The U.S. oil rig count ended 2016 just below year-ago levels as drillers added rigs this week as part of the biggest recovery since a global oil glut crushed the market over two years. Drillers added two oil rigs in the week to Dec. 30, bringing the total count up to 525, the most since December 2015 and 11 shy of the 536 rigs seen at the end of 2015, energy services firm Baker Hughes Inc said on Friday.
LONDON -- The cause of singer George Michael's death this week is unclear after an initial autopsy and more tests are needed, British police said on Friday. British singer Michael, who became one of the pop idols of the 1980s with Wham! and then forged a career as a successful solo artist, died at his home in southern England on Sunday. He was 53.
MOSCOW, Dec 30 - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Friday, Dec. 30, praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for refraining from retaliation in a dispute over spying and cyber attacks, in another sign that the Republican plans to patch up badly frayed relations with Moscow. Putin earlier on Friday said he would not hit back for the U.S. expulsion of 35 suspected Russian spies by President Barack Obama, at least until Trump takes office on Jan. 20. "Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!" Trump wrote on Twitter.
WASHINGTON—U.S. defense and security agencies said they believed the threat of militant attacks inside the United States was low during this New Year's holiday, yet some chance of an attack was "undeniable," according to security assessments reviewed on Friday, Dec. 29. "There are no indications of specific threats to the U.S. Homeland," said a "situational awareness" bulletin issued to U.S. Army personnel this week by the Army's Training and Doctrine Command. "However the threat from homegrown violent extremists in the United States is undeniable," the bulletin added.
WASHINGTON—A drop in U.S. exports last month pushed the country's trade deficit in goods higher while the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week in a positive sign for the labor market. The two reports released on Thursday, Dec. 29, suggested that when Donald Trump becomes president next month, the labor market will likely be at roughly full strength and international trade could be weighing on the economy.
DETROIT—Honda Motor Co. said on Thursday, Dec. 29, it will recall nearly 650,000 Odyssey minivans in the United States covering 2011 to 2016 model years because second-row seats may not lock in the event of a crash. No injuries or crashes have been reported related to this issue, Honda's U.S. division said. Two separate recalls will be conducted, Honda and U.S. safety regulators said. The largest involves 634,000 Odyssey minivans for model year 2011 to 2016, and a smaller one affects about 7,600 of the 2016 model year Odyssey minivans.
WASHINGTON—President-elect Donald Trump's goal of overhauling the U.S. tax code in 2017 will depend partly on the work of an obscure congressional committee tasked with estimating how much future economic growth will result from tax cuts.
HONOLULU—President Barack Obama on Thursday, Dec. 29, authorized a series of sanctions against Russia for intervening in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and warned of more action to come. "These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior," Obama said in a statement.
WASHINGTON—In a new legal development on the controversy over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails, an appeals court on Tuesday, Dec. 27, reversed a lower court ruling and said two U.S. government agencies should have done more to recover the emails. The ruling from Judge Stephen Williams, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, revives one of a number of legal challenges involving Clinton's handling of government emails when she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
Amazon.com Inc. said it had its best-ever holiday season, shipping more than one billion items worldwide through its Prime membership program. The Amazon Echo home assistant and its smaller version, Echo Dot, topped the best-sellers list, the company said. "Despite our best efforts and ramped-up production, we still had trouble keeping them in stock," said Jeff Wilke, chief executive of Amazon's Worldwide Consumer division.