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Coal-themed candles helping unemployed miners

Dec. 13, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HARLAN, Ky. -- A group in Harlan is selling coal-theme candles to help unemployed miners in eastern Kentucky pay their bills.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports a group called Harlan 20/20 is managing the project.

Rie Whitfield and Kathy Bianchi, who are members of Harlan 20/20, say they wanted to come up with a way to help the thousands of coal miners who have been laid off due to a slump in the coal industry.

The candles are black to represent coal, but come in different scents. They are made by the Goose Creek Candle Company in Casey County and sell for $20.

Whitfield and Bianchi say they originally wanted to raise $5,000 with the project, but it became so popular that they've already raised $16,000. Whitfield says their new goal is $20,000.

Computer science education highlighted

CHARLESTON -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is highlighting the importance and growing interest in computer science education in West Virginia.

Tomblin issued a proclamation declaring this week as "Computer Science Education Week."

It is part of a nationwide movement aimed at encouraging students to participate in an hour of computer coding.

Tomblin says West Virginia is seeing an increased demand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics instruction that will prepare students for highly skilled, technology-focused careers across the state.

VW replaces head of struggling US division

FRANKFURT, Germany -- Automaker Volkswagen said Thursday it was replacing the head of its U.S. division.

The company said Jonathan Browning, 54, was leaving his job as president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America "for personal reasons and returning to the U.K."

His replacement is Michael Horn, 51, the company's global head of after-sales service, repair and components. Horn was formerly head of sales for Europe.

Through November, U.S. sales for the Volkswagen brand have fallen more than 5 percent to just under 374,000, while the overall market has grown more than 8 percent.

Marathon Oil looks to sell some overseas assets

NEW YORK -- Marathon Oil is looking to sell some overseas assets and is speeding up drilling in some domestic areas such as Eagle Ford, Bakken and Oklahoma Woodford.

The company also announced that it is raising its remaining stock buyback authorization to $2.5 billion, up from $1 billion.

Marathon Oil Corp. plans to sell its U.K. and Norway assets. The company has closed or agreed on almost $3.5 billion in asset sales in the past three years, above the company's target of $1.5 billion to $3 billion, President and CEO Lee Tillman said in a statement.

Marathon Oil plans to use more than 60 percent of its $5.9 billion 2014 budget for liquids-rich North American assets.

Experimental diabetes drug makes comeback

WASHINGTON -- A panel of federal health advisers has backed the benefits of an experimental diabetes drug that uses a new method to reduce blood sugar, setting aside previous concerns about the pill's safety.

The Food and Drug Administration panel voted 13-1 in favor of the drug from Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca, downplaying possible links to bladder cancer and liver toxicity. Concerns about those risks led the FDA to reject the drug in early 2012.

Dapagliflozin is a once-a-day pill designed to help diabetics eliminate excess sugar in their urine. That differs from older drugs that decrease the amount of sugar absorbed from food and stored in the liver.

Panelists said that 10 reports of bladder cancer reported in patients taking the drug were likely not caused by the drug.

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