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For decades, Alaska has relied on oil to pay its bills. In recent years, up to 90 percent of state spending came from oil revenue. With crude prices at a 12-year low, the state faces at least a $3.5 billion deficit — or two-thirds of its budget.

Lawmakers gathering in Juneau on Tuesday face some unpopular choices, including the first income tax in decades.

To understand why Alaska has a budget problem, stop by any gas station. In Anchorage, gas sells for $2.30 a gallon. A year and a half ago, people here were shelling out more than $4 a gallon. And that's the problem.

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President Obama's presidency nears its end, reporter Jane Mayer is thinking of a moment at the beginning. She says a group of people gathered on the weekend of Obama's inauguration in 2009.

Arizona Tribes Wade Into The Water Business

Jan 18, 2016
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Around the country Monday, hundreds of airport workers protested in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

From Newark, N.J., to Washington, D.C., to Chicago and Miami workers called for a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour.

In Newark, workers carried picket signs of Martin Luther King through the airport.

"If Dr. King were alive today, he would be standing alongside of us," said Kevin Brown, New Jersey's state director of the local service employees union, 32BJ SEIU.

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Hundreds of thousands of people drive for Uber in the U.S. The ride-hailing company has had high-profile fights in courts and city halls over the status of these drivers: Are they employees or contractors? Can they unionize?

A fight that's gotten far less attention — one that may affect drivers far more — is the competition between Uber and its main rival, Lyft.

Competition for drivers is so great that, about a year ago, Uber sent covert operatives into Lyft cars — to recruit.

Isabella Dure-Biondi was one of these covert operatives.

Space is hard.

We were reminded of that yesterday when SpaceX tried to land a Falcon 9 rocket on a barge in the Pacific.

If you remember, SpaceX made history when another Falcon 9 successfully launched a satellite into orbit and then navigated back down to Earth, landing safely on solid ground.

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There's a new deli in rural Maine with a hotshot chef behind the counter. Foodies may know Matthew Secich's name from stints and stars earned at Charlie Trotter's, The Oval Room in Washington, D.C., and The Alpenhof Lodge in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Recently, Secich joined an Amish community and moved his family and his kitchen off the grid.

His new spot, Charcuterie, is a converted cabin tucked away in a pine forest in Unity, Maine, population 2,000. You have to drive down a long, snowy track to get there, and you can smell the smokehouse before you can see it.

A day after many sanctions on Iran were lifted under the international nuclear pact, the U.S. Treasury department has imposed new sanctions — over Iran's ballistic, not nuclear, weapons.

The sanctions target 11 companies and individuals who have been involved in procuring goods for Iran's weapons program, the Treasury Department says.

"This action is consistent with the U.S. government's commitment to continue targeting those who assist in Iran's efforts to procure items for its ballistic missile program," the department said in a statement.

Iranian Reaction To Implementation Day

Jan 17, 2016
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After being held for nearly 18 months in Iran, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian has been released along with four other Americans being held in Tehran.

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The North American International Auto Show opened to the public today in Detroit. It's one of the biggest auto shows in America.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The 2016 North American Car of the Year is the Honda Civic.

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More Bad News For Coal Mine-Reliant States

Jan 16, 2016
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In President Obama's State of the Union address, there was a line you might have missed, but it caught the ear of people in the energy industry.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

On Friday, Wall Street traders got the same treatment as the main character in The Revenant: A big fearsome bear attacked again and again.

By the close, stock prices were badly mauled. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 2.4 percent of its value, tumbling 391 points to close at 15,988.

The S&P 500 index dropped 2.16 percent to 1,880 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index lost 2.7 percent to 4,488.

From McDonald's to Costco, Big Food has been declaring a shift to buying only cage-free eggs.

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Wal-Mart will shut down 269 stores to focus on other aspects of the business, including online sales, the company announced Friday. Among the shuttered stores will be 154 in the U.S.

The company that owns the leaking natural gas well in Los Angeles understated the number of air samples showing higher-than-usual levels of benzene, The Associated Press reports.

Adding to concerns over the disaster, efforts to stop the leak appear to have destabilized the well, the Los Angeles Times reports, raising the risk of a blowout.

This day is starting out really nasty if you happen to be an oil driller — or a baby boomer who would like to retire with a nest egg.

Through the night and into the morning, the price of oil has been falling. You can now buy a barrel for less than $30. (Remember, it was nearly $115 as recently as June 2014.) The market for oil has been thrown into disarray because of worries about possible declining Chinese demand and surging Iranian supplies.

That means U.S. oil producers will continue to see their profits plunge and industry layoffs worsen.

Citing concerns over pricing and pollution, the Obama administration on Friday unveiled a moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands. The change won't affect existing leases, which generated nearly $1.3 billion for the government last year.

The Department of the Interior says it wants to make sure the money it's charging for coal leases takes into account both market prices and what's often called the "social costs" of coal — its impact on climate change and public health.

The agency says federal lands account for roughly 40 percent of all U.S. coal production.

Sales Of 'Most Wanted Shirt' Skyrocket

Jan 15, 2016
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