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PETER Voser will retire as CEO of Royal Dutch Shell next year after 32 years with

the company.

His one regret is Shell's failed exploration for oil and natural gas in the Alaskan Arctic, as well as other U.S. shale explorations, Voser told the Financial Times.

Regulatory and technical problems doomed the Alaska project, Shell spent $5 billion without drilling a single well. The company is uncertain if it will return to the Arctic next year.

All in all, Shell invested $24 billion in U.S. oil and gas shale but its U.S. production struggles to post a profit.

This is the side of the business that many Americans do not see. When gasoline prices are high, demagogues in Congress scream "windfall profits," without mentioning the lean years or the need to spend billions in the ceaseless search for energy.

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LAST November, a police officer in Cleveland thought he heard gunfire and began pursuing a car driven by Timothy Russell, 43, who led the officer on a lengthy high-speed chase in the wee hours of a Sunday morning, endangering hundreds of people along the way.  

Russell, with a lengthy criminal history, refused to stop.

Scores of other officers joined in the pursuit in five dozen cars, which ended in the suburb of East Cleveland, where 13 officers shot Russell 23 times and passenger Malissa Williams 24 times.

This was an over-the-top reaction that the police union, sadly, has defended.

A police review led to the suspension of 63 officers.

While the suspect should have pulled over to prevent a chase, the fact remains that too many police cars were driving too fast through largely residential neighborhoods in the dead of night.

High-speed chases belong in the movies, not on the streets.

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SUE Klinhamer served on the staff of Democratic Representative Bill Foster of Illinois during the debate on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which she staunchly defended.

Voters upset with Obamacare's passage, booted Foster out, which made her unemployed. Now that the bill she pushed is a law, she is singing a different tune.

Blue Cross now charges her $291 a month with a $3,500 deductible. Under Obamacare, that rises to $647.12 a month for the same coverage.

Or she can nearly double the deductible to $6,500 and pay $322 a month — about 10 percent more.

"Someone please tell me why my premium in January will be $356 a month more than in December?" she asked in an email to her former boss.

Affordable?

As the previous Democratic president might put it, it depends on your definition of affordable.

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FEDERAL officials in Parkersburg want to close the federal courthouse at Fifth and Julianna streets in Parkersburg.  

City officials have enlisted the aid of West Virginia's congressional representatives in the efforts to find a new use of the building, as was done when Charleston replaced its federal courthouse with the Robert C. Byrd Courthouse over a decade ago.

"The best scenario would be for a developer to buy it," Mayor Bob Newell told the Parkersburg News.

"If the private sector takes over, it becomes a tax base for the community."

Now there's a thought.

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ON Sunday at 2 a.m., daylight savings time ends, which means we set our clocks back one hour.

Firefighters for years have told people to check the batteries on their smoke detectors when time changes in the fall and in the spring.

Sadly, that message came home this week as a house fire in Elkins killed a father and four children.

The fire marshal's office said the home had only one smoke detector, but there were no batteries in it.

Batteries cost, what, a buck or two?

In this case, the cost is five lives.

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T O publicize its website, Cupid.com reported a survey that said "West Virginia's Southern accent was the most attractive in North America!"

Thirty-six percent of people prefer the Southern accent, first among the eight choices, the website said.

But West Virginia generally is considered a mid-Atlantic state, and the same survey said the mid-Atlantic accent was the least-favored among the eight.

But as everyone knows, West Virginians have no accent — everyone else does. Still, people might want to drop those G's and drawl their words when on a date.


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