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Stocks mixed...Minimum wage going up...New wood tech raises hopes

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — International stock markets are mixed today with little economic news to move the final trading day of 2016. Futures point to a lackluster start on Wall Street today. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose to $54 per barrel. The dollar strengthened against the yen and the euro.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The minimum wage is going up in the new year in 19 states. Massachusetts and Washington state are jumping to $11 an hour. In New York, the wage will rise from $9 to $11 in New York City, with smaller increases elsewhere. California is raising its wage to $10.50 for large businesses. Wages will also go up in 22 cities and counties nationwide.

RIDDLE, Ore. (AP) — A new wood technology that can create resilient and lighter-weight panels out of trees damaged by wildfire and pests is giving hope to the Pacific Northwest's struggling timber industry. The technology, called cross-laminated timber, has been implemented for a decade in Europe and Canada, where architects have even used it to build all-wood skyscrapers. But it's only starting to catch on in the United States. A 12-story "plyscraper" will go up in Portland, Oregon, this spring.

NEW DELHI (AP) — Indians face a deadline today for depositing old rupee notes, but it's unclear if its vast campaign to overhaul the majority of its currency is having the desired results. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged patience and promised long-term dividends for the poor. She says the action has succeeded in uncovering tax evasion and cracking down on graft.

HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Chronicle reports that Texas-based ice cream maker Blue Bell wants federal regulators to ease precautions in place since a deadly listeria outbreak linked to 10 listeria cases in four states, including three deaths in Kansas last year. An attorney for Blue Bell, Joseph Levitt, has written the FDA that it's time for the company "to transition to the industry norm." Blue Bell had to shut its flagship Brenham creamery for several months.

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