's exports in yen terms. But it also pushes up costs for imports of fuel and food.

Office of Sen. Murkowski

Lawmakers will fight ANWR wilderness plan: Murkowski

The Obama administration's recommendation to Congress that it designate 12.3 million acres in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness is likely to go nowhere with the Republican majorities in the House and Senate, which ran into quick condemnation by committee chairs on Sunday.

But Congress must still act if it wants to stop the Interior Department from going ahead with plans to manage the acres as wilderness, according to an aide to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. She holds two influential positions over Interior Department policy and spending, and pledged Sunday, with the Alaska congressional delegation, to "hit back as hard as we can."


Challenges on multiple fronts likely to test new Saudi king

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia's new monarch inherits the throne at a moment when the oil-rich kingdom is being buffeted by a plunge in the value of its most valuable commodity, growing challenges by activists at home and deepening turmoil on its borders that stands to benefit rival Iran.

Those who know King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud note the 79-year-old's diplomatic skills, honed over nearly five decades as governor of the capital, Riyadh. Those abilities will be put to the test as he positions his country to confront a collapsing Yemen on its southern frontier and threats from the extremist Islamic State group to the north in Iraq.


Environment official: Saltwater spill reached Missouri River

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's environmental chief says water testing has shown that saltwater contamination from a massive pipeline spill reached the Missouri River. But he says officials don't expect harm to wildlife or drinking water supplies.

Dave Glatt said Friday that given the size of the river and volume of water, the contaminants quickly diluted.


Crews survey ocean, Oahu coastline for oil after ship sinks

HONOLULU (AP) _€” Officials are surveying the ocean and shoreline for signs of spilled oil after a towing vessel sank off Oahu.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer Melissa McKenzie said Friday that crews are looking for oil from the air and along the shoreline. The Coast Guard is working with lifeguards along potentially affected coasts.


Brent climbs on Saudi King’s death, WTI falls on supply gain


Oil was mixed Friday, with an estimate of a stockpile build in Cushing sending West Texas Intermediate crude down 49 cents to $45.83 a barrel on the Nymex, while the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah pushed Brent 47 cents higher to $48.99, Reuters reports.


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