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Judge awards $400 million in settlement against rig operator for Deepwater Horizon spill

A US judge approved Thursday a $400 million settlement in criminal penalties against the rig operator involved in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the worst environmental disaster in American history. The punishment was part of a plea bargain agreement reached last month by rig owner Transocean and the…

DOJ clears publishing merger between Penguin and Random House

British publisher Pearson on Thursday said the US government would allow it to merge its Penguin book division with rival Random House, overcoming a key competition hurdle. Pearson and Random’s parent, the German media giant Bertelsmann, announced in October plans to form a joint venture — Penguin Random House —…

Global demand for gold drops for the first time since 2009

Global demand for gold fell last year in its first tumble since 2009 as demand in leading market India slid, narrowing the gap with second-biggest buyer China, the World Gold Council said Thursday. Demand for the precious metal was 4,405.5 tonnes for the full year, down 3.85 percent from 4,582.3…

U.S. Supreme Court rejects bid from anti-whaling group

The US Supreme Court has denied a plea from anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd to end restrictions on its movement as Japan’s whalers accused the activists of violating orders to stay away. Sea Shepherd, which disrupts Japan’s controversial whaling missions in the Southern Ocean, last week asked the Supreme Court to…

Cyber security battle looms after Obama issues directive

President Barack Obama’s order aimed at ramping up protection from cyberattacks will address only a small portion of threats and sets up a fresh battle in Congress over legislation. Obama acted this week after two failed attempts in Congress to pass measures to protect critical infrastructure from computer attacks. US…

Federal judge throws out shareholder lawsuits against Facebook

A US federal judge on Wednesday tossed out claims by some Facebook shareholders that the social network wasn’t candid enough about risks faced by the company when it made its stock market debut. In his ruling, US District Court Judge Robert Sweet in New York said Facebook executives disclosed the…

As Triumph cruise ship returns to shore, passengers describe conditions as ‘terrible’

Passengers on a stricken cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico are enduring a nightmare after days without power, waiting hours for sparse meals and relieving themselves in plastic bags, one said Thursday. The ship Triumph, owned by Carnival, suffered an engine room fire Sunday that left it disabled and…

Extremists deface headstones in Jerusalem Muslim cemetery with Stars of David

Suspected Jewish extremists scrawled anti-Arab graffiti on the headstones in an ancient Muslim cemetery in west Jerusalem, police and witnesses told AFP on Thursday. “The words ‘price tag’ and Stars of David were scrawled on around a dozen tombs in the Muslim cemetery in Mamilla in central Jerusalem,” a police…

Revealed: Corporations funded secret elections group long before ‘Citizens United’

By Justin Elliott, ProPublica Some of the nation’s biggest corporations donated more than a million dollars to launch a Republican nonprofit that went on to play a key role in recent political fights. Like the nonprofit groups that poured money into last year’s elections, the decade-old State Government Leadership Foundation…

Filipino company specializes in sending online Valentine’s Day messages to loved ones abroad

Romantic Filipinos abroad have found a way to bridge the gap with loved ones at home on Valentine’s Day — via an online serenade service. Jane Soco, managing director of Harana.ph, said Thursday the company’s professional singers would lift the spirits of those left behind as their partners toil in…

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