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Research casts doubt on benefits of biofuels

WASHINGTON — Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration’s conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.

A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and released Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 per cent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline. READ

No Keystone XL pipeline this year, following new delay

The Keystone XL pipeline project appears paralyzed for another year, with the U.S. administration announcing another delay in a process already beset by political and legal challenges. READ

Railways ordered to ensure fertilizer shipments in U.S.

BNSF Railway Co. will add trains in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Montana solely for transporting fertilizer for spring crop planting, the railroad has told a federal oversight board. READ

Michaels confirms security breach

Michaels Stores Inc. said Thursday that about 2.6 million cards, or about 7 per cent of all debit and credit cards used at its namesake stores, may have been affected in a security breach. READ

Secret Service: Identifying Target hackers could take years, arrests longer

WASHINGTON — Secret Service investigators say they are close to gaining a full understanding of the methods hackers used to breach Target’s computer systems last December. READ

2 former Anglo Irish executives guilty of frau

DUBLIN, Ireland — Two former executives of Anglo Irish Bank were found guilty Thursday of committing fraud in a loans-for-shares scandal — the first convictions to stem from a banking crisis that brought Ireland to the brink of national bankruptcy. READ

Senate Democrats pressure Obama

WASHINGTON — Eleven Senate Democrats, including six who face contested re-election races this year, urged President Barack Obama on Thursday to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline by the end of May. READ

Passwords, other data exposed to potential theft

SAN FRANCISCO — An alarming lapse in Internet security has exposed millions of passwords, credit card numbers and other sensitive bits of information to potential theft by computer hackers who may have been secretly exploiting the problem before its discovery. READ

Growth forecast but still plenty to worry about for Canada

OTTAWA — The International Monetary Fund has again upgraded its projection for Canada’s economy, but the latest outlook from the international financial organization shows it is far from sold on the country’s underlying fundamentals. READ

Tension growing on U.S. rangeland

RENO, Nev. — Tensions bubbled over on the range in a turf battle that has been simmering for decades over one of the icons of the American West and scant forage on arid, high desert lands from Nevada to Wyoming. READ

NATO cuts ties with Russia

NATO’s decision to end civilian and military co-operation with Russia on Tuesday is just one step in a long journey to end the Ukraine crisis, says Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. READ

U.S. consumer confidence rebounds in signal of stronger growth ahead

U.S. consumer confidence has rebounded to the highest reading in six years, providing a further sign that the economy’s prospects should brighten with warmer weather. READ

German town which once drew neo-Nazi marches now welcomes jobless foreigners

A small town in Germany that once was a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis is now welcoming jobless foreigners with open arms. READ

European finance minister buoy Greece, talk ceding budget sovereignty

Eurozone ministers threw a lifeline to Greece on Tuesday as they scrambled to prevent financial chaos from spreading further and driving Europe’s common euro currency into a catastrophic breakup. READ

Chinese manufacturing shrank the most since March 2009 in November: HSBC report

Concerns about a hard landing for the Chinese economy grew Wednesday after the latest read on the country’s manufacturing sector for November found it shrank to its lowest level since March 2009. READ

Greek leader backs country’s fiscal targets

In an abrupt U-turn, Greece’s conservative junior coalition leader has written to international creditors telling them he backed the country’s fiscal targets, clearing a major sticking point to get a desperately needed loan that will prevent a devastating Greek bankruptcy. READ

Europe’s market turmoil spreads

Fear, that contagious emotion, spread from country to country in Europe on Thursday as panicky investors worried the euro currency union could be heading toward an ugly breakup. READ

Italy’s new government passes first confidence vote

Italy’s new technocratic government has won a crucial confidence vote in the Senate to pursue widespread reforms and austerity aimed at staving off the sovereign debt crisis and saving the euro currency. READ

No politicians in Monti’s new Italian government

Premier Mario Monti formed a new Italian government without a single politician Wednesday, drawing from the ranks of bankers, diplomats and business executives to create a team to steer Italy away from financial disaster. READ

Get your fiscal house in order, Flaherty tells U.S. in speech

NEW YORK — It’s not often a Canadian politician goes to the United States to offer advice publicly, but Finance Minister Jim Flaherty did just that Wednesday, telling a U.S. business audience that Washington needs to get its fiscal house in order. READ

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