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Markets mixed...Chine fines shippers for price fixing...Helicopter bird safety questions

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BEIJING (AP) — International stock markets were mixed in light trading today as markets reopened following the Christmas break. Futures point to a lukewarm start on Wall Street this morning. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell below $37.50 per barrel. The dollar gained against the yen and the euro.

BEIJING (AP) — China has fined seven foreign shipping companies that carry vehicles for automakers a total of $65 million on price-fixing charges in its latest effort to end anti-competitive behavior in the auto industry. Investigators found Europe's Wallenius Wilhelmsen, South Korea's EUKOR, Japan's Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and other shippers improperly coordinated bids and routes to keep prices high. Business groups say the secret and abrupt investigations are alienating foreign companies.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite decade-old warnings from government researchers, there are still no safety standards to protect 90 percent of the nation's helicopters from a rising number of bird strikes. The FAA says in 2013, there were 204 reported helicopter bird strikes, a 68 percent increase from 2009. Populations of large bird species are generally on the rise. Airliners do have safety standards for bird strikes.

NEW YORK (AP) — Tiny is moving into the Big Apple. New Yorkers could be seeing more micro-living opportunities as planning officials are proposing to end a limit on how small apartments can be. One new Manhattan building boasts little balconies, tall ceilings, dishwashers and storage space, all in 360 square feet or less. Critics fear a turn back toward the city's tenement past and question whether less space will really mean less expensive.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has reached $1 billion at the box office, achieving the milestone in a record-setting 12 days. The previous movie to reach $1 billion the fastest was Universal's "Jurassic World," which did it in 13 days in June. Unlike "Jurassic World," ''Star Wars: The Force Awakens" hasn't even opened in China yet.

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