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Corps of Engineers approves allowing Lake Cumberland to reach normal elevation this summer

JAMESTOWN, Ky. - Lake Cumberland will be allowed to rise to its normal elevation this summer. Dam repairs have kept the water lowered the last few years, and it was due to rise to normal levels this year, but the discovery of an endangered fish in Lake Cumberland headwaters prompted a delay. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday that it has finalized its review and expects conservation measures to protect the duskytail darter's survival in the Big South Fork.

Jim Beam buy helps Japan's Suntory latch onto U.S. bourbon craze

By Diane Bartz WASHINGTON (Reuters) - If anyone should find it odd that a Japanese distillery was planning to merge with a U.S. bourbon brand steeped in the history of the American South, the answer could be found on a cocktail menu. Suntory Pacific Ltd <SUNTYA.UL> won U.S. antitrust approval this month to buy Jim Beam, the No. 4 premium spirits company in the world, just as the liquor known as "America's whiskey" is enjoying a surge in U.S. interest -- and sales.

Producers of Maker's Mark plan distillery expansion in Ky. to keep up with demand

LORETTO, Ky. - The producers of Maker's Mark bourbon announced a distillery expansion Thursday to pump up production and keep pace with growing demand for the Kentucky whiskey, known by its distinctive bottles sealed in red wax. The $67 million expansion comes barely a year after the brand created a backlash by saying it was cutting the amount of alcohol in each bottle to stretch its whiskey supplies. Producers quickly scrapped the idea.

Senate GOP Leader McConnell says he sees no hope for tax reform this year; blames Democrats

WASHINGTON - Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says he sees no hope for enactment of tax overhaul legislation this year, and blames the Democrats for trying to use the issue to raise revenue by $1 trillion. The Kentucky Republican said Tuesday the object of overhauling the tax code should be making the nation more competitive, not raising more money for the government.

Debt-limit vote puts Senate Republican leader McConnell in hot seat

By Gabriel Debenedetti WASHINGTON (Reuters) - For Mitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican, a vote to end debate over raising the U.S. debt ceiling on Wednesday was much more than a vote to leave Washington before a snowstorm arrived. It earned him the wrath of his party's vocal and influential right wing, and it could have implications for the Senate minority leader's re-election campaign in Kentucky.

Cruz's demand on debt limit vote creates political headaches for GOP leaders

WASHINGTON - Texas Sen. Ted Cruz sat with eyes glued to his mobile device as the chaos he provoked ensnared his Republican leaders on the Senate floor. Legislation to raise the nation's borrowing authority with no strings attached was short of the 60 votes it needed to advance — a threshold Cruz demanded — and without a few conversions, Republicans would be blamed for its failure. The stock market was watching.

Rural Kentucky house fire kills nine members of one family

By Tim Ghianni NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) - Nine members of a rural Kentucky family, including eight children, died on Thursday in an early morning house fire that critically injured two other family members, officials said. The children's father, Chad Watson, 36, a Baptist minister, suffered severe burns as he tried three times to save his children and wife, Nikki, also 36, according to his cousin, Adam Brown. The house was located in rural Muhlenberg County, about 130 miles from Louisville.

Facebook, Under Armour, Google, Blackstone and Viacom are big market movers

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market: NYSE Under Armour Inc., up $19.54 to $104.76 Thanks to strong sales of running shoes and winter products, the athletic gear maker's fourth-quarter net income rose 28 per cent. The Blackstone Group LP, up $1.30 to $32.23 The private equity firm said that its fourth-quarter profit jumped as the market for initial public offerings improved. Whirlpool Corp., down $9.41 to $132.22

EPA denies politics played role in delay of carbon pollution rules for new power plants

WASHINGTON - The head of the Environmental Protection Agency denied Thursday that the agency delayed formal publication of carbon pollution rules for new power plants for political reasons, as Republican senators have claimed. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the agency submitted the rules for publication last fall and "tried very hard" to get them published in the Federal Register. The rules were finally published last week.

Unemployment compensation bill hits new snags in Senate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Legislation to renew federal jobless benefits for 1.4 million Americans appeared stalled again in the Senate on Tuesday, with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell blasting Democrats' latest offer for debating a bill. McConnell protested Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's plan to allow votes on amendments from both parties, saying it was "ridiculous" to do so in a way that McConnell said would favor Democrats, who control the chamber.
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