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Stocks uneven...Chinese bidders blocked in Australia...Uber deal rejected

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HONG KONG (AP) — World stock benchmarks were uneven today as crude oil failed to sustain a rally and investors hunkered down ahead of a key speech by the Fed chief next week. Japanese shares rose as the yen weakened. Futures point to a lower Wall Street opening. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell to $48.00 a barrel. The dollar gained against the yen and the euro.

SYDNEY (AP) — Australia's treasurer has formally blocked Chinese bidders from leasing a Sydney electricity grid, saying today that the deal would not have been in the nation's best interest. The announcement by Treasurer Scott Morrison comes one week after he announced preliminary plans to ban Chinese state-owned State Grid Corp. and Hong Kong-registered Cheung Kong Infrastructure Group from bidding for a 99-year lease.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge has rejected a legal settlement that would have divided up to $100 million among about 380,000 Uber drivers to resolve claims the ride-hailing service has been exploiting them by treating them as independent contractors instead of employees. U.S. District Judge Edward Chen declared the deal unfair in a decision issued late Thursday, complicating Uber's efforts to remove the legal threat of having its drivers classified as employees.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency inspector general says the Obama administration has failed to study, as legally required, the impact of requiring ethanol in gasoline and ensuring that new regulations intended to address one problem do not actually make other problems worse. The conclusion in the new audit confirmed findings of an Associated Press investigation in November 2013. The AP said the administration never conducted studies to determine whether air and water quality benefits from adding corn-based ethanol to gasoline.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Construction on the nation's first offshore wind farm has finished. Deepwater Wind built a five-turbine wind farm off Block Island, Rhode Island. The wind farm is expected to be operational this fall after testing is complete. The $300 million project is expected to power about 17,000 homes. Developers, federal regulators and industry experts say the opening will pave the way for many more wind farms that eventually will provide power for many more Americans.

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