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News Wrap: Congress buys time with short-term spending bill

In our news wrap Friday, Congress sent President Obama a short-term spending bill to fund agencies through the middle of next week, buying more time to negotiate a $1.1 trillion long-term tax and spending bill. Also, chemical industry giants DuPont and Dow Chemical announced they are merging to become three separate companies.

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    The U.S. government will remain open, for now. Congress today sent President Obama a short-term spending bill to fund agencies through next Wednesday. The move buys more time to negotiate a $1.1 trillion long-term tax and spending bill.

    House lawmakers on both sides remained optimistic that a budget deal could be reached by next week. REP. JARED POLIS (D), Colorado: The Republicans have previously shown this country their willingness to go into a shutdown. So, I hope that we take this new five-day period to avoid a shutdown permanently, rather than just to do another three or five days again and again and again.

    REP. TOM COLE (R), Oklahoma: Writing a $1.1 trillion omnibus bill takes a lot of time. And there's multiple items to be negotiated. Now, I think both sides is negotiating in good faith in this legislative body, and I think the administration is participating in good faith.


    Negotiators remain divided, though, over additional unrelated provisions that some lawmakers are trying to attach to the bill. They include new environmental rules on carbon emissions and efforts to stem the flow of Syrian refugees into the United States.

    Two giants in the chemical industry, DuPont and Dow Chemical, have officially announced they're merging. The fusion of two of America's oldest companies is valued at $130 billion. The new entity will be split into three separate companies, focused on agriculture, materials, and specialty products. But the deal still requires the approval of federal regulators.

    The price of oil plunged to near seven-year lows today. It closed at $35.62 a barrel in New York, down more than 3 percent. The drop has been driven by increased U.S. production, an abundant global supply, and the strength of the U.S. dollar. And it triggered a sell-off on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average plummeted over 309 points to close at 17265. The Nasdaq fell more than 111 points, and the S&P 500 lost nearly 40 points.

    For the week, the Nasdaq and the S&P were down roughly 4 percent. The Dow fell more than 3 percent.

    High-stakes global climate talks on the outskirts of Paris are dragging into an extra day. Negotiations were scheduled to wrap today, but disagreements remain over who should bear the most burden in reducing emissions and whether rich countries should be responsible for most of the cost.

    Diplomats from over 190 nations were trying to reach a deal, and the summit's president, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, said the time is right.

  • LAURENT FABIUS, French Foreign Minister (through interpreter):

    All the conditions are there for us to reach a universal, ambitious agreement, and observers will recognize that the conditions have probably never been so favorable. Now it's the ministers' responsibility to make their choice tomorrow.


    Fabius is expected to present a new version of the draft accord Saturday morning.

    Heightened security measures remained in place in Geneva, Switzerland today, amid an ongoing hunt for possible terror suspects linked to the Islamic State. At Geneva's airport, bomb squads detonated abandoned luggage as a precaution. A few miles away, armed guards remained vigilant outside the United Nations building.

    Officials warned the enhanced security could last for the foreseeable future.

    PIERRE MAUDET, Geneva Minister of Economy and Security (through interpreter): For us, this is a pretty sustained effort for police forces. There are actions in several parts of the town: bomb alerts, a need to reinforce police troops, and we have the capacity to maintain this level for a certain number of days.


    Authorities said they're searching for at least four suspects believed to be plotting a specific attack in the city. Local news media reported the two Syrian nationals were arrested today in Geneva after traces of explosives were found in their car, but it's not clear if they were linked to the manhunt.

    Back in this country, officials are scouring for red flags they missed before last week's shooting in San Bernardino. The Associated Press reported that authorities didn't pick up on extremist messages that were exchanged online between the two killers, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, two years ago.

    Meanwhile, an FBI dive team again searched a small lake some three miles from the attack site, looking for a computer hard drive that may have been dumped.

    And there were competing court rulings in New York today over two daily fantasy sports Web sites. At first, a judge banned the sites DraftKings and FanDuel from doing business in the state. That was after New York's attorney general argued that the games were illegal gambling. But, later, a state appeals court judge said the sites could continue to operate for now, while the issue is fully considered.

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