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Business Highlights

Yet the board also said it's not possible for the Postal Service to meet its goals for reduced spending without altering the delivery schedule. Delaying "responsible changes," the board said, only makes it more likely that the Postal Service "may become a burden" to taxpayers.

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ConocoPhillips delays 2014 Arctic marine drilling

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) â¿¿ ConocoPhillips Alaska announced Wednesday it will not drill in Arctic waters off Alaska's northwest shore in 2014.

Environmental groups hailed the decision and said the experience of Royal Dutch Shell PLC in 2012 demonstrated that oil companies are not prepared to drill in the fragile Arctic environment.

ConocoPhillips said uncertainties of evolving federal regulatory requirements are the reason for backing off.

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EU warns of imbalances in Spain, Slovenia

BRUSSELS (AP) â¿¿ The European Commission turned up the heat on Spain and Slovenia Wednesday, warning that the two struggling countries are facing "excessive" problems fixing their economies, while France's government came under pressure to get its debt under control.

In its health-check of European Union countries with debt and deficit problems, the Commission singled out Spain and Slovenia as countries where swift action was needed. Both countries have been hit by recession, high unemployment and ailing financial sectors.

The Commission's report recommended that the two countries must both move swiftly to fix their ailing banking sectors â¿¿ either through recapitalizing or winding down some banks â¿¿ to ensure a path toward sustainable growth.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 128.78 points, or 0.9 percent, to 14,802.24. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, had the biggest percentage gain of the three main indexes Wednesday, rising 59.39 points, or 1.8 percent, to 3,297.25 The S&P 500 rose 19.12 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,587.73.

Benchmark crude for May delivery finished up 44 cents at $94.64 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which sets the price of oil used by many U.S. refineries to make gasoline, fell 37 cents to finish at $105.78 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

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