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Updated at 4:48 p.m. ET

President Obama is expected to lay out plans today intended to make it easier for cities, towns and rural communities to offer their citizens fast and cheap broadband Internet.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is trying to persuade his fellow OPEC leaders to reduce oil production as the price of crude continues to slide and hurt the Venezuelan economy, which depends on oil for 95 percent of its export revenue.

Maduro was in Qatar this week, seeking billions to shore up his economy.

CT-N

Governor Dannel Malloy has sharply rebuked his own utility regulators in a dispute over how the agency should be governed.

The commissioners of the Public Utility Regulatory Authority, headed by chairman Arthur House, wrote to Malloy at the end of last month expressing deep dissatisfaction with the decision four years ago to bring PURA under the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

New England Brewing Co. / Facebook

A Connecticut brewery that drew condemnation in the U.S. and India for its beer that carries the name and likeness of Mohandas Gandhi said it's received threats and is seeking a way to end the uproar. 

ESPN

It’s news that might be keeping some cable executives up at night: for the first time, viewers will be able to stream ESPN over the web. 

The price for a barrel of U.S. oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell below $50 Monday, matching levels seen in the spring of 2009. The drop is linked to both OPEC's boosted production and a stronger dollar.

Oil's latest fall came along with a dip on Wall Street, as the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 330 points to finish at 17,501 — a drop of 1.86 percent that's also seen as a reaction to new instability in Europe.

Senator Chris Murphy said he believes he can get debate this session on one of his signature issues – making the U.S. government buy American more often.

PDPhoto.org / wikimedia

WNPR’s Business Desk has a tradition at this time of year of asking our contributors from around the state to reflect on the year just past, and make a few predictions for the future. 

More than 60 million cars, trucks and SUVs have been recalled this year — nearly twice the previous record. That translates to nearly 1 out of every 4 cars on the road recalled for a safety-related defect.

But analysts say those recalls say more about the way the industry has restructured than about overall car safety.

Lucy Nalpathanchil

T-mobile customers may qualify for a refund after the cell phone company agreed to a $90 million dollar settlement over allegations of mobile cramming. The practice of "cramming" includes when third-party companies add bogus charges to monthly bills.

Sujata Srinivasan

Later stage manufacturing companies are not, as a rule, high on the venture capital radar. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree Report, only three out of 53 VC financing transactions in Connecticut went to manufacturing firms last year. Of this, two were established businesses with a revenue-making product. So how are some manufacturers bucking the trend and attracting big VC investments? 

Alex / Creative Commons

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was designed to close the wage gap between men and women. More than 50 years later, however, discrimination against female workers continues to persist.

This hour, we take a closer look at wage inequality in our state. We ask our panel of experts why unequal pay is still so common in the workplace, and what’s being done eliminate it. 

The economy was floored by the polar vortex early on in 2014 — plus, businesses and consumers were still a little dazed by a government shutdown and debt ceiling fight late in 2013.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, says it all produced an anxious start to the year. "Yeah, a lot of worry, particularly because we had misstepped a few other times during the recovery," he says. "We had these false dawns when we really thought the economy was going to kick into gear and then we kind of fell back into the morass."

Now that MGM has won Massachusetts regulatory and voter approval to build a resort casino in downtown Springfield the Las Vegas-based entertainment giant has employment and local purchasing commitments to keep. 

Updated at 8:20 p.m. ET

More than 200 theaters will now show The Interview on Christmas Day, a spokesperson for Sony Pictures tells NPR.

Sony had pulled the controversial comedy that centers on a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after ominous threats were made, allegedly by a group that hacked the studio's emails. The nation's largest theater chains had also said they won't show the movie starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.

Keurig, the company that makes the popular single-serve coffee machines, is recalling 7 million Mini Plus Brewing Systems, with the model number K10 (previously identified as B31), the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission announced today.

Andreas Poike/flickr creative commons

The end of the year is fast approaching, and our contributors on financial matters advise us to keep a close eye on capital gains.

The CEO of Sony Pictures has been saying that the cyberattack against his company is "the worst cyberattack in U.S. history." And you can see where he's coming from. An entire feature film got canned — at least for now. And his corporate networks were so damaged, Sony workers had to revert to using fax machines to communicate. That said, "the worst" is a big claim.

The U.S. Justice Department has announced a settlement with French company Alstom that marks the largest-ever criminal fine levied in the U.S. over foreign bribery laws. Some of the conspiracy took place in Connecticut. 

Sujata Srinivasan / WNPR

The head of Connecticut Innovations, Claire Leonardi, has announced her resignation from the quasi-state agency. Leonardi has led Connecticut’s technology investment arm for almost three years. 

Harriet Jones

Connecticut’s jobs recovery continued strongly in November, with employers adding 4,600 new positions. 

mitchell.alaska / Creative Commons

Connecticut's U.S. senators visited Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford on Thursday to highlight the impact the 2015 defense budget will have on the state. 

L.L. Bean's iconic rubber and leather boots — long worn by practical and preppie New Englanders — have swung back into fashion with young people and are more popular than ever.

The recent surge in demand has the company scrambling to fill orders, upgrading its manufacturing equipment and adding a third shift at its Maine boot factories.

A new website for Connecticut entrepreneurs aims to launch 500 new companies in the state. The grassroots effort connects inventors with investors and help services.

New York State Gaming Facility Location Board

A New York State Gaming Board Wednesday selected developers and sites for three new casinos to be built upstate. 

The Patrick administration today announced more funding to help strengthen the advanced manufacturing industry in Massachusetts.

       Massachusetts will distribute $1.5 million to be shared by five regional workforce development agencies across the state to help recruit and train 280 unemployed or underemployed people for careers in precision manufacturing.    A vocational high school in western Massachusetts will get $400,000 to equip its machine shop with state of the art equipment.         

Mark Hillary / Creative Commons

It’s the holiday season, meaning it’s time for Americans to hit the stores for Christmas sales and New Year's bargains. This November and December, millions of shoppers will peruse the aisles of big-box stores and chain retailers, hoping to find the coolest gifts and lowest prices.

I See Modern Britain / Creative Commons

According to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation, Thanksgiving sales dropped by 11 percent this year. While this might sound like an alarming figure, some economists would argue that 2014 sales aren't nearly as bad as they seem. 

A federal directive will go into effect Saturday making it easier for some Americans to come up with a down payment to buy a house.

The vast majority of home loans are guaranteed by the government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The regulator in charge of Fannie and Freddie will allow first-time homebuyers to put down as little as 3 percent.

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