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Obama to Press Abe on Opening Japan to U.S. Automakers

Bloomberg, 22 February 2013

President Barack Obama won’t back off demands that Japan ease barriers for U.S. automakers before joining negotiations for a regional Pacific trade agreement when he meets today with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, White House aides said.

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North Sea oil investment at 30-year high, industry says

BBC News, 25 February 2013

Investment in the North Sea is the
highest for 30 years and rising, according to a report by an oil and gas trade
body. Companies looking for offshore energy invested £11.4bn in 2012, said Oil and
Gas UK, which comprises more than 320 companies active in the area. That will rise to £13bn this year, it predicted.

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Qantas travellers could be left waiting in the wings

Sydney Morning Herald, 23 February 2013

AUSTRALIAN travellers flying to Europe as part of the new Qantas/Emirates alliance, due to start on March 31, could face extended waits for connections at Dubai's International Airport. In a worst-case scenario some passengers flying with the new alliance, which has Qantas abandoning its traditional route to Europe via Singapore in favour of the Middle East hub, could be left waiting for a connection in Dubai for up to 10 hours.

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Saudi sets out roadmap for major renewable energy programme

Reuters, 23 February 2013

Saudi Arabia has published a roadmap for its renewable energy
programme, aimed at reducing the amount of oil it burns in power stations, and
targets issuing final bids for the first plants within three months.

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NSW to reduce premiums at expense of wealthy drivers

Sydney Morning Herald, 24 February 2013

Wealthier motorists will be expected to take out expensive income protection to compensate for slashed benefits under changes to the green slip insurance scheme. The NSW government has announced it will change the scheme to reduce premiums, but expects that people will need to rely on income protection insurance because it will cap weekly benefits.

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Cyclists urged to wear more reflective gear

NZ Herald, 21 February 2013

[NZ] Optometrists are calling on cyclists to wear reflective bands on their ankles and knees because traditional reflector vests are not safe enough at night.

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Oil Sands Mining Uses Up Almost as Much Energy as It Produces

Inside Climate, 19 February 2013

The average "energy returned on investment," or EROI, for conventional oil is roughly 25:1. In other words, 25 units of oil-based energy are obtained for every one unit of other energy that is invested to extract it.  But tar sands oil is in a category all its own.

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Saudi Oil Output Falls to 19-Month Low as Exports Decline

Bloomberg, 17 February 2013

Saudi Arabia’s crude oil output fell in December to a 19-month low as shipments from OPEC's biggest producer dropped for a third month and domestic consumption decreased, the Joint Organisations Data Initiative said. The kingdom exported 7.06 million barrels of crude a day in December, the least since September 2011, JODI reported, citing statistics the government submitted to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Exports were 1.3 percent lower than the previous month. Production dropped 4.8 percent in the month to 9.03 million barrels a day.

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Ferry terminals delayed by spiralling cost

Brisbane Times, 19 February 2013

Brisbane City will now not get brand new river ferry terminals until late 2015 after an international design competition, run by the state and federal governments, added $20 million to the cost.

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Airport Link in administration

Brisbane Times, 19 February 2013

The $4.8 billion Airport Link tunnel has been placed into voluntary administration. In an announcement to ASX, tunnel's operator BrisConnections said the company had decided to place the tunnel into administration citing low traffic levels and debts worth more than the tunnel.

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